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tbeck3579

Building Price Per Square Foot

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Hi All,

 

I've been doing a lot of reading and researching and I have to say there are a 100 answers to the same question. Hypothetically, let's say I've lived in CR, found an area that suits my needs. My ideal area would be a gated active senior retirement community that is close to a grocery store that delivers (anticipating my later, senior years). In a perfect world my home would have a great view and be close to the beach -- feel free to jump in and tell me where that "perfect world" is in CRrolleyes.gif Now, I want to either build my home with a reputable contractor that is well researched and recommended. That home is ~ 2800 square feet American Style with a 2 care garage. How much do you (people living in CR) think it would cost to build per square foot? Some of the quotes I've received are outrageous; close to $160.00 USD a square ft.. That amount will buy me a custom built home in a world class resort town, Palm Springs, CA, no joke -- that's where I have been looking. In the opinion of people who live in CR, how much would you guesstimate for a home that is already built, new or newer (not more than 5 years old)? The real estate listings online are showing homes, priced per square foot, at about the same price as in the US inland CA -- (80 - 100 a sq. ft.) -- CR isn't much of a bargain at those prices. What do you think is a realistic figure for someone who is careful, informed, and has done their homework? In one of the posts here there was an example that worked out to around $80.00 per square foot if you build a custom American Style home. Is that realistic?

Edited by tbeck3579

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As David said it will vary greatly!!! We are building near Puriscal and the cost is going to be $110 per square foot of COVERED area. In other words you need to calculate in any covered in porches, decks, etc. because of the foundation requirements as well. This price includes the planning, drawings, permits, etc. Here is what type of construction our contractor is offering:

General construction spec:

 

  • As per building code, block and concrete/steel column
  • Water and electricity installed up to 30 meters from building site unless otherwise stated
  • Septic system and drainage field as per Costa Rica health and building code
  • Tile roof, with 28 gauge galvanized metal liner with one layer insulation for cooling
  • 2.6 meter high ceiling
  • Exterior finish texture is semi rough.
  • Exterior premium latex paint, 2 coats, sealed with "Siliconizer" undercoat. Optional acrylic stucco exterior
  • 28 gauge rain gutter with PVC down spouts, 1 color
  • Roof water drained into collector system and drained underground off the lot.

 

Electrical spec:

 

  • As per building code
  • All wiring is incased in PVC conduit
  • Main electrical panel, "SQUARE D"' or "EATON" brand
  • Electrical outlets and switches are Eagle Plata series
  • TV and telephone outlets in bedrooms, living room, family room and patios
  • Exterior outlets c/w ground fault
  • Rough-in intercom
  • 4" pot lights as per drawing supplied by building contractor excluding bulbs due to numerous options
  • Lighting allowance of $1,200
  • Rough-in for TV satellite on roof
  • Options: Ceiling Fans, Air Condition, Lightning and power surge protection in breaker box, Security System, Lightning rod

 

Plumbing spec:

 

  • Pipe is PVC standard as per building code
  • All pipe is routed outside of house where possible
  • Minimum 2" sink and shower collector drains and 4" toilet drains
  • Water valves on all patios and 1 per side of house
  • Toilets, "American Standard" white
  • Master bathroom sinks, "American Standard" white with single lever "Price Phfister" faucets
  • Wood, painted solid color bathroom cabinets with arborite counter top with single lever Price Phfister chrome faucet, optional granite counter top
  • Towel bars (one 46cm per bathroom) and paper hangers, "Moen Inspiration" series
  • Showers, with single lever "Price Phfister chrome faucets
  • Kitchen sink, Mexinox double 38.8 liter, double stainless with "Price Pfyster Classic" chrome faucet c/w sprayer
  • Recessed boxed refrigerator water outlet
  • Recessed boxed washing machine water outlets and and drain
  • Outside dryer vent with flapper

Finish spec:

 

