Purchasing in a development

Please share your tips and advice for buying homes in developments in Costa Rica.

Ensure all water rights have been aquired make sure you see the signed documents and get copies. Ensure all permits are in place. Physically see your prooerty before agreeing to anything.

Make sure the hardscaping is in...and that there is more than a fancy gate.

Speak with owners of completed homes.

Check about monthly 'fees' then see how they stack up to other developments.

Post you questions and concerns on forums such as this one.

Suggest you stay for an extended time in the area of choice to make sure that it is what you hope it to be.

But more than anything I would strongly suggest you rent in the immediate area and see if it really has what you need, especially if you intend to live here full time.

Vacationing is very different than living here.

It is said that between 50-60% of those moving here, return to their home country within 2-3 years.

Property is very easy to buy...and very difficult to sell.

1.  Don't buy. Rent. The stats say you won't be here long enough to make buying worth it, and renting from your home country is a huge headache.

2. If you insist on buying, buy something that is already built and proven.  Too many scammers and dreamers to trust your hard-earned money with them.  In CR, I assume everyone is a crook and they have to prove their honesty.

I 'second' thewhizzs recommendation that one may be best to purchase a 'move in ready' home, in an established development rather than build one from scratch. The same applies to purchasing a 'stand alone' property.

I have learned so much from coming over the years as a visitor and then “making the move”, well kinda, cause though we received an email saying “your home is completed” in August 2018, it was in fact not, and still is not. So, “moving to Costa Rica” is still in progress, as is building with a developer.
The best lessons and the greatest strengths come from making a mistake but not giving up- staying the course and passing on from that knowledge to others so that we become “community” together.
I toured some developers and the “pitch” is very similar- I was most impressed with the one that was able to introduce me to actual homeowners that invites us to come in, sit down and talk. And. Their home was finished. I even got to talk to some kids (they are brutally honest❤️).  But, we bought with the “you can walk on water and touch the stars one at an irresistibly affordable price”, silly us.
I also got to sit and talk with a realtor in playa guiones. Who knew nearly EVERYTHING about living in the area, grew up there, married and has kids. The history of the whole “development craze” and who is where and does what. Interestingly, besides knowing about health insurance, medical care, residency, utilities, schools, tourists, crime and the legal system (what a professional!) - he was able to be candid about the real estate and advise that there are lots and lots and lots and lots and (okay you get it) of properties for sale in Costa Rica. I asked about “amenities” and gated communities and well, there are some in Costa Rica that over a 20 year period, have a pretty nice place.
So, some things to consider from my learning (which still goes on)
1) subscribe to forums and participate once you even get near the thought (okay, if you like Coach Hines you’ll appreciate that one) of moving o/retiring in Costa Rica. Education “ain’t cheap”.
2) visit the places you are drawn to, take “cheap” vacations with and then troll them online. You will find good and bad info-hopefully, if you only find good, RUN!- and then start yourself a little notebook about the one you want to invest in., because a lot of what is published online is “fabricated and embellished”. Like, if you see an article in an online newspaper like The Costa Rica Star (which the attorney looked at me like a deer in the headlight when I mentioned because it is not a Costa Rican newspaper) about the fantabulously world renowned architect and a place with a spa, restaurant, trails, organic gardens and waterfalls, etc etc HAVE THE PLACE TAKE YOU TO THOSE AMENITIES, if they advertise unbelievably affordable luxury, ask to see the “paperwork” regarding that affordability and stand on that affordable lot, and tour that affordable home and ask “so I can get THIS for THAT?”   and while you’re there, pull out your smartphone and say, take me to these homes (and scroll through the homes on their advertisements).
3) ask to meet a homeowner that is DONE with the process. While I was cutting vegetables in the kitchen a salesman walks in with prospective clients “oh hey, didn’t know you were here!” And, standing in my bathing suit I’m thinking ‘did the car in the driveway, door wide open, and me standing here not trigger a thought?  So I just responded, “yep, but the house isn’t done but you can look around since you’re already in my kitchen/living area”.  And, if this is your experience as a buyer, make a mental note that this could be your experience as a homeowner.   Make sure that is part of your paradise plan.
4) If you want to build in Costa Rica learn this term “manana, manana”.  Lol. We heard it for a couple years while visiting and watching the S-L-O-W process, from our favorite coffee shop, to restaurant to hotel (by the way La Garta Lodge is the BOMB to stay while you’re in process).
5) homeownership in Costa Rica is an experience!  Get to know the locals and learn where to look and who to go to for help on different things. Like getting a “notary”.  If you’re from the states this is an easy process, in Costa Rica it Costs about $100 US and must be an attorney. Also, you have to pay your taxes at a bank and you need home insurance and where you are building May or may not have internet access. You may also want to have “stuff you buy from San Jose” delivered. Giving directions when there are no real addresses is HILARIOUS and DAUNTING at the same time. And, you need to develope “community” to help you watch each other’s properties, get pool and house cleaners if that’s what you need etc.  a friend of ours lives in a “development that never became a development” and the homeowners have a Facebook group that keeps each other informed if there is a fire, break in, outage, weather extreme etc. so smart.
5) I recommend renting, just because I wanted “Pura Vida” and actually found that I had it all along in my sweet home of Tennessee, once I went through the development process with my boyfriend (like straight outta Its a wonderful life’). I just LOVE and I mean love Costa Rica in Nosara-the people, views, activity, beaches, weather from December to May, but I describe my experience much like owning a Lexus in the slums when people ask...and, they do.  So, unless you do a lot, A LOT of research first, due diligence, take the journey with an attorney IN Costa Rica, stay nearby to watch the progress, talk to the people who send you the bills and discuss where your money is and if it’s doing what you sent it to do, make it clear you don’t want people staying in your unfinished or finished home without your knowledge, Pura  Vida can be just that, UNTIL IT ISN’T.
6) Don’t let anyone steal your money, kill your dreams or destroy your hopes. If you do get caught in a snag in Costa Rica GET AN ATTORNEY, call the embassy of your country, subscribe to the local paper/media and read it and contact them about YOUR experience and see if they have any info (and are interested in yours) and KNOW this- Costa Rican’s LOVE their country. They have preserved a Pura Vida lifestyle and managed to create a place where people love to come, and they look out for each other. If some greed monger who is running from a sceme in another country is setting up shop in their country, they aren’t just gonna smile and wave. Talk, talk, talk.

