House-sitting in Costa Rica – Belated honeymoon
After selling a business in the US and marrying his sweetheart Kristie, Tim wanted to take some time out for a belated honeymoon. They had both been working so hard for years without a break. At a party a friend mentioned house-sitting as a way to travel, it seemed like a good way to go somewhere far flung and exotic, an adventure on a budget. Honeymoon House-sitting in Costa Rica began to form as an idea!
They found an opportunity to go House-sitting in Costa Rica on the house-sitting platform HouseSitMatch. They applied and were accepted. Within three months they had moved out to a stunning property 35 minutes from the airport at Palmar Sur with a panoramic ocean view over the edge of the infinity pool, which encompasses the Sierpe River delta, historic Cano Island, and the San Buenas Golf Resort. It was sheer bliss and a far cry from working crazy hours running their own businesses in Georgia, US!
They simply couldn’t believe their luck, a three month posting in a beautiful property where they could even bring their dog Pierce and finally enjoy each other’s company without the stresses of daily life.
Why does this homeowner need house-sitters..?
“Using house sitters has been a solution for us for a number of reasons. Since we are absentee owners and the house is for sale, we feel more comfortable having an established presence at the property. Rather than advertising for short-term renters, we have chosen house sitting couples who have wanted/been willing to spend several months at the property when it’s not being rented on a long-term basis. The house sitters are generally willing to pitch in and take care of minor repairs, they make sure the house is clean and tidy for prospective purchasers, and they keep us informed of any issues that arise or need attention.”
Janice Milstead, Homeowner
The homeowners are American and prefer to spend the rainy season in Costa Rica traveling elsewhere. Which means this spectacular property would be empty for about four months a year if they didn’t use housesitters. Even though the owners are very friendly with local neighbours down the valley, who also help to maintain the house and gardens, a house is always better maintained if it is populated with people who care about the maintenance.
The pool needs regular care, and daily cleaning. There are certain chemicals which must be applied to ensure a pristine appearance at all times. This is particularly important in a tropical climate. Pool care is a serious business.
The garden is a beautiful and exotic mix of cultivated plants and naturally occurring trees and shrubs. When the owners first identified this plot as the location for their holiday home they planned to incorporate the mature trees and bushes in their landscaping. The results are stunning, and do need to be managed in order to retain a sense of order in the visually stunning scenery.
As the resident house-sitters, while house-sitting in Costa Rica, Kristie and Tim have taken on the responsibility of looking after the best interests of the owners as regards the house, property and the pool. They work with the cleaners and the gardeners to make sure the house and pool are maintained to a high standard at all times.
Cleaning a large property in a tropical climate has challenges that they didn’t expect such as the effects of humidity in the corners of rooms and closets, the impact on light bulbs which need to be changed regularly, and the fallen insects which need to be cleaned out. They are certainly living in a beautiful paradise but the property must be maintained so this takes daily management. The drive way in particular needs careful attention weeding and cleaning, as it forms part of the first impression of the property as visitors approach.
The property is for sale and as housesitters they must be ready to offer a guided tour when prospective buyers call, to show them around explaining specific features of the house and gardens. Although property managers or commission based property sales agents are available within an hour’s drive, having house-sitters resident to maintain the property and show buyers around is the best solution for this situation.
Living in Costa Rica
Tim and Kristie explained that the costs of living in Costa Rica have been mixed unexpectedly high in some ways, and remarkable cheap in others. As imports cars are expensive in Costa Rica so they had planned to bring a car with them. The import duty was extremely high. The import taxes were about the same cost as the car’s value. However, they knew they would need a 4×4 to negotiate the off road access points to this property which is an hour from the nearest town. Petrol is expensive locally so they manage their travel as best they can. In addition the insurance to run a car is very expensive, approximately $40 per day at time of writing this piece.
Their living costs in summary:
- Car insurance = £1000 per month for the 4×4
- Electricity for the house = £150 per month
- Internet at home = $24
- Food and other sundries = $350 per month
House-sitting in Costa Rica – A way of living
In their first few weeks House-sitting in Costa Rica they tried to live like locals eating the local diet of fish, meat and eggs, beans, rice and salads on a daily basis. And from the garden they cultivated and harvested avocados, lemons, limes and all manner of fruit and vegetables. Their food expenses were minimal. After some weeks, however, they found they missed chicken and pasta and the varieties of foods they were accustomed to at home in the US. The foods that make up the more American Caucasian diet are more expensive locally and so their food bill began to rise. Wine they noticed is very expensive with a limited selection in their local shops.
They have thoroughly enjoyed their time in Costa Rica, the stunning natural surroundings to the property with wildlife and fantastic tropical botanicals. They are learning Spanish and the details of managing a large property to a high standard. They plan to return to the US to build a new business. Perhaps next year they will try house-sitting somewhere new.
Like the sound of this adventure..? This housesit is available again through HouseSitMatch for 4 months Aug-Nov 2016 –