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segrepacsi

Problems with our new house and farm in CR

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We have a large farm in the Ojochal area. I have a few questions concerning this.. We think maybe using the help of the expat community maybe a source of help in multiple issues we have come across, so I'll try to shoot a few questions to you here.

 

First, the farm is being maintained by a manager who is asking 500 dollars for his salary per month and 300 dollars for salary for 2-3 other workers per month each. The fees outside the salary (roughly $700) are for gas bill for a truck we purchased, pesticide, among the other expenses the maintenance means. I was hoping to get an idea about what exactly one can expect for this type of endeavor. Are these expenses excessive from your experience?

 

Second, The house was completed after 2.5 years and a hefty cost. The final cost of the house was 3 times the initial estimate. There are many things wrong with the house, that we are disappointed with. The builder who charged excessive fees to complete this project over the last few years says these are not his problem and would need to be paid to do the extra work. I was wondering if anyone knows how to deal with this situation. We are very unhappy of the unfinished project of our house and want to know what steps we can take. Are there any legal representatives that we can use that you can recommend? You think this is the correct route? What issues can you see us having if we persue this? I was also hoping to get any type of general contact information on dealing with problems with building in the South Pacific. This is my first attempt to get some outside help with the expat community and hope through your experiences you can give me some much needed advice.

 

Thank you, S

Edited by segrepacsi

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email jim cameron at bocajim1@gmail.com. He owns osapenensulaproperties.com. Trusted person in your area with locals and gringos alike. He should be able to advise and help you with these problems or point you to someone who can. john

Edited by TicoGrande

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I would recommend asking these questions to Eduardo Abarca Vargas (Lawyer) in Bahia. He is a very good, English speaking attorney who has treated us very well. His office is just south of Uvita. Take the first left after the bridge and follow the blue signs. tel. # (506)2743-8345. email is edabarca@racsa.co.cr. Being unhappy with your construction quality is not real uncommon in C.R., but when you start talking over $1000 a month for maintenance, it's time to shop around. Best of luck.

Greg

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I would recommend asking these questions to Eduardo Abarca Vargas (Lawyer) in Bahia. He is a very good, English speaking attorney who has treated us very well. His office is just south of Uvita. Take the first left after the bridge and follow the blue signs. tel. # (506)2743-8345. email is edabarca@racsa.co.cr. Being unhappy with your construction quality is not real uncommon in C.R., but when you start talking over $1000 a month for maintenance, it's time to shop around. Best of luck.

Greg

You may have some recourse if you had a contract (and the proper contract). Otherwise, forget it!

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email jim cameron at bocajim1@gmail.com. He owns osapenensulaproperties.com. Trusted person in your area with locals and gringos alike. He should be able to advise and help you with these problems or point you to someone who can. john

 

 

Hi, thank you. Ill get in touch with him.

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I would recommend asking these questions to Eduardo Abarca Vargas (Lawyer) in Bahia. He is a very good, English speaking attorney who has treated us very well. His office is just south of Uvita. Take the first left after the bridge and follow the blue signs. tel. # (506)2743-8345. email is edabarca@racsa.co.cr. Being unhappy with your construction quality is not real uncommon in C.R., but when you start talking over $1000 a month for maintenance, it's time to shop around. Best of luck.

Greg

 

Greg thank you as well. Ill try to get in touch with him. It would be great to talk to someone who is hiring someone for maintenance as well to get an idea of what I should expect from them in terms of work and wages. If you have any idea on this please let me know. This is of course in the Ojochal area.

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Hi Segrapacsi,

 

I would like to comment a few things about your problems.

 

About expenses in salarys, I think other expats could advice you about reasonable costs they are paying. I know my numbers as a CostaRican for employees, but the money you should pay to the people you hired depends on the kind of contract you closed with them.

 

Obviously, you should ask a lawyer from this Association, or any other reliable attorney about the manager and other workers, and about the building contract you had for your house. A house costing 3 times the first estimate should mean you had changed a lot your original project or you added a very expensive finish look, or the builder was very very unfair with you (using a gentle word). Any cost should have a reasonable meaning, not just changing whatever comes to the guy´s mind.

