Expocasa showcases financial, real estate, insurance and home decor services

August 25, 2016
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The 2016 Expocasa and Decoration opened Wednesday and runs through Sunday, with 150 exhibitors from the financial, real estate and insurance sectors, as well as a large variety of companies that provide home decoration products and services.

The event takes place at the Kolbi Center at Parque Viva in La Guacima, Alajuela; here are two maps with the directions to the event. The hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Attendees will find financing offers from the following local banks: Banco Nacional de Costa Rica (BNCR), Banco de Costa Rica (BCR), Davivienda, Scotiabank, and Banco Lafise, as well as Banco BCT, BAC San José, Banco Popular and Banco General.

Three credit unions will also be offering incentives at the fair: Coope Ande, Coopeservidores and Coopenae. Other participating financial institutions include Mutual Group, Financial G&T Continental, the National Institute of Housing and Urban Development (INVU) and the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS).

Two insurers are participating in the event: the National Insurance Institute (INS) and Best Meridian Insurance (BMI).

Visitors will find displays on housing projects from 84 real estate developers that offer cash back and discounts in partnership with some of the financial institutions.

Financing promotions that are being offered at the event include:

• 100% financing of appraised property values

• Fixed-rate loans from 10- to 40-year terms

• Free or discounted closing costs

There are a variety of loan options, and here are some definitions to better understand the terms.

• Libor: The London Interbank Offered Rate is the average of interest rates that the leading banks in London are charged to borrow from other financial institutions.

• Prime rate (U.S.): The average of the interest rates that leading banks in the U.S. are charged to borrow from other financial institutions.

• Basic passive rate (TBP in Costa Rica): The average of the interest rates for savings deposits in colones for 5- and 7-month terms that is used to establish interest on loans in colones.

• Effective rate in dollars (TED in Costa Rica): The average of the interest rates for savings deposits in dollars for 5- and 7-month terms that is used to establish interest on loans in dollars.

These are some of the mortgages options being offered by the local banks.

BNCR offers financing of up to 90% of the appraised value of the property, with terms up to 40 years. The closing costs for existing customers of the bank can be included in the total amount of loan. The interest rate they offer is the basic passive rate (TBP) +2,25 points, during the first 12 months, TBP +2.75 points for 36 months.

BCR offers terms through December, and the bank will provide loans in colones, at a fixed rate of 9.5% for 5 years and beyond 5 years; the interest will be calculated by the TBP + 4 points. With this loan, the payment would be ¢8,130 colones (per million colones) of funds loaned. Another option with a staggered rate is the TBP + 3 points, and the payment would be ¢7,451 million, (per million colones) of funds loaned. In dollars, BCR offers a fixed rate of 7.5% during the first 3 years, and then beyond 3 years the loan will be calculated by the prime rate + 5 points. Closing costs will be $13 (per million colones) of funds loaned. A second option in dollars is a tiered rate starting at the prime rate + 3 points, with closing costs of $12 (per million colones) of funds loaned.

Davivienda Bank has a range of fixed and variable rates ranging from 8.25% in colones and 6.75% in dollars. In both currencies, the maximum loans will be for 30 years, with funding of up to 85% of the loan value. This bank has personal loans available for remodeling and decorating of up to ¢15 million colones or $30,000 dollars, without security, with terms of up to 60 months. To expedite the loan process, the bank has pre-approved 145 projects of more than 70 real estate developers that the bank has provided construction financing for.

Lafise Bank is offering discounts of up to 50% in legal fees and appraisals with no closing costs. It offers 30-year loans in colones or dollars of up to 90% of the loan value. Options include loans for up to 80% of the appraised value in colones and dollars for 15 years. The minimum financing amount is $25,000 or its equivalent in colones, and the maximum is $100,000 or the equivalent in colones. Loans in dollars are at an interest rate of 6.30% fixed for 24 months, and beyond the Libor 3 months + 8 points, with a maximum of 8.50%. The minimum amount to be financed is $25,000 and maximum of $250,000.

Scotiabank offer loans with rates varying from 7% in dollars during the first year, and 8.5% in colones for up to two years. Down payments will be 10% in colones and 15% in dollars, for a period of 30 years. The closing costs will be discounted by 50% discount, if the loan is the name of a trust that the bank establishes. Additionally, Scotiabank offers home warranties with their loans with free repairs for plumbing, locks, electrical equipment, etc., with one year in home service.

Regardless of which vendors at this year’s Expocasa are of interest to you, this is an event for the entire family, with rest areas for the public with awnings, tables and chairs to relax and enjoy the variety of food and beverages provided by nine food trucks. For those driving their own vehicles, there are 4,500 parking spaces available at a cost of 3,000 colones per day. The entrance fee for the event on Thursday and Friday is 1,000 colones and on Saturday and Sunday it’s 2,000 colones. Children under 12 are free.

The writer, Tom Rosenberger, has traveled throughout Costa Rica for 23 years, inspecting land, homes, condominiums and commercial buildings for people who want to purchase existing property or build new construction. Contact him at tom@CostaRicaHomeBuilder.com.

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