So you’ve decided that you want to do what thousands of other North Americans and Europeans have done and build your own dream home in Costa Rica. Good for you. With correct expectations, proper budgeting and expert help you can reach a very successful outcome.

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To that end we asked experienced Developer and Home Builder Brian McLane of Altos de Antigua to outline for you what you should expect to invest. What follows is a simple method for estimating very roughly what you should budget for the construction of a custom designed house by Brian’s team in the Puriscal area.

There are several ways of getting your new home built in Costa Rica. Some people have built their homes with their own hands using materials harvested off their land. Others have opted for minimalist features.

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This is not the kind of home we are addressing. Our example presumes you want a home that is equivalent to or better than what you are currently used to in North America. The advice here is based upon what Brian’s clients have asked him to build over the last few years in the Altos de Antigua and Altos los Cafetales developments in Puriscal.

When your house is being designed and built there will be a myriad of details that will impact its final cost. You have more control over some of these costs that of others. Once you have selected the method of construction to get your house to grey stage you will have limited means of reducing costs during that phase other than eliminating square footage; i.e. make the house smaller.

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When you get to the finishing stage you will have much greater control as you can choose from a wide range of finishing materials and fixtures, from very basic to high end. With Brian’s knowledge of local circumstances you might even be able to take advantage of clearance prices as stores put old stock on sale to make space before new stock arrives.

Homes in Brian’s developments tend to average 65% of interior space and 35% of exterior space. For example, a 2000 square foot home (186 square metres) will have 1,300 square feet inside and 700 square feet of patios and carports, etc. Use the entire amount of space in this simple calculation, 2000 sq. ft. in this example.

To come up with a rough estimate for house construction costs you can use the following. If you want high end finishing use $95 per square foot ($95 x 2000 = $180,000). For standard finishing use $75 per square foot ($75 x 2000 = $150,000).

Remember that this calculation will only give you a general idea of what to budget for construction costs. Also, it does not include the cost of your land. It’s a great place to start when you are conceptualizing your new home.

As you refine the design and specifications you will get a much better estimate of what your house will cost.

Could you use a tool for estimating your real estate investment?

Brian has prepared a simple spreadsheet that goes into a bit more detail than the very rough estimating method presented here. It includes a specification of what constitutes a medium grade finish.

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How Much Money Do I Need To Build My Dream Home in Altos de Antigua?

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VIP Member John Orian, P. Eng.

Written by John Orian, P. Eng. “If you want something done give it to John!” Having earned this reputation with a billion dollar company and a major Canadian city, John now offers training and coaching in Project Management.

John’s main focus in Costa Rica is helping to create a vibrant international community at Altos de Antigua where he is an owner and investor.

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