My wife, two daughters and I, had a family vote while visiting the US over the holidays. The vote was a simple question, "Do you want to move back to the US or stay in Nicaragua?" Zoe started by saying, "Nicaragua." Sierra chimed in saying, "Nicaragua, too." Then Elise finished by saying, "She feels more alive in Nicaragua" and cast her vote in the same manner. As for me, I always cast my vote on the side that avoids a tie. There you have it, my family chose Nicaragua while being in the US over the holidays. This felt doubly good because each of the gals had their own say on where they live and made my wife and I happy for not forcing a situation upon the kids.
To that end, we have decided to open a corporation here in Nicaragua and bought a vehicle. In order to obtain residency, here is Nicaragua, one has to either go the investor route or the pensioner route. Residency will enable us to stay here for 5 years without having to renew the 90 day travel visas. Okay that is the meta-story and as the old adage goes, "The devil lies in the details." Obtaining residence might just be the easiest part. Finding truthful, reliable figures on real estate value are a completely different matter. There isn't a central data base showing recent sales figures and if there were, the numbers are fake anyway. In many ways, paying real estate transfer taxes here is a voluntary affair. For example, if you buy a property for $200,000 it is often the custom to report a much lower sales figure like $30,000 for tax purposes. Though on one hand this is wonderful to avoid taxes, on the other hand the non-transparent system scares many from investing. To make it clear, we have met many successful business owners, here, whom enjoy the economic freedom while at the same time agree the system is broken.
The act of buying and registering a vehicle here is a monumental achievement. This probably explains why so many non-residents buy vehicles and don't register the car and drive around indefinitely with a bill of sale. Since we know many people here, we have decided to do it the right way and waste countless hours in the process. In fact, we have been so busy with setting up our corporation and buying a vehicle that we have not written anything in this blog for nearly a month. We are now at the tail end of the process so we should now have more free time. Regarding real estate purchases, we are going to take it very slowly and be very methodical. In fact, recently we have re-entertained the idea of owning rental units in the US and forgoing business ownership down here altogether. However, we truly do speak with very successful expats and they say be patient and ready for an opportunity when it arises. Thus, we are doing what is necessary in case the situation presents itself.