How to Buy Real Estate and Build Your Own Home in Costa Rica

Top Tips and Better Decision Making

Finding, buying and building in Costa Rica can be an intimidating task. Aside from the many unknowns that a construction can bring you’d be forgiven for thinking that the potential language barrier will make things impossible. Isn’t it refreshing to know that there are many families with success stories, proving that this is a dream that is achievable without even needing to be in Costa Rica?

Like building anywhere in the world, proper planning is vital. Start with some good foundations and you’ll be off to a flying start. The property most suited to you depends on your budget and architectural preference whether on a prepared lot within a development or a parcel with a much more rural setting. Make sure that you carry out plenty of research when it comes to power and water infrastructure.

Planned developments

Remember that planned developments cost more per-square meter, justifiable when you take into account the already installed utility infrastructure. It is also important to remember that many planned developments have an annual association fee – so ensure you find out exactly what these charges are.

When it comes to identifying the better planned development, look for other homes that are already built. Schedule a walk through with your realtor and this will help you get a feel for the degree of investment other owners are making.

Ensure that the development complies with Costa Rican building regulations and permits are already in place. Furthermore, check that the development complies with the country’s environmental legislation.

Costa Verde Estates positioned in Dominical is a great example of a planned development that ticks all the boxes. With lush vegetation and exotic wildlife, ocean view lot prices start at $120,000. These lots are located within a gated community with electricity, water and cable satellite connections.

Raw Land

Often overlooked by first time investors raw land can offer you more flexibility when it comes to designing your dream home. With the absence of annual association fees you’ll be responsible ensuring your properties infrastructure is maintained. Important factors to consider include the distance from the closest transformer to your planned house.

You will need to ensure that you can obtain permission to connect to the transformer and begin confirming costs to do this. If you are looking for energy efficient alternatives such as solar power consider which facilities you are going to have on your property.
And then there’s the water – find out what property is available on the property and make sure you have the right to use it. Finally make sure that you understand the access rights to your property.

Positioned in Platanillo Dominical, a 6854.84 sq m lot is the perfect investment. Priced at just $58,000 this secluded piece of land offers privacy and uninterrupted jungle views. This lot is positioned closet to the beach and access to water and electricity.

Understand your potential building costs

Although ocean view properties continue to be the most sought after each is very unique and as such building costs can vary considerably. A few characteristics you need to look out for include the way in which the property slopes, if at all. You will need to ascertain whether you need retention walls or what sort of foundation is required for the type of land you intend to build on.

If you already know how much you intend to invest – you’ll only be able to stick to a budget if you consider a level lot. In planned developments, you’ll need to be sure you’re dream home fits is compliant with regulations. With raw land you’ll need to stop yourself from becoming emotionally attached to a lot that is too expensive to make habitable.

Add a buffer and be patient

Construction schedules can be difficult to stick to no matter where you are in the world and Costa Rica is certainly no exception. You will find that your completion date will slip as unforeseen obstacles arise – plan as well as you can and remain patient.

With over 13 years’ experience in the Costa Rican real estate industry Daveed Hollander is trusted realtor who lives in the South Pacific community of Dominical. He built his own home in 2011 where he lives with his wife and two young children.

James Drews

James Drews

Vice President, Sales. Age 43 Prior to co-founding VESTA GROUP, James moved to Costa Rica in 1996 and began his real estate career here by co-founding Dominical Realty. In 2001, the company obtained a Coldwell Banker independent franchise, and three years later partnered with another Coldwell Banker franchise in Costa Rica to become Vesta Group, the Master-Franchise-holder for the entire country. As a member of the Global Association of Realtors and the U.S.-based National Association of Realtors, the Master Franchise has already grown to ten (10) offices throughout the country, with several more currently in process. James is married to a Costa Rican, and proud father of 3 daughters ages 7,10, and 20. James, is well respected among the local and foreign community, and carries high ethical standards, and a hard working family man that seeks to provide his customers with the best level of service possible. James goes out of his way to seek out new frontiers that are ahead of the wave, and specializes in rural and remote farmland, developing land and collecting legacy type of properties. Surfing big waves, fishing, hiking, and travel are favorite pastimes. Daily goal is a new discovery. Approaching 20 years of living in Costa Rica, James knows his territory well, and has much love for his new country and it's people, and will guide you well, and share his resources and local knowle​d​ge with you to make your new venture successful.​ ​