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Investing in Costa Rica

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

The second most frequent question asked by investors looking to acquire a property in Costa Rica is often "How can I obtain legal immigration status?". As pointed out by Costa Rican Attorney Alberto Pinto Monturiol and further explained in KSI Realty's "Investing in Costa Rica" section, there are 3 ways to obtain residency for foreign businessmen - other than family ties with a native Costa Rican:

1. The investor status

Investors have to demonstrate that they have invested in the country and that they have a Costa Rican corporation that owns and runs a business. The best businesses and companies should be in one of the following categories/industries:
> Tourism: Hotels, Resorts & Casinos, Bed & Breakfast, Lodges, Site Seeing Activities and Extreme Outdoors Sports Activities (aerial tram, river rafting, eco-tourism...)
> Tree plantation with an initial investment of $100,000 in the first 3 years
> Productive projects in which Costa Rican labor is hired (industrial production of goods or free trade zone activities)
> Banking Investments
> Real Estate Investments
> "National Interest" type projects defined by the Costa Rican Government (as of today for example, ecological protection programs)

A complete list of requirements for each specific activity will be provided by the attorney in Costa Rica in order to apply for residency when the type of investment is decided by the client.

2. Retiree Status

A retiree has to demonstrate receiving a life pension from a government or a retirement fund of no less than $1,000 per month. A complete list of requirements for this status will be provided by the attorney in Costa Rica in order to apply for residency, but the one mentionned above is the most important.

3. Rentista Status

This status applies to a person who receives a monthly allowance of no less than $2,500 per month. The person has further to demonstrate and guarantee that he/she will perceive this monthly income for at least 2 years with a letter from a first order bank or financial institution. A complete list of other requirements for this status will be provided by the attorney in Costa Rica in order to apply for residency, but the one mentionned above is the most important.

 


The third most frequent question asked by businessmen looking to invest in Costa Rica is "How much will it cost me to close a deal (expenses and legal fees) and obtain legal immigration status?". Costa Rican Attorney Alberto Pinto Monturiol covers some of the most important costs associated with the acquisition of a Costa Rican property and the application for a legal residency status:

1. Closing cost for a Real Estate deal is 4.5% of the value of the sales price. This includes a 1.5% tax for land transfer, 1% registration stamps' fee to the National Registry and a 2% notary fee (to be paid at closing)

2. Fees for the incorporation of a Company in Costa Rica are about $750. This amont includes legal fees (legal agent fee for the first year), registration stamps, publication in the official newspaper, and obtention of legal and accounting books. All expenses and fees need to be paid at signing. This could be an option if you wish to operate a business without getting the immigration status.  

3. Attorney's fees per hour in other retained activities are about $100 per billable hour

4. To apply for a residency status, costs are broken down as follow:

> For the first and second group of nationalities mentioned in our previous post, you should account for about $3,750. This amont includes a $3,250 fee per person, plus additional expenses of about $500 per client when all required documents are provided, legalized and translated (included is an incorporation of a company in Costa Rica to start the investment process). All expenses and 50% of the fee need to be paid at the start of the process, 25% when all documents are submitted to the Immigration Office and the remaining 25% to be paid when immigration status is granted.

> For the third group of nationalities mentioned in our previous post, you should account for about $4,750. This amont includes a $4,250 fee per person, plus additional expenses of about $500 per client when all required documents are provided, legalized and translated (included is an incorporation of a company in Costa Rica to start the investment process). All expenses and 50% of the fee need to be paid at the start of the process, 25% when all documents are submitted to the Immigration Office and the remaining 25% to be paid when immigration status is granted.

> For the fourth group of nationalities mentioned in our previous post, you should account for about $7,250. This amont includes a $6,250 fee per person, plus additional expenses of about $1,000 per client when all required documents are provided, legalized and translated (included is an incorporation of a company in Costa Rica to start the investment process). All expenses and 50% of the fee need to be paid at the start of the process, 25% when all documents are submitted to the Immigration Office and the remaining 25% to be paid when immigration status is granted.

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Disclaimer: Information and data as of February 2012, not binding and likely to be modified without prior notice. Please see a licensed and certified professional and seek legal counseling should you wish to invest in Costa Rica. Please note that the amounts given are estimates and their sole purpose is to give you an idea and help you set up a provisional budget. Costs and information maybe subject to change depending on the uniqueness of each investment project in Costa Rica.

