Not That Far

off the mark (CR compared to Nicaragua)

http://thecostaricanews.com/costa-rica-tourist-arrivals-increase-7-4/130...

Some NicaLiving members are content with just living out a quiet retirement in Nicaragua. Others have plans for investment, or existing investments, that would benefit from an increase in tourism and retirement to Nicaragua.

Nicaragua clearly has more to offer than CR, both from a tourism perspective, and as a retirement destination. People are curious about new and different things. They will put up with some warts if the overall experience is positive.

We still have that large bubble of retirees that will be looking for options other than retirement in the US. The number is huge; and if one runs the numbers of what the ex-pat retirement community probably spends in CR each year this revenue stream has the potential to become Nicaragua's third largest source of income. I believe remittances and tourism are currently #1 and #2 in terms of Nicaragua's overall picture.

What has to change for Nicaragua to become a 1:) desirable retirement destination; and 2:) a destination that attracts a better spending tourist than the missionaries and backpackers that currently make up a good percentage of Nicaragua tourism? These have suddenly become timely questions if the US economy begins to turn for the better after November.

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Missionaries and money

Short-term missionaries spend a tidy sum when coming to Nicaragua. They eat out, buy from local merchants, stay in hotels, use taxis and purchase supplies for their ministries. They also become tourists for at least a day or two. Go to the Best Western across from the airport some night and you'll find lots of people on mission trips buying dinner and adult beverages. (Hey we're not all teetotalers!)

Location!!

People need to know where Nicaragua is!! I have had soo many people ask me "Where in Africa is it?" Better promoting it would be a good start.

Where In Africa . .

That's good ..! ... Knowing where the place is WOULD be a good start.

North of Costa Rica is probably the best answer. I wouldn't say south of Honduras, just the name of that country is starting to get toxic. . . .we could have it worse.

That big crowd of Nicas working in CR has to come back and talk about all the tourism money transforming CR (we could argue for better or worse, but that's another thread).

"What has to change..." you ask...

First, tell your Ambassador to stop making these statements...

http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/nacionales/261420-eu-preocupado-invasion...

This sort of talk cost Nicaragua millions in future growth.

And I would be interested in your thoughts on why you think this:

"Nicaragua clearly has more to offer than CR, both from a tourism perspective, and as a retirement destination".

These guys agree with you by the way!!!

http://news.co.cr/moving-to-nicaragua-can-be-rewarding-and-a-low-cost-al...

...

Well, the truth is, the Ambassador's statements are factual. So your suggestion that she keep quiet is an appeal for her to stop telling the truth.

It is not accurate for you to say that "This sort of talk cost Nicaragua millions in future growth." What is costing Nicaragua millions in investment is the failure of the Nicaraguan government to assure security of title to private property, and the eagerness of wealthy Orteguista bigshots to walk in and confiscate private property to add to their family wealth without any constraints.

Not wrong, just different

As John states, there are close to zero real title issues here. There are just lots of cases where someone has not jumped through all the hoops. The public registry records are the truth and anyone who does not follow the procedures to record their transfer is likely to lose.

As the name implies, the records are public. If you have a concern, go look at time before you start handing out money. There is also title insurance available if you wish that.

The reason this is not an issue in most of the US is that there is a third party involved in a purchase and sale. In many jurisdictions they are specifically licensed to act in this role. They collect the money, do all the paperwork and when the dust has settled, distribute funds, deeds and such. While there is no such thing as an Escrow Agent mandated by Nicaraguan law, that doesn't mean the seller and buyer cannot agree to the equivalent.

A simple legal document describing what you want done and a responsible lawyer (yes, they exist) can do what you want. What you don't get is the ability to cry to the state if you screw up. This is but one more way that Nicaragua is not as socialistic as, for example, the state of Washington.

30% of rural land does not have any legal documents,

Proper land ownership and registration is causing a problem in the rural areas of the country. A lack of proof of ownership is holding back agricultural development because farmers are having trouble qualifying for credit and funding because they don't have a clear title for the security on the loan. The Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUNIDES) says that an estimated 30% of rural land does not have any legal documents, even more so if the farmer is a small or medium producer. 50% of the properties in Nicaragua cannot be exchanged, sold, rented or held as security because another persons rights will be affected. FUNIDES predicts that if more farm land was registered, there could be a two or three fold increase in productivity which would translate to a better economy through more exports and lower prices for consumers.

land titling program?

I thought there was a land titling program to resolve this - yes, a massive undertaking. I heard of it because the PRONAT program in Panama was modeled after it. Just thinking that would have been started probably around 2005.

They were supposed to but waited...

I can't think why.

Anyway, after 06/07 seemed to be a much better time and they got more funding. Last year they started going around with bibs and jerkins measuring and the like.

...

"As John states, there are close to zero real title issues here ... The public registry records are the truth."

In a civil justice system in which the majority of Land Registrars, state attorneys and judges are up for sale for the equivalent of a chicken salad sandwich and a bottle of beer, the public registry records are worthless. If you buy a property or purchase a set of real assets for a business and a member of Ortega's inner circle wants it, you will lose it, no matter what information is contained in the registry.

Biggest Difference, I

think is that most property purchases in the US involve someone else's money. A bank, most often, so the due diligence happens behind the scenes without the buyer or seller becoming that aware of it. And title insurance is almost always issued, any financing entity would insist on it, regardless of how solid the title looks. It's just the way things are done.

