So now you own that slice of paradise you have been dreaming about for so long. Next comes building the home you always wanted. But that most common question, “how much will it cost to build my new home?”
There are so many variables to that question to offer a specific answer. To get a specific answer, then you need all the variables to be the same. Such as you would find in a suburb where the same conditions exist, the same design is used, and the same finishing touches are included. As there are so few changes in this example, it is much easier to determine a fixed cost per square foot estimate. But this usually does not apply to building in Costa Rica.
Probably some of the primary reasons you decided to build a new home in Costa Rica is to take advantage of the amazing weather, the consistent tropical conditions, and the spectacular views. Which means that your design is going to include much more outdoor space when compared to a home in North America, such as a pool and the surrounding lounge in the back. Which is why you will need to calculate the cost per square foot differently than in North America also. You will need to calculate the total project area to include all the interior and the exterior spaces, including the outdoor spaces, swimming pool, balconies, garage, and any out buildings for storage.
Building a home in Costa Rica usually means that it will be a custom home, as it will be designed specifically to meet the limitations of the property as well as the specific desires of the owner. For example, is the land a flat area or on a slope, is the soil rocky, sandy, or clay-based, the amount of technology to be included in the home, sustainable design features, and adequate insulation for the tropical conditions? All of these variables bring their own costs, and therefore each project will cost out differently. Then you add in the cost of the finishings. Will you be getting those from a local hardware store, or having them custom made? Will you be choosing custom-made cabinets and counter-tops? All of these add up to make the final total.
Now you have a better understanding of why that simple question, “how much will it cost to build?” doesn’t have a simple answer.
First thing you need to get started is a professional architect who has been highly recommended by a number of people. Trust in other’s experiences and recommendations about architects as you don’t want to make a costly mistake of choosing the cheapest when they may not be the best. Remember that you will be working very closely together on this project, so they need to be someone you can work well together and that they follow your direction. Do not expect that you can lay out a rough design on a sheet of paper, return home awaiting the completion, and then return here expecting it to look exactly like what you had in mind.
You will need to work closely together with your architect. Determine what is the style, level of quality, and content you are looking for. You will need to understand the limitations and conditions of your property, and how that will affect the design as well as construction. Be clear on the types of spaces, the number of rooms, and the style of finishings you envision. With these details, then and only then can your architect give you a more accurate quote on the costs to be expected. Know that this quote will be adjusted as the project continues, and hopefully you have a budget that allows for increases in that initial quote. Building materials costs continue to rise in Costa Rica, some materials are no longer available just when you need them, and some take much longer for delivery than expected. Construction in Costa Rica is a real waiting game, and lesson in patience.
Now you certainly will find some builders who tell you they can build your new home for “x amount per meter”. That usually implies that this builder is expecting to repeat his previous designs or construction projects. He is basing his quote on repetition, meaning that he is expecting to build a specific type of house, use specific finishes, and expecting specific conditions. Nothing is that fixed in Costa Rica, and you may not want a repetition of what he has done before. You may have your own vision, and he may not have had any experience with a project that is so unique.
A good builder will be the one who tells you he needs to see the completed plans before he can provide any kind of quote or cost projections on your vision. Be sure to do your own homework before you make a commitment to an architect or a builder. When you do all of these steps, then there is the best possibility of a successful outcome and years of pleasure living your dream in Costa Rica.
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