S3 Ep 072 Michael Cobb Wants You To Run Towards the Move That is Right For You

In this episode, Michael talks about Michael discusses his journey from the computer industry to international development and funding opportunities.
S3 Ep 072 Michael Cobb


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Show Notes

Our featured guest on this episode is none other than Michael Cobb. After achieving remarkable success in the computer industry, he embarked on a new adventure in 1996, founding ECI Development. This visionary residential resort development company has left its mark across diverse landscapes. ECI Development is a true advocate for harmonious living, crafting tropical neighborhoods that seamlessly blend homes, condominiums, golf courses, and hotels within beachside, agricultural, and mountain settings. 

Today, Michael shares with us international moves and tells us about the new low-EMF, low-toxin home community he is building and how restrictions can help to ensure the neighborhood can remain as safe as possible in perpetuity.

In this episode, you will hear: 

  • How Michael made the leap from the computer industry to international development and funding.
  • North American perspectives on South America – ideas and misperceptions. 
  • Taking advice on travel safety from those who have been and lived there. 
  • The best investment you will ever make is a plane ticket to the country you’re thinking of moving to.   
  • Living in a community of the same values and priorities. 
  • How COVID opened doors that were never previously available. 
  • The Consumer Resource Guide that you need when considering an overseas move. 

After success in the computer industry, Michael formed ECI Development in 1996. This residential resort development company builds communities in Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Honduras, and Portugal. Tropical neighborhoods include homes, condominiums, golf courses, and hotels located in beach, agricultural, and mountain settings.

Michael served on the President’s Advisory Group for the National Association of Realtors (2016), the NAR Board of Directors (2017), sat on the Global Business and Alliance Committee for the NAR (2018). From 2002 through 2016, Mike, and his family made their home in Central America.

Connect with Michael Cobb:

Website: https://ecidevelopment.com/ 


ECI Development – https://www.facebook.com/ECIdevelopment

Gran Pacifica – https://www.facebook.com/GranPacifica

Best Western – https://www.facebook.com/BestWesternSanPedro


ECI Travel – https://www.instagram.com/ecitravelguide/

ECI Communities – https://www.instagram.com/ecicommunities/

Gran Pacifica – https://www.instagram.com/granpacifica/

Best Western – https://www.instagram.com/bestwesternsanpedro/

ECI LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/eci-development-ltd./

YouTubehttps://www.youtube.com/ECIDevelopmentLTDCheck Out the ECI Development Resource Guide Here: https://info.ecidevelopment.com/consumer-resource-guide/HealthyTech

Connect with R Blank and Stephanie Warner: For more Healthier Tech Podcast episodes and to download our Healthier Tech Quick Start Guide, visit https://www.healthiertech.co and follow https://instagram.com/healthiertech

Additional Links:


Michael Cobb 0:00
This idea of quality of life and health, right? It’s not just like you said, it’s not just the emissions, it’s not just living in a, in an environment that’s, that’s, that’s a lot lower EMF. It’s not no EMF. But it’s significantly lower EMF, right. But then to the off gassing the toxins, but then also everything that we put into our bodies. And one of the things that Karen Karen spent some time down there, and one of the things she mentioned, I didn’t even know it’s about the black sands that we have on our beach, some of our beaches are kind of a black sand, and that those are charged in such a way that it’s it has a healing property. And she noticed that when she was there, so again, there are other things that are just, you know, part of the part of the natural environment that we have nothing to do with, of course, but that lend themselves to a much higher quality of life experience a much healthier experience.

Announcer 0:57
Welcome to the healthier tech podcast, the show about building a healthier relationship with modern technology. Now, here are your hosts R blank and Stephanie Warner.

R Blank 1:09
So Stephen, it putting on my sob hat here for a second. And I know you’re you know, there’s two were contacted all the time by people who want to know where they can move to escape exposure to EMF.

Stephanie Warner 1:23
Yeah, I feel those questions constantly. And I’m really excited about today’s guests, because we have a new answer a better I won’t say better or worse, but we have a new answer. And this is really exciting stuff. The approach is wonderful. This is going to help a lot of people who are experienced EHS, so I’m excited. Yeah. So

R Blank 1:43
this is Mike Cobb. And his company is ECI development. And he has a new, low EMF housing development. It’s not just low EMF. It’s also low toxin low VOC they’re working with building biologists to create this low toxin environment in Nicaragua. And I’m really excited to for our listeners to learn about this. So let’s get into it. Yeah,

Stephanie Warner 2:05
let’s let’s hop on this adventure.