Contract law in the US is established, and although money trumps any legal dispute -civil or criminal-- to an extent, judicial corruption in the US is very rare. Just the opposite of the preceding seems to be the case in Nicaragua, except for the money part.. Ergo, you want to do EVERYTHING you can do to avoid seeing the inside of a Nicaraguan courtroom, either civilly or criminally. Different rules apply here.

You can get a good Nica lawyer to do all of the work of an escrow company for the same amount that you would pay the the escrow company back in the US. Certainly for far less than your share of closing costs. My last purchase drug out over a period of months, and she actually went through the title books in Somoto three times. Once, a couple of days before I handed the money over to the seller. He was known to be in financial difficulty, and we wanted to make sure that there was not some last minute "gravamen" (lien) filed.

Someone honest who will do the work in a timely fashion . . .this person might have to be sought out. And as Phil has said many times, "take your time".

My problem with title insurance in Nicaragua is, based on the iffiness of the Nicaraguan legal system (and I'm using iffiness instead of some more descriptive words) -, and the lack of any ability to depend on a contract, Is this title insurance a good investment, or are you just handing your money over to some bogus outfit who's figured the latest way to steal from you?

Have there actually been any instances of Nicaraguan title insurance helping someone with a title discrepancy? In the US title companies (almost) never have to pay out. They are meticulous in researching the title, usually have their own computerized data base, and won't write a policy if there is any question as to the legitimacy of the title.

Title Insurance

I mentioned title insurance and, yes, there is at least First America that is reputable. While I have no first hand knowledge, them helping out was discussed here -- possibly with the Pelican Eyes scam.

That said, if you happen to have a title insurance policy nearby--and that can be a US one--take it out and read the fine print. What you will find is that it insures against them not reading the records correctly and really nothing more. It does not protect you from an error or omission in the public records.

As for "going to court" here, I am not negative on that. Someone came along and said that part of this property was "stolen" from his mother. Our 80+ year old neighbor came with us to the hearing and basically said "He has no shame." and went on to explain what had happened 30 years ago. The magistrate threw out the claim.

Pelican Eyes clients thought they had First American

Title Insurance because the web site used to say they did...

Sadly, they didn't. In fact, most had no titles and they couldn't be registered because there was no Horizontal Regime in place and no Letter of No Objection.

Coming to think of it, why would First American allow that misinformation to adorn the PE web site for so long?...maybe it was good advertising.

IMO most people can do what First American do to ensure that the title is good. You pay for it over and above your premium in any case. So pay three different lawyers to do three different searches and save the premiums.

It was more whimsical than anyhting else...

Especially in light of yet another website urging people to come on down to this crime free Nirvana of democratic elections and live for $600 a month.

uh huh...

"...and live for $600 a month."

Well at least they aren't snotty little rich white girls who want to make money.

Beautiful Beach! Equal

or better than anything I've seen in CR.

HAVE there been the confiscations she describes? No question, that is one of the scariest scenarios facing an investing retiree. She is claiming five new confiscations in 2011-2012 and implies "nosotros" that they were of US citizens. What do we know?

And not just retiring investors: anyone planning on investing in a major way (like a canal) is going to do some serious due diligence, and ALL of this negativity immediately pops up with a Google search for "Nicaragua", along with Puracal, etc, etc ad nauseam. .

Isn't the real solution the resolution of the problem, rather than sugar coating the truth?

The land title issue is slowly, slowly becoming a non-issue. It was always more an issue of education into the quirks of Nicaraguan titling, and lack of realization that many Nicaraguans avoid recording their titles so they can avoid the transfer taxes. I'm looking at a 4Mz piece I'd like to buy, but the buyer never registered her escritura (from years ago), so the land is still "nominally owned" in the books by the original seller. If I were to buy it from the "owner" he would just disappear with my money, and the "real" owner would suddenly appear. They may have even worked this out among themselves. What would my chances be of prevailing in a Nicaraguan court ?

A little digging and it turns out that she really didn't want the land, the escritura was really just security for a loan (that the borrower never paid back). Probably lots of THAT out there. Like the previous owner's maid's back wages (well, somebody should pay her and you have more money than she does).

This is a situation that a newbie to Nicaragua could easily fall into. One lousy experience becomes the accepted norm that is repeated over and over again, and overshadows the many who have successfully acquired a good title to their land. This is problem that Nicaragua has to address. Wouldn't the revenue from these taxes at least equal what they can get in custom's duties on donated items? Wouldn't the country's best interest be served with an accurate land registry? Easy enough to do: If you don't register your escritura within 90 days of signature, it's null and void.

The immediate solution? Hammer home the necessity of checking, checking, checking out title history. Talk to the neighbors, most have an axe to grind (that's how I found out about the 4 Mz).

I agree with you that much of what is on the US State Department page on Nicaragua is less than truthful. Much of it is probably outdated. If the ambassador's claims about the recent property confiscations are inaccurate, someone should call her on it.

I hope the municipal elections come off without irregularity. DO is an accepted fact, like him or not, we've got him for another 4+ years. The trade-off is 4 years of relative peace and stability. Honest municipal elections would offer an incentive to the US to back down on their criticism of the current government.