Tips For Trouble-free Home Construction in Costa Rica

CRC Construction

Overview

Buying a home site in one of the several organic communities offered in San Ramon is obviously just the first step in making your real estate investment in Costa Rica.  Deciding what type of house you want, how much to budget, and of course, who you want to build your home are but a few of the choices you will need to make.   Below are some tips for helping you making your home construction process easier and answers to some questions you may have.

Tips for Making Your Home Construction Easier

  • Have patience. Like anywhere, building a home is not a perfect process.  And, building a home in a developing country can be an even greater challenge.  By selecting a builder with strong references, integrity, and dedication to quality, you will find the process easier than you might expect.
  • Understand your financial situation prior to signing a contract. Obviously, building a home requires a significant outlay of money.  Before deciding to start construction, assess your financial situation and determine both how much you can afford and when those funds will be available (if not immediately).  Also, not only think about the cost of building your home, but what it will cost to live in your home and to maintain it.
  • Know what you want. It’s important to have a good idea of what you want in a home prior to signing a contract with any builder.  This will make the process go more smoothly and avoid costly changes once the process has started.  However, this doesn’t mean you have to go at it alone.  If you are at a loss for ideas, talk to friends and family. Also, and probably most important, describe your needs to your builder or architect so he can come up with some ideas that may work for you.
  • Communicate. Reputable builders want to build you the home you’ve always dreamed of and will work hard to meet, and oftentimes, exceed your expectations.  However, we find that the vast majority of issues arise due to lack of communication or miscommunication.   Follow up with the builder in writing on all major decisions and don’t assume items mentioned in person or on the phone will always be remembered.  Most builders will likely be working on several homes at once and it is important you confirm all details.
  • Be reasonable in your expectations. We realize building a home is one of the most important and costly decisions you will ever make.  Your builder realizes this too.  However, just because this is Costa Rica, it doesn’t mean it will be cheap or it will be similar to building in North America or Europe.  Things are different here (to some extent) and oftentimes things move more slowly than in your home country.  However, reputable builders are very experienced at operating in this environment and you should trust (but verify!) their judgment on what’s possible or not possible as you design and build your home.
  • Consider micro-climates. Costa Rica has many micro-climates.  It might be sunny and 80 degrees in one spot, but windy, cooler and rainy just a few miles away.  As you design your home, work with your builder to better understand the micro-climate of the area you’ve selected and how to build a home suitable for that environment.

Questions & Answers

  • Am I contracting with CR Communities to build my home? No.  Your contact for home construction will be directly with the builder you select.  You and the builder will discuss and agree to all contract terms prior to construction.  Therefore, any issues that may arise will be resolved between you and the builder, according to the provisions of the contract.  It is unwise to begin construction—even architectural designs—without having a contract first.
  • What types of homes are built in Costa Rica? Most contractors build custom homes designed to your specifications.  Whether Mediterranean/Spanish, modern, or other styles, a builder’s goal is turn your vision into reality.  The home type will, however, possibly depend on the rules governed by the homeowners’ association for each property.  Therefore, it is important to understand the home types that are allowed in a CR Communities development before buying a lot or starting construction.
  • What does it cost to build a home? The final cost of your home will depend on two factors: how large your home is, and what type of finishes you select.   Typically, you can expect to pay roughly between $65 per square foot and $95 per square foot which will include permitting, architect’s work, construction, and the installation of most finishes such as kitchen cabinets, countertops, and appliances, flooring, kitchen/bathroom fixtures and associated plumbing, and lighting fixtures.  Your builder will advise you on the type of finishes possible based on your budget.   In addition, it is important to do as much thinking and research about the type of home you want, the layout, size and of number of rooms, whether you want a guest house, garage/car port, pool, or other structures, prior to signing a contract.  Re-work during the construction process not only can lengthen the time to complete your home but also will likely increase the cost as more material may needed, walls torn down, etc.
  • How do I pay for my home?
    Generally, construction services are paid for in cash, including an initial deposit and then periodic payments as your home construction progresses.  The schedule for payments will be determined between you and your builder.  Payment is usually made by wire transfer to the builder.  It is important to allocate funds ahead of time so construction of your home is not delayed.
  • How long will it take to build my home?
    It normally takes between six and nine months to build your home.  A number of factors could lengthen the time to build your home including the extent to which pre-work is necessary (such as lot preparation), the size of your home, weather, and the availability of the materials you select.   After discussing your specifications with your builder, he will give you a more specific time estimate.
  • What if I am not living in Costa Rica at the time construction begins?
    It is preferable to be in the country during the construction process in order to inspect the work on a regular basis.  However, this is often not possible for many people.  Therefore, the builder should provide frequent updates on the progress of your construction and send you photographs as certain milestones during construction are met (i.e., foundation is laid, roof is put on).  If at all possible, it is helpful for you to visit at least a few times during the home construction process, particularly to pick out tiles, cabinets, appliances, and other fixtures.
  • I’m interested in eco-friendly design and building.  Is this possible in Costa Rica?
    Yes.  May builders are capable of building eco-friendly homes.  Your builder will discuss those environmental factors that are important to you and build your home to your specifications.  He can include items such as solar heating, energy efficient plumbing fixtures, and other items that make your home energy efficient while reducing your home’s environmental impact.  It is important to know, however, that these environmental and energy benefits may increase the cost of your home.

Learn More
To learn more about CRC’s home construction services, or to schedule a visit, please contact: info@crcommunities.com

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