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Building a Home In Costa Rica

Hello everyone, I'm planning on moving to Puerto Viejo, Limon, Costa Rica in the near future and I'm currently saving money to build a home, but I'm having some problems figuring out the cost of per square meter/m2
I found this website ( http://www.crhoy.com/archivo/metro-para … /economia/ ) and came to the conclusion the the average that per square meter cost is 300.000 colones

There's 10 feet in 1 square meter

If I divide 300.000 colones(1 square meter) by 10(the amount of feets in a square meter) I get 30.000 colones, which is around $53 dollars.

Is $53 dollars per square foot and $528 dollars per square meter right or I am completely wrong? Sorry if the math is confusing.

300k colones are a bit less of USD $600 (if dividing by 500, the fastest way; now one dollar is around 575 colones), so your figures are right

This cost will of course, vary throughout the country, depending on materials. The article you quoted was posted in 2016

Wherever you decide to build, at whatever price it is, please consider living in your chosen area prior to committing to building a home, preferably for an extended time period.

A article worth reading is here

ANd there are expenses incurred with construction permits, utility requests, etc.

kohlerias :

This cost will of course, vary throughout the country, depending on materials. The article you quoted was posted in 2016

Wherever you decide to build, at whatever price it is, please consider living in your chosen area prior to committing to building a home, preferably for an extended time period.

A article worth reading is here

You're right, i should go to Costa Rica before moving. I have some family that live in Limon, I should reconnect.

MauroN :

ANd there are expenses incurred with construction permits, utility requests, etc.

I read somewhere that the architect is paid 10% of the project price. Hopefully 250k dollars will be enough.

Thank you all your replies. Knowing how much money I need to save helps a lot.

And don't forget to add in the cost of the land.  :o

Check out whether you can get a landline to be able to access the internet, as in some areas there are no more available...and cable is not always available.

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Working ...or rather not working ... in Costa Rica

SaturnHelios :

Hello everyone, I'm planning on moving to Puerto Viejo, Limon, Costa Rica in the near future and I'm currently saving money to build a home, but I'm having some problems figuring out the cost of per square meter/m2
I found this website ( http://www.crhoy.com/archivo/metro-para … /economia/ ) and came to the conclusion the the average that per square meter cost is 300.000 colones

There's 10 feet in 1 square meter

If I divide 300.000 colones(1 square meter) by 10(the amount of feets in a square meter) I get 30.000 colones, which is around $53 dollars.

Is $53 dollars per square foot and $528 dollars per square meter right or I am completely wrong? Sorry if the math is confusing.

Hola SaturnHelios,

The price can vary greatly, depending on location, cost of land, cost of labor.  I built a house myself on 5,000- m2 of land.  The house is 1,920 sq. feet.  My cost per square foot was $36,45.  That includes land, labor and materials.  That is a lot less than most people pay in the area I am in.  The main reason is that I acted as contractor myself and paid labor by the hour "not by a contract price."

When I first wanted to build I contacted to contractors who gave me a set contract price of $75,000 and $80,000 for labor alone.  I asked them how many people they'd have working, what they paid them per hour and approximately how long it would take.  Average that general workers are paid is about $3 per hour.  Contractors would normally get about $6 per hour.  When I multiplied it out, based on number of people and hours he estimated they would work, it was no where near $75,000.00.  When I pointed this out to the contractor, he said that if people work by the hour they don't work as hard or as fast.  Well, simple solution, work faster or I find someone else to do the work.

I have no idea why most people choose to pay a contract price.  I hired a English guy who worked for $6 per hour and two general workers at $3 per hour.  I met with a local hardware store, made a deal for a 15% discount on all materials and purchased them myself.

Also, I 100% agree that it is soooooo important to rent before committing to a purchase.  You really need to make sure this is where you want to live long term.

Best of luck to you on your adventure!  ☀️🌴

- Expat Dave

Dave, people like me agree to a contract price because we don't know anything about building so have to rely on a contractor, and many work by price of job not by hourly.