Investing in Costa Rica

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Have you ever wanted to visit and invest in Costa Rica? Then, Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to share with you a step-by step guide by Costa Rican Attorney Alberto Pinto Monturiol for investors interested in this Central American Paradise. 

When offering a client a property investment in Costa Rica, one of his/her logical requests will be: "I want to travel there and check out the property or business I am interested in acquiring". In order to properly advice you as a client, the first thing to do is to find out your nationality. This will allow to determine if you can come freely to Costa Rica (no visa required) or if you need an entry visa, and for how long you will be allowed to stay here as a tourist.



> The following first group of nationalities (and all of their territories) does not require an entry visa and can stay up to 90 days in Costa Rica:

Germany, Lithuania, Andorra, Luxembourg, Argentina, Malta, Australia, Mexico, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Montenegro, Belgium, Norway, Brazil, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Holland, Canada, Panama, Croatia, Paraguay, Chile, Poland, Cyprus, Portugal, Denmark, Monaco, Slovakia, San Marino, Slovenia, Puerto Rico, Spain, Serbia, The USA, South Africa, Estonia, United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland), Northern Ireland, France, Finland, Czech Republic, Hungary, South Korea, Island, Greece, Romania, Israel, Italy, Vatican City, Singapore, Japan, Switzerland, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay & Luxemburg

> The following second group of nationalities does not require an entry visa and can stay up to 30 days in Costa Rica:

Antigua and Barbuda, Mauritius, Belize, Micronesia, Bolivia, Nauru, Dominica, Palau, El Salvador, Kingdom of Tonga, The Philippines, Samoa, Fiji, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenadines, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala, St Lucia, Guyana, Honduras, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Surinam, Northern Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Turkey, Kiribati, Vanuatu, The Maldives & Venezuela

> The following third group of nationalities requires a consular entry visa which is granted by the Costa Rican Consulate in their home country. If Costa Rica doesn’t have a Consulate there, it will be granted by the nearest Costa Rican Consulate (see below exceptions to this rule)*:

Albania, Malaysia, Angola, Malawi, Saudi Arabia, Mali, Algeria, Morocco, The Maghreb, Armenia, Mauritania, Azerbaijan, Moldavia, Bahrain, Mongolia, Benin, Mozambique, Belarus, Namibia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nepal, Botswana, Nicaragua, Brunei Darussalam, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Burundi, Oman, Bhutan, Pakistan, Cape Verde, Papua new guinea, Cambodia, Peru, Cameroon, Qatar, Colombia, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, Comoro, Republic of Macedonia, Chad, Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Laos, United Arab Emirates, Dominican Republic, Russia, Rwanda, Gabon, Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Georgia, Sudan, Ghana, Swaziland, Guinea, Thailand, Guinea Bissau, Taiwan, Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Indonesia, Timor Oriental, Jordan, Togo, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Kenya, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Kosovo, Uganda, Kuwait, Uzbekistan, Lesotho, Vietnam, Liberia, Yemen, Libya, Djibouti, Lebanon, Zambia, Madagascar & Zimbabwe

 *Exceptions to this rule:

1) When citizens of the third group countries hold a Schengen visa or have a stamped visa from the United States of America, Canada, South Korea, Japan or any countries of the European Union, they will not require any other entry visa than this. They can travel freely and stay up to 90 days in Costa Rica.

2) When citizens of the third group countries have a legal residency, work permit or student visa from the United States of America, Canada, South Korea, Japan or any European Community Countries or Schengen signatory countries, they have to go to the Costa Rican Consulate in their home country to verify that document. If Costa Rica doesn’t have a Consulate there, it will be granted by the nearest Costa Rican Consulate. Then, they will be able to stay in Costa Rica up to 30 days.

> The following fourth group of nationalities requires an authorization process which is decided by the "Restricted Visa Commission" headed by the General Director of Immigration. These nationalities have to be invited by somebody in Costa Rica who will be responsible for them during their visit. This request has to be presented at the Costa Rican Consulate of their home country, to the nearest one to that specific country or directly in Costa Rica by an attorney or a person with power of attorney for the client. The visitor will then be able to stay in Costa Rica for the total of the granted days with a maximum of 30 days (see below exceptions to this rule)*:

Afghanistan, Jamaica, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cuba, Palestine, Eritrea, Ethiopia, China, Syria, Haiti, North Korea, Iran, Somalia, Iraq & Sri Lanka

*Exceptions to this rule:

1) When citizens of the fourth group countries hold a Schengen visa or have a stamped visa from the United States of America, Canada, South Korea, Japan or any of the European Community Countries, they will not require any other entry visa than this. They will be able to travel freely and stay up to 30 days in Costa Rica.

