What are the steps to building a house in Costa Rica?



To build a house in Costa Rica can be quite a process. We, the team at Ballena Homes are committed to making the process of your new home construction as smooth as we can. So, before you make any mistakes, let me walk you through the 8 basic steps to building a house in Costa Rica.

1. Budget
What is your budget? Dreaming of a large house on a beautiful home site is so easy. Have a good look
at your finances and see what you can actually afford.  Be realistic about this, and account for water management, a car port, a bodega / storage shed, landscaping, driveways, furniture and appliances. If you budget a rough estimate of $110 per sq. ft of house, it will get you in the ballpark….understand that a pool, carport, landscaping, water management, appliances and furniture, etc. is above that.

2. Land
Book a meeting with one of our expert agents in the area you are interested in. Take into account the availability of the utilities. Look at properties you can afford, so you can build a house that is within your budget. The team will assist you to get a “water letter” from the water provider – ensuring that you have water concession; as well as checking the zoning from the municipal engineering department. Also, the team will check for any restrictions – creek and road setbacks, etc.  Soil samples will need to be taken to ensure that you are buying a lot that can be built on, without a lot of extra retaining walls, costs! This is normally a part of the “Due Diligence” leading up to closing on the property, make sure your legal team includes these in the “Sales Purchase Agreement”!

3. Close
Once you have an accepted offer, find yourself a closing attorney. Make sure your attorney does a complete title search and double check on the requirements for a permit to build a house. Then once closed,  you can start the permitting process. Closing will take anywhere from 1 – 3 months, depending on the situation. You can use this time to begin the design process of your home.

4. Design
What sort of house can you visualize for yourself? This is the most exciting part! Match the design of your future house to your budget. The Ballena Homes team will help you to make your dream ideas into reality!  They know what works in the jungle, what is the most economical and quality way to build your house. As soon as you have the design and construction plans, you can start the permitting process. Remember that airflow and outdoor space are integral parts of the design process! Airflow is what keeps your house cool, and you can never have too much outdoor space.

5. Permits
This will be done by the Ballena Homes team and can take up to 3 months, depending on the individual situation:
·       Setbacks from rivers, creeks requested from INVU.
·       House drawings submitted first to the Federated Engineers and Architects Association (CFIA) for            approval
·       Power requested from ICE, the local power provider
·       Water requested from by the institution responsible for the water service supply in that particular location.
·       If the construction is larger than 300 m2 (3,300 ft2), an environmental feasibility certificate has to be granted by SETENA.
·       The final construction permit requested at the engineering department of your municipality.
6. Refine
Refine all the details of your future home. Select the colors, finishing materials, fixtures and more! 
Our team assists you with this, taking you to find tile, plumbing fixtures, etc. Advising you where to
purchase things, what to purchase in the USA and ship, etc.

7. Build
Once you have closed on the property, your blueprints and design stage completed, you can start to build your house. You should be ready to move in to your new home in around 8 months (depending on the rains).

8. Move in
With all you’ve been through, you really deserve the last step of the process. YES! Enjoy watching your
new home take shape. With construction complete, it’s time to move in.

The steps to build a house in Costa Rica are quite clear. 

Contact us, we will help you … from concept to completion!

Please Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: