By Alyssa Hurst
Disclaimer: Casa Dare to Dream is currently participating in a SmartCEO promotion. This article was written before the promotion was initiated and not with the intent to promote or market Casa Dare to Dream.
It took an entire year of pitching and interviews, but Tim Kerin and his wife Tracey, owners of Falcon Crest Commercial Contractors, Inc., found themselves on set with HGTV’s House Hunters International, scoping out massive Costa Rican properties in search of a retirement oasis.
But, from the beginning, the couple knew their tropical dream home had the potential to be much more. And their stint on the popular television show went beyond 15 minutes of fame — it was a marketing tool for a new business venture.
During the episode, the couple and their two sons spent four days and 50 hours of filming, visiting three Costa Rican properties before ultimately deciding on a barely-built villa atop a hill with sweeping views of the Pacific. Because the home was set in a destination vacation spot, Kerin and his wife decided it could double as a lucrative business.
“It’s going to be future retirement,” says Kerin. “But it’s an investment property, so we wanted to rent it out to pay for itself.” Today, in addition to the regular trips Kerin and his family take to their Costa Rican home, the villa is available for rent, both for personal use and executive retreats.
An American sense of luxury
The Kerins’ episode of House Hunters aired in March 2016, but by then, renovations on what is now known as “Casa Dare to Dream” were well underway. To set the property apart from other rentals in the area, Kerin focused on the details, and on creating a sense of American luxury in a wild environment.
“I found an interesting niche,” says Kerin. “There were a lot of homes that were done in Costa Rica finishes. There were very few done in American finishes. So in essence, it is almost a ‘luxury in the jungle’ feel.” For Kerin, those special details, like a 10-person, white leather couch and a salt mineral infinity pool, not only create a welcoming environment for the family’s numerous yearly visits, but also provide renters with all the amenities they might be looking for in a resort destination.
One such detail has exploded into a secondary venture for the Kerins. The couple first started visiting Costa Rica as a vendor with the Washington Redskins, and eventually decided to try to learn more about the Costa Rica that locals enjoy. Kerin’s solution was to hire a private driver. “I hired private drivers because I wanted to get to know the locals, the local restaurants, the best beaches,” says Kerin. “That’s how I fell in love with it.”
So, once “Casa Dare to Dream” opened its doors to renters in December 2016, the couple imported a black SUV, hired a full-time driver and launched a private driving/concierge service. The driver caters to guests of the Kerins’ home, but also operates on several contracts with local resorts.
“He picks you up and takes you to the beach, takes you grocery shopping, out to dinner — he’s there with you every day when you need him,” says Kerin. What’s more, the driver serves as Kerin’s eyes and ears when he can’t be there to tend to the property himself. “He’s on spot there too, checking the property. And if there are any issues, he can handle it immediately,” says Kerin.
Great views and a promising future
But, while “Casa Dare to Dream” is a rental property, its true purpose is to provide the Kerins with the ideal setting for retirement, and when it came to making the decision about where to settle down, the choice was no accident. The Kerins chose Costa Rica not only for its inexpensive views, but also for its large ex-pat community, ease of travel and excellent healthcare.
“It’s a very good investment opportunity, because they are about 20 years behind us in growth,” says Kerin, noting that the area in which the home is located is soon to play host to a new Ritz Carlton and a Walmart. According to Kerin, “the cost of living is cheaper, and the healthcare currently rates better than here in the United States.”
And for the CEO looking to maximize profits and comfort at the same time, Kerin says Costa Rica can’t be beat: “This is fun. It’s fun business,” he says. “To be in that type of country — it’s just the beauty of it. When you’re sitting out there and you have these sunsets … to get that view and that sense of calm — it’s just unbelievable.”
Alyssa Hurst is the associated editor of SmartCEO. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.