There are so called “squatters “ laws and laws about “living with”, “impregnating” ticas that you might want to get familiar with if you’re headed there and considering that thought  There are great articles you can google about people buying land, inheriting land, having relations (prostitution is legal by the way), developments leaving all their rusty equipment, unfinished projects and legal activity regarding things like this for you to review during your due diligence. I heard one horror story from a restaurant owner/resident for over 10 years that literally blew my mind about a very wealthy person and how he dealt with unsatisfied customers. I know there are three sides to every story but I also know that gossip is almost always born from truth, but grew up unsupervised.

Interestingly to note, though correlation is not always causation, two longtime business owners are looking to leave that mothership and just “enjoy living” because things have changed sooooo much. So, consider that if you’re wanting to open a business, and begin life in Nosara, it is growing FAST.

There have been some “changes” regarding building/development in Nicoya/Nosara that could DIRECTLY affect your plans so go to the meetings, subscribe to local politics etc.  New Electricity taxes may affect you here real soon too. Stay informed and involved in your area!  Surprises (one after another after another aren’t fun, unless you have unlimited money and time and that entertains you)😁

A great forum to get on besides  this one is welovecostarica.com. I was amazed at how candid it is!  Very, very candid and the moderators are not easily “moved” as you will read Scott piping in on a thread where things get pretty detailed and heated saying, “if the attorney says take down, I will.”  But, most is still there for you to peruse.

Developments have been going on in the Guanacaste area since the 60s and yet there are FEW finished and successful ones. THAT speaks volumes. So, if you want an unbelievable, affordable, luxury community filled with a plethora of amenities for you to enjoy-  consider this “timeline” as you invest. And, consider the costs.

