Over the past few months I have heard many people complaining about their construction projects coming in over budget.

[custom_script adID=149]

In most of these cases, the blame was being laid on the architect, contractor, or project manager. However, if you look closely at the reality of building a custom home in Costa Rica or elsewhere, you realize that custom projects will almost always cost more than you expect. It comes as a shock to most, but all those ‘little’ changes and upgrades add up fast!

[custom_script adID=155]

After consulting with several ‘experts’ on the matter, I compiled a list of things one needs to think about when building their dream home in paradise.

  1. If you have a specific or limited budget, then a custom build may not be a good option for you.  Look for a pre-existing home within your budget.  If the home you are going to purchase requires renovations to suit your needs, make sure you understand the costs involved prior to purchase and how they fit into your budget.
  2. It is important to select a builder with whom you can communicate clearly.  Ask for references.  Be sure you have and understand the written contract for construction, what is included and what is not.  Make sure that you can meet the payment terms and schedule in a timely fashion. Payments should be made in ‘draws’, not with everything being paid up front.
  3. [custom_script adID=151]

  4. The written contract should reflect both the fixed costs and those costs that can fluctuate during the building process.  Have a clear understanding of what costs are subject to change. For example, in Costa Rica, building materials can fluctuate as much as 15% (or more) in any given year.  Also, change orders have consequences. More times than not, if you change your mind about a product or have unused materials, they are non-returnable/non-refundable in Costa Rica.
  5. Your builder may offer selections of hardware, cabinetry, wood, countertops, lighting, and ceiling fans, etc.  Ask and understand what is included in the contracted price and what is considered an upgrade.

  6. Know thyself.  As a new home goes vertical, you will get many ideas for items not in the original contract. Maybe a pool or Jacuzzi start to sound appealing. Adding a garage or carport may come to mind. There will also be the temptation to upgrade the finishes in a kitchen and baths. All are possible but will add significantly to the construction costs. It is imperative that you ask your builder about these costs prior to committing to them so that you can make a realistic decision within the confines of your budget.
  7. [custom_script adID=150]

  8. Please keep in mind that your builder has hired a number of skilled workers who are counting on being paid for their work on a weekly basis while building your new home.  Make sure you can meet the payment schedule agreed upon with your builder.  If for any reason you cannot be timely with your payments, you need to let your builder know at once.  Be prepared for construction to stop until you can meet your commitment.  Does your contract include a penalty for not meeting your payment schedule?
  9. Do not be a royal pain in the backside during the construction process.  Visiting the site is of course permissible, but do not get in the way of the workers, or ask them questions as they are following a daily work plan.  Direct any and all questions to your builder, project manager or architect. The chain of command is very important in assuring a quality end product. Please keep in mind that almost any change is possible, but all changes mean more time and often more materials will be required. Ultimately, more time and materials equate to more money spent.

[custom_script adID=153]

Building your dream home does not have to be a nightmare. It can be quite a pleasant experience. I have been involved in construction for over 20 years, both in Florida and Costa Rica. In all those years, my projects have always come in over budget. It is a reality that comes with building your dream. When I get a quote for a project, I always tack on an additional 20% so that I can come close to the reality of what the bottom line will be ahead of time. Remember the reason you are coming to Costa Rica. Breathe deeply and enjoy the ‘pura vida’!

7 Important Things To Consider When Building Your Home In Costa Rica
Article ID Number 5017

[custom_script adID=187]

Are you into beautiful Costa Rica?

All interesting things you want to know about Costa Rica are right here in our newsletter! Enter your email and press "subscribe" button.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *