Did you know that real estate developers and home builders in Costa Rica are never happy with