2) When citizens of the fourth group countries have a legal residency, work permit or student visa from the United States of America, Canada, South Korea, Japan or any of the European Community Countries or of the Schengen signatory countries, they have to go to the Costa Rican Consulate in their home country to verify that document. If Costa Rica doesn’t have a Consulate there, it will be granted by the nearest Costa Rican Consulate, and they will be able to stay here up to 30 days.

3) In case of a still valid British National Overseas/BN Passport holder from Hong Kong, visitors will not require any other entry visa than this. They will be able to travel freely and stay up to 30 days in Costa Rica. Other Hong Kong visitors are citizens of China and thus under restricted entry visa.

4) Businessmen and investors form the People's Republic of China who request an entry visa at the Costa Rican Consulate validated by a letter from the "China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT)" or "La Oficina Comercial de Promocer en China", will only require a consular entry visa granted by the Costa Rican Consulate in China. 

 5) All other countries not mentioned above are included in the fourth group

The Difference Between Apartment and Condo in Thailand

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

As long time international brokers and real estate professionals, local industry jargon is rarely an obstacle, but for many investors and future clients, some terminology can remain confusing especially in a country such as Thailand and a city like Bangkok. The demand for Bangkok’s Business Central District (BCD) housing remains very strong with limited supply of quality, renovated and well-priced properties.

The preferences of foreign expatriates, young domestic business professionals and their families are centered around 3 main offerings: apartments, condominiums and town-houses. Very often, most tenants in Thailand don’t understand the simple difference between apartments and condominiums. The mysterious answer resides in the ownership of the unit by one individual for apartments and by multiple and individual owners for condominiums. This can make a notable difference especially when dealing with a query or an issue.  The point of communication will be central and unique for apartments whereas for condominiums a mixture of Juristic Office staff - managing the common areas and services of the building - and the owner of the particular unit will take place. The time response and efficiency in the handling of any issues such as an A/C or washing machine being out-of-service can make a positive or negative lasting impression on a tenant and will certainly motivate his or her choice for future extension in the long run.

Ideally, a landlord wants to secure a tenant for as long as possible by providing the best service possible. In reality, this doesn’t necessarily happen and often tenants leave their units to the great demise of their landlord at the end of the lease without having given the chance for the owners to address some issues for which they are not necessarily aware of or have not been contacted for. This situation alone makes apartments more desirable on a tenant point-of-view as they are often kept in a more recent or updated condition, the communication channel between tenants and landlord is more direct and efficient and all issues handling is centralized.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But rest assured, some advantages of condominiums are notable such as a less standardized decoration, more flexibility in allowing your friendly domesticated companions to live in the premises (cats, dogs, turtles and other adorable creatures) and more room for price’s negotiation as renting price in the building is not set by one owner. From an investment point-of-view and if your budget allows owning standardized units, centralized management can create interesting economies of scale and increase your ROI while safeguarding your capital, helping you reach the long-term goal of capital appreciation. For a more controlled budget, condominiums can be great opportunities to generate monthly cash flows and secure your savings into a long-term asset. Foreigners can benefit from full ownership in projects that are respecting the 51-49% ratio rule between Thai national and foreign owners.

Dr. Sopon Pornchockchai, President of the Agency for Real Estate Affairs (AREA), develops in his 2011 Land Survey Valuation Report, that although there are limited amount of apartments’ development in the pipeline, some 300 projects are ready to be launched in the next 4 to 5 years in Bangkok’s BCD; hence offering more choices and ultimately, more value to both domestic and foreign users. This ensures the attractiveness for Bangkok’s property investment from both domestic investors and foreigners who want to diversify their portfolio.

