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Questions regarding property and building a house

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Hi,

 

My Tica wife has some property in Liberia. She is currently living with me as a permanent resident in Canada. She has some relatives and other people living in a couple of wooden shacks on the property. When it rains all the dirty water flows onto the neighbors properties.She has told me that the City of Liberia (municipal) has given her until the end of 2013 to build a proper house with proper drainage or they will take away her property.

 

Is it true that in Costa Rica that if you don't build a proper house on your property within 7 years that the city can take control of it and take it away from her?

 

My wife has told me that she just needs to build a simple Tico Style house. She would like it to be 2 bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and small livingroom. Her brother would also be able to do it since he's in construction and builds houses. He would also be able to look after all the permits. Cost of materials would be around $12,000 plus maybe around $1,000 for his labour. Apparently you can buy all the materials to build a house as a package from one of the bigger building stores. I was thinking El Legar. Not sure what other big building stores there is in Liberia.

 

I would be paying for all of this and i'm not sure what i'm getting myself into.

 

Thanks in advance for your replies.

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I certainly can't speak to all locations in Costa Rica, but where we have property there is no time limit for us to complete our build. I can take our property back 25 years. The issue may be that someone is currently on your wife's property as opposed to it being vacant. as for building options, there are many - I'm fairly confident for a small, simple home your point is valad that you can all or nearly all you need from a building supply compnay locally. I also know for a fact having experience in this that prices can fluctuate. having family local to the area and knowing local folks to test that is a plus you have on your side.....

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Sounds to me like there are at least two issues here: the people living on the property where sewage or garbage on someone else's property and the building issue.

 

I don't think the municipality can force you to build or lose the property. But I think they can force you to do something about the living conditions of the people who are there now and who are obviously causing problems. I think that they can say -- "build something proper and to local code or we will have the structures removed and the people removed."

 

The estimates for building a little house sound OK -- however -- it sounds like this is just for the shell of the structure and not any kind of finishing .... maybe not even windows.

 

Personally, I would NEVER give anyone (even family) money to build a house without at least visiting the property, talking to the person who is going to build it, checking the local supply places, etc. It could get very ugly and expensive for you. Not only that, but the price quoted probably doesn't include any kind of architect or engineer fee which will be required. I don't know what the situation is with water or electric, but this could add to the cost also.

 

Think of it as a total package, not just the shell of a house with a roof on it. The "finishing" aspects - electric, water, sinks, showers, windows -- can run into quite a bit of money even with a small house.

 

I built three small houses (when I say "built," I mean me and a couple of guys) so have experience with that kind of building.

Edited by eleanorcr

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Isn't the squatter situation a potential problem here, also? Couldn't you possibly lose the property just by allowing someone to live there without paying rent or having a contract to take care of the property? You need receipts for rent collected or for payment to them for services, I believe.

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There are many 1000's of lots that have been sold and may never be built on, all over Costa Rica.

It could be the 'development/subdivision' that have issued the 7 year rule, as I have heard that from others, and they have lodged a complaint to the municipality. A friend who has a 'development' has a 5 year rule. If you go ahead, check out if there is a minimum size required, as eleanorcr has mentioned, you won't get much for $12,000.

Dealing with the water run off and probably garbage is a separate matter and will require more funds...

Edited by costaricafinca

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Hi,

 

Thank you for all your replies.

 

Here is some more info. I have visited my wife's property many times. My wife bought the property atleast 10 years ago from another Costa Rican couple and got a good deal on it. It's just on the edge of the town of Liberia and on a street with other Tico's houses on either side of her. Problem is that the neighbours have been complaining to the city for the last few years about the sewage and water run off onto their properties especially when it rains as there is no proper drainage. Right now there's just a couple of wooden shacks with a lot of people living in them on her property. I can imagine they make a lot of noise that the neighbours probably aren't happy about either.

 

My wife has told me the city has given her 7 years to fix the problem i.e. build a proper house with proper drainage or else they will confiscate the property. Time is running out and she now only has until the end of 2013.