Lastly for now, PROTECT YOURSELF.  You might have a contract that Is SPELLED  out for costs, penalties, timelines, defaults, arbitration, design, amenities, etc and when it comes down to it you could be sitting across from the new CEO who scapegoats on the old CEO and says, well, the contract is filled with mistakes and he shouldn’t have promised that. Or sold it for that price etc and you can take us to court but we’ll just not finish your house, and appeal it in court until you lose so much in legal fees you wish you hadn’t. That would be awful. I find that leaving your phone on record during meetings, taking notes of the conversation during the meeting, writing down who was present and where you were at, making sure you don’t meet alone, careful when you “friend” staff, and following up ALL of your interactions with email/text/WhatsApp as well as taking lots of pictures and videos has proved INVALUABLE. Be smart. Be your own best defense!

Stay tuned, we’re not done and I will update more “tips” as we go. I am also journeying through the legal system, residency, homeownership and everyday life.

I hope my journey helps YOU  and ME have Pura Vida in this spectacular place!

Lots of good info.

Just a word though, about the site you mentioned. and I guess you haven't read it recently. Scott sold that site quite a while ago, and participation  in the forum has declined, although good info can be found if you search for it, but it won't be current.

Yep

The only ones I know of in nosara are Nosara Hills, Kalia, Bellazo, Costa Dorado... are there any others?

My advice is to ask for a list of people involved, like Who is the developer? Who is the builder? Is there a corporate or S.A. name of the company?

Once you have as many names as you can get (get their cards if you can!), look them up on the internet. Look carefully, spend some time. Search on google, search on Yahoo, try first names first, last names first etc.

Ask everyone you know in Costa Rica if they have heard of any of these people, of this development, and if they have any info on them.

I once hired a builder and had not looked deeply enough online. Later when it was almost too late I found out he had been sued for problems of not finishing his work. Furthermore, I found out right before signing with him that he was very hard to get ahold of, he did not return calls, and when after days of trying, when I really needed to get ahold of him on the phone, he answered and sounded to me and my friend (I put him on speaker) like he was drunk.

Later he finally sent me the plan for the house by email (weeks late!) and it was 30% smaller than we had agreed to, and 50% more money than we had agreed to! He must have thought I was an idiot gringo who he could cheat. (He was a gringo too.)

Luckily I had not yet given him any money or signed a contract, so I quickly let him know I wasn't hiring him, after all, and found another guy.

1. Ask to meet and talk to several people who live at the development or whose homes have been completed. Ask them a lot of questions: what problems have they had, did they get all that was promised to them, and so on.
2. Ask neighbors near the development and anyone you can find to talk to in town if they know about the development. If it's a relatively small town ask all the realtors in town, ask some attorneys, ask anyone you meet. Ask on forums like this.

The bottom line is that some developers are okay and others are not. You need to be SURE  you are buying from a good and honest one.

Any contract you sign, tell them you want to show it to YOUR attorney first. Find one who is not affiliated with the development, and who has been recommended to you buy people whose opinion you can trust. Tell the attorney you need to make sure you are covered by the contract, that it says what you think it does, that there are words in there to protect you, that force the builder to come through "or else", and that they meet every promise they've made to you. There needs to be a time limit on when the house will be done and the keys handed over to you. Yes there are weather issues to account for that, but a good builder should be able to give  you a promised time within a couple months or so.

I would not live in a development. I like some space around me, some privacy, quiet and freedom.

But there are plenty of homes already built that you can buy - just ask. Look around and see what's available.  If you really want to be in a development with other gringos go for it but be careful and go over every point of the contract before signing it.

If you don't need to be in a gated community or "development" there are plenty of options on the market, just look for them, and don't be afraid to build your own home either. It's really not that hard at all, you just get hooked up with honest people who have a good track record, and be on site to make sure everyone's working on it and not goofing off. Our house was built without any problems and on time.  It's do-able and not really difficult but you need someone with some experience to help you through it. So just ask around and find people with good track records.

Personally I think building your own home on a property you buy is much safer and easier than buying in a development. I like building my own home because I can make it how I want it and be involved in all aspects, choosing materials and prices and so on.

