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I do know of the 'gringo' an American builder, who has this project, and there have been ' people who expressed displeasure with some structures', prior to this project on the link provided.

In our rental house the water runs down the driveway into a cement large trough and from the roof into the rain gutters but the 4" exit pipes where the water exits under the cement are too small, so the water and gravel backs up onto the patio. Potentially a very good system ...but it fails at the end.

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The reason why my wife needs to build a house on her lot is because she has relatives currently living on the lot in wooden shacks and there are no toilets. She lets them stay there because they are poor and they also make sure to keep the property in the family while she's not there.

 

Her neighbours have complained to the municipal because when it rains all the waste goes into their yards so the municipal has threatened to condemn her property unless she fixes the problem. She could potentially lose her property.

 

She has decided to build a proper house on the lot with proper plumbing and a toilet to correct the problem.

 

Her brother who works in construction figures he can put a slide together house from a kit on her property for 25k. Just hope that's the case because we can't afford anymore than that.

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I think that he can put together the house for $25 k, especially if your goal is just to make a livable space with a septic and toilet. Make sure he understands your financial limits. I know people who live, to start off, in a house with walls, roof, floor but no windows - and septic and toilet, of course. So to make a "livable space" is not always very expensive. As time goes on, you can make improvements to the house as necessary.

 

I would aim for something less than the 1500 sq ft you mentioned. A lot of houses are smaller than that with a large porch which provides a lot of living space. Later, if you need something bigger, you can add on.

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I would like to emphasize a couple of points made here. Drainage and ventalation. Many houses do not have a "stink pipe". It not only causes an oder, but can cause problems with flushing your toilet due to a vacuum on the line.

 

Make sure your roof extends away from the house. This can be important with driving rain. Install gutters that will support a heavy rain. Make sure the collection boxes" "caja de registro" are ample size to handle the water volume.

 

Most new houses should have a design that separates the grey water from the septic"aguas negras". The grey water should go to a grease trap and then return to the drainage field for the septic tank. Many new construction send grey water to the street or to a brook or stream. That type of action is irresponsible.

 

Drainage, drainage, drainage...

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Agree with Chunchie - but for graywater drainage, you can build a separate "dry well" where the water doesn't go into your septic drain field. I built a cottage where the graywater went into a section of the garden and provided water for the plants there. You have to be somewhat careful, though, about using bleach products in your washing machine. Using a setup like this would also greatly depend on where you live.

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I have a cuñado who built a house as others have mentioned: the bare bones first, and they're slowly adding improvements. They still don't have glass/screens in the windows, just big "doors" (like one giant shutter, hinged on the side) that they open in the daytime, and the floor is concrete. The interior walls do not reach the ceiling, because there is no ceiling, just a metal peaked roof. You could actually throw something over the wall from one bedroom to another. The house is concrete block up to about waist level, maybe higher, and then wood that was harvested from the land forms the top of the walls, as it was cheaper. It actually looks nice, I love the wood part. The two (tiny) rooms for the toilet and shower didn't have doors the first 2 years I visited, just shower curtains. Those roomlets, jaja, are built directly next to the kitchen sink so that plumbing only had to come into one corner of the house. The "bathroom sink" is built outside the shower room, so actually you have to brush your teeth or put on makeup in the kitchen. You can't really undress for your shower "in the bathroom", you have to do it directly in the shower room, which is kind of a pain as visitors, trying not to walk around naked, jaja, getting dressed and undressed with wet feet and trying not to let your clothes fall on the wet floor. There are 2 bedrooms, a large combined living/dining area, and the kitchen, which includes the toilet/shower rooms and "bathroom" sink. The exterior shape is a square. The kitchen has an enormous window that wraps around two sides, and another smaller one over the sink, but there is no glass in these, nor is there any way to close them ... they have vertical bars for security, and a stronger, larger mesh version of chicken wire to keep out the bigger critters. Lizards live in their house, they eat the bugs. I love the kitchen windows, it is my favorite kitchen in the world. Anyway, I don't know the exact cost of the house, but I know they did it for very cheap, I would imagine less than $25K.