KSI Realty Thailand predicts that the fast development trend of the last 5 years of high rises will slow down in favor of more harmonized and community-oriented low rises or town-home sub-divisions. Although land prices remain strong and have increased more than 3 times in the last 15 years, some developers will follow the trend of building more quality than quantity-oriented housing and offer ultimately more luxurious, city and eco-friendly-oriented lifestyle to their customers. For more info on Real Estate news in Thailand please visit our Blog www.Kijner.com/blog, like our Facebook Page www.facebook.com/ksirealty and follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/ksirealty.  

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Article by Kijner & Sons International Realty, 21 February 2012

Sarasota Real Estate Market: Pending sales spike in January 2012; prices also rise

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to announce that according to the Sarasota Association of Realtors® (SAR), pending sales for the month of January 2012 rose 28% from last December, "a strong indicator for a successful 2012 season for real estate agents and firms".

A total of 963 contracts were signed for property transactions of which 723 for single family homes and 240 for condominiums with respective median sales prices of $162,000 and $180,000. "The median sales price rise from last year is very striking, and probably has a lot to do with the lower inventory of available properties and the improved national economic picture," explained SAR President Laura Benson.

As for inventory last January, they stood at 4,711, a 22% drop from last year 6,047 showing that "the law of supply and demand will likely start to take hold in the Sarasota market, pushing asking prices higher". 

To read the full January 2012 SAR Report and get all the statistics, please click here

To learn more about real estate opportunities in the Sarasota area, contact Kijner & Sons International Realty at info@kijner.com.

The Spring 2012 Paris Property & Investment Show

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

The Spring 2012 Paris Property & Investment Show (Salon National de l'Immobilier) is around the corner and will be held at the exhibition center Paris-Porte de Versailles from March 29th to April 1st, 2012. With over 35,000 visitors, 250 exhibitors and 50 conferences by real estate experts, the Spring Paris Property & Investment Show is an event you cannot miss!   

Kijner & Sons International Realty is glad to be once again participating at this show under the FNAIM pavillion, the French National Real Estate Federation, which by its number, is the first European organization for real estate professionals.

Come and meet with KSI Realty and its certified Realtors® to learn more about investment opportunities and relocation in Florida, Thailand, France and Costa Rica (Booth D38a). This year, we will specifically focus on real estate owned properties (REOs) such as short sales and foreclosures in South Florida and will present you with unique properties whether you are interested in residential or commercial real estate and whether you want to relocate to the Miami or Sarasota Florida area. 

To download your free invitation to the show, just click here. For any other inquiry, do not hesitate to contact us at info@kijner.com.

Specialty Mortgages: Risks and Rewards

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

In high-priced housing markets, it can be difficult to afford a home in Miami or Sarasota Florida. That’s why a growing number of homebuyers are forgoing traditional fixed-rate mortgages and standard adjustable-rate mortgages and instead opting for a specialty mortgage that lets them “stretch” their income so they can qualify for a larger loan.

But before you choose one of these mortgages, make sure you understand the risks and how they work.

Specialty mortgages often begin with a low introductory interest rate or payment plan - a “teaser” - but the monthly mortgage payments are likely to increase a lot in the future. Some are “low documentation” mortgages that come with easier standards for qualifying, but also higher interest rates or higher fees. Some lenders will loan you 100 percent or more of the home’s value, but these mortgages can present a big financial risk if the value of the house drops.

Specialty Mortgages Can:

  • Pose a greater risk that you won’t be able to afford the mortgage payment in the future, compared to fixed rate mortgages and traditional adjustable rate mortgages.
  • Have monthly payments that increase by as much as 50 percent or more when the introductory period ends.
  • Cause your loan balance (the amount you still owe) to get larger each month instead of smaller.

Common Types of Specialty Mortgages:

  • Interest-Only Mortgages: Your monthly mortgage payment only covers the interest you owe on the loan for the first 5 to 10 years of the loan, and you pay nothing to reduce the total amount you borrowed (this is called the “principal”). After the interest-only period, you start paying higher monthly payments that cover both the interest and principal that must be repaid over the remaining term of the loan. 
  • Negative Amortization Mortgages: Your monthly payment is less than the amount of interest you owe on the loan. The unpaid interest gets added to the loan’s principal amount, causing the total amount you owe to increase each month instead of getting smaller.
  • Option Payment ARM Mortgages: You have the option to make different types of monthly payments with this mortgage. For example, you may make a minimum payment that is less than the amount needed to cover the interest and increases the total amount of your loan; an interest-only payment, or payments calculated to pay off the loan over either 30 years or 15 years. 
  • 40-Year Mortgages: You pay off your loan over 40 years, instead of the usual 30 years. While this reduces your monthly payment and helps you qualify to buy a home, you pay off the balance of your loan much more slowly and end up paying much more interest. 