R Blank 2:11
Our featured guest on today’s episode is none other than Michael Cobb. After achieving remarkable success in the computer industry. He embarked on a new adventure in 1996 founding ECI development, this visionary residential resort development company has left its mark across diverse landscapes. From the lush shores of Belize to the captivating landscapes of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Honduras, and Portugal. ECI development is a true advocate for harmonious living, crafting tropical neighbourhoods that seamlessly blend homes, condominiums, golf courses and hotels within beachside agricultural and mountain settings. He served on the President’s Advisory Group for the National Association of Realtors in 2016, and went on to contribute to the NIR board of directors in 2017. He also lent his expertise to the global business and alliances committee for the NAR in 2018. From 2002 to 2016, Michael, along with his family made their home in Central America. Welcome, Mike to the healthier tech podcast

Michael Cobb 3:11
are great to be with you. Yeah, again. Yeah, again, it’s

R Blank 3:15
a chat with you. Again, for those who don’t know, Mike was a both a guest speaker and a sponsor of our recent healthier Tech Summit. So thank you for that. So let’s just dive in, right, because the intro didn’t really cover exactly why your projects are relevant to the healthier tech community. And I want to build up to that. But it’s because of the type of development that you do. And what I want to start by asking is, right, I mean, I know successful tech executives and entrepreneurs who go on to different things. In my experience, not a lot of them go on to construction and real estate development. So how did you make that leap?

Michael Cobb 4:02
Yeah, sure. It was truly by accident. I was in the computer business in the in the DC metro area for about 13 years, but But in 93, I actually took my very first trip to Belize, with a buddy of mine. And what we saw was that there was no mortgage financing. And we were kind of talking about before the show started, right, the idea of how do you get financing as a North American because, you know, a bank up in, you know, in the United States would definitely not lend money on a condo in Belize, which is where my first trip was right. And the banks in Belize wouldn’t lend to foreigners. Right. So you had this big hole in the marketplace. So in 9893, and 94, my buddy and I started a mortgage company in Belize, and it was very simple. We just wanted to provide financing to North Americans buying property in Belize. Well, we got into it. We raised a bunch of money. We bought a bunch of mortgages. We help folks get the mortgages that they wanted and And it just grew, grew grew. And very quickly, we ran out of money, we couldn’t find enough investors to support this mortgage business. And so we applied for a banking licence. And we were actually able to get a banking licence in Belize, we were awarded that in 2003. And so now we actually have a bank in Belize, that’s really still a mortgage company, but it’s it’s a bank, right? But the nice thing is, is we’re able to finance people looking for property all over Central America as as this resource, which is so important, because most countries, you’re in Panama, and I think you you mentioned that it is possible to get a loan, but the terms and conditions are crazy. And interest rates are, you know, outrageous things like that. So we’re able to work with folks looking for property all over the region. So that was how I transitioned from this, you know, computer business into the real estate space in Central America. But my specific role, my buddy’s a lawyer, he did the deal, the money, the title work, you know, all that kind of paper back and deal stuff. I was the boots on the ground. So I would go look at the house or look at the condo, make sure you know, met the specifications, it was there, all those kinds of things. So boots on the ground. And, and so I did that. And what I found her was and Stephanie was was this incredible lack of standardisation to a familiarity with a North American Midwest, right. So we as North Americans, you know, we walk in, we expect there to be many outlets on the walls, right, I can remember walking into this one condo, and there was one outlet on one wall in the living room. And they had plugged in two outlet strips with extension cords with outlet strips and extension cords to get power around the living room because it was only one outlet in the living room, right? I mean door handles at all different heights, the lighting in the bathroom was off, and the countertops too high or too low. And so what we very quickly figured out was that we could deliver a product that was familiar and, and comfortable for a North American client for almost no more money, right? I mean, you put the lights in the right place, you fix the door handles, I mean, outlets cost 10 bucks apiece, or whatever. But you know, they’re all 100 bucks on to the price of a condo, right. And so that was the genesis of our business and IT and both businesses really came out of this, this understanding that there was a need in the marketplace, that was not being served. And so it was evolutionary, not revolutionary in the sense that we kind of waded into it. But once once you know 9697, we started our development company, and by 98, I could just see that there was incredible opportunities in Latin America to serve North American consumers wanting this lifestyle, we’re going to talk about what that lifestyle is, but also wanting to be free from a lot of, you know, maybe other considerations, right? And we’re looking to move somewhere different. And we could serve that demographic with a product that they could afford, right that they get afford, and also feel very, very comfortable. And so that that was really how I ended up in the space.