Attempted to negotiate with this company to find a win win solution to their mismanaged billing, inability to honor the contract and completion of the home. We connected with Yanin who is the client relations personnel. They sent us a settlement, we replied with ours and they went dark. They don’t want to make it right, they just want to “buy time” so they can sell more lots and dreams. They haven’t been successful in building the homes and community and the hotel they started is a crumbling foundation. The only thing they’ve succeeded at is selling many lots and using the money to build their own homes (models and company personnel) and their assets. They also built homes outside of the community while the ones who’ve paid for homes in the community still wait. Like us. They are truly appalling. Can’t wait for our day in court. If you build with them, and you aren’t part of the scam, I am so sorry for what you are about to or are going through.

What a nightmare, I am all familiar with those problems. Nicoya is full of crooked lawyers who will jump from Plaintiff to Defendant  if the money's right. They will extend all court appointments so the Plaintiff gives up or the expenses become too much, not to mention the judges decision when the defendant's attorney is a relative or a friend, a nightmare. We lost a law suit we started in Samara because our lawyer jumped ship to the defendant's side.

Yes. You are spot on. Corruption. We actually called this pretty quickly after reviewing our invoices and compared our records to theirs. That is when I went online to protect future customers because we are lucky we have a super attorney but you will pay for it. Hopefully our efforts will deter future developments looking to do this under new names. This company actually has made many attempts. They have several “started communities” and there are other attorneys helping other clients. I would never ever recommend building in a new development because promises are cheap and contracts really mean nothing. The old adage that a house is only worth what you can sell it for applies just as much as a contract is only valid if you can enforce it.  So having a great contract is in the eyes of the beholder. They could have written in a million dollar penalty (and we actually discussed that) and they would’ve agreed because they never had an intention to honor it.
I love samara but really appreciate your input. This company is trying diligently to single us out as the exception and I am here to say we are just willing to fight to protect others. Hope you ended up finding your Pura Vida as I know we will😊

We also had problems with lawyers, when trying to sell a large tract of land, overlooking the beach in which we have a small interest in. Both lawyers and a judge are involved, and it has gone on for years. At this point in time, it is in a positive position ...so keeping our fingers crossed, now that the correct name is on the legal paperwork!

Awesome. So good to know. Not things you think about doing a lot of due diligence when moving to Costa Rica. You look at all the obvious things not what “could happen”.  So glad things are working out for you!  With the internet, gone are the days of herding the uninformed and unsuspecting. Love these forums.

This development also provided all of the contents for inside the home we bought, which still isn’t finished or even being worked on because we chose to exercise our rights and not just be taken. 

They charged $73,000 + $35,000 prepaid in the contract for a four bedroom home. It took six months to get a partial shipment from China. The bedroom furnishings were made by them and so substandard they actually bolted to our walls!  When we asked for individual pricing, they promised and promised they’d provide until yesterday when we get an email from Yanin saying they will not. They won’t because they know we know it’s not worth half that.  Since we already paid $35000 we said we will pick from your billing what we would like to keep. Again, they go dark.
The lies continue as they sell more dreams to steal. Someone actually reviewed them on google and praised them for their beachfront home. The developer has no beachfront homes. Blatant deception. Stay away from developers like these, they will talk a big game and take whatever they can from you and string you along by your hopes.

Just a thought, but have you considered posting photos of the unfinished work on your house and adding a link to a website where you can add photos, such as Dropbox?

I’ve put them on google and Pinterest and yes, developing a website now of the years of progress and every detail of the transactions.   The only delay is in giving them the opportunity to do the right thing.
Once it’s published, it’s game over.

Good luck, and glad you are sharing your info to help others to be very careful in signing on with any developers.
Not all developers are crooks and one CAN buy in a development without any major problems. BUT one has to do investigation of the developer and make sure they're known to honor contracts...

I'm curious: Are there ANY homes in this development you speak of? Is anyone living there in a home the developer built? Or are they just selling /have sold lots without building anything? (Maybe you have answered this previously but I don't recall...) Are there ANY happy (ir even semi-satisfied) purchasers of land and homes there?