Note that most people couldn't even buy materials as they have no idea how or what to buy. And you might lose money by not knowing - buying too much of things or not buying enough, then you go back to get the same ceramic for example and they no longer have it... Problems with not knowing what one is doing...

For me the price was $25k total for our little 55 sq mt 1br "casita" and he actually stuck to that and did a good job, but did charge an extra $8k or so for "extras" not in the contract ... that I agreed to because they were to buy more quality materials and make the structure better, more comfortable etc.

All in all it was a good deal for me and he even finished ON TIME which was set in the contract.

We were there almost daily to check that things were going right even though in some cases we had no idea what was really "right", and they did screw up some minor things like a few windows where they left one inch spaces at the top (these were high up in our high ceiling area so we did not climb up to check them. We later had them fix those but I couldn't believe they thought they could get away with that.

I was told of a guy who builds houses for rich Ticos and charges by the hour and word on the street is that he makes his guys work hard and not slack off and he finishes on time etc. for a fair price. Don't ask me, I don't have his contact info but he's in the San Ramon area. So these type guys do exist here.

kohlerias :

This cost will of course, vary throughout the country, depending on materials. The article you quoted was posted in 2016

Wherever you decide to build, at whatever price it is, please consider living in your chosen area prior to committing to building a home, preferably for an extended time period.

A article worth reading is here

Everyone is right about make sure to rent there first. But know this:
Sometimes even renting there you will have no real idea of how it is in a different season unless you rent for one entire year.

Also, if you rent 1km or more away, you may have a different climate then where YOUR lot is, if you build. For example you might be exposed more on your lot than the house you are renting is, thus more rain or wind from a certain direction.

And yes the CLIMATE can be different 1km away, very different.

Also as for internet, your neighbor 800 feet away might be able to get a land line and you may not. I've seen this. So you have to ask ICE or whoever, if they can install a landline on YOUR specific lot - take a map and ask them.
And hope they are right with their answer.

samramon :

Dave, people like me agree to a contract price because we don't know anything about building so have to rely on a contractor, and many work by price of job not by hourly.

Note that most people couldn't even buy materials as they have no idea how or what to buy. And you might lose money by not knowing - buying too much of things or not buying enough, then you go back to get the same ceramic for example and they no longer have it... Problems with not knowing what one is doing...

For me the price was $25k total for our little 55 sq mt 1br "casita" and he actually stuck to that and did a good job, but did charge an extra $8k or so for "extras" not in the contract ... that I agreed to because they were to buy more quality materials and make the structure better, more comfortable etc.

All in all it was a good deal for me and he even finished ON TIME which was set in the contract.

We were there almost daily to check that things were going right even though in some cases we had no idea what was really "right", and they did screw up some minor things like a few windows where they left one inch spaces at the top (these were high up in our high ceiling area so we did not climb up to check them. We later had them fix those but I couldn't believe they thought they could get away with that.

I was told of a guy who builds houses for rich Ticos and charges by the hour and word on the street is that he makes his guys work hard and not slack off and he finishes on time etc. for a fair price. Don't ask me, I don't have his contact info but he's in the San Ramon area. So these type guys do exist here.

I would of course agree, if you don't have a background in construction in some way or form, it would be difficult to act as contractor yourself.  Just being able to read the planno/blueprints is a big advantage.  I had ours translated into English just to make sure everything was done to at least their specs.

And, as you say, you need to be there to check up on the people doing the work as often as possible.  I was on the job site every day.  Yet, I would run to the hardware store and by the time I got back something was screwed up.  It was a battle.

With the new place I'll have a house, two cabinas, a bird nursery/kitchen to build - plus all the bird habitats.  It shall be quite the adventure!   :joking:

- Expat Dave

Yes, the most important thing is to be there every day if you can and even if you don't know anything you learn as you go along and you can catch some mistakes.
We too missed some stuff when we had to go to town to buy ceramic or whatever, and came back and found things that weren't done quite right.

So I'd say it's true that the #1 thing is to just be there every day that you can - even if you "don't know anything".

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