R Blank 8:05
Yeah, just to hit reiterate or underscore something you just said, you know, I because I spent a lot of time as I guess what’s now called a digital nomad. And particularly in, in my experiences in Costa Rica, they’re there, they actually call it there. There’s Tico houses and gringo houses, right i and Tico. For those who don’t know, that’s what Costa Ricans call themselves, they call themselves Chico’s. So Tico houses the kind that you’re just describing where it’s the finishing isn’t, isn’t up to Western levels, the the outlets and so forth. They’re just not enough of them. I learned early on, in my experience, I had to travel with extension cords in order to be able to get my work done, depending on where I was staying.

Michael Cobb 8:53
Right. And you know, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just not what we’re accustomed to. Right as North Americans and, and hot water. That’s the big one actually the hot water. Yeah, yeah, right. Yeah. So yeah, go ahead, Stephanie. I’m sorry. Yeah, I

Stephanie Warner 9:07
was just I think that’s really interesting. I hadn’t thought about that perspective. So you have you have several bear, there’s there’s several barriers that you’ve you’ve noticed and overcome. So you have finance, which is a huge one. I do travel in South America quite often. And if you want to buy a place, the financing part becomes problematic. And you’ve come up with a solution for that building standards. I had never thought about that. That’s great, like so you’ve already come up with a an approach to the building standards and to make it a little bit more comfortable for people coming from the west. Now, the other thing and this is my question. The other thing, a barrier that I’ve seen for myself and I’ve seen especially with my family when I travelled to South America or even talk about maybe living there is disinformation. How do you deal with the disinformation about these locations? because people think, you know, they don’t actually are thinking about building standards, thinking about safety, language barriers, how do you approach that in these communities that you’re building?

Michael Cobb 10:10
That’s a great question. And the reason I’m chuckling is I wrote an article about this. It’s called the credibility scale. And basically, the idea is, if if somebody’s telling you how dangerous Costa Rica is, or wherever it is, right, and they, and they’ve never travelled outside the US, and they don’t have a passport, like, zero on that one, right? Yeah. Right. And at the other end of the scale, is somebody who’s actually lived in Costa Rica, right? I wouldn’t put a 10 on them, right? Like, their advice is a 10. And the person doesn’t have a passport to zero. And then you have people that might have visited or whatever. And this, this article really kind of talks about how we rank the information we’re getting. And this is anecdotal. Right? This is from people not from institutions. You know, and it’s kind of interesting, look at the the CIA Factbook of the State Department website. You know, it’s just so interesting. How politically motivated these these think these colours are numbers. I can’t remember. I don’t even I don’t even look at it. Right? Because I don’t care. Right. But but they, but whatever the colours, or the numbers are that they rank things. It’s so politically motivated. And what I find absolutely mean, just ironic is that when you look at the German State Department, many times Florida is on an elevated Code Red or whatever, right? So Germans don’t go to Florida, right? So I mean, it’s just kind of nonsense stuff. But But But you’re right, it’s definitely the disinformation is out there. And we as consumers have to, we have to decide whether we’re going to deal with perception, or deal with the facts, right. And this idea of, you know, people and by the way, fear is irrational, let’s just be very clear, right? I mean, people I mean, I know people who are afraid of flying, right, and they can’t do anything about it. They’re just simply afraid of flying, and they know it’s not rational. Right. And so that, but But meanwhile, they’re they’re happy talking on their phone, or maybe even texting on their phone while they drive to the airport. Which is already 50 times more dangerous than flying right now had this into it, right? So So fear is this irrational thing. And facts don’t always matter. But I think to the, you know, as, as providers of information, can, can just start to bust away the perception issues and say, Hey, don’t don’t listen to what other people are saying, Do your own research, you know, put your boots on the ground, see, see how your heart feels about it, see how your head feels about the experiential nature of your due diligence, right? At the end of the day, I tell people all the time, the best investment you will ever make is a plane ticket to the country, you’re thinking about going to moving to right? Because only you can decide whether it’s right for you for lots of things, weather, you know, safety, convenience, just all that whole checklist, right? Only you can know if it’s right for you. So a plane ticket is truly I think the best investment. And by the way, you might get there and go oh, wow, this is not like I thought it was no way. What a great investment, that plane ticket was right either way, because now you’ve saved yourself this transaction or the front end of a transaction that kind of goes sideways and want your money back deposit. I mean, you know, no, go see it. See how you feel.