Hi, what company are you speaking of please?

We are going to look at the Bellazo community in Nosara Sept. 7th

If you look for more of justagirl's posts you'll see what she's talking about.

We do advise you to heed the warnings when considering purchasing a property. Enjoy your stay there, however, do not rush into signing a contract.

"Act In Haste, Repent At Leisure”  (Aphorism)

Susan, would suggest you become very, very cautious in nature (if you are not that way already) in the second week of September. BE CAREFUL.

Be careful of what?

Making any decisions whatsoever. Please do your research. Read reviews. Decipher real reviews from fake ones. Ask to talk to real homeowners. Send private messages to people with real experience (like justagirl etc). Look up company principals. Etc.

I am doing all of that except I do not yet know the names of the "company principals."  Do you?

So our attorney has attempted to contact their attorney for weeks and can’t even get a reply. I hope no one eats the cheese in Kalia/bellazo trap

susansmc :

I am doing all of that except I do not yet know the names of the "company principals."  Do you?

Search the net deeply.
For example, in 5 min. I found this in the Costa Rica Star by searching Kalia.

I found that Bellazo is connected with Kalia Living.
Then I researched Kalia Living and found this in the Costa Rica Star online news:
https://news.co.cr/learn-costa-ricas-la … ing/58366/

"What makes Kalia Living homes unique:

The company was founded in 2005 and the team is led by architect and developer Amnon Dahan who had a successful career in Los Angeles, California before falling in love with Costa Rica.
Kalia has chosen the Gold Coast of Guanacaste to create amazing eco-friendly communities."

A further search of the name Amnon Dahan reveals this page:
Amnon Dahan

Try searching " Amnon Dahan reputation " for example. If you can find out where he last lived (did he live in Los Angeles, CA as the article says, or was it Granada Hills or another outlying area? )

If you can find out where he lived, then from there you can do one of those online legal database searches for more info: court records, and so on. Remember that there may be others with this name, so you have to make sure before making any accusations that the info you get refers to THIS Amnon Dahan.

These records searches can cost anywhere between Free and $29. Often you can get a free 3-7 day trial and use that then cancel the service. When using these online records services remember to use an anonymous junk email  to sign up because they'll spam you to death. Just create a new online email  profile that you can use only to sign up for this records search service.

This is an example of the kind of investigating I'd do before investing a LOT of money with someone I don't know from Adam.

Oh, and always take brochures or ads re Developments with a large grain of salt. Certainly some are good and honest. Others... ?

I know something of what I am talking about. I did something once I now consider very stupid of me.

I went to one of those "time share" meetings in exchange for a free tour to an island.
I went and the person doing the "presentation" promised us the world, while plying my wife and I with free champagne at 10am in the morning.

What they told us sounded so good, we signed up.

Later that day when I got home I took the time to read the contract I signed.
All the things they promised us verbally were lies. There was nothing in the contract that stated the benefits we'd been told of.

Bottom line: We had to spend the next day - the last day of our vacation - running around to government agencies to cancel the contract we'd been lied to about.

Do all Time Share companies or Community home sales people lie? No.
Do some? Yes.
So you have to do a lot of due diligence and be sure of the solid reputation of the people who are in charge.

And in one phone call found out that the Costa Rica Star is s real estate advertising platform and not a local paper.or online paper

Justagirl8870 :

And in one phone call found out that the Costa Rica Star is s real estate advertising platform and not a local paper.or online paper

That doesn't surprise me.
By the way I only was recommending the article because it gave a name of someone associated with the development.

In my opinion it would be helpful to publish the names of people involved in that development here. As long as we're not saying anything about them other than that they are involved in the project, and if their names are already publicly given, I don't see that there should be any issue with publishing their names here.

