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We’ve Got 2 More “Red Hot” Real Estate Deals for You!

We’ve got 2 more red hot real estate deals to share with you. 

 SMALL SCALE TURN KEY RESTAURANT in SAN JUAN DEL SUR
COLONIAL HOME WITH SWIMMING POOL in GRANADA

View these ads (and more value priced properties) on our Hot Deals: Real Estate page!

Six Tips to Finding Affordable Long Term Rentals in Nicaragua

With more and more people relocating to Nicaragua finding a desirable and affordable rental isn’t always easy. But if you’re persistent, avoid getting discouraged and follow these tips you might just find your perfect rental today!

#1

POUNDING THE PAVEMENT:
Since most locals rent their homes by placing a small “SE ALQUILA” sign on the front of the house get out there every single day and walk the neighborhoods that you’re interested in living in.  Properties commonly rent on a month to month basis – so beware – a home that was occupied yesterday may be available today and then gone tomorrow.  Remember – you aren’t the only one pounding the pavement – the best deals come and go in the blink of an eye.

#2

WORD OF MOUTH:
Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for rental. Talk to expats and business owners in the area. Post messages in forums and Facebook groups such as Expats in NicaraguaExpats in San Juan del Sur. When we were looking for a long term rental in San Juan del Sur we talked to so many people there were times when random waiters at restaurants would approach us as we were walking by to tell us they had a friend or family member who had a place for rent.

#3

CLASSIFIED ADS:
Typically classified ads for long term rentals are posted by foreigners or computer savvy Nicas who expect a higher price for their properties because they know how to market. There are some good deals to be found through classified ads, but the very best opportunities are almost always found through word of mouth or pounding the pavement. Listed below are  a couple classified sites that are worth checking out.

Craigslist
Encuentra24
Nicaragua Community Classifieds

#4

REAL ESTATE AGENCIES:
Although most real estate agents and property managers deal almost exclusively with highly priced, short term vacation rentals occasionally they do have a gem in their back pocket. On occasion they may have a few sale listings where the seller wants to rent out their home while they wait for a buyer.  Visiting local real estate agencies is definitely worthwhile, but consider this option a long shot to finding your rental.

#5

BULLETIN BOARDS:
Posting boards are commonly found in bars, restaurants, corner stores, laundry mats, hostels, etc. and are also a good place to find rentals.  It’s not uncommon for the business owner to have a home for rent, so don’t forget to enquire with the proprietor and his/her staff.

#6

NEGOTIATE A SHORT TERM RENTAL INTO SOMETHING LONG TERM
If you find yourself searching for a rental during slow season and you’re willing to sign a long term lease you may just be lucky enough to negotiate a fair price on a short term rental turning into an affordable long term option. It never hurts to ask.

Photo Journalism Friday: Hay is for Horses

– Hay if for horses, better for cows, pigs don’t eat it ’cause they don’t know how!

Photo Journalism Friday: Stink Eye

Photo Journalism Friday:  Stink Eye

– A facial expression of distrust, disdain, or disapproval; also called skunk eye, hairy eyeball

Photo Journalism Friday: FSLN Revolution Day

Today, July 19th marks the 34th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution of 1979 – the day that the National Liberation Army defeated the Somoza dictatorship in the Nicaraguan Revolution.

– Today all buses in the country change their stationed route to Managua.

As we made our way from Granada to San Juan del Sur we passed bus load after bus load of FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) supporters en route to Managua.

Every year on July 19th thousands of people from all over the country gather at Plaza La Fe in Managua to commemorate this historical event.

A Medical Emergency with Maggie Mae

When our miniature schnauzer puppy Maggie refused chicken and bacon we knew something was wrong. Two days later when she still wouldn’t eat or drink we became extremely concerned.

We knew it was time to get her to a vet – ASAP!

There are a couple of veterinarians in San Juan del Sur, but sadly we are not confident in their abilities. After a desperate plea on Facebook for a recommendation on a trusted and skilled vet we were on our way to Multivet in Granada.

We were barely out of town when Maggie started to vomit. Things were going from bad to worse.  

Over the course of the 1 1/2 hour drive Gordon and I hardly spoke to one another.  We were fearful that we’d be making the trip back home to San Juan del Sur without our sweet little Maggie Mae.

After what seemed like an eternity we pulled up to the Multivet clinic. As I walked through the doors towards the reception desk with Maggie in my arms I felt a sense of relief. Somehow I knew we were in the right place.

Dr. Jose Antonio and his assistant Stephen escorted us back to the examining room. They examined Maggie with the utmost care. They conducted a blood test that ruled out Lyme Disease, Heartworm, tick parasites, etc.