R Blank 13:34
So yeah, one thing that you were just talking about, in terms of the disinformation is Whenever anyone asks me, Well, is it safe in Panama? My answers always, I always think it’s hysterical when an American asked me that, because the amount of of violence in in the United States I mean, this isn’t necessarily criticise, you know, just on an objective level, the amount of violence that’s there, compared to to these countries where you’re focusing your development, it’s to me, it’s crazy. But I mean, it also makes sense that their, their, their default perspective, is that oh, you know, Central America. That’s right, right. Like you were saying in our other interview with that’s Iran Contra, that’s Noriega that’s this and that, but those those perceptions are heavily outdated. Yep,

Michael Cobb 14:26
they are. And, and, again, that personal experience is what gives us the ability to draw our own conclusions. Right. And, and by the way, I think there are there are great resources out there and truly one of the things that that people say to me a lot, and I take this as a profound compliment, is the fact that I’m willing to talk about the thorns in the rosebush. Right. I am absolutely willing to talk about this because there is no such thing as peaches and cream, right? Are all peaches and cream, right? Yeah. And so, so to mix metaphors but But but right, I’m willing to talk about the downsides of things because you know, when I go into the DMV

R Blank 15:05
in Central America

Michael Cobb 15:10
you know, and the other thing about crime is crime is local crime is almost always local. And so if you took st. Chicago, I’m picking on Chicago, right? Chicago is dangerous. Well, okay, if you took the 15 zip codes in Chicago, and figured out which four are dangerous, you know, whatever the other 11 really aren’t. Right. And so crime is usually local lightning can strike anywhere, but but usually. And so again, that’s a rational thought process, which doesn’t affect the fear, emotional peace. But anyway, yeah.

R Blank 15:42
And so so you have developments in all of these countries. One of them in in Nicaragua in particular, you have some pretty interesting initiatives. Go going right and we’re so here, we’re talking about the East LA community.

Michael Cobb 15:59
Yes, the East love well, but even prior to that, you mentioned the pandemic are and, you know, the pandemic really did a couple things. It jolted a lot of people who had Inklings or feelings about you know, the severity of government or the or the power of government, right. And all of a sudden the pandemic the lockdowns, the restricting the restrictions, all the reactions to the to COVID, right, those put in front of people, you know, that this this incredible darkness of their government, and how draconian the responses could be right and people just didn’t imagine it, we were able to pray, we luckily, I mean, timing and walk. And I’ll just take lock on this one, right. But we had developed a tiny home concept, and laid out of a 50 unit, little tiny home neighbourhood by the ocean. And when the pandemic hit, we blew through 50 of them in about 40 days, it wasn’t even 45 days. And we opened up another 50 Right next to it, I think, at some homes were reserved in a very, very short period of time. Wow. So was that all in Nicaragua, or that’s all in Nicaragua. And the reason it’s somewhat relevant is that East LA is is literally just off the ocean behind that these homes are, you know, about between 103 100 yards off the ocean, and the East LA community starts about 600 yards off the ocean. But but the concepts the same, it’s this idea of, of creating a pocket neighbourhood, in this case, with people who are you know, philosophically wanting to be outside the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, whatever. I mean, just saying, Hey, I don’t I don’t ever want to go through this again. And they’ve and many of them have moved full time, which is, the important piece of that is that it’s a community. Like, it’s not, it’s not this idea of just, you know, people out there kind of willy nilly, no, this is actually a community of people who share common philosophies and ideals, and, and have a great relationship with one another because of it, right. And so somehow, during this process, Karen, rich reached out to me, because we, this is crazy. I mean, again, these are the serendipity types of things serendipitous stuff that, like we installed fibre optic cable, back in 2005, to every address at Gran Pacifica, we ran fibre. And at the time, obviously, fibre was the deal and, and you know, things kind of moved into the Wi Fi range, right, and just, you know, on a popular stance, but we kept our Wi Fi, you know, very limited and ran fibre optic cables. And so we were sought out by Karen, because she said, look, there are a whole bunch of people that I know personally, and I’m connected with who want a low EMF environment in which to live. And, and so the fact that we had the fibre already in the ground and could disperse it to a new neighbourhood is great. Now layer on top of that, the idea of community that’s already existing, right. And those two things coming together are are powerful, because at the end of the day, you don’t just want a place to live, right? You want neighbours and friends and you want community and and if it’s just an escape, go to Green Bank, West Virginia, you know, sorry, you know, I mean, like, you’re out. You want to live in the middle of nowhere in a house, go do it. Right. But that’s not community community is something very different. And so, you know, the fortunate series of events, right, the fibre all the way back in 2004 or five when we put it in the ground, right COVID And what happened there to create the nucleus of a really strong community. And now the low EMF neighbourhood that Karen is is really helping us to design along with some others, as well, some building biologists and to really get it right. It’s it’s a neat synthesis of many things coming together. Yeah.

