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195 Investing in Dominicalito: Developing beach town and community

195 Investing in Dominicalito: Developing beach town and community
195 Investing in Dominicalito: Developing beach town and community

Podcast Transcription


[Pepe Lopez]
Good morning, Pepe. How are you doing? Excellent.

My beautiful friend, Richard Bexson from Costa Rica investments. Thank you for the invitation to this beautiful podcast. Uh, I'm super excited.

Uh, I love your work on the real estate industry. Uh, what's my pleasure to meet you, uh, on this deal in Dominica little Bay. And thank you so much.

[Richard Bexon]
Not at all. Not at all. I think you're probably going to be our spiciest guests that we've probably had on this podcast yet, hence why I wanted to get you on here.

Um, but let's start off with my first question for you, which, you know, markets have somewhat had a good start to 2024, you know, real estate is somewhat slowing down in the world. I mean, what are you seeing happening here in like your area of Costa Rica?

[Pepe Lopez]
Well, Richard, that's actually a really good question. Uh, it's good for the followers to hear this. Uh, and there's a saying here that they say, like, when the USA, uh, has a call Costa Rica's niece, you know, it means that when the economy is affected there, we are affected too, especially in the real estate market, uh, because we are like 80%, uh, on the USA and Canada.

But there is something too, that we need to be aware, uh, in different or residential and commercial. That is that there's a quality of life here, you know? So, so the real estate market, uh, Costa Rica can provide a better quality of life, uh, because the resources and, and this is, uh, that gap of advantage that we have, even if the real estate market is slowing down, we still have a soft movement in traffic because there's many people that is looking for a quality of life.

And, and this is, uh, a key factor that Costa Rica has, and many people sometimes don't understand, right. Because they say like, Oh, in the USA, but it's not the same to buy a house here, surrounded by rivers, birds, you know, you can plant your bananas, June papaya, then having a only piece of real estate residential with any of these things in the USA. So, so it's slowing down, but we still have people coming, you know, we all now are looking for a better quality of life.

So this is a, an advantage that our investors can take of the market. And, and it's really good to know that.

[Richard Bexon]
Yeah, I agree. I think that it has slowed down a little bit. I would especially say it's that say in areas like Flamingo and Portrero and those areas.

I mean, I still think Dominica, I mean, we were around again with you the other day in Dominica little, and things seem to still be moving there. It seems to be this, like this, uh, Island there in that area, because again, we'll veto them in a cow again, has quietened down a little bit. Like there's still quite a good volume of transactions, much higher than 2019 for sure.

Um, but I would say that it's definitely quiet and down compared to 2023, which was a crazy year, but as sales still strong in Dominican, Sales is true.

[Pepe Lopez]
It's still strong here. Uh, like I say, a lot of people is looking for community too. So we have had a drop down, let's say of 60%, but 40% is still active.

Uh, and we look into, into increasing, uh, the sales, uh, because there's already inquires looking at to come, uh, what it used to be that green season, uh, that people call it slow season is not anymore. Now we have a lot of market that is looking for the green season, uh, to calm, relax, see the birds, see the green. So, so yeah, it's, it's, it's actually really, really interesting that fluctuation on, on how the real estate market is happening now, because it's changing.

[Richard Bexon]
Yeah. So you were originally a surfer Pepe, right? Yes, sir.

How did you go from surfer to hot sauce to real estate?

[Pepe Lopez]
Okay. That's, that's a, another really good question. I'm super excited to share.

It basically was a journey, right? As a, as a jungle boy, uh, born and raised here in Dominica, uh, first thing I wake up always in the morning, I always will remember, uh, I wake up really, really early, you know, there was nothing to do here, like let's say 5 AM. And I always wanted to go to the beach.

Right. But I was so little that I didn't reach that door knock. So I used to wake up first of my family, little boy, you know, a lot of energy, put a chair, somehow I found out that I can put a chair, get in the chair and open the door.

So when I opened that door, I just go to the beach, like naked, you know, like, I mean, little boy back in the day, it was real rural. And I remember, uh, the people surfing, you know, uh, and actually the first time I surf, uh, I was on the beach and I found half a broken board floating on the chore and I took this, you know, and, and I was so innocent because the waves are here strong in Dominica. I took this little half board and went to the white water as I did with the boogie and took a wave and I stand up first, that was my first surf wave.

Uh, like I did that like three times and it was already like sunrise. And then I hear this big child, my mom wake up. I was not in the house and she was of course scared.

You know, she went to the beach to look at me and I was right there in the water, you know, so she came and grabbed me. Uh, they took that chair and hide it. So I was grounded like for a bit.