Vomiting and diarrhea in dogs can be linked to a number of different things so the question now was,

“What exactly is wrong with Maggie?”

Thankfully three of the five vets at Multivet speak English. We have passable consumer Spanish, but our terms for veterinarian Spanish are severely lacking.

Over the course of the next two days we made an additional four trips to clinic, two of which were after hours. Veterinarians Jose Antonio, Stephen, Claudio and Faran worked in shifts administering IV fluids, nausea medication, antiprotozoal medication and antibiotics. At one point we had to leave Maggie at the clinic for observation for a period of four hours.

The veterinarian team concluded that Maggie had an intestinal protozoan parasite called giardia. They treated her with an medication called metronidazole.

Bit by bit we saw steady improvement in Maggie’s condition. We nearly jumped for joy when she finally accepted a piece of chicken and drank a bit of water on her own.

After spending three days and two nights in Granada we got the green light that it was safe to bring Maggie home. We felt like a huge weight had been lifted from our shoulders.

Total cost for treatment and medications was only $122.39 USD. We were blown away! Had we required this treatment in Canada I’m sure we would have paid upwards of $1000. 

Words cannot express how grateful we are for the excellent care and attention Maggie received at Multivet. It is with the utmost confidence we are recommending each and every one of the doctors there.

A Medical Emergency with Maggie Mae

– Maggie (and Mama) feeling better and ready to head home!

The Multivet clinic is located in Granada on Calle La Islita near Hotel La Mar Dulce. Services provided include emergency and critical care, hospice and euthanasia services,  surgery, x-rays, nutritional counseling, spay and neuter surgeries and dental care. Exotic animal care is also available.

To make an appointment call (505) 2552-1890. They also accept walk-ins.

To learn more about Multivet on their Facebook page click here.

Photo Disclaimer: In our haste to get Maggie to a vet I did not pack my digital SLR that I normally shoot with. This extremely grainy photo was taken with our iPad. 

Photo Journalism Friday: Multitasking

Photo Journalism:  Multitasking

mul·ti·task·ing: the performance of multiple tasks at one time

Our View on Nicaraguan Real Estate

Our View on Nicaraguan Real EstateAdmittedly we have limited experience, but in our opinion there are three types of real estate for sale in Nicaragua.

1. NOT REALLY FOR SALE
These are properties where the owner advertises an outrageous, out of market price and says, 

“If someone will pay “x” amount of dollars, then I’ll sell it”.

Here’s an example:

Two homes in Granada are side by side, have the same exterior (aside from color), the same square footage and were built by the same developer. The interior lay out is slightly different, but comparable, as are the finishings.

One house recently came on the market for $149K. The other house has been for sale since we started looking at real estate in Nicaragua 3 years ago. It is currently listed at $229K.

Without MLS (and no practical way to track comparable sales) this situation is more common than you might think. We’ve come to learn that real estate – especially in Nicaragua – is worth what ever someone will pay for it.

2. THE MOTIVATED SELLER
Sometimes properties owned by motivated sellers never actually make it onto a real estate agency’s website because agents already have buyers waiting in the wings for this type of deal to come along.

Also in this category are a number of developers and single property owners that prefer not to work with real estate agencies.

There can be some really interesting properties to be found in this particular category. But unfortunately – since they aren’t actually listed anywhere – they can be challenging to find.

Word of mouth is great for these types of deals, but if you aren’t living here finding these hidden gems proves to be very difficult.

3. THE DESPERATE GRINGO
We’ve often thought about starting a website called desperategringos.com.

Every once in a while we hear about a Nicaraguan expat who wants to leave immediately and needs to liquidate everything.

This is a great way to make a purchase if

  • The type of property you hear about happens to be one that interests you
  • You have readily available cash
  • You actually hear about it in time.

This category is by far the smallest market segment.

We’ve been focusing our search within the second group. We live in Nicaragua and have good connections, so it’s been our hope to find a property that wasn’t listed.

We recently found a great example of this type of real estate.

The development is called Congo Hills.

We met with our friend Irish Seamus for coffee and he told us a little bit about the history of the project.

Seven years ago the real estate market was booming worldwide. Nicaragua was no exception. Many developers were selling properties before water, electricity or even roads led to the lots.

Seamus Fitzgerald and his business partner Bendt Bregstein wanted to have a project they could be proud of so they built roads, dug a huge well and installed underground electricity. They even built a club house with a pool and hot tub before starting construction on their spec homes.

With the infrastructure in place, some lots cleared off and a handful of homes built Seamus and his partner started selling properties.

But unfortunately this time frame coincided with the global financial crash and all construction came to a standstill. Seamus and Bendt decided to lay low for awhile. Thankfully their project was not leveraged with bank loans, which meant they could afford to wait for better times.