R Blank 19:59
And so, so the East Lake community it’s a it’s a it’s a division, right of this existing community that get started developing neighbourhood. Yeah, yeah, it’s a neighbourhood. Yeah. And one of the driving principles is to create a low EMF environment for people to live in. So what is your already mentioned? No fibre? I know you’ve done some interesting things with with the titles. The properties? Yeah, yeah,

Michael Cobb 20:28
yeah. What you know, in order to really, people, again, this is some of the stuff we you know, we don’t know what we don’t know. But coming out of North America out of US and Canada, this idea of deed restrictions, right. So you have this, now you buy a house in a community, and they’re deed restrictions, and whatever they are, you can’t add a third store to your house, whatever it is, right. And some of them are horrible, right, you have to mow your grass every 15 minutes. I mean, so range. All right range of things, right. But this idea of deed restrictions running with the land well, in civil law, that’s not the case, right? Under standard escritorio, pubblica. And almost all property is sold under escritura, pubblica public title. But there’s actually another type of title for condominium buildings, which is called horizontal property regime, which makes sense because you don’t actually own the land you you own your airspace, and then you own an undivided interest in the land below. But we were able actually to be the first company in Nicaragua, and probably one of the first in the region to apply this principle of horizontal property regime to a neighbourhood. Because what you want in the horizontal property regime, is the ability to have rules. And in this case, restrictions that run with the land, no matter who owns it, right, it’s actually written into the title. So if you buy it, and you sell it to someone else, that second buyer must abide by the same terms and conditions. And that’s not the case and escritura pubblica, which is problematic. So so I’m getting way down into the legalistic aspects of this. But but this is really important because so we build this low EMF community, all the homes will be highly attenuated to reduce EMF everything from the actual construction methodology, which is concrete to additional elements, such as Faraday fabrics, special window treatments, paints, things like that, right? But also, the restrictions that say, Hey, when you’re walking around this neighbourhood, there’s no cell phone use, right? And there’s no Wi Fi router allowed, right? So and it’ll be outside your house inside your house, you can fry yourself if you want to fry yourself, but I don’t know why anyone would do that, if they’re, you know, whatever. But that’s their business, right? As long as the E, as long as the the signal coming out of the house, you can’t come out with whatever they do inside their house is sort of their own business, right? But you can’t have a Wi Fi router to for to your pool deck or whatever, right? You can’t walk around with the cell phone. So these restrictions actually ensure that this neighbourhood stays what somebody who decides to own in it, when they make that decision to own for reasons 12345 Right, that those five reasons remain in place in perpetuity. That is a powerful legal framework that is brand new, in Nicaragua, and we used it in a couple of other neighbourhoods in the last three years. So this is brand brand new. But it’s it’s powerful, because, again, it ensures the ownership of what the concepts are of ownership in perpetuity. So

R Blank 23:37
you mentioned working with some building biologists, those who know the sob community or that the healthier tech community will know. Likely no one of them which is Cathy Cook, that you’re working with, and you’re working with these building biologists not just to help optimise the EMF mitigation, right. There’s other aspects of this development that are intended to foster healthier living and toxin minimization.