I couldn't, couldn't do that anymore. Uh, and then I grew up here in the community and the whole journey, jungle boy, surfer used to compete, surf, you know, Costa Rica. But as I grow, I saw many of the big guys of real estate market.

For example, David Hollander, Jimmy Drew. Uh, they came here to a community too, and they build this real estate empire. So I'm, I'm always like, wow, that's so cool.

You know, I want to do something, uh, that I can give back to community, but it was not the real estate. Uh, it came, uh, when I finished college and I'm like, okay, to get my life serious. I want to do something.

So the hot sauce came and my mom does ice cream, natural ice cream is called and I'm like, okay. I had a hundred dollars. I always want to remember.

And there was this party that I wanted to go, but it was the party. Or I went to design crowd to look for somebody to do me a logo for the entrepreneurship and, and it was exactly a hundred dollars, you know? So, so it was like, or the party, or I paid to do that logo.

I say, okay, I'm not going to the party. I went to design crown, did my drawings and send that designer came with a logo, I went printed and put it on a bottle. It was a spicy life and I was perfect, you know?

So I went and buy my first five plastic bottles, went to the farmer's market and it was sold in less than 30 minutes. I'm like, wow, this is nice. I went again, did the same 10 bottles, sold 15 bottles.

And then I'm like, okay, this is fun. And I started that entrepreneurship. One time I was going to the farmer's market.

Well, all of this, Richard, was to give back to community. You know, I was doing like kids events, surfing, but there's not a big hot sauce market here in Costa Rica. So I was barely broke, you know?

I'm like, okay, like this is nice as a business, but I don't have any more money, you know? So I can not doing that day. I literally, I am like, what can I do?

You know, like basically I like kind of like as the universe and I was going to the farmer's market. One lady told me, Pepe, I'm losing my house. There's a mortgage.

I have two months. I see you are a lot with North American community. You can help me.

And I'm what I was like, yeah, but I don't know anything of this. That same day in the farmer's market, an older lady came at the end of the farmer's market and he told me, Pepe, I want to buy all your hot sauce. In that time, I just had big bottles.

So she told me, you need to change the size. You know, you need to have smaller size so we can take to use that. And that's how I came into a smaller bottle size.

I went with a car to her, help her with the bottles. And she was like, Pepe, I have been looking for real estate here five years. Do you know about any property?

Like I like, like luxury houses, but I need a property that I can access because she's older and she doesn't like driving a crazy road. She needs like easy access to come. And I told her, well, I don't know anything about this.

But today a lady told me she was selling her house, her house. It was a fixer upper. I never thought somebody would buy it.

And she told me, let's go and see it. I took the lady to see the house. She could not even like went in the house because it was like falling apart.

But she said, Pepe, this is perfect for me. I'm like, what? You know, it was a $60,000 house.

They were going to give me five percent of commission. And I was super scared. She's like, OK, let's buy it.

I'm like, OK, now what? What do I do now? And she was the owner of Cobo Banker in Salt Lake Tahoe for 40 years.

Her name is Peggy Aichon. And she told me, Pepe, don't worry. I'm going to train you.

So that was my first LOI, one paper, property title, seller buyer conditions. And I'm like, oh, my God, you know, like that that kind of fear. Well, we did it.

She teach me. And when we did the first deal, five percent of that came to me as a commission. And when that money came, the light, boom, I definitely just light up.

I'm like, this is it. You know, with this money, it's perfect for me. So I can keep my surf contest and my beach cleanups.

And, you know, this is what I need. So then I decide to enter into the real estate business. Did the Camara de Costa Rica in a racist course, did my license.

And I start training. Did some training online. I start assisting to conference in other countries.

And boom, that's spicy like real estate. Yours were born. One of my main focus was that I wanted to create money to give to community.

You know, I I don't have kids at the moment. So so that makes it easier for me. I am a single man, you know, no kids.

But this morning I have many kids. All the kids I work with, the projects, you know, those are like my kids. I started with a group of three kids and now I have one hundred seventy kids that we do empowerment, surf contest, beach cleanups, because I want them to have create like a tool that I can give to community.

And they have the opportunity to see the positive side of life. You know, even if under house, they have the negative, you know, because when we are growing, we see we're smart. You know, we see the positive and we see the negative.

If they you see the negative, they will go to the negative. So I want to create that opportunity to save them many years. I say about personal experience many years and they can get hook up on the spicy life that is love and positivity for the world.

So that's basically the whole process. What is really, really fun and interesting. And right now I get the opportunity to be in touch and connect with people like you guys.