  • Front/main exterior door, caobilla or cedro solid wood 8 panel with Kwikset elegant door latch assembly, brushed chrome c/w deadbolt and matching hinges and stops
  • Other exterior and interior doors, caobilla or cedro solid wood 2 panel curved top with Kwikset standard door latch assembly, brushed chrome c/w matching hinges and stop
  • All wood finishes semi gloss
  • Floor tile, $14.00/M2 allowance, optional tile rugs
  • Ceramic baseboards, 4"
  • Patio and garage, broomed concrete. Optional tile with 1" grout lines for anti slip
  • Bathroom wall tile, 1.8 meter high, $14.00/M2 allowance plus trim allowance of $18.00/linar meter
  • Gypsum ceiling. Cenafa (bump-ins) and arches where specified on plans
  • Stairs unless otherwise indicated on drawing will have a rounded curved edge for anti-slip
  • Windows and sliding doors, aluminum with bronze glass with bug screens on all venting windows and glass doors
  • Closets, single wire mesh shelf, hollow core bi-fold painted doors, optional wood louver stained or painted doors
  • Pantry, 3wire mesh shelves
  • Hand railings where indicated on plans, single bar wrought iron
  • Solid wood kitchen cabinets with arborite counter top and tile back splash
  • Interior finish texture is "Reppellomax fino", (semi rough).
  • Interior paint premium latex paint, 1 base sealer coat and 2 top coats

Edited by T&VSmith

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David, thank you so much for your information! It is greatly appreciated. It's so nice to have wonderful people taking time to share their information. I really like this forum.

 

T&V, I love that detailed information – it doesn't get much better than this! Thank you,thank you, thank you! It gives me an excellent idea of what to expect in terms of building on a prepared lot. Your home specs look a lot like something I would build. It looks like you are going to have a beautiful home. It also looks as if you are in the middle of your project as I type this. I'm envious. When you talk about the foundation requirements I'm wondering if CR requires an engineer to test soil types for stability before the foundation can begin? That's a requirement in Palm Springs due to the earthquake prone area –it has to be built on a stable soil foundation. I may have missed this, but is this a 2X4 or 2X6 construction? Are you using a standard electric hot water tank? It doesn't look like you have any gas to the house; is it all electric? With all that sunshine in CR are there many people using solar hot water/heating? Are your windows energy efficient, double pane, a specific manufacturer? Sorry about all the questions. You've already been so kind to share your information.

 

I would love to know more about where you are in the building process and how everything is going. If you are blogging your experience I would love to read it smile.gif I know building (or remodeling) can be a stressful time and all sorts of unexpected things happen -- probably more so when you are in a different country. But, for the most part, it is exciting to watch the home of your dreams take shape - at least it was for me.

 

 

I know this is offtopic, but you have been so kind to share your information with me so I thought I would pass along my experience with Price faucets. My husband and I completely remodeled the family farmhouse in '89 – it's been in the family for over 100 years. We used Price faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms and within 5 years they looked so bad that, over the years, we have replacedall of them with various other manufactures. ohmy.gif It wasn't the expense, it was more the time and effort it took to replace them that was frustrating -- and living with ugly faucets until we did replace them. I went back to the "lifetime guarantee", I had all the paperwork, but the manufacturer (Price) stated it was due to the cleaning chemicals – yeesh! I guess I can't use off-the-shelf bathroom cleaner,scrubbing bubbles, like the rest of the world. Anyway, at this point in time Moen seems to be holding up the best –better than our more expensive Kohen. My in-laws built a very expensive earth home in '77 and their plain, run of the mill, Moen faucets still look great after all these years. Just a "FWIW" piece of information - I'm not associated with Moen laugh.gif

Edited by tbeck3579

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Good morning;

 

We have entered into the antiproyecto stage which means pre-project. We met with our architect and gave him a verbal description with a close floor plan and the building site plan. We staked out a basic footprint on the building lot with him so that he could see that what we wanted is feasible. He draws up the floor plan and sends it to us and we adjust it. We send the plan back and forth until we have exactly what we want. It includes the floor plan, soil movement permit, building site excavation plan, electrical and water connection pre-approvals and soil stability studies. Basically everything is in places to start on the construction plans and submit them for approvals. This cost is 1% of the expected house cost based on the square footage of the house plan we developed.