That may help others to investigate their history and records of success or failure or ? and get more info out to those who may be interested in buying in their development.
Who knows? Maybe they've got very clean, successful records?
:D

Here are the questions we are asking of the different developers we are talking to in Costa Rica

fyi,

Questions for Developers/Builders of new communities in Costa Rica

1.     What percentage of homes have been COMPLETED within the last year?
2.    How many homes are under contract to be built at this time?
3.    How many of the homes in (2) above have in their contract, the agreement to rent the home out for the 1st year?  Under that rental program, what percentage of rents received does the development keep?  What costs do the owners still have to pay out of their percentage of rental income? Utilities?  Property taxes? Etc??? At a 50% rental rate, what is the estimated net Cash to owner after owner’s costs and your share of rents? 
4.    What is the construction schedule for completion of homes over the next 3 years?  May we have a copy of it?
5.    How many licensed contractors are employed on this development project at this time?  How many additional contractors do you plan on hiring and based on what—the construction schedule? Contracts entered into?  Or?
6.    What is the total number of homes that can be built in the development?
7.    What percentage of homes must be completed prior to the commencement of the community buildings?  Or, what percent complete and what percent under contract?
8.    Which community buildings are being built first?  Is there a phase construction plan for the community buildings?  May we have a copy?
9.    What is the water supply source exactly?  Does the government require water quality tests, and if yes, what and how often and what do they test for?  Is a permit required for the water supply and what is it based upon?
10.    How is electricity provided?  Is it installed in the entire development yet?  Typical costs for an 1 story approximately 2, 000 sq.ft. home?
11.    Internet access—speed, carrier choices, est. costs/month? Service provided—please describe.
12.    Drainage on property and entire development—what was needed and how solved?
13.    May we have a copy of the materials list please on the model we are interested in?
14.    Will there be wiring installed for a home security system? By whom? What kind?
15.    Will there be GFCI outlets installed?
16.    Will it have central heat and air-conditioning installed?  Mitsubishi split units or ?
17.    Will it have a garbage disposal?
18.    What appliances will it come with?  Brand, electric? Propane?  ????
19.    Does our price include cabinetry or counter tops, electricity outlets, interior doors, toilets, light switches?
20.    Do you use these to construct the walls? 
SIP PANEL CONSTRUCTION PRICES COSTA RICA
Very similar prices per sq.ft can be achieved with a newer method which uses SIP panels. Those sturdy panels have a styrofoam core and magnesium oxide boards on each side. They get screwed together with galvanized steel channels or pine and get then get a similar surface treatment as other lightweight construction methods. This results in a very lightweight, rigid and earthquake proof structure. Another advantage is its high insulation value which is especially important for the all roofs in the tropics and the walls for air-conditioned houses.
21.    What charges are NOT included in the construction cost we are quoted?  Permit fees?  Drainage? ??? Design or planning fees? ???
22.    We would like the name(s) of people who use the local wood there to build furniture
23.    What landscaping is INCLUDED in the purchase price? Front of home, side yards, pool area, back yard?
24.    Is there an outside building/bar included in the purchase price that is connected to the pool?  What is in it exactly?
25.    Is an HOA already formed and active in the community?  If yes, what are the amenities that have been completed?  What are the HOA dues? 
26.    What percentage of lots must be sold before an HOA  will be formed or will it need to be a percentage of homes actually being built/completed before the HOA amenities will be started/completed?  What are the HOA dues for the development while the developers still operate the community?  Is there a template HOA document being used, and if yes, may we have a copy of it?  What do you anticipate the HOA dues to be at their highest when all the amenities are in?

Sounds good, however I doubt you will get all the questions answered to your satisfaction.,,and how can you hold them responsible if something hasn't been done to these specifications?

Yep. What Sam and Kohlerias said. And they can answer them and how is one to know if they’re even telling the truth? Ask to TALK IN PERSON to show homeowners who are in no way affiliated (an investor in, an employee of, a family member or personal friend of) with the developer. Ask for those names and ask to speak to them and see their completed home in person. Best of luck. And sorry to be redundant but please be very cautious.

Do yourself a favor,buy an existing home already built,or rent.Unless you are willing to be at the building site everyday,and have your materials guarded at night you will be pulling your hair out.Just sayin,,pura vida...

Surffeaver :

Do yourself a favor,buy an existing home already built,or rent.Unless you are willing to be at the building site everyday,and have your materials guarded at night you will be pulling your hair out.Just sayin,,pura vida...