Michael Cobb 24:04
Yeah, yeah. Because many of the material selections, especially in North America, not so much in Latin America, you know, it’s funny, Latin America is more wholesome in so many ways. From a whole you know, everything from the building materials you’re not using plastics I’m just gonna generally plastics right or all the polymers and things like that. So so so you know and you’re not using a particle board cabinetry solution from from anywhere IKEA at the low end to very expensive cabinets are now particle board right? So you have all those glues and polymers and stuff like that, that off gas, right. In Nicaragua, you’re going to have solid wood cabinets, I mean, solid mahogany cabinets, like, like wow, and the crazy thing is, it’s less expensive than the particle board. Right? This is this is this is the kind of flip flop that people don’t get. It’s paradoxical, right? And people would always ask me, Mike, you’re always talking about this higher quality of life living in Latin America, like at a lower cost, like, how is that even possible? Right? So one example is, you know, I mean, you know, solid mahogany cabinets for less than the particle board IKEA, like, I don’t know, I mean, it’s visually a quality of life, I mean, the cabinets of cabinets functional, right, but at the same time, there are elements, so beautiful tile, so you don’t put rugs and you don’t put like, you know, like fake one Afghan with the fake Woods called people putting their houses these days, I mean, you know, the floors and stuff like that, right? I mean, none of that I’m using real materials, right? So you don’t suffer from a toxins perspective, your house is a lot cleaner right out of the gates. But then, you know, when we were living in, we lived in Nicaragua for 14 years raised or my two daughters grew up there. And, and, you know, my wife had arranged for us to receive a bag, a coffee sack from a coffee plantation, a coffee sack of organic fruits and vegetables delivered to our house every Tuesday. And it was $8. I mean, like $8 for I mean, it was more than we could eat as a family, right. And so, so this idea of quality of life and health, right, it’s not just like you said, it’s not just the emissions, it’s not just living in a, in an environment that’s, that’s, that’s a lot lower EMF. It’s not no EMF. But it’s significantly lower EMF, right. But then to the off gassing the toxins, but then also everything that we put into our bodies. And one of the things that Karen, Karen spent some time down there. And one of the things she mentioned, I didn’t even know it, about the black sands that we have on our beach, some of our beaches are kind of a black sand, and that those are charged in such a way that it’s it has a healing property. And she noticed it when she was there. So again, there are other things that are just, you know, part of the part of the natural environment that we have nothing to do with, of course, but that lend themselves to a much higher quality of life experience a much healthier experience.

Stephanie Warner 27:06
Well, you’ve sold me I will get on the next plane. All right. So so for someone like myself, I do a lot of travelling, I love spending time in South America, and you bring up so many really good points about just a better, there’s a different, I’m not gonna say it better or worse, but a different quality of life can be attained there at a much more reasonable cost. And I’m wondering, in your experience, why are people making this move? So we have all these these great things that you experienced when you’re there? But what why are people making the move? who perhaps haven’t spent a lot of time there? What what are the reasons that you’re seeing? Sure,

Michael Cobb 27:49
well, you know, I generally group the two reasons into into two, right, there’s running from, right, and I think the people sitting because of COVID, and the lock downs they were running from right that and then there’s running towards. And I would say that a lot of those people up until recently, are you described yourself as a digital nomad. And so up until sort of the digital nomad thing took right and could take. I mean, I think the, the, the I’m not even sure what the reserve energies always been there, but like it couldn’t be released until COVID. Because it wasn’t until COVID, that the bosses were comfortable enough to let people go work remotely.

