These Q&A sessions were designed to give you some feedback, tips and traps about buying land and building your own home in Costa Rica.
Today’s Q&A was done by email with George Lundquist, who is the founder of Costa Rica Retire on Social Security.
If you are thinking of retiring in Costa Rica, George’s goal on his tour is to share his experiences here with you to save you time and money! George believes that “you measure a man’s wealth by the number of things he does NOT need” and will focus on the items that he thinks he needs to live most abundantly.
Why should people be careful when buying Costa Rica land from telemarketers? I have had two past guests who have done this with the promise that they could get their money back if they did not want to complete the deal when they came to see it. After seeing the values I show them on the tour, they have tried to get their money back. So far neither has been able to get any money back.
Why should someone NOT buy land from someone over the telephone without seeing it? There are many scammers who are very powerful marketers using every sales trick in the book to get people’s money.
There are many cultural, weather, view, cost, and lifestyles options available which nobody can understand without spending time here. I still recommend people spend 6-12 months in an area before they decide to live there. I know of at least 25 people who have bought hastily and learn the place or even Costa Rica is not for them.
What sort of problems would you anticipate with the owner trying to get his building permits etc? The only way an owner could do this without being fluent in Spanish, is to hire or have a competent mentor to walk them through the process.
I caution all of my guests to ask any Developer, Builder, Mentor, Real Estate person, Architect, Engineer, etc. to introduce them (in person) to at least 4 of their past customers.
My experience with the unscrupulous perpetrators I have come to know, is they can not get 4 people (who would not be obvious shills) to vouch for them. They will make excuses as to why no one is available.
What sort of problems would you anticipate with the owner trying to connect electricity, water and arrange other utilities? I am aware of many cases of people buying property, based on promises from sales people (some highly advertised in the reputable news sources of Costa Rica) who find huge surprises.
Some of these surprises include:
- Investing in the ‘all weather’ road to access your home
- Installing electricity
- Telephone and …
This cost can be determined before buying by hiring a competent, honest engineer. Some can not get building permits due to restrictions of water or forest.
What sort of problems would you anticipate in finding good construction workers? I am very proud of the quality and integrity of most of the workers I have found in all of these rural areas I recommend for people to live.
Of course, Spanish skills, construction experience, and management skills are required.
How would the buyer keep his home site secure during this time? It is normal to build a ‘bodega’, a locked storeroom for tools and supplies.
The best way is to get to know the neighbors (if you have any) and ask them to keep an eye on the project. If in doubt, hire a neighbor to stay at site nights and weekends. This should cost less than $50 per week. I also found a large Rottweiler on site works very well.
What other problems would you foresee in building a home in Costa Rica when the buyer is living in another country? This is never a good idea in any country.
Why should someone not buy land from a ‘developer’ if they cannot show true title to that land? Because they are not dealing with the person who can transfer title.
This is one of the great, exciting advantages of building in Costa Rica. The low cost of labor allows the owner to customize every aspect of the home maximizing the views and your landscaping.
Why are so many people buying Costa Rica real estate in ‘gated communities?’ Because they are insecure and unsure of getting away from the familiar. I find that when people learn the facts about getting away from the walls and barbed wire, they prefer it. They get huge views, great neighbors, and security at a much lower cost.
This Q&A was done by email with George Lundquist. George’s goal on his retirement tours is to share his experiences with you to save you time and money! George believes that “you measure a man’s wealth by the number of things he does NOT need” and will focus on the items that he thinks he needs to live most abundantly.
Are you thinking of retiring in Costa Rica? George’s goal for his Costa Rica Retirement Tours for the NON-Rich is to share his experiences here with you to save you time and money! You can email George here.
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