Questions to Consider Before Choosing a Specialty Mortgage:

  • How much can my monthly payments increase and how soon can these increases happen?
  • Do I expect my income to increase or do I expect to move before my payments go up?
  • Will I be able to afford the mortgage when the payments increase?
  • Am I paying down my loan balance each month, or is it staying the same or even increasing?
  • Will I have to pay a penalty if I refinance my mortgage or sell my house?
  • What is my goal in buying this property? Am I considering a riskier mortgage to buy a more expensive house than I can realistically afford?

Be sure you work with a REALTOR® and lender who can discuss different options and address your questions and concerns!

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Sources:

Learn about the National Association of Realtors® Housing Opportunity Program at www.realtor.org/housingopportunity.

For more information on predatory mortgage lending practices, visit the Center for Responsible Lending at www.responsiblelending.org.

 

The 5th Shanghai Spring Overseas Property Expo

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to announce its participation at the upcoming Shanghai Overseas Property and Investment Expo (Spring Edition, 15-18 March 2012). The Shanghai Overseas Property and Investment Expo which has been succesfully running for the last 14 years, attracts over 35,000 visitors from Shanghai and nearby cities with 70% of them looking to invest abroad.

With an astonishing rise in real estate prices since 2009 and numerous government restrictions on domestic real estate investments, more and more Chinese homebuyers and investors have turned to overseas properties and international real estate as the better choice in terms of ROI and safety. 

Kijner & Sons International Realty will also hold a conference on international real estate investments. Come and meet with us to learn more about real estate, investing and relocating to the United States, Florida, Thailand, Costa Rica and France. We look forward to welcoming you on our booth #2009 at the Shanghai Exhibition Center (SEC)!

For more information on this exciting event, please visit www.kijner.com/Events and for all the latest updates, check regularly our Facebook page www.facebook.com/ksirealty.

Do you have listings you want to promote with us at this event? Contact us at info@kijner.com.

 

Photos courtesy of http://www.chinarealestatexpo.com/?page-page-pic.html

Global Perspectives

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to share with you the December 2011 issue of NAR's "Global Perspectives". This issue looks at what's driving Canadian buyers to look south. There's more at play than just the strong Canadian dollar and snowbirds' flight to warm weather. Canadian exposure to the U.S. market has spread beyond Florida to some places that may surprise you.

 

 

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Source: Global Perspectives December 2011

Discover Beautiful Costa Rica

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty would like to share with you a video of Costa Rica's stunning landscapes and provinces. Enjoy!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdKiPR3kdjo&feature=g-vrec&context=G25c5b3aRVAAAAAAAABg

If you are looking to invest in or relocate to Costa Rica, we can help! To learn more about Costa Rica, click here.

You can also read our Q&A about investing and living in Costa Rica whether you are considering buying a commercial or a residential property. We sell casinos, teak farms, hotels, restaurants, luxurious villas....just check our "Featured Properties" page!

Questions, comments? Contact us at info@kijner.com

The Wealth Report

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to share with you the 2011 joint Wealth Report by Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank, which gives us a global perspective on prime property and wealth today.

This report highlights what motivates both the high-net-worth individual "HNWI" (a person whose investible assets, excluding their primary residence, total between $1M and $10M) and the ultra-high-net-worth individual "UHNWI" (a person whose investible assets, excluding their primary residence, are valued at over $10M).

You will also learn more about Asia's ongoing rise as the World's new economic powerhouse and that education is one of the most important factors that encourages wealthy people to buy properties and invest abroad. 

To read the full report, click on the image below. 


If you are looking to invest abroad, buy a property in Thailand, Florida, Costa Rica or France or send your children study in the USA, we can assist you! Just visit our website www.kijner.com to learn more about investment opportunities aborad. Questions, comments, inquire at info@kijner.com, we specialize in wealth management, international consulting, relocation, promotion and development, residential and commercial transactions as well as property management. 

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Source: http://www.knightfrank.com/wealthreport/

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