A large pool and an Irish pub within stumbling distance of home? A beautiful beach just five minutes away?
Sounds about right to me.
Off we went to take a look.
Elisha and I wanted to get a realistic idea of the time it would take to get to Congo Hills from our rental house in San Juan del Sur, so when we pulled out of our barrio I set the timer on my watch. Even though we got stuck behind a bus – that stopped every 100 meters – we still managed to arrive at Congo Hills in just 10 minutes.
Our tour started with a walk around the property. We immediately noticed how nice and breezy (and quiet) it was up on the hill.
The club house, hot tub and two pools overlooking Playa Remanso promptly captured our attention. From our vantage point we could see the rolling hills and valleys that lead down to the ocean.
Seamus let us in on a little known secret.
The owner of O’Shea’s (the most popular Irish pub in Granada) is opening a second pub and restaurant in this location. Renovations for the restaurant are already underway and to ensure smooth sailing into the pub some road work along the entrance of the development is also being done.
We made our way over to the spec homes that are situated about 100 meters from the club house. Colourful fruit trees and beautiful bright flowering plants surround the casitas.
Two of the homes have already been purchased by yet another Irishman. He currently uses them as vacation rentals to generate income.
We checked out a two bedroom, two bathroom home. The design was very North American with an open kitchen, dining and living room; a great layout for entertaining.
The 1200 square feet of living space is a little more than what we are used to, but a little extra space is always welcome.
As we made our way up the staircase and onto the roof top deck we could picture ourselves enjoying beautiful sunsets and a cold Tona (local beer) or two.
Currently priced at just $99 000 USD the houses are move in ready just waiting for someone to make them a home. Conservatively speaking this price is 20% – 30% lower than similar real estate listings that we’ve seen in the area.
Congo Hills sits on a 90 acre parcel of land, so the options are endless. Anything from a one-third acre to ten acre lots are available. The land can be used for single family homes, condominiums, a B&B or even a small hotel.
An area close to the club house – just across the road from the existing homes – stood out to us.
Seamus described these parcels as “non-view” lots, which we found highly entertaining considering we could see the ocean from where we were standing.
He went on to explain that the lots on the ridge, closer to the ocean, have more sweeping and dramatic views so those are the ones he classifies as ocean view. At least he isn’t into over promising or exaggerating the truth.
We’ve given it some thought and decided that our preference would be to buy a lot and build an energy efficient, environmentally friendly and inexpensive earth-bag home.
What’s great about Congo Hills is that as long as your home has white outside walls and a red clay tile roof it fits the current home design restrictions of the development.
Next steps for us?
Do some more research on earth-bag construction while we wait for our investments to mature and become available.
…get financing through Seamus (something that is almost unheard of in Nicaragua) and start construction now.
At as little as $20 000 USD for a “non-view” one third acre serviced lot we are seriously considering pulling the trigger while Congo Hills is still in its infancy.
As mentioned previously Congo Hills does not have a website, nor is it listed with a realtor. This is one of those special word of mouth cases we talked about in our last article.
We will be looking for a few neighbours so we wanted to share Seamus’ contact information with you. Please note: Uncool, unfriendly and not fun people need not apply.
(505) 8895-5728 Nicaragua
Alternately you may use the form below to contact Seamus.
Elisha and I just loaned $25 bucks to this dude…
…and $25 bucks to this chick.
Sound random? Well it’s not – it’s a non-profit organization called Kiva.
In many developing countries the average resident can’t just go to the bank to get a loan and almost no one has a credit card. If an individual wants to start or expand a business, build an addition onto their home, fix their roof, etc. they need to the find funds to do so some other way.
In Nicaragua there are organizations like MiCredito, CEPRODEL, Fundacion Leon and AFODENIC that work with residents in need of micro-loans. Some of their funding comes from a Kiva who receives ALL of it’s funding from people like you and I.
What I like about this organization is that it’s not a charity. Members loan money to individuals who are struggling to better themselves. These people simply need a helping hand in the form of a little cash. As a lender you are providing a hand up, rather than just a hand out.
The individuals shown in the photos at the beginning of this post had each requested a loan of $500.
Elisha & I along with 39 other Kiva lenders will pitch in $25 each to fund these loans. The loans will be repaid monthly over the next 12 months. As Manuel and Julia repay their loans, the portion we lent to them will be deposited back into our kiva account. We can then choose to withdraw the cash – or better yet – lend it to another entrepreneur.
It was five years ago our good friend Michelle Colford gave us a Kiva gift card as a Christmas gift. At first I thought the donation might have been to “The Human Fund”, (Seinfeld reference) but once we learned what Kiva was all about we were excited to register and use our gift card for our very 1st Kiva loan.
To date we have lent money to 26 people. All of which have either repaid their loans or are on schedule with their payments. Loaning money through Kiva is one way that we’ve been able to make a small difference in our community. We have been able to positively impact 26 people with the last two recipients owning businesses that we walk by almost daily.
If you want to learn more about Kiva and find out how you can “empower people around the world with as little as $25″ click here.