I'm really thankful for you guys coming into the Dominican Republic community. I love Costa Rica investments. I saw this podcast on Facebook and I didn't knew you.

And I'm like, wow, my God, this is so cool. And now I'm part of it. So thank you very much.

Costa Rica investment, Mr. Bexson.

[Richard Bexon]
Not at all, dude. I mean, what a great story, though. I mean, Pepe, you know, going from surfing to hot sauce and those big bottles.

And I mean, look, I agree. You know, special things happen here in Costa Rica. And a lot of the time it's just throwing the energy out there, you know, in order to and it will come back here and especially communities.

But like, why do you think, again, you're helping, you know, you're helping basically develop Dominicalito. But there are also people there that are selling their homes as well. I mean, why do you think Dominicalito is a good investment?

[Pepe Lopez]
OK, well, that's that's really simple, Dominicalito. I was trying to do it in other communities, but when the community is bigger is harder. So Dominicalito is 50 properties, limited inventory community.

So this is what make it attractive to me, you know, a community where I can come in and help the community when everybody wanted to progress. So Dominicalito as a community, as an investment is really, really good because it's a surfing family community walking distance to the beach. It's all property with title.

And it's for the people that want to create that community, you know, like the surfers that want to grab the ball or say hi to the neighbor, go to the store. And this is basically from Dominical. Dominical is another one.

Then is Dominicalito. And then the next one is Uvita. But the location is what make it so special and so good for investment because everybody wants to be walking distance to the beach.

They want to be on a safe community and they want to learn Spanish. So this is why Dominicalito is the best investment now here.

[Richard Bexon]
Yeah, I mean, look, I think Dominicalito is for anybody that wants to be part of a local community, you know, rather than to be up in the mountains or up in the hills. I mean, it's very local. But if you want to be part of that with that, as you said, their spicy life of, you know, the Costa Rican way of living.

I mean, it's definitely a great investment. I mean, Pepe, how do you feel, though? And I mean, this was just a question that came up, though, that like again, you know, if these people are selling their homes in Dominicalito, like where are they going from there?

You know, I mean, you know, is it foreigners going to push locals out and we're going to lose that local vibe? I mean, how do you balance that?

[Pepe Lopez]
OK, basically, Dominicalito was already sold some first run houses and the only houses and properties that we're selling is second houses that then the families relocated. Usually when we sell needs to be in a community and in. How can I say it needs to be on a relationship where the people is happy?

Like, for example, some people, they want to buy their little farm, keep with their chickens, keep with their pigs and eggs. So we get them. We sell them the house, but we help them to relocate, to keep their happy life.

You know, everything is changing. A lot of people here has all things that they like to do, like the farming, like the pigs. So we always take care.

It's part of keeping the community right now. All the families have decided to stay, you know. So so this limited inventory is not that we're selling the whole community.

50% of the community that is the families that have all the kids and and all the fun, all the love are staying. So this is what makes Dominicalito more desirable. You know, it's it's limited inventory.

You know, like you buy a house here and this is it. So this is what makes it attractive. Like, for example, we have a couple, they just purchased a property in two hundred forty five thousand dollars.

It's called Casa Sirenas. And they bought a property up in the mountain in Tres Rios. They love it.

But they had two kids from seven and ten years. You know, the kids up in the mountains, they didn't have any friends. So they came to Dominicalito and they felt that, you know, the kids playing with other kids, the playground kids walking around the community safe.

So they went over and purchased a property right away. And now they spend 80% of the time in that community property and they go 20%. And they say, Pepe, like this is something that we never expect, but we feel it, you know, we like it.

And we like that our kids can be here around while they're baking the cakes or doing their work. The kids are just walking around free, safe and in a nice community.

[Richard Bexon]
Yeah. I mean, beyond Dominicalito, where else do you think is a good place to invest in your area and why?

[Pepe Lopez]
OK, I'm not a good place to invest in the area. I feel it's Pérez León. Pérez León is growing up.

That's 45 minutes from here. It makes it close to the beach, too, so people can come and enjoy. But there is a lot, a lot of opportunity on land that people like farming.

People like another thing. It's cooler weather. You know, not everybody can support the heat.

So San Isidro is growing up. And there's a community, too. There's a safe community.

You know, it's back back in the days, all these were farmers. So farmers usually are like really, really humble people, really, really nice people, you know. And and it's important to want to do investment on safe areas, right?

Like you want to you want to put your money and your energy and your love where you can be safe. So I feel San Isidro, Pérez León, is one of the best areas to invest right now in real estate. OK.