R Blank 28:33
Bosses wanted to work remotely to

Michael Cobb 28:37
exactly, but you know, but but someone in upper management was like, if I’m not watching you, like I don’t know that you’re working right. So this this management culture came out of the Gosh, it came out of the early 1900s. With Frederick Winslow Taylor, right, Ford hired him to figure out how to build an assembly line and how to make it the most efficient, right. And the modern management styles and modern educational styles followed the same thing right, up until just three years ago, four years ago, whenever COVID And so COVID, busted loose, this incredible potential energy that all of a sudden could go somewhere. And that digital nomad group is sort of the third group but but so we have the people who are running away, Stephanie and those are the people who are leaving for some other reason. Like they’re, they just want to get out for some reason, right? Then there are people who are running towards, and those people have generally been money motivated. They’re looking for a more affordable lifestyle, higher quality of life for the lower cost of living. And, you know, look, it doesn’t even have to be cheap, so to speak. I mean, if you want to buy a house in California on the beach, I mean, you’re talking millions of dollars, you know, three, four or 5 million bucks, right to have a house on the beach. You can have that same house on the beach for a half a million dollars in Nicaragua, I think 399 So $400,000 You can have a home oceanfront home, you know, at Grand Pacifica and That’s not cheap by any standards, but it’s 1/10 the price of what it would be in California, right. But you have homes that start at $129,000 at Grand Pacifica, so for people who are really on a budget, middle class, and then you add the financing, all of a sudden, you’ve created this affordability for great weather, you know, great lifestyle, you can have domestic help, you can have someone come, you know, cook and clean, maybe not cook, but maybe cook, but clean and deal with the household stuff, you can have a gardener, and that’s just so inexpensive, that what you end up with is a tonne of free time. And it’s quality time. And and that was the big shock to me. My wife really was like we never might have had never had a maid, right? I mean, you know, and so like getting down there and having a maid, all of a sudden, we had unbelievable amounts of free time to do things with our daughter, and then when our second daughter came along, right, so so like, that was a huge boost in quality of life. And then there’s the eating, and then there’s the activities. So those are the people running towards those things. And now they are on the digital nomads who are likewise running towards, but but they’re not retired, right? They’re not retired, they’re still working. And because they can work from wherever they are. Like they’re chasing a lifestyle. They’re chasing activities, generally, hey, I’m a surfer, hey, I’m a diver. I’m a fisherman, whatever I like to golf, whatever it is. And so now all of a sudden, they’re chasing some activity or lifestyle, rather than affordability per se. But it’s sort of a third dynamic. That’s very, very interesting. And, and one that, that we’re happily serving as well. So I don’t know. Did that answer your question? Stephanie?

Stephanie Warner 31:42
Yeah, it definitely did and actually made me think of another argue another question. So you talked about the digital nomad. And up until now, you’ve been talking about like buying homes. Do you have other? Are there other options for renting? Like for shorter term? How are you serving the the people who are are you serving the people who are like digital nomads, who are still, you know, they’re they’re moving around still?

Michael Cobb 32:06
Absolutely, yeah, great question. So the answer is, yes, we have everything from nightly rentals to monthly to year leases, right? So everything in between. And you’re right, the digital nomads aren’t necessarily owning they’re renting, which has actually produced a very interesting opportunity for property investors, right? Somebody wants to buy a home, or lease it out. I mean, not in the past, it’s always been nightly, right. They use it as a vacation home, it’s nightly rented. But now all of a sudden, we have the ability to put somebody into a home for three months, six months, 12 months. Obviously, if it’s 12 months, you can’t use it as a vacation property. But for a lot of property investors, the vacation piece was always sort of the minimal piece, it was like I want to own a property. Maybe I’m going to come move into it when I retire 10 years from now. But in the meantime, I need it as an investment. So yes, the digital nomads have really filled in a very interesting space segment of the three months, six months, one year rental period in there. And the other thing that both Karen and Kathy and I have talked about is specifically finding some property investors. And Karen has a couple of people in mind, some property investors to help us build eight to 10 apartments inside the East LA community for the people who are EMF sensitive, but who may not have the ability to make a purchase, right, but have a place for them to rent. And so we fully plan to have rental progress. That’s right. Yep. Right. And that that

Stephanie Warner 33:36
also can help you get over that barrier of people who need to come and visit before they you know, are ready to make a purchase. Absolutely.

Michael Cobb 33:44
Absolutely. Yep. So

R Blank 33:47
you talked about this, these demographic segments of people who who want to who are considering this kind of move, and I talked to people all the time, we’re like, yeah, you know, I’ve been thinking about it, but they have no idea where to get started. And when you do like a Google search, you’ll see some good information. There’s some good companies websites, but then you’ll also see a bunch of, you know, just law firms that have SEO optimization to get your money to come in and do your residency. Yeah, things like that. So for these people who are thinking about, you know, well, this is really cool. I’d like to think about it, but I have no idea where to start. You’ve created a consumer resource guide, right?

Michael Cobb 34:30
Correct. Yep. Yeah, I have. This is it. I mean, this is the consumer resource guide. If you’re

R Blank 34:35
watching on YouTube, you can see it’s a physical guide, but it’s also a digital guide.