 

In a previous post, I commented that some builders, specially the non professional ones ( I mean those who are not architects or engineers) are using an dishonest strategy: giving an low estimate to close a deal, even they know there is a pretty big probability this number wouldn´t be for real. These kinds of people bet to earn money until certain point in the process when the owner of the project would be forced to pay more money to finish the work. This thing could be happening here.

 

Some other builders prefer preparing a very detailed estimate for presenting it to the client. For instance, I use this method. For me, as a registered professional, is a better way to negociate with transparent calculations, even I am letting know how much I would earn, because this way I have a chance to finish the project according to my customer´s budget, and I have been in the business since 1985, so, I think I have been doing my job pretty well.

 

Or, as my father says : "Hay que ser honrado por negocio". In deed, it is one of my mottos. It means, more or less, being honest is the best policy for business. If you cheat on someone else, soon or later, it would be known publicly. That is why friends here are recommending certain buiders but not others.

 

So, try to get a real estimation. The professional who designed your project could help you to see how real it is. Then, ask for a fair contract, giving obligations and limits to the parts involved. In certain point of the process, if you have a good contract, you can ask for mediator who is able to judge what is fair and what is not.

 

I wish you can solve the problem in the best way.

 

See you later.

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Builderlongtime(JOHN) and Rodrigo,

 

 

The problem here is we started with an architect who gave us a quote for the house that was initially 3-4 times the initial estimate. He than hired a builder to do his work. We are paying the full price for the architect on the full price we ended up paying. We also payed hefty building fees to the builder.

 

These were profesionals, claiming to be the best and most qualified for the job in terms of building experience and education.

Also the architect was who dealt with the builder throughout the process, he contracted him from start to finish. And let us know he is not the builder during the process.

 

We were given a few choices on the quality of the finish, but in no way was our decision the reason for the escalation of the costs of several hundred thousand dollars.

 

This was poor management and they both took there full fees and costs for work that was not completely done and also poorly done.

 

We have not finished paying the architect and are waiting for him to arrange the rest of the work to be finished by the same builder with no new costs. If you would like I can list the numerous problems we had in a new message.

 

Thanks for your interest.

 

S

 

 

Hi Segrapacsi,

 

I would like to comment a few things about your problems.

 

About expenses in salarys, I think other expats could advice you about reasonable costs they are paying. I know my numbers as a CostaRican for employees, but the money you should pay to the people you hired depends on the kind of contract you closed with them.

 

Obviously, you should ask a lawyer from this Association, or any other reliable attorney about the manager and other workers, and about the building contract you had for your house. A house costing 3 times the first estimate should mean you had changed a lot your original project or you added a very expensive finish look, or the builder was very very unfair with you (using a gentle word). Any cost should have a reasonable meaning, not just changing whatever comes to the guy´s mind.

 

In a previous post, I commented that some builders, specially the non professional ones ( I mean those who are not architects or engineers) are using an dishonest strategy: giving an low estimate to close a deal, even they know there is a pretty big probability this number wouldn´t be for real. These kinds of people bet to earn money until certain point in the process when the owner of the project would be forced to pay more money to finish the work. This thing could be happening here.

 

Some other builders prefer preparing a very detailed estimate for presenting it to the client. For instance, I use this method. For me, as a registered professional, is a better way to negociate with transparent calculations, even I am letting know how much I would earn, because this way I have a chance to finish the project according to my customer´s budget, and I have been in the business since 1985, so, I think I have been doing my job pretty well.

 

Or, as my father says : "Hay que ser honrado por negocio". In deed, it is one of my mottos. It means, more or less, being honest is the best policy for business. If you cheat on someone else, soon or later, it would be known publicly. That is why friends here are recommending certain buiders but not others.

 

So, try to get a real estimation. The professional who designed your project could help you to see how real it is. Then, ask for a fair contract, giving obligations and limits to the parts involved. In certain point of the process, if you have a good contract, you can ask for mediator who is able to judge what is fair and what is not.

 

I wish you can solve the problem in the best way.

 

See you later.

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My best advise is rent for a year and get a feel for things before you make any major commitments. ..... ooopppps, too late. Well I guess you are screwed ... :)

 

It sounds like you took on a lot coming out of the gate.