 

There is no natural gas, so that is not an option for hot water heating. We haven’t yet decided whether to go with hot water electric or a couple of instant on electric. We are investigating some solar options to supplement as well. The windows are standard single pane and the house will be designed for cross ventilation. The climate varies greatly throughout the country so you have to do your research on where you want to live and plan accordingly. The construction is "As per building code, block and concrete/steel column"

 

Thank you for the heads up on the faucets. It is a pretty standard contract for building and we will have the option to substitute, adjusting for cost of course.

 

Cheers .... Terry

 

 

 

 

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Wow, that was a quick response! Thanks for the additional information, it is greatly appreciated. I'm looking forward to reading more about your project as you progress!

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Hi All,

 

I've been doing a lot of reading and researching and I have to say there are a 100 answers to the same question. Hypothetically, let's say I've lived in CR, found an area that suits my needs. My ideal area would be a gated active senior retirement community that is close to a grocery store that delivers (anticipating my later, senior years). In a perfect world my home would have a great view and be close to the beach -- feel free to jump in and tell me where that "perfect world" is in CR :rolleyes: Now, I want to either build my home with a reputable contractor that is well researched and recommended. That home is ~ 2800 square feet American Style with a 2 care garage. How much do you (people living in CR) think it would cost to build per square foot? Some of the quotes I've received are outrageous; close to $160.00 USD a square ft.. That amount will buy me a custom built home in a world class resort town, Palm Springs, CA, no joke -- that's where I have been looking. In the opinion of people who live in CR, how much would you guesstimate for a home that is already built, new or newer (not more than 5 years old)? The real estate listings online are showing homes, priced per square foot, at about the same price as in the US inland CA -- (80 - 100 a sq. ft.) -- CR isn't much of a bargain at those prices. What do you think is a realistic figure for someone who is careful, informed, and has done their homework? In one of the posts here there was an example that worked out to around $80.00 per square foot if you build a custom American Style home. Is that realistic?

 

Hi tbeck, as Terry has said, there are many factors about the price per square foot for building in CR.

 

In other topics in these forums, I have mentioned some of them:

 

a. The land´s conditions (if you have slopes, even a 30%, you could need retaining walls in certain places and any retaining wall is 7 times more expensive than a normal concrete block wall). You could also need drainages to prevent risks to the buildings. Also, you can take advantage of your sloped property is you study, with a professional´s advice, where you can build using for example piers and not retaining walls, etc. Fences are usually not taken into account, too.

 

b. The kinds of rooms and spaces are very important. For instance, a covered corridor is less expensive that inside areas, but there is a common mistake thinking it is a 50% percent of a regular area, but the truth is that it is around a 75% percent because you have the roof and the floor, and columns around to hold the structure, so the materials en work force is still important in the cost. It is the same thing about the bathrooms; usually, the cost is 250% of a regular area, because you have, in a small room, smaller than other areas, several finishes, such tiles in walls and ceramics (toilet, bathtub, sinks) and maybe not cheap faucets. So, take into account the use of these areas and its quantity in order to expect the real cost of the whole thing.

 

c. As Terry pointed, the details, specially about finishes, are very important. For instance, some floor tiles are more expensive than other, porcelanato´s cost is 2 or 3 times the regular tile´s price; using wood for ceilings is 4 times more expensive than gypsum, etc.

 

d. Related to c., it is important to consider materials´prices, because the same product could be cheaper in one store than in other. Indeed, the most expensive part of this is materials, and a builer is not earning from them, just the manufacturers and suppliers. For that reason, I usually provide services using an administration method, because that way, even I am applying all my professional skills, the client is able to check where and how I am expending the money and can decide, with my direction, if he or she wants to expend in certain products for the project.

