After living in San Juan del Sur for a year and a half and spending about 3 months looking at land, we’ve finally found our piece of Nicaragua.
We are unlike the clients I experienced during my brief stent as a Real Estate Agent in Nicaragua. We were interested in a much larger lot than most, what is called a “manzana” which equals 1.74 acres. We are also forgoing the pricier option with ocean views, and instead want to create our own oasis with lush green valley views off the road to the Southern beaches, called Las Delicias.
We transferred our 401ks and IRAs into what is called a Self Directed IRA or Solo 401k . Our budget is not huge, so we had to spend extra time looking for property and utilizing all our Nicaraguan connections in order to find the best price we could in the area we wanted to buy. The less we spent on the land, the more money we will have to build our vacation rental.
We met with the seller thinking he was just going to meet to talk about what piece and shape of his large 320 manzana plot we wanted and to finalize pricing. Instead we walked through the boundaries of our potential parcel with a team of 2 men leading the way, cutting through the tall grass & bush with machetes. We worked as a team with a surveyors tape measure, marking off where our boundary posts will go and hammering temporary markers made out of freshly cut trees. Once back at our car, the seller asked if we could pay half of the total sales price that day. Taken by surprise, we told him we were unable to pull that amount of money out of an ATM in one day.
We headed back to our office to discuss further the next step towards ownership of the land. The seller was very persistent about moving forward without an attorney, plot map, etc. Luckily, in the midst of all of this, we spoke to our friend Gaspar at Century21 and he coached us that it was in our best interest to sign a “promesa de venta” (a contract where the seller agrees to sell and the buyer agrees to buy) with an attorney later that week.
The next morning, possibly with our heads a little more refreshed and feeling less rushed, we realized that we had measured our plot incorrectly. A manzana is 6988.96 square meters, and we had measured 35 x 140 meters which equals only 4,900 square meters! What is amazing is how huge it had already seemed and we were still getting 2,088 more square meters! With this new piece of knowledge we called the seller and discussed meeting his workers again and marking the property correctly, then meeting him at an attorney to sign a promesa de venta. He agreed and we were quickly able to get that done. We paid $200 for the attorney to write up the promesa de venta and 10% of the sales price as a deposit to the seller, receiving a receipt for each. This gave us 30 days for the seller to obtain some needed paper work, find out if any taxes were over due, and have a surveyor come out to do a plot map.