 

Are you aware of how many stories there are just like yours? (just asking) I am sorry for what has happened to you, but there are many that have ended up in far worse situations than you. People that come here and rush into things seem to always have these problems. Chalk it up to experience and move on. The legal system here is ineffectual and your chances for a outcome you are satisfied with are pretty slim. Settle in, make the most of the situation and move on from here wiser for the experience.

 

The price that you pay for hired help is proportional to how long you have lived here and your relationships in the community. It takes a while. I am guessing that it will be extra hard for you because I am sure that every Tico in town knows you spent 3 timse what you should have to build your house.

 

Give yourself another year, at least, before you make any more major dissensions. Things seem to work out better here when you are not pushing for quick results.

Edited by Kahuna

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Things seem to work out better here when you are not pushing for quick results.

 

We have a winner folks!

 

If you only learn one thing on this forum let this be it.

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Builderlongtime(JOHN) and Rodrigo,

 

 

The problem here is we started with an architect who gave us a quote for the house that was initially 3-4 times the initial estimate. He than hired a builder to do his work. We are paying the full price for the architect on the full price we ended up paying. We also payed hefty building fees to the builder.

 

These were profesionals, claiming to be the best and most qualified for the job in terms of building experience and education.

Also the architect was who dealt with the builder throughout the process, he contracted him from start to finish. And let us know he is not the builder during the process.

 

We were given a few choices on the quality of the finish, but in no way was our decision the reason for the escalation of the costs of several hundred thousand dollars.

 

This was poor management and they both took there full fees and costs for work that was not completely done and also poorly done.

 

We have not finished paying the architect and are waiting for him to arrange the rest of the work to be finished by the same builder with no new costs. If you would like I can list the numerous problems we had in a new message.

 

Thanks for your interest.

 

S

 

Dear Segrepacsi,

 

As I commented, all the certified professionals in design and building must be registered to CFIA (Colegio Federado de Ingenieros y de Arquitectos de Costa Rica), that is the offical bureau that controls the professionals´activity about a good quality and fair costs for consulting. So, I suggest you to present a complaint before the Oficina de Resolución de Conflictos, in this bureau (phone number (506) 2202-3900).

 

There, you can ask for a fair arrangement with the architect on the basis of the quality of his services and the rates he could charge you, specially if you have not paid the final fee to him. You could base your complaint in the fact that your house was done with not good details and in a very expensive cost, because your architect should have adviced you to stop on time before expending a lot of money and maybe would have fired your builder in an appropriate time. Also, the quality of the work is an important part of his duty, so, he must explain why he tolerated the defects, even they are affecting you in your economy, comfort and aestheritc satisfaction. If you push him this way, you have a change to get something back from him, and maybe from the builder, because the architect would envolve the other guy in order to satisfy your requirements.

 

If the builder was a member of CFIA, too, you would have the same chance, because all the registered builders before CFIA must clarify how they calculate the building costs and their fees. If these calculations are not logical, according to the estimates, invoices and acceptable rates, the builder would have to give you a refund, otherwise you would have very good supported proofs for going to the court.

 

Usually, if you have the reason, CFIA intervention is faster, cheaper and easier than going directly to the court, where your case could take a long time (that is one of our problematic issues nowadays).

 

Ask your lawyer if the CFIA choice could really work for you.

 

See you later.

Edited by Rodrigo

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We are on a large farm, and feel the wages you are stating, is the 'norm'.

But, what duties do they perform on your property for this wage? And how large is your farm? Are the 'extra workers' full time or seasonal?

Are you also paying INS and CAJA?

I won't comment on the house situation, except to say, 'sorry you have got into something, bad'.

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I agree with CRF on this one. These wages don't seem out of line but you will need to consider the number of hours worked each week, what kind of responsibility these people have, do you provide "extras" such as housing or food, are you actively "farming" something; cows, vegetables, fruits, etc. If you are not living on the farm, that puts a whole different level of responsibility on the manager.

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I have met several successful farm/lodge owners that advised me in searching for a manager from the furthest possible location in CR from the farm. A situation where they will know no one in that area, you will be there only friend. You will find the extra labor locally when needed. Help them build a conservative tico house toward the front of the property and let them bring there family (wife small kids). There are many benefits to this when thought through.

 

Best of luck

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