These two Irishmen were confident the market would eventually bounce back so they’ve had a cuidador (property caretaker and security guard) on-site maintaining the existing homes, clubhouse and pool.

And with the luck of the Irish on their side the market in Nicaragua is starting to heat up again.

Seamus thinks the “time is now” and we think he might be onto something.

The crazy thing is that we can’t even get a sneak peak. Congo Hills isn’t listed with a real estate company and – as of this post – doesn’t have a website. We’re pretty sure this won’t be the case for long so our plan is to check out this development ASAP! 

Location, location, location!

Lately we’ve been receiving a lot of emails from followers with questions regarding real estate in Nicaragua. We are far from experts on this subject, but we have learned a lot in the last sixteen months that we’ve been here. 

One thing in particular we’ve learned is that locale is paramount for us being happy long term.

Prior to making the move to Nicaragua our home was in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We were a one hour drive from the beautiful snow-capped Rocky Mountains, but a ten hour drive from the ocean. 

Rocky Mountains

Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Our plan when arriving in Nicaragua was to move around a bit in the first year, so that we could get a feel for where we wanted to settle down. And that’s exactly what we did. 

Our first rental home was situated on the tranquil beach of Poneloya. Falling asleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore was amazing. 

This way to the ocean...

– Having the sand right at our steps was even better

But unfortunately it didn’t take long to learn that life in Poneloya wasn’t for us. This lovely little beach town was too tranquil for our liking. After a couple of weeks there we were already craving more stimulation. 

We also learned that owning a beach house doesn’t come without drawbacks. Salt air does major damage to a home. It causes electronics to expire long before they should. And, unless you paint it multiple times throughout the year, metal will rust.  Wood work also needs to be stained or painted annually.

After one month in Poneloya we moved into a guest house in the bustling city of Leon. 

Dining Tables

– An affordable and comfortable housing option in Leon

Although there’s a lot to do in Leon, there aren’t many expats living there. Getting to know a few locals was great, but we soon realized we needed at least a couple of friends with similar interests, outlooks and life experiences. 

Another downfall of Leon is the unbearable heat. 

During the last month of dry season temperatures soar upwards of 40 degrees Celsius (that’s 104 Fahrenheit for y’all Americans) with nearly 100% humidity and no breeze for relief.

When there is wind, it comes from the inland volcanoes rather than the ocean. It blows across the dry, dusty fields and into the city.  There were days in Leon when we felt like we were standing in a giant hair-drying sand blaster.

Granada was the next city we called home.  It’s similar to Leon in size and pace, but offers cool lake breezes. 

Granada, Nicaragua

We loved the location of Granada. It is close to Managua, the airport, Laguna de Apoyo and the National Handicraft market in Masaya.

Granada also offers more westernized options to coincide with the plethora of expats. But unfortunately for us, our parents fit in much more naturally with the age group of most expats who are currently living there.  

Mojito Friday at Grill House

– Mojito Friday with the gang at Grill House was always a good time!

Next stop? The coastal town of San Juan del Sur.

The Bay of San Juan del Sur

The Bay of San Juan del Sur

Originally we thought San Juan del Sur would be too small a place for us to settle down in, but boy were we wrong.  Within a very short period of time the town had won us over.

Even though San Juan del Sur is touristy, there is a great mix of locals and expats in all age ranges. The expat community here is very diverse. 

Location, location, location!

– Here in San Juan del Sur we have many great friends from all over the world

The house we currently rent is located in town about three blocks from the beach. We are up on a hill so we can take advantage of the cool breezes from Lake Nicaragua. 

Sounds great?  Right? 

Well, it probably would be if dogs and roosters weren’t barking and cock-a-doodle-doing all day and night. Last week they were competing to be heard over parades, firecrackers and the techo beats of Semana Santa. It seems as though every second week there is a holiday accompanied by a celebration, that can sometimes last for days.

After sixteen months of moving around we think we finally have figured out it. 

The San Juan del Sur area is definitely where we want to settle down. We have been (and still are) passively looking for a property to call our own.

In a perfect world our ideal location would meet the following criteria:

  • Close to town
  • On a hill (so we’ll have breezes)
  • Ocean view
  • Jungle-”esque”
  • Close to a beach
  • Priced right
  • Away from dogs, roosters, parades and fireworks
  • Flexibility and options for house construction

Our list is long, but amazingly enough we think we’ve found something that gets a check in all the boxes. 

We are super excited to be meeting with a friend (and developer) later this week to learn more about his plans for his 100 acre development located just outside of town.

Snapshots: Granada, Nicaragua

(Click on any thumbnail to view larger sized images)

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