 

I had a look at the construction laws and translated using Google and it looks like the city could take action on the property due to health and sanitation reasons. Doesn't say anything about how long they will give you to fix the problem but i suspect they could decide on how long she would have to do this. Looks like there are many reasons they could use to take the property based on all the laws and the way they are written but i'm not a lawyer.

 

Anyway, price of materials at about $12,000 seems like a pretty good deal considering the location and what the property may be worth down the road because it's within walking distance of downtown Liberia on the edge of town. Unfortunately for me money is tight but it's do-able. Good thing her brother can do it for her to save on the labour.

 

I'm only worried that the price for building the house will keep going up and up based on the way things can go in Costa Rica and i have a very tight budget.

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eleanorcr has quoted $12000 in the past but to me this seems impossible, especially nowadays. Recent quotes on a 'slide-together home' is over $20,000 and even this is very basic. My husband has recently been overseeing a building project not that far from Liberia and $12000 wouldn't go very far.

And if the new VAT tax is approved, that is 14% on materials at every level ... as a Canadian you know what a difference this will make.

I would suggest you have more funds before you decide to start. At least double and even then, your house will be very basic.

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Hi. I am 58 yrs old. I love,love,love the warm weather. I live in California but I want to GET out of here. I have been looking at Costa Rica on the internet for quite some time. I know I would def. have to rent first and secoundly be in a safe place. I am retired and get $2700. a mo. I know I cannot afford to live on the beach(cost too much). Can anyone out there give me some advice?

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Hi. I am 58 yrs old. I love,love,love the warm weather. I live in California but I want to GET out of here. I have been looking at Costa Rica on the internet for quite some time. I know I would def. have to rent first and secoundly be in a safe place. I am retired and get $2700. a mo. I know I cannot afford to live on the beach(cost too much). Can anyone out there give me some advice?

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Hi. I am 58 yrs old. I love,love,love the warm weather. I live in California but I want to GET out of here. I have been looking at Costa Rica on the internet for quite some time. I know I would def. have to rent first and secoundly be in a safe place. I am retired and get $2700. a mo. I know I cannot afford to live on the beach(cost too much). Can anyone out there give me some advice?

Well, what kind of advice are you looking for specifically? Where to live? Safety? Cost of living? All of these have been posted and answered in various forums here.

With that in mind, it appears that your $2700/mo meets and exceeds the minimum income requirement of $1000/mo to qualify for Pensionado residency. You should contact ARCR regarding the documentation required for applying for residency.

You should plan at least a couple of trips here to investigate areas that you might want to live. Since you are retired, you might want to plan to spend a month or so in each area. Then when you return home, take some time to digest the info you have and consider if Costa Rica still appeals to you. Only then should you proceed further and consider applying for residency, and moving here permanently.

Oh, and if you don't speak Spanish, start learning now.

Edited by DanaJ

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Getting back to the OPs topic...

 

Undecided, wouldn't your wife have the option to return the lot back to being a vacant lot? I mean, get rid of the shacks, inhabitants, sewage and brasura and won't the problem with municipalty be solved. It sounds like she is only required to bulid a house on the lot if the lot will continue to be inhabited. If the lot is vacant, problem solved.

 

On the other hand, if you do build a "proper" house, could you collect rent from the people who are currently living there?

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Getting back to the OPs topic...

 

Undecided, wouldn't your wife have the option to return the lot back to being a vacant lot? I mean, get rid of the shacks, inhabitants, sewage and brasura and won't the problem with municipalty be solved. It sounds like she is only required to bulid a house on the lot if the lot will continue to be inhabited. If the lot is vacant, problem solved.

 

On the other hand, if you do build a "proper" house, could you collect rent from the people who are currently living there?

 

And therein may lie the problem with squatters and how long they have occupied the property. They may be very expensive (legally) to evict from the lot.

 

It may be more permissible though in the eyes of CR law to build a home that her family will be going to live in as a way to get any squatters off the land.

 

I suspect they will want some legal advice in this matter.

 

Paul M.

==

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