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Think resale before custom building a house in Costa Rica

Think resale before custom building a house in Costa RicaThe resale of your house could be a huge problem when you plan custom building a house in Costa Rica. I see it happen over and over again. When I list a house for sale in Costa Rica, the seller often tells me that he or she put way more into the house.

The general reaction from the seller when the agents tells the the possible listing price is usually the same.  It’s always something like “I won’t be able to recover my initial investment” or “but I have all those incredible upgrades that cost me a lot of money”.

Custom building a house is something you never ask a real estate agent to get involved in and why would you? You are only interested in getting your new house built to your own taste and needs. And should you?

Big mistakes

The biggest mistakes that sellers make when custom building a house

  • For some reason they expect to recuperate funds that were spent because they got robbed by their contractor(s).
  • Taking bad decisions on amenities
  • Construction mistakes when custom building a house that need to be done again

So you know, you will NEVER recover funds spent while custom building a house, that cost more than it should have.

I know it is very difficult to accept you made a mistake. And to understand you can’t make the next owner in line to pay for your mistakes. Take your loss when listing your house for sale because you will save time & effort for you and your real estate agent.

Do improvements add value to a house in Costa Rica?
Do improvements add value to a house in Costa Rica?

Custom building a house?

Custom building a house is not as easy as you think. Builders sometimes design many homes before they find one that helps their homes sell like hot cakes. There are many reasons for that. Some architects have no feeling for making a house flow well, make spaces the right size and design only for beauty and not for living comfort.

I have seen beautiful homes designed by 5-feet architects but all the rooms are way too small for anyone over 6 feet.  If have seen houses built to the back of the view and bedrooms built to the east.  There are also many amenities that you might love having. But those who will buy your home when you want to sell it again don’t care for all those amenities.

Get yourself a scale ruler first
Get yourself a scale ruler first

There are a lot of designs that might sound smart to you. But it won’t be for the next owner of your custom-built house in Costa Rica. I once had a custom built house for sale in Escazu that had the laundry room upstairs. I thought it was a smart feature as you’d just keep all the laundry always in the bedroom level of the house. Potential buyers never liked the idea because it was weird. The new owner ended up turning the laundry room into an office and adding a new laundry room downstairs.

Bad design

Long time ago I worked for a development company.  Their architect designed a 2nd bedroom and in the floor plan renderings, he included a bed in the design. It looked great until the condos were built, we found out you had to climb over the bed to get to the other end of the room.  It never occurred to any of us to check the architects’ measurements.

Unless you are a builder or an architect, you probably don’t have any idea of how large certain rooms need to be. It also depends on your own size and on the furniture you need to put into each room. If you are a small person, it’s fine to make a kitchen a bit smaller. But the next owner might not purchase your house because of it. So once you receive the first designs from your architect or contractor, buy yourself a scale ruler. Then check all the dimensions on the architectural plans before you start custom building a house.

Will you be able to recover your initial investment when custom building your house in Costa Rica?
Will you be able to recover your initial investment when custom building your house in Costa Rica?

Room dimensions

Once you’ve checked those, check if the suggested room dimensions are correct on the internet. There are lots of websites that give you all the information you are looking for like House Plans Helper. Those site are great to gives ideas about room sizes and floor plan analysis.

Upgrades

When designing certain custom upgrades and features for your house, be aware that your future buyer might not want those features. The buyer might not be willing to pay you enough to return your initial investment.

Those could include many extras, such as

  • Bar
  • Jacuzzi tub
  • 4-car garage
  • Smart home features
  • Master bedroom with his and hers closet and bathrooms
  • Outdoor kitchen
  • Swimming pool
  • Elevator
  • Back-up generator.

On the other hand, all those improvements might help sell your house quicker.

Ask your realtor and home inspector in Costa Rica for advice
Ask your realtor and home inspector in Costa Rica for advice

Get recommendations

I’m not trying to tell you not to trust your architect. I’m just asking you to check and see if your custom home will fit your requirements and will help you re-sell your house later.

If you want to save time, money and effort, ask the real estate agent who sold you the building lot for recommendations for custom building a house in Costa Rica. Also ask the home inspector.  They can look at your plans and give recommendations for re-sale for a small fee. The agent will know what will resell well in your particular area. He or she can offer valuable information so you can take educated decisions before custom building a house in Costa Rica. It will make the resale of your house later on much easier.

Contact the AE MLS Costa Rica

Contact us now for professional assistance.


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Ivo Henfling

Ivo Henfling started the American European Real Estate Network Costa Rica in 1996 and has grown it into the largest Costa Rica MLS with thousands of up to date property listings for sale and for rent. Ivo has written hundreds of articles about real estate and living in Costa Rica for The Tico Times and other online informational sites.

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