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All you need to know about Costa Rica home inspections

All you need to know about Costa Rica home inspectionsCosta Rica home inspections are totally necessary when buying a property, but most buyers don’t know it.

Did you know that very few buyers ever request information on Costa Rica home inspections? Now that you fell in love with that beautiful 2 bedroom ranch home for sale.

How do you know that this house is in perfect condition? You fell in love with these fabulous ocean views. But is the structure safe? Maybe the roof needs to be replaced. That’s expensive. Or that ridge down to the ocean looks scary, can the house slide down the mountain in a rainstorm? What about the septic system, is it still good?

You just want to buy it now. This is the home you have wanted to retire to or use as a vacation home. Your offer was accepted by the seller. So what is the next step?

Smart buyers find themselves a home inspector. The problem is that in Costa Rica it is not customary to hire a home inspector when buying a property. Costa Ricans seldom do a home inspection. most just ask a find or family member, who is an engineer, architect or works in construction to have a look at the house.

And that’s what they do: have a look.

Costa Rica home inspections

A good home inspector will offer you different type reports. You can ask for a very basic report or a very detailed report. Prices are of course different for each as the time spent on inspection as well as writing up the report is very different in each. So what are the details a home inspector should look at when doing a Costa Rica home inspection? I recommend

  • Structural integrity
  • Interior and exterior walls
  • Roof, flashings, gutters, soffits, fascia, and downspouts
  • Electrical
  • TV/Internet connections
  • Plumbing
  • Doors & windows + hardware
  • Retainer Walls
  • Septic, grey water drainage
  • Potable water pressure
  • Drainage of the property
  • Access road + gate
  • Fences
  • Landscaping
  • Swimming pool – pumps
  • Balconies and decks
  • Air conditioning (if available)
  • Common areas in case of condominiums

A nightmare?

How do you make sure that you are buying a Costa Rica property that will not be a nightmare in the future? A good realtor will recommend and will give you information on Costa Rica home inspections. Others don’t since they fear they will lose a sale.

When the home inspection shows any serious problems after your agent recommends an inspection, you will probably stay with this agent to find another property that suits your needs. You don’t want a nightmare. Do yourself that huge favor, get information on Costa Rica home inspections and pay for a good home inspection service.

Different construction codes

I am sure you will use the right attorney to transfer the title of your new property. Having a good and honest home inspection done is as important as that.

In Costa Rica, we have different construction codes than other parts of the world. Just like anywhere else, in the different areas, we have different soil, more or less rainfall, warmer or cooler climates and you can be closer to the usual earthquake epicenters. And, just as important, is your standard of construction versus the standard used in Costa Rica.

You have different options for roofing, waste disposal, of topography and many other things that are important to the construction of the home. Also, we have different building codes than many other countries in the world.

For example, you will receive a detailed revision of the structure of the home as we have earthquakes all the time. On the other hand, it will sound strange to a North American that the electrical system of 90% of the homes is not grounded.

Hire just anybody?

Many retired people in Costa Rica are bored to death. They think that because they had an uncle who was an electrician back home, they can now do home inspections. Just because their uncle was an electrician. So beware of all these people who think they know what they are doing. Tico’s usually have a friend or a family member who is a “construction expert”.

It is VERY important you don’t use a builder or an architect. The reason is that they will tell you the house you’re buying is no good and that it’s better to build a new one. And guess who will do that for you?

Just like we have so many real estate agents here who will tell you that they are experts. You might hit on people who will tell you they can do home inspections everywhere. That includes those who are certified inspectors in Wisconsin or from wherever. Houses in Wisconsin are quite a bit different than they are here. But are those home inspectors knowledgeable enough about construction in Costa Rica and do they speak the language?

Who we recommend for Costa Rica home inspections

All you need to know about Costa Rica home inspectionsIt is not easy to find a good home inspector in Costa Rica. Few people have enough construction experience in the U.S. as well as in Costa Rica and know how to inspect. I had been looking for a good and responsible home inspector for many years and it was not until I found one capable and responsible enough to do a good job: Jerry McKinney. Unfortunately, Jerry passed away a few years later, to be replaced by several others until I found Roy Sparks. Just two years later, Roy moved back to the states. Then, in 2006 I found Tome Rosenberger willing to do the home inspections for our clients.

Now we recommend home inspector Tom Rosenberger, a US expat who has lived in Costa Rica since 2006. Tom has built homes in the United States AND in Costa Rica. He is also totally fluent in English and Spanish. Tom has the experience you are looking for in a home inspector as he has done many Costa Rica home inspections over the years. He will give you different Home inspection report options, depending on how ample you want the inspection to be.

Tom has inspected hundreds of homes for my agents. Here is a bit about his background:

The Costa Rican Land and Construction Inspector, Tom Rosenberger, is a highly skilled bi-lingual professional. Tom has over 25 years of land development and construction experience. He enables his clients to “See Beyond the Obvious” before committing to land acquisition and construction projects.

Tom is a legal resident

Tom Rosenberg has lived and worked in Costa Rica since 1992 is a legal resident. In addition to home inspections, he has built and remodeled homes and condominiums, along with developing a property into building lots.

Tom has performed numerous evaluations of land development and housing projects in order to determine the most profitable return on investment, along with performing investigations of construction installations, detailing methods and costs of restoration and completion.

Perhaps most importantly, Tom has learned to work with Costa Rican architects, tradesmen, government officials, and investors in resolving situations that occur during land development and construction projects. Put simply, there are few problems that he has not encountered in his broad experience. As a result, clients will be provided with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions.

  • Your home inspector determines if the land you are contemplating is appropriate for building the housing you have envisioned.
  • The home inspection report will show all the specifications if the house has been completed properly according to the local building codes and standards you’re accustomed to.

If you would like to review samples of Costa Rica Property Inspection Reports and pricing click here.

Typical clients

  • Many clients consider the purchase of land and want to assure it is suitable for building
  • Others, own existing property and wish to build a home
  • Most of all, clients want to know if everything on the property functions well.
  • While often, clients want to make sure that all building materials and installation procedures have been 100% completed prior to closing.
  • Finally, a few clients own or want to purchase existing housing for renovation

Inspection services

  • Inspection of raw land and developed lots to determine if the property is suitable to construct the housing you envision.
  • To determine the current state of construction. Then detail incomplete installations or defects and their associated costs to complete, repair or replace.

For more information on Costa Rica home inspections, send Tom an email: tom@costaricahomebuilder.com


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Ivo Henfling

Your West-side of San Jose real estate agent, covering Escazu and Santa Ana, Rohrmoser and Ciudad Colon.If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the Central Valley or looking for any property for sale in Escazu or Santa Ana, you need to contact Costa Rica real estate agent Ivo Henfling. Ivo has been selling Costa Rica real estate on the westside of San Jose, in the locations of Rohrmoser, Sabana, Escazu, Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and those other areas. For Ivo, a deal is not a good one unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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