This.  Buy an existing home.  Don't buy dreams, because that's exactly what they're selling you. It's the wild west and nobody is accountable for anything.  They will draw you along until you give up and then there will be more dreams to sell in another location to other dreamers.

Surffeaver :

Do yourself a favor,buy an existing home already built,or rent.Unless you are willing to be at the building site everyday,and have your materials guarded at night you will be pulling your hair out.Just sayin,,pura vida...

Sorry, I would have to disagree with this one... and I am currently selling my home.  At the same time I am building a new home and three cabina's in the south. 

The problem with building an existing home here is that all the issues of CR construction have already been hidden.  I have watched many homes being built here over the years and on every single one I was shocked and amazed at the things that they'd do, or not do. 

Fortunately, on my San Ramon home I had a Tico build our cabina that we'd live in prior to the house construction.  Although I had a construction background, I just didn't want to build the house myself.  The cabina was done so poorly and contrary to common sense, I hired an English guy to help me build the house myself.  The cost was literally 1/4 of the estimates that I received for a contract price.  We both agreed that CR building codes were so poor that we built using San Francisco, CA code as it was online, free and they have many earthquakes as we do here.

As to having things stolen, that just depends on the area.  We live in a very safe area, not an HOA, and haven't had a trespasser on our property in the ten years we've been here.  Same as any other country, just depends on your neighborhood.  If you have people coming in and stealing, I would have second thoughts on building there at all.

...just my two cents.   ;)

- Expat Dave

Good questions to ask, although I doubt any developer will tell you the answers to all of them. Also do not believe the answers that they give you in person. Make sure they are spelled out in the contract. If it's not in writing it means jack.

I think sip panels are great, but I wouldn't let it be a deal closer if they use other materials, as long as they use proper insulation, especially in the roof. Sip panels are much quicker to build with, and this is an advantage if you plan to come and be there when they are building.

You can make sure they put enough screws in the roof for example, which means many more than Ticos often put. And good long thick ones not flimsy little average screws.

in my opinion, it is super important to be there when they are Even if you don't know anything about building, you can do research and find out things to check, like the best size for drainage to the sewage, and so forth.

In fact you need to get these things in writing as well in my opinion, before building. 

I think it is very well known that many developers skimp on materials when building your house. so you have to be prepared in the sense of having it in writing as to the materials they will use. And, it needs to be in writing that there are penalties for not completing the tasks as contracted.

I know that in the USA's HOAs are often able to change the monthly fees and rules and other things. ask them if these rules will ever be able to be changed by them, because I know this is a big problem with HOAs in the USA. If you buy any development in the USA oh, and they have an HOA, the HOA can basically change the rules anytime they want, including monthly prices and so forth. There may or may not be regulations regarding how far they can go with that, but it is often a problem with HOAs.

I think you can buy a home already built and that is fine or you can build your own and that is fine. It really depends on who you work with, but if you build it you have to be there to make sure things go right.

We are selling a home that is already built, and lots  to build on as well, but the house was built according to U.S. standards, and  houses can certainly be built to your standards.

We used sip panels and the house was built in a very short time. We were here everyday to make sure things went according to plan, and that good materials were used. We knew nothing about building, but in the end we were very happy we built our own home. We learned as we went along, and read about things we needed to watch out for before we started. I can honestly tell you that we had none of the problems that I've read about, when we built our home. Everything went very smoothly and quickly, and we were happy with the results.

I highly recommend building with SIP panels because they are relatively inexpensive and quick to build with. They are well-insulated and they withstand earthquakes very well.

samramon :

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in my opinion, it is super important to be there when they are Even if you don't know anything about building, you can do research and find out things to check, like the best size for drainage to the sewage, and so forth.

In fact you need to get these things in writing as well in my opinion, before building. 

I think it is very well known that many developers skimp on materials when building your house. so you have to be prepared in the sense of having it in writing as to the materials they will use. And, it needs to be in writing that there are penalties for not completing the tasks as contracted..

Soooo agree with this.

- Expat Dave

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