So here we go. We received an application for a loan for $150,000.00. The property is in Quepos, in a nice area and the pictures were quite good. The appraised value was $420,000.00. As a result, everything looks great on the surface.
We were not able to get exact location. The applicant was technically challenged and did not know how to send us coordinates (it happens). We told him about our site visit cost and evaluation fee. So, an agreement of $250.00 for the day trip (pretty much just covers gas and lunch) was reached and the money was to be on hand upon our arrival. (This is why we ask for the funds to be deposited in advance.)
Again, everything was moving along smoothly. Then it starts, the directions given were couple of kilometers down a dirt road! This was starting to look quite a bit less interesting. But, we decided to go because of all of the above reasons.
With directions in hand via text message, we planned to leave at 8:30am and be there by 11:30am. We knew about the main bridge being out between Alajuela and San Jose, but figured that since we were going in the opposite direction that everything should work out. WRONG! Two hours to get from Escazú to La Guacima toll. The highway is like a parking lot! Pura Vida.
Now we are going towards Quepos and the directions state to go to the Maxi Palí in Quepos. We are thinking about the one close to the downtown core. Wrong again. It is the big one on the “Costanera” highway.
We stop and call for clarification. “Oh, only a few kilometers further and hang a left on the dirt road by the gas station.” Hmm. Left takes us further away from Quepos and towards the mountains. Quepos is the other way. Even though it was already about 100+ degrees outside, temperatures started rising dramatically in the car.
Ten kilometers later down a bumpy dusty road, we find this little town with a name we had never even heard of. You know the kind, where the mayor is the store owner, the “diputado” (congressman) owns the soda, etc. Well, we are here now.
The House – Or What’s Left of It!
We pull up to this walled house with a large black gate. It opens and let me tell you, he is quite the photographer because the house did not look anywhere near as nice as the pictures he sent. The grounds were a mess, the Jacuzzi was near empty with that beautiful fluorescent green water on the bottom.
Our American friend was sitting at the rancho which looks over the pool. We went over to him, rather upset I might add, and began to gather the details. But first things first. Site visit fee. “I am sorry, I only have $100.00 on me.” My associate was pretty much going Super Nova at this point.
The house tour starts and it was amazing, and not in a good way. All the TVs were gone, the oven was gone, half the beds missing, all the toilets were used and not flushed. Not sure if the water was on or shut off. So, one of two things; this gentleman was going through an incredibly difficult financial hardship at this time or he was trying to get us to “buy the house” with the loan.
Finally, the applicant provided his appraisal. (If you have an appraisal, it would be great to receive it in advance of the site visit.) In the appraisal, he had, the value of the land was stated to be $100.00 per square meter!!!! Had we seen that, we never would have even bothered to pursue the loan! We said that there were two too many zeroes. Enough was enough. We left for Quepos, which was 30 minutes away, for a cold drink at the new marina.
The Point of the Site Visit
The entire point of the site visit is to determine the value of the property and validate that all the information on the application is accurate and true. Therefore, making the property as pristine as possible is a must. If you are asking for $150,000.00 of someone else’s hard-earned money, you can at least put the time and effort into making the property look its best, and if you are in a dire financial position, tell us first. We may be able to help you out in other areas as we have connections in many different areas. In conclusion, honesty works best!
Written by Steven Stewart