Having a Custom Home Built in Costa Rica

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    We purchased our lot in August 2007 from Pacific Lots of Costa Rica, located along the Costa Ballena in the southern Pacific region of Costa Rica.  The lot had all infrastructure already completed (road, water and electric) which is rare in many developments.  We began working on our home design with the developer in June 2008, signed our construction contract in August 2009, broke ground in January 2010 and took possession of our home in January 2011.  We were very hands-on throughout the entire process, from initial design to the touch-ups after the developer handed us the keys to our home.  We took longer than others might, as we were not sure of the design and made a number of changes before we were satisfied.  The developer has a compete staff of architects, engineers, builders, electricians, plumbers, cabinet makers and does not farm out any of the process, in fact their construction staff totals nearly 500.

    We started our design from scratch as a 2-D sketch on graph paper.  From there, the Design team transformed our rough drawing into a 3-D AutoCAD plan.  We were then carefully coached by the Design team through several modifications until we reached our final plan.  We had regular communications with the Design team via email and telephone and visited with them in person a few times along the way.

    During construction Design sent us regular photo updates via email and we continued to have regular communications as we had done during the design phase.  Based upon the photo updates we were able to observe progress on our home from afar.  We were also able to ask questions about the construction process in real time and make minor adjustments to the build.  We made two site visits during construction timed according to advice we received from the Design team.  While in Ojochal we had several meetings with the Design team; we visited the construction site several times and made final selections of tiles, counters, cabinetry and the like. The Design team also educated us regarding the importance of water management and erosion control in Costa Rica and they provided us with assistance in obtaining landscaping services.

    A few things we learned about building a home in Costa Rica are that finishing materials are limited in comparison to North America, most of the work is done by hand and lastly, Mother Nature always has the final word on progress.  The design team for Pacific Lots delivered us a solidly constructed, beautiful home that we are just now beginning to enjoy.  Whenever we visited or contacted the office the staff was pleasant and helpful, often going out of their way to assist us in areas that were well outside their job description.  On the worksite we were greeted by an incredibly hard working, smiling construction crew who demonstrated genuine pride in their work.  We were very humbled to see what they could accomplish with lots of elbow grease and low tech, limited tools.

    Why did we choose Pacific Lots design team?  We talked to a number of people in Ojochal who chose other builders and some who contracted their own build.  The vast majority described their construction experience as slow and frustrating and a full-time on-site job.  With full time jobs back in Canada we truly believe that we would not have been able to build our home without the attention and assistance we received from the design team.  Every construction projects has some bumps and we had our share, but working together with the design team we navigated our way to our dream home in Costa Rica.

    Pacific Lots represents the largest expat development in Costa Rica.  Now in their 23rd year of operation, the development consists of 17 phases of which 14 are sold out.  The company not only sells fully improved home sites complete with road, water and electric to the sites and is the largest builder of custom homes in Costa Rica.  They offer a 4 day Discovery tour 4 or 5 times monthly of their development in the southern Pacific  region of Costa Rica (Costa Ballena) at a cost of only $299 per person.  Home sites start at $40,000.  For more information see

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