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Why you need a Water Letter

Below is a story from a friend of Gap Equity Loans that would like to warn everyone about her experience with buying a lot in Guanacaste without a water letter. Be sure to read our blog story on what a water letter is here.


“You should have done your research”
Another year, another $1000 toward taxes, lot clearing, share filing, and tons of responsibilities with nothing to show but a headache…
This is the view from our marina view property in Flamingo!



It is stunning and should have been a dream come true, but it has been a total nightmare.
When we purchased this property in 2008, everyone from realtors to attorneys agreed it was the best place to invest.
The roads were not paved but smooth as glass since they were cut from bedrock. With an 80,000-gallon holding tank at the top of the mountain and 3 functioning wells at the bottom, there was no reason to ever think there would be a water issue.
Homes were going up quickly until a simultaneous market downturn and severe drought prompted officials to initiate a change in policy. Suddenly a “water letter” would be needed for permits because the area was “running out of water”.
Although no amount of “research” would have saved us from this predicament, I have heard that line 1000 times.
Since then, we have visited every public office and abogado we could find. The conversation always starts the same way… “Everyone in CR is entitled to water by law”. Followed by “It is pretty much impossible to enforce these laws in CR”.
Although there was not enough water for our potential home, there has been enough water for countless new developments and a $50M marina. A $20M pipeline has recently been built, but still, we can find no help from any authorities. And during the building of the marina, large trucks filled with backfill were taking it from this development toward the marina!



Some have said the developers were breaking laws, stealing water from the aquifers to sell to 3 homes, and will soon find themselves in jail if they do not take steps to make the system legal. However, to this day, I do not know of them suffering any consequences at all.
But we still have hope! A double edge sword, a rush of new development has the area using more water than ever. This rush has also caused listing prices on homes to double or even quadruple in the area, making it more attractive for the developer to fix the issue, or sell what remains of the development.
While I feel this situation is unsustainable in the long run, it may be exactly what is needed to get the wheels turning.
Interest rates, inflation, and world dynamics have created a volatile real estate market in developed countries, and in developing countries, the volatility is off the charts.
My advice to potential investors would be not to invest more than you can afford to lose.
Doing your research is still the best way to protect yourself, but it is important to remember you cannot protect against everything.
Reading the 2023 Costa Rica Escape Manual is a great way to get started. Here is a link…

Facebook Post from Nadine Hays Pisani



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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the purpose of a water letter?

    A water letter is a document that provides information about the water and sewage system for a specific property. The purpose of a water letter is to give homeowners and potential buyers valuable information about the location of the water main, the size of the water meter, and the location of the sewer line.

    How do I obtain a water letter?

    You can obtain a water letter by submitting a request to your local municipality. Most municipalities have an online form that you can fill out and submit to request the document. In some cases, you may need to provide proof of ownership or pay a fee for the service.

    Do I need a water letter if I’m buying a property?

    Yes, if you’re buying a property, you should request a water letter from the seller. This will provide you with valuable information about the water and sewage system for the property and help you make a sound investment.

    Can a water letter prevent potential damages?

    Yes, a water letter can help prevent potential damages to your property. By knowing the location of your water and sewer lines, you can avoid accidentally damaging them while performing any digging or renovations.

    Is a water letter required by law?

    In some cases, a water letter is not required by law. However, most municipalities may require a water letter as part of the property transfer process. It’s best to check with your local municipality to determine if a water letter is required.

    How long does it take to obtain a water letter?

    The time it takes to obtain a water letter can vary depending on the municipality. In some cases, it may only take a few days and longer to receive the document. However, it’s best to allow a few weeks for processing to ensure you receive the document in time.

    Do I need a water letter if I’m not planning on selling my property?

    While a water letter is not required if you’re not planning on selling your property, it’s still a good idea to obtain one. This will provide you with valuable information about the water and sewage system for your property and help you prevent potential damages.

    Can a water letter impact the value of my property?

    Yes, a water letter can impact the value of your property. By providing potential buyers with valuable information about the water and sewage system, you can make your property a more attractive investment. Additionally, if you’ve made any upgrades or improvements to your water and sewage system, this can increase the value of your property.



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