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Tiffany, you have just described so many Costa Rican homes! This is the "poco a poco" method.

 

While it may not be something that North Americans are used to, it's a relatively inexpensive way to get a "starter home." I built three small houses (the largest was 50 square meters) and they each cost $6,000 - $7,000. I did a lot of the work myself, knew the hardware store owner where I bought supplies locally (I did not go out of town for anything) and knew the guys who worked on the house. I was always having to re-think things. "Do they do it this way because it's smart or because that's the way it's always been done." I also had to figure out what US building practices were valid and which were just rubbish. For instance, after we built the block walls, they were to be covered with cement. The workers just took a trowel of cement and threw it on the wall and some portion of that would end up on the ground. Wait a minute... you're throwing away MY cement! So I just put plastic sheeting down and re-used the cement that fell.

 

Because prices are now about 2.5 times (or more) what they were then, and costs for things like engineers (which I didn't have) or Caja payments (which I didn't have) - it would cost much more now.

 

But I still think a comfortable (and healthy!) house can be built for under $25,000.

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Tiffany, you have just described so many Costa Rican homes! This is the "poco a poco" method.

 

While it may not be something that North Americans are used to, it's a relatively inexpensive way to get a "starter home." I built three small houses (the largest was 50 square meters) and they each cost $6,000 - $7,000. I did a lot of the work myself, knew the hardware store owner where I bought supplies locally (I did not go out of town for anything) and knew the guys who worked on the house. I was always having to re-think things. "Do they do it this way because it's smart or because that's the way it's always been done." I also had to figure out what US building practices were valid and which were just rubbish. For instance, after we built the block walls, they were to be covered with cement. The workers just took a trowel of cement and threw it on the wall and some portion of that would end up on the ground. Wait a minute... you're throwing away MY cement! So I just put plastic sheeting down and re-used the cement that fell.

 

Because prices are now about 2.5 times (or more) what they were then, and costs for things like engineers (which I didn't have) or Caja payments (which I didn't have) - it would cost much more now.

 

But I still think a comfortable (and healthy!) house can be built for under $25,000.

 

You never stop amazing me .."I built three small houses (the largest was 50 square meters) and they each cost $6,000 - $7,000. I did a lot of the work myself," ... go girl

 

Personally, what amazes me is that every week I hear about an earthquake in CR but it is not followed by reports of deaths like you come to expect in say Turkey. I can only assume that CR has been doing the right thing for a long time to mitigate the impact.

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Thanks everyone for your replies. I'm feeling a little better now to know that it can be done for 25k or less. Just hope it works out that way but i know that i should expect some complications.

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It may take longer........ it may not. It will depend on many factors: the weather, the job foreman, the availability of supplies, the "uh oh" surprises that you didn't think about beforehand.

 

I had a house built that took 3 months instead of 1 month but during that time, Costa Rica got sideswiped by a hurricane that brought torrential rains and one of the workers (there were three) had a heart attack.

 

You just never know.

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I think you should have your wife do as much of the talking as possible. There is a Gringo, Tico thing here one is cheaper than the other. My husband does all of the talking when it comes to ......How much will it cost?

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I can see all the suggestions here are very wise.

 

I would add that you should decide, first, what your investment would be and, according to this, you can decide about what level you would finish the house in order to be able to afford it and still living with mínimum comfort.

 

As costaricafinca said, pay attention to the conditions in the property where you are planning to build. A soil test would be ideal. For instance, a client me asked to check a lot he would like to buy and according to the soil test, the first 6 feet were soft soil (clayey silt soil), so there would be necessary to build a rigid concrete slab as foundations or building concrete stakes to hold the house`s weight, in short, there were extra expenses, not included in his budget, to pay, even considering a stock house design. An engineering solutions should be make to have unexpensive costs it possible.

 

Many other factors should be taken into account: pluvial drainages, septic tank and its drainages location in the lot, the property`s slope, etc.

 

Is it so complicated? I should say your investment and your mind peace deserve studying those details, specially if you are at the very beginning, specially if you are considering to buy the land first.

 

Buena suerte en tu decisión.

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