Sold the Farm

The situation continued for another year or so, when the crocodiles disappeared. Hmmm. By now he had gone through a couple of worker/caretakers. There had always been a problem with the power to the house, so he went and had all new cable installed from the nearest pole (100 yards maybe) to the house. It was only a few days later that the worker called to say that the cable had been stolen!

What next? By this time, Larry had had enough. I’ll sell the place, he decided. As nice as it was, it was a drain on his bank account and a constant headache.

After months of trying to find a qualified buyer, he finally got a couple who fell in love with the property and wanted to buy it.

The deal went forward relatively smoothly until it got time to check the Registro and get the ‘plano,’ which is the official plot plan in the registry. Well, surprise, surprise, he wasn’t the owner of 17 acres, he was the owner of 15 acres. Where did the other two go? Well, it seems that the former owners had only recently recorded a sale of two of the acres to somebody else.

Their story was that they sold the 2 acres before they sold the farm to my friend, but that it had just never gotten around to being registered.

To say my friend was upset would be to put it mildly. He had long suspected the former owners of being in cahoots with the worker to steal his fish and feed, but this was too much. He was afraid this revelation would kill his deal with the people who wanted to buy.

Yeah, he could take it to court and probably win, but he wanted to sell the place NOW, not years from now. He lucked out. The buyers weren’t all that upset, they still liked the place and the 2 missing acres wasn’t a deal breaker. Big sigh of relief. The deal closed and the profit he made probably covered the cost of the feed, stolen cable and weed-whackers.

The Registro Nacional, or ‘national registry,’ is supposed to be the ultimate authority on who owns what land in Costa Rica. Charges of fraud and incompetence are common. We’ll finish this up with some hearsay. The story comes from a relatively large landowner in Alajuela Province. He had a friend who got him in touch with someone from the University of Costa Rica in San Pedro. Along with a group of students, this person had done a study of the Registro Nacional, the place where all land transactions are recorded and in theory the ultimate authority on who owns what in Costa Rica. The upshot of the study was that the amount of land in the registry, the area, was 140% of the actual physical area surveyed. Simply put, there was more land in the registry than existed in reality. This study may or may not exist, and may or may not be accurate if it does exist. Still, it isn’t hard to find anecdotal evidence that it COULD be true.

File Larry’s story under ‘anecdotal evidence.’

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  1. I arrived here just exploring. Congratulations on Your good site and best wishes from an Estonian living in Italy

  2. No. Cal. Refugee says:

    Teve! (or is it Terve?) Thanks 🙂

  3. Back in the 70s, CR brought in contractors to do a complete survey of CR in order to get a handle on how much property there was and to set up a property tax system (computerized no less!). I have a good friend who worked on that project that took a year or more. They used a lot of aerial photos, drew lines, then did their best to reconcile lines with what the owners thought they had. Some gained land, some lost. Whether or not all this got synch'd up properly with the Registro, who knows? Anytime you are looking at making an offer to buy property get a survey done first. In fact, I'd get a couple surveys done (they are not expensive) and be there to walk the lines with the surveyor. I've seen surveys where I know for a fact the surveyor did nothing more than take a look from a distance and re-draw a couple lines to make it look like he did something.

    BTW, I guess NCR that you live close to or in the Central Valley as you report a lot about razor wire and thievery. Not so much down here in La Zona Sur, though I'm certain as the country develops we'll get more of that.