Tarija, Bolivia: Language School for Sale

Language School for Sale: Due to the increasing demands of running our other businesses we now would like to sell our language school. Language School Altiplano in Tarija...

Altiplano Bolivia: Australian, Canadian and US Citizens Visiting our ...

Australian, Canadian and US Citizens Visiting our ...: From January 7, 2013  Australian, Canadian, and U.S. citizen tourist and business travelers must pay a reciprocity fee by credit card online...

Todays Thought

     "Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to
                                           - Lyndon B. Johnson



House Buying - Paying the Deposit.

It is one thing to find a house to buy, then negotiate the price – face-to-face with the seller. But then the buying process begins - and yes it is very Bolivian. Like all deals we had to pay a deposit to secure the property and get things to the next stage with the Lawyers getting involved, contracts written and signed, etc.

There is no bank transfer done here invisibly in cyber space. Martin had to go to the bank, draw out a large sum of money and take it to the real estate office to give to the seller, who sits in front of you and counts and recounts each bundle of money, while the lawyers look on.

It feels very strange and looks like a shady drug deal going down – like a scene from a late night police show on TV. Once satisfied he puts the money in a plastic rubbish bag and walks down the street to deposit it with the local money changer.

It becomes scarier when we have to pay the bulk of the money, which again has to be handed over in cash. But we are glad to say all went well, but our bank account is looking very sad now.

And of course it needs to be taken into account that when you are moving large amounts of money the government wants to know where it came from and what you are going to do with – as if you would really tell the truth if it was drug money! So yes it is back to the Lawyers and Real Estate agent to get documents to prove what the money transferr is for.

Making an Offer

Welcome to the world of real estate Bolivian style! It will perplex you at first, but it becomes a fast learning curve as you manoeuvre your way through it, always with the stigma attached “Rich Gringos” – little do they know!

The first lesson we learned was that the asking price didn’t necessarily reflect the market values; more a figure the seller has in his head and doubled.

Second Lesson learned was the seller is not very flexible in their price, they don’t start high and come down, like you would in NZ, allowing for some negotiation room for both parties.

Third Lesson learned was the real estate agent doesn’t present your offer to the seller and negotiate between the two parties – you do that all yourself face to face with the seller – maybe in the office of the real estate agent, who still is happy to take his cut for not much work.

Fourth Lesson learned is it is hard to look the seller in the eye and say: "You have to be joking. I am not going to pay that price which is very unrealistic, in fact ridiculous."

Then the Lawyers get involved...