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Chapter 13 - Buying a Lot and Building

Building your own home has a lot of advantages, and in fact, in some parts of the country it’s your only option. Over the years, many expatriates and retirees have decided to take this route, whether out of preference or necessity. For some it has gone well, for others, not so much. In any country, building a home is a complicated, tedious and potentially expensive undertaking. If you do it right, however, it can have significant cost savings, and it will pay intangible dividends for years to come as you enjoy living in the home of your dreams.

This chapter is meant to be an introduction to building a single home on a lot. All home builders should of course seek professional advice from a trusted lawyer and other certified professionals before beginning this process, however this chapter should give you a clear idea what questions to ask and offer a general framework of how to proceed.

First, the chapter will quickly review the reasons for buying a lot and building your own house. Next, it will give some pointers on things to think about before you start building. This includes design and materials, hiring an architect, and the unique location and characteristics of your property. When it comes to the actual building, you’ll have to decide whether to hire a contractor, how to deal with employees, how to estimate materials costs, and what kind of time line you can reasonably expect to be followed. Finally, the chapter will give you a few tips on supervising construction in Costa Rica, how to protect yourself from theft and mismanagement, and what to watch out for when it comes to furnishings.