 

Considering these points, I can comment that an average cost for buiding is around 72 USD per square foot. This is according to the last bid I prepared for customer about his house in San Jose, with basic good finishes. Only the garage was considered with no finishes at all.

 

You should ask your designer (engineer or architect) to explain you all the details involved about cost according to the design you want from him. That way, you would know what to expect and if you can affort it.

 

I hope this info could help.

 

Hasta pronto.

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Frankly, anyone's per square foot cost may be meaningless. There are so many factors to consider, including location, availability of materials, cost of materials, kinds of materials, and obviously, how the house is designed and finished.

 

For instance, you could probably build a very small, very basic and simple house of about 45 square meters for around $15,000 - if you do a lot of the work yourself. This assumes, of course, that there are no major problems with the terrain, etc.

 

But the final cost of any house depends on many factors and you have to include things like cutting down trees, making a driveway, building retaining walls, sidewalks, carports, etc. It also helps if you are "plugged into" the area where you are planning on building and have some Costa Rican friends who can help you work through the maze and help you avoid the "precio gringo."

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Frankly, anyone's per square foot cost may be meaningless. There are so many factors to consider, including location, availability of materials, cost of materials, kinds of materials, and obviously, how the house is designed and finished.

 

For instance, you could probably build a very small, very basic and simple house of about 45 square meters for around $15,000 - if you do a lot of the work yourself. This assumes, of course, that there are no major problems with the terrain, etc.

 

But the final cost of any house depends on many factors and you have to include things like cutting down trees, making a driveway, building retaining walls, sidewalks, carports, etc. It also helps if you are "plugged into" the area where you are planning on building and have some Costa Rican friends who can help you work through the maze and help you avoid the "precio gringo."

AGREED! I built a house in Canada that was estimated and costed out to be $75-80/ft, final price $114/ft, I reviewed everything and we were on budget all the way, the differences came from unforseen expenses, when ever your building always allow 30% for variance, I was told this in advance, took the advice even though I didnt think I would need it and used it all.

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T&VSmith - good note. We are going down a very similar path right now in the Southern Zone. I would be interested to know what your decision is with hot water and solar as examples. We have a design and have invited 3 builders to come and look at our "roguh" design to add the expertise each will offer, green,we have a huge ceadro that needs to be farmed (approved already) and some builders have some pretty cool ideas on that and some do not, so it seems. Thanks gain for sharing....

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There is a house that was just completed in our community and they installed a 90 gallon solar hot water heating system and am hoping to get some feedback from the owners on our next trip. It is one of the new concept types that uses convection rather than an electric pump. The concept is similar to a "D" type steam boiler and utilizes risers and downcomers. The cost of the unit was approximately $2,400.00 including set up. When I find out how it performs I'll let you know.

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It's interesting to me that people are so "tuned in" to using hot water for everything, that they will spend $2400 (plus whatever future maintenance is required) to make hot water for their house.

 

Well, I can see it if someone is truly "off the grid" with no electric available. But I use a $20 on-demand shower head and no other hot water in my house and it's just fine.

 

Of course - everyone needs to make their own decisions about how they are going to live.

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Eleanor,

 

I went one step further with my tico apartment in Alajuela and in addition to the suicide shower which was already in the bathroom I bought a little, in-line, on-demand water heater (no tank), Lorenzetti brand, for $20 from a friend who had an extra he had not used and had it installed under my kitchen sink for rinsing the dishes with hot water after washing them. It helps them to dry faster being rinsed that way. I also use that same hot water to shave with in the morning so I don't turn my face into hamburger from using cold water!

 

It has been a good workhouse of a heater and the resistencia finally burned out after a year and had to be replaced. It cost about ¢2150 plus ¢8000 labor and took about an hour to take the old one out and replace it with the new resistencia. (That labor cost was part of a couple other tasks my handyman accomplished that day.)

 

Cheers!

 

Paul M.

==

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