[Richard Bexon]
I mean, I think it's the first person to ever say that, Pepe, but I can definitely see it. I mean, we've had quite a few clients looking at that area just because it is very fertile, meaning that anything you put in the ground grows. I mean, I'm hiking Chiripo again next week for the fourth time.

That whole area is just beautiful, man. You know, I mean, it's it's spectacular mountains, cool climate, fertile land. It's very farming.

And you've got the town of Pérez León there, which has everything that you need. I mean, everything. Yeah.

I mean, we finished the Pequeño Mundo there last year. So. So, yeah, I think next year we've got Quepos to do.

So we're doing Herradura at the moment. But I mean, what would you not be investing in at the moment, Pepe? Where would you not be investing and what would you not be investing in?

[Pepe Lopez]
OK, I would not be investing at the moment in properties that are located in places that are like really, really, really remote, you know, because people right now, it's looking to be on communities or maybe not in communities, but people want to have access to places. There's a lot of property now that you see in the market, but it's always good if you want to keep your investment. Anyways, if you're looking for a conservation, that's another story.

But it's always good to be close to communities and to be close to what you love, you know, because sometimes people do that mistake here to come and buy something that they don't know. And then they find out that this was not what they really, really, really want. So so always the community is getting big.

And it's not that you need to be in that community, but have a close community, you know, have access to medical medical services, has access to to to dining and and just be part when you want to be part.

[Richard Bexon]
Yeah, I mean, I agree with that. I mean, it depends what you're looking for, but you have to think about a resale at some point as well. You know, not many people think about when they have to resell an exit.

They're probably they just think about the way in and the beauty of it and everything it's going to create. But that's great. But you also need to take a look at and go, OK, how do I exit this at some point?

I've always found that if you look at the major beach towns in Costa Rica, they're typically surf towns, you know. So the surf kind of if you ever want an up and coming developing beach town, just look where the surf is and that there is kind of a little bit of a town there. And I think from there is that you will have an idea of like where stuff's going to develop over the next coming years.

[Pepe Lopez]
That's that's actually a good point. Like you say, surf is a movement. A lot of people say, like, why Dominica?

Well, there's surf. We have other beaches in the south, but there's not as constant surf. So so that is really, really important.

And like you say, many people think in the in, but it's real estate, right? We need to think always in the resale, you know, their their products. There's appreciation on land right now depend on the location.

So this is why it's so important. Some people go through a mistake. They don't get a property in a good location.

And then that resale makes it harder.

[Richard Bexon]

[Pepe Lopez]
So always. That's a really good advice. Think even if you don't have a plan, but always think because it's real estate.

So always good to to do that.

[Richard Bexon]
Definitely. Well, Pepe, this has been great. But my last question for you that I love to ask everyone, if you inherited five hundred thousand dollars and you had to invest it into a business or real estate in Costa Rica, what would you invest it in and why?

[Pepe Lopez]
OK, if I have five hundred, I will invest in hot sauce.

[Richard Bexon]
Of course. What would you do with it? I mean, would you expand out?

Would you expand globally?

[Pepe Lopez]
I will. I will. I will.

I will buy a farm, do papers and then create a manufacturing company. But talking about real estate, I would buy farms close to water. I will I will have I will buy farms that have water resource, because I think that farms with great sources of water, it's going to be a really, really, really value in the future.

[Richard Bexon]
Yeah. Yeah, I agree. I agree.

I mean, it's hot sauce, a profitable business, Pepe. I mean, if you were to invest in that, do you think it could be a very profitable investment?

[Pepe Lopez]
It could be a proper. Yes, it could be a really profitable investment for me, because what I sell is not a hot sauce. I sell a spicy life.

So so it's it's more like kind of a lifestyle. But at the end needs to be on higher quantities. That is what I'm doing right now.

Right now, I'm working on the manufacturing and exporting to the user. And remember, buy a spicy life.

[Richard Bexon]
Exactly. Well, Pepe, this has been great. Really appreciate you making the time out of what I know is a busy day for us.

And I'm sure we'll get you on the podcast soon.

[Pepe Lopez]
Richard Bexon, thank you so much. Costa Rica investments and always remember, love and positivity are contagious. Costa Rica investment in a spicy life, we keep it flowing.

[Richard Bexon]
Thanks, buddy.

[Pepe Lopez]
Thank you, Richard. Pura Vida.

[Richard Bexon]

[Pepe Lopez]
Spicy life.

Let's Get in Touch!

We chatted with Pepe Lopez from Spicy Life Real Estate and Spicy Life Hot Sauce about his work in investing in and developing the Dominicalito community sustainably. Pepe also gave us a great response about where he would invest $500K in Costa Rica.

Free Consultation:

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