Ticuantepe ‘Los Girosoles’
Details: Ok, this was my first house in Managua, on Carreterra a Ticuantepe, (in a 20 house gated community with a pool), 5 minutes from the small town of Ticuantepe and 15-20 minutes from Metro Center mall, the main central area of Managua, 40-60 minutes from the airport; and in the other direction, 15-20 from Masaya (a craft goods town, going south towards Granada and Playa San Juan del Sur). In general the houses were very nice, the community pretty quiet and in a very pleasant environment. The sound issues were from houses behind my house, from outside the community and the only other minor fairly unmentionable issues were stray cats (more of an issue for some) and barking dogs (very common and unavoidable in most places in Central America).
First, I loved this house design; I made it beautiful, to suit me, my son and guests. It was a very unique yellow round house with custom wood fixtures, terra-cotta tile throughout, 5 terrace areas, a huge yard and garden fountain, 2 floors with 2 huge bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, storage area and a separate 2 room, 1 bath apartment behind the house. Cost: fully furnished for $500 ($450 without furniture).
Pros: for the first time living in Nicaragua, speaking very little spanish and knowing no one, this was a safe situation, where many of the residents (and children) were educated and spoke english too. Perfect, for my non-spanish speaking 10 son. They socialized with me and took me under their wing and showed me many things about Nicaragua living. I made friendships there that I continue to have.
Cons: HOA— there were a lot of problems that occurred in the community.
The recreational common areas were very poorly maintained and few repairs appropriately administered for execution, in terms of how the fees could be used most effectively and how staff would be best supervised (a whole other Nica issue, to be discussed later) and the HOA fee is high at $60 monthly. The pool was ok, (had some algae and bug build up problems from poor water chemical use). Soon after I moved in, it had a very major exterior renovation, new fence, shower area, and pool guest bathroom, which looks very nice, but the surface of the pool itself was falling apart with chunks of cement at the bottom of the pool (the money not well spent, fixing the pool should’ve been the priority). Resident owners weren’t paying the fee, (some behind to the tune of C$13,000).
However, the real issue was that the money was also not being used for regular maintenance; therefore, the communal areas were in poor condition (something not as apparent when quickly viewing the place, before I moved in). The problems with cleaning the new bathroom never resolved, so it was filthy and unusable. Generally, it seems that they used the money ONLY for major repairs, due to not making regular scheduled repairs. The children’s park was in terrible disrepair, pieces of wood broken off, the swingset , the swings partly dangling (unwise to put too much weight in it), parts rusted to the point that the metal was disintegrating and could easily cause a child serious injury, but painted over, so you couldn’t quite see that it desperately needed repair. The basketball court had no backing, so you had to spend all your energy chasing the ball, which was going into the interior street, and hitting cars constantly– they didn’t want to spend money to buy a simple plastic mesh to stop the ball, or create a backing (?)…but, what’s worse is one of the baskets fell down and was broken for almost the whole year I lived there and it’s still not repaired, instead they want to totally revamp it. They had to vote on maintenance repairs when that’s what the fee is for, so there’s no need for a vote; overall, they had very odd thinking related to HOA fee use and it’s administration. Just after I left the park literally fell apart and now it’s unusable and really unsafe for the kids to use!
Owner of the house…a nightmare!
She is very incompetent, I can barely tell this story, I am so disgusted with my dealings with her over the year. The biggest problems, 1) too cheap to do the maintenance on the her own house, and 2) lacking basic business acumen, which honestly and unfortunately, is not uncommon in Nicaragua.
They definitely have there own way of doing things– my suggestion is to stay calm!