Wide Range of Topics Covered

by Ronnie
(Belgium)

I came across your website today and also downloaded your recent eBook. I appreciate the info provided and the range of topics covered.

I wonder if you could spare a few minutes for me, as I plan on coming in July 2016 with my family for exploratory trip of 3 to 6 weeks. (Not sure yet for how long exactly.)

Your replies to my few questions will be most welcome.

1) Is it dangerous in general to drive around during the day in rented car, are such cars targeted by robbers?

2) Is it dangerous, in your opinion, to drive in a rented car from Managua Airport to Leon ( I will not drive at night)?

3) I think of buying a plot of land. Have you heard of squatters settling on land if owner is not around for 5 years?

4) Currently I am thinking of the area between Leon and the Pacific coast. Do you think yearly commune land taxes will be high?

5) Are the upkeep costs for agricultural/buildable land high if land left unoccupied to for 5 years?

Any ideas you are willing to share with me will be much appreciated.

Best wishes,
Ronnie

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Thank you Ronnie!
by: Maggie

Hello Ronnie,

Thank you for reaching out to me and your kind words about my eBook. I am glad you liked the information provided in it.

Now, as for your questions...

1) Is it dangerous in general to drive around during the day in rented car, are such cars targeted by robbers?

According to a 2014 report on the U.S. embassy's website, they registered a "significant increase in reports of U.S. citizens in rental cars having their belongings stolen from their vehicles while pulled over to change a flat tire."

Their advice is "to travel in groups when possible, keep belongings out of sight and locked away while driving, and be extremely cautious of any offers to provide assistance."

Source:
http://nicaragua.usembassy.gov/caution4.html

Personally, I haven't heard of any problems with driving a rented car.

I believe you should be safe if you follow the U.S. Embassy's safety advice. However, if you are truly concerned, a better option for you may be to hire a car with a local driver.


2) Is it dangerous, in your opinion, to drive in a rented car from Managua Airport to Leon,( I will not drive at night)?

Please see my answer above. Where are you staying in León? Some hotels offer airport service at a very reasonable price. I could also organize a trusted taxi driver for you, whom I've known for 5+ years. He's very reliable, friendly and a good driver.


3) I think of buying a plot of land. Have you heard of squatters settling on land if owner is not around for 5 years?

No, I haven't heard of any cases of squatting. I've read that squatter's rights aren't recognized in Nicaragua (contrary to Costa Rica, for example). Still, I would not advise to leave a plot of land completely alone for 5 years.

Best would be to have a trustworthy neighbor keep an eye on it, or some other local person who doesn't live too far away, and compensate them with a small payment for their services.

As soon as you have anything built or stored on your land, you need to have a permanent watchman there. Otherwise your material will be gone when you visit the next time. ;-)

For example, opposite our own condominium there has been a construction site for a one family home ever since we moved there. There's a wall around the plot of land, and part of the house has been built. In one corner of the walled in area, they built a small hut where a family of three permanently lives to watch over the construction site.


4) Currently I am thinking of the area between Leon and the Pacific coast. Do you think yearly commune land taxes will be high?

Property taxes in Nicaragua are low. You pay 1% of 80% of the assessed value of the property. The assessed value of the property is set each year, and is often lower than its market value. It will be amended following any improvements made.

Taxes are paid in arrears each year by June 30. If you pay before March 31, you get a 10% discount.


5) Are the upkeep costs for agricultural / buildable land high if land left unoccupied to for 5 years?

That depends on what you want to do with the land. If you aren't planning to use it in any form until you are ready to start building, the maintenance cost should be low.

Just be aware that scrubs and trees grow fast in the tropical climate. If you want to keep the land free from undergrowth and scrubs, you'd have to clear the land at least once per year.

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