June proved to be another busy month for us, but thankfully, we were able to cross a few big tasks off of our to-do lists before officially moving to Costa Rica. We wanted to update you on what has been happening lately and the monthly update for this adventure.
Since we began the Moving to Costa Rica Series, we’ve received so much love and support, and we want to thank you guys again.
In our May update, we mentioned that Chris would be resigning from his job as a Custom Home Builder. Well, he has said his goodbyes, and as of June 1st, he no longer has to leave the house to go to work.
Chris’s focus has shifted to planning and coordinating the process of our international move.
At the start of the month, the first thing we needed to do was sell our house. Over the years, we’ve done an excellent job of maintaining and updating our San Antonio, TX home.
So, thankfully, there wasn’t really a lot of stuff left to do before listing. All the house needed was fresh landscaping to recover from the unforgettable “polar vortex” that rolled through Texas in February and a coat of interior paint to make it feel new again.
We did the landscaping ourselves and brought painters in to do the walls, ceilings, kitchen cabinets, and trim. Then, we had an electrician install new plugs, switches, and plate covers throughout the house.
We like installing new plugs and switches on all our remodels/investment properties. A fresh coat of paint and new electrical fixtures go a long way to make an older house feel reinvigorated, and potential buyers appreciate that.
You might be wondering, did all this work pay off? Well, a friend, of a friend, of a friend, found out that we were selling our house. So she reached out to see if we would show it to her before listing it on the MLS.
And you guessed it, she really liked our house. Her offer was above what we were asking and good enough that we didn’t feel the need to show the house to anyone else.
The best part about this off-market deal was that we saved almost 2 weeks of time. That’s right, we didn’t have the hassle of listing our house or the nuisance showings while we still lived there. Not to mention the bother of combing through multiple offers and letters of why we should accept someone’s offer. This was huge!
Another thing we did in June was a quick trip to San Jose, Costa Rica, to meet with our Costa Rica immigration attorney, Andres Gomez. San Jose is the largest city in Costa Rica and the nation’s capital.
While there, we went with Andres to the Ministry of Public Security (pretty much the equivalent of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) to get photographed, fingerprinted, and sign paperwork for residency application. It was nice having Andres with us for this process since neither of us speaks Spanish well.
Even though we’ve visited Costa Rica before, we still learned some invaluable information on this trip, like how addresses work. For example, buildings in Costa Rica do not have numerical addresses like in the States.
They rely on descriptions. For example, to get to our hotel, we needed to tell our Uber driver that we were going to the Urban Green Hotel on Avenida (Avenue) 1 between Calle (Street) 1 and Calle 3.
The Uber app in Costa Rica looks exactly the same as it does here in the United States. So, entering a destination by description only was a bit challenging.
Another thing we learned is that Uber operates in Costa Rica, but it is not legal. When taking an Uber, the driver usually prefers someone to sit in the front seat, so it looks more like you’re friends than a business transaction.
Our short trip to Costa Rica also taught us that the travel post-COVID has changed quite a bit. We are glad to be able to have had a dry run to navigate some of those challenges.
For example, we need a negative COVID test to return to the United States. We also need travel insurance and to fill out a health pass to get into Costa Rica.
There are also a lot of flight delays. We flew American Airlines. We know that they’re still very understaffed. Not to mention that flights to Costa Rica are still picking up, and there isn’t much to choose from.
Something that we’ve been going back and forth on for a few months is how we are getting all of our stuff to Costa Rica. After making the trip down to San Jose, we decided that it would be much easier to work with Pablo Arias, the owner of an experienced Costa Rican international shipping company. However, before this decision, we plan on checking 20 storage totes with the airline that we fly down with.
We’re scheduled to have a 20-foot shipping container delivered to our house in mid-July. We’ll load it up with our household items, and then they’ll pick it up later that same day.
The sea freight shipping and customs process while moving to Costa Rica can take up to two or three months. Therefore, we must pack accordingly. Anything that we cannot live without for three months will go on our checked luggage.
Everything else will have to go into that shipping container. The items that are going in that container will need to withstand higher humidity levels. Vacuum-sealed bags for clothes, shrink wrap, and silica beads for packing everything else.
Even though with the container, we can take more stuff with us, we still want to travel light. So we are continuing to purge in the house.
Selling, removing, and giving away things we don’t need to take with us. We also decided to store a few sentimental items here in the States. Things like my wedding dress, framed photos, and Chris’s military stuff will be kept in a conditioned space until we get a more permanent address.
We also decided to change our plan when we’re moving down our cats, Katniss and Suki. So we are doing our best to prepare. But we are expecting that on moving day, we’ll have some surprises and challenges.
With this in mind, we will make a separate trip just for the cats. This allows us time to get all the heavy lifting done without having to worry about our fur babies at the same time. In the meantime, Suki and Katniss will be staying with Aunt Jan and their cat cousins Loki and Hela in Austin.
Keeping all this in mind, our move date has changed again. Our house is scheduled to close on July 28th, pushing our move date to early August. We haven’t bought our tickets yet, but once the appraisal comes through on the house and we sign the final contract, we’ll be able to set a hard final moving date.
Between closing on the house and moving to Costa Rica, we’ll be staying with our family in Austin for a few days.
That’s our update for June.