Michael Cobb 34:40
It is it’s a download, I know you’ve got a link in your show notes that people can grab and, and look, it’s free. And in fact, probably the most valuable thing in it is the first 20 pages. I mean, it’s about an 80 page document. I think it’s something like that. Yeah. 7073 page document. Anyway, the are 15 questions that we should ask when we buy property overseas? Right? That is that we just don’t know, we don’t know. And and at the end of those 15 questions is a checklist that you can print out. And if you’re looking for property overseas, or you’re looking for property online, it just goes to those 15 questions. And you can just say, Yes, it has that. And one of the questions I was joking, we, you know, we all kind of laughed about the hot water. But, but you know, a lot of times a beautiful, beautiful condo with a million dollar view. I’m the one example I have is a $379,000 condo overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Costa Rica. And it and it had cold water in the bathrooms. Right. And so you, but but you don’t know, because it has both of the taps up top, right? Yeah. And so like, you know, if you were just in there, and you turned on one, there’s water, you turn it off, turn on the other, the hot hot side, and there’s water. But when you got if you had to get down on your hands and knees, and you had to look under the sink, because under the sink, there was this cold water pipe coming out with a Y splitter to run. Both taps, right. And so nobody, nobody in the United States, unless they’ve read this or watch this, you would know to get down on their hands and knees and look under the sink. Right. And so we don’t know what we don’t know, these 15 questions in the consumer resource guide, were questions that we identified over the last, you know, 25 years, and just said, Look, here are some very basic things that we as consumers need to ask, but wouldn’t know to ask. And so that’s what’s in there. And I hope everybody who’s thinking about a property overseas grabs a copy of it, it’s free. It’s a great resource, and then use it. Yeah.

R Blank 36:49
And so again, the link for the ECI development consumer resource guide that is in the show notes. For this for this episode. You mentioned hot water in Costa Rica that I yeah, I just I think it’s important for people to understand that that’s your example. There’s not an outlier. And in fact, you even if a place has hot water, oftentimes, it’s just in the shower. And it’s right, this little device that you are pretty certain could electrocute you. So we don’t make.

Yeah. So Mike, this this, I really still want to make time to come visit and check out my new home on the east Live community as soon as, as soon as it’s ready. I know. You’ve promised that to me now a few times, so I have

Michael Cobb 37:40
to coordinate with Stephanie, I’m you guys come down.

Stephanie Warner 37:47
Yeah, I’ll let him stay in my spare bedroom. There you go.

R Blank 37:51
No, it’s great. And as Cathy Cook said about this, during during the summit, that development like East LA is long overdue. There may be some other developments like this in the world, if so they’re not many, and I haven’t heard of them. And it’s so great that you are taking this type of approach to toxins in the environment and constraint including EMF and your evaluation of these toxins, and in how you’re, you’re addressing it with with with your property development. So this is really great. I wish you the best of luck. I mean, given your track record to date, you probably don’t need it, at the best of luck with everything that you’re doing. Thank

Michael Cobb 38:34
you. Thank you, Laura. Thank you, Stephanie. Nice to Nice to be with you all today.

Announcer 38:40
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the healthier tech podcast. Remember to check the show notes for all the links and resources mentioned in the show. Please like and subscribe to the healthier tech podcast on Apple, Spotify or your podcast platform of choice. Get your free quickstart guide to building a healthy relationship with technology and our latest information at healthier tech.co

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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R Blank

R Blank

R Blank is the founder of Healthier Tech and the host of “The Healthier Tech Podcast”, available iTunes, Spotify and all major podcasting platforms.

R has a long background in technology. Previously, R ran a software engineering firm in Los Angeles, producing enterprise-level solutions for blue chip clients including Medtronic, Apple, NBC, Toyota, Disney, Microsoft, the NFL, Ford, IKEA and Mattel.

In the past, he served on the faculty at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering where he taught software engineering, as well as the University of California, Santa Cruz.

He has spoken at technology conferences around the world, including in the US, Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and he is the co-author of “AdvancED Flex Development” from Apress.

He has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and received his bachelor’s degree, with honors, from Columbia University. He has also studied at Cambridge University in the UK; the University of Salamanca in Spain; and the Institute of Foreign Languages in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Connect with R on LinkedIn.

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