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Paradise and wealth protection too.

     Some of you may be tempted to buy one of those beautiful tropical dream homes overlooking the Pacific along the Emerald Coast of Nicaragua.  It's very tempting, I have the same dream.  But before you do please consider an alternative.  CONDO'S
 
Your Realtor may show you what he or she thinks you want to see but I would advise that you also include condo's because you may decide that a smaller investment may be all you would like to do for now.
 
I try to inform myself by reading travel sites and magazines as well as financial sites.  These publications are a wealth of information if you read everything and look into the back issues.  Many travel sites list Nicaragua as one of the best real estate bargains and most financial sites tell you to spread your wealth out with gold or foreign real estate.  
 
If you want to enter the market and not risk to much, please consider condo's in San Juan del Sur.
  • You can invest a smaller amount
  • ​You can relax knowing someone is looking after your investment/property.
  • You could rent it while you don't use it.
When you come down for vacation you can feel like a native and get a feel of the neighborhood.  You can wait and see if you like it here.  If you do want that dream home you can take your time looking for it and wait for a great deal.
 
I hve 4 condos in SJdS (San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua).  After I lived in the first one I decided to buy 3 more with the idea of one designed to be my residence and the others to rent or sell. 
 
If I want to see the ocean, it's only 2 kilometers (about 1.2 miles) away and I either walk or take a golf cart and drive to town, have dinner, drinks and watch the sunset. 
 
Life is good, my wife and I get up when we want, I can go for a swim or sit outside and have coffee with the neighbors.  Later we can drive to Managua or Granada.  In Managua they have a PriceSmart that's just like COSTCO, malls, movie theaters with full bar and reclining seats, and you can order dinner from TGIF or other local restaurants.  You can live on as little as $2,000 USD per month even if you rent. 
 
So here is my list of things to look for:
  1. Near enough to the town/beach to walk or ride a bike, golf cart.
  2. The condo has access to all services, water, electric, cable/internet, and trash collection. 
  3. A swimming pool. 
  4. A grocery market near by. 
  5. Other expat's around.
  6. A hospital, doctor's dentist etc. near by.  SJdS is on the list for a 20 bed regional hospital .  This should be adequate for emergencies.
  7. How is the town doing?  SJdS is improving the streets down town, and they keep it clean, too.  They are building a new visitor center for the cruise ship's and best of all A NEW MICRO BREWERY JUST OPENED. 
  8. Make sure the development shows that they are making progress and you are not just looking at some model, or something on a computer.
  9. Walk thru as many units as you can and look at the size of the rooms.  I have friends who are Nicaraguan and they think American bedrooms are big.  So look at the actual room.  Remember the size could be in meters, not feet. 
  10. Talk to other buyers in private if possible.  If the salesman won't give you emails or contacts of tenants or investors, then he or she is worried that they could say something bad.  If they are happy they should be glad to talk to you.   
  11. Get a lawyer to make sure everything is right and legal with the deal and title.  Lawyers do most of the work on this end. 
  12. Make sure the condo has security at least at night. 
  13. Parking for your car and parking for the occasional visitor.
  14. Talk to as many realtors as you can fit in to your schedule.  I do not believe Nicaragua has a multiple listing service yet.  Other realtors will have listings that could be exclusive to them. 
  15. Don't be afraid to ask questions, anything you can think of.
My development is managed by a Canadian and I am happy with the progress.  He has made sure everything is done well and is watching every phase of construction.  He even has wire in the wall for the TV's. 
 
You should feel good about the person who you buy from.   
 
If you are in San Juan when I am I hope we can meet and talk.  I feel that all expats and future expats should help each other. 
 
PS  For some reason the US Government is making it harder to move your money out of the country.  The restrictions keep building up and I feel that some day it will be impossible to invest overseas.  The frog is in the pot and the water is getting warm. 
 
Sincerely 
Mike Martinez 
Posted in  What I Didn’t Ask (But Should Have) Before Moving To Nicaragua
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