22 January 2015

Need to Know Basis . . . More or Less

We did it! More or less.
Finally, a contract came on my DFW home. Finally . . . it took 8 days after listing the home in December 2014. Eight whole days. Eight days that seemed like eight months. And so we were back on schedule and might even close on Lot 6 by its original close date sometime around January 4th, more or less.

But just in case we didn't close timely, on the Samara end we would put in place a back-up plan . . . an Amendment to the original Costa Rica contract extending the closing date through early February. But from our cold North Texas home, who was there to put in place said amendment? The world's best realtor.

On the near-opposite end of the spectrum, more or less, I believe that my Texas realtor held the erroneous assumption that I wanted updates only on a need-to-know basis. Bill Knight, and his charming and helpful wife Donna, are the exceptions that prove my rule of there is no such thing as a perfect realtor. Except for Bill and wife/team-mate Donna! Without Donna, I'd have lacked an expat woman's perspective of the three-dozens homes we viewed. Cheers to Donna!

Why is this important in our saga of buying a home in Costa Rica?
Because you should demand the very best from your realtor, and yet brace yourself for such contingencies . . . contract revisions, documents to and fro', delay-after-delay on your end, ad nauseam.  Then more delays, title work, unexpected closing costs, final confirmation of any to-dos in your sales contract, etc. If you're contemplating a move to Costa Rica, be ye warned. More importantly, we warned ourselves -- it's a roller-coaster of highs and lows. And, it was a harsh but simple fact (insofar as we are not wealthy): without the sale of the DFW home and our current home (not to mention all worldly possessions), we cannot afford to buy anything in Costa Rica . . . not even a hut. Not to disparage a hut: my hut in Africa was charming, as was my courtyard and office. But on with the saga.

Closing on the DFW home was set for 12 January 2015; and despite all my skepticism, despite the rows between my Texas realtor and I, close we did on that very date. Funds from the proceeds were wired to my bank, and we had then the funds to close on the Samara home (not the pool, our much-anticipated eight special trees, etc., but the home and 1.65 acres, more or less).  So let's get this show on the road. Ah, but not so quickly. There were check-lists requiring follow-up, the need to revise our construction contract dates, wiring instructions to follow . . . not to mention future residency applications, banks accounts to consider, and most important -- selecting a mover.

Now wiring sums from your U.S. bank to a overseas public bank's escrow account is so easy that it's frightening. Certainly there are forms to sign . . . forms that I hope my government takes seriously and somehow magically processes and culls for red flags. We could be fundings God-knows-what! In reality, we're funding a charming home, 1.65 acres, more or less, and home of a few bats and monkeys.

So last Friday I wired funds to close on the home . . . closing instructions to follow. Because these numbers/percentages will be similar for most home-buyers, let's do talk numbers. On our little $135,000 USD finca,with its 1.65 acres, more or less, the total closing costs were a little over $6,000. Yikes! There goes the new poolside and patio furniture. I see it flying away like a pig with wings. Anyway, this $6000 was spent on my escrow company's (think title company) due diligence and included the following:
  • $350 on corporate taxes and legal fees incident thereto
  • $2025 as a 1.5% transfer tax to the National Registry
  • $1350 as a 1% registry rights payment to the National Registry
  • $2025 as a 1.5% legal fees (the due diligence process)
  • $250 Power of Attorney to grant our escrow agent the ability to close without us (so we missed a trip back to Samara but saved hundreds in airfare and car rental. Still . . . )
  • A few bucks for FedEx and wire transfer fees on the Costa Rican end
  • $350 as a Property Declaration within its Municipality -- is that Samara? What are they declaring? Lot 6 is now owned by a couple of crazy Texans?  Or, what's two crazy Texans, more or less?
What is this National Registry? With the worlds best realtor and an excellent "title company," all I need to know is that our dollars are being paid to the required entities. Again, the services of a great realtor are essential in this process.

And so, hopefully, our escrow agent will be closing in Samara tomorrow. Tomorrow! Wanna see some photos of the home and furnishings? Huh? Huh? A few pictures? I can't wait to post some. Soon . . . very soon.

And thus we're so close to being the owners of a home, nay, a finca in Samara, Costa Rica, that I can feel it. Let the packing begin (another saga). Still targeting an early-May 2015 move date. But . . . perhaps even earlier? As to the Texas Longhorn color of these cushions and my Aggie hubby's reaction? Ssshh! Until we arrive, I'll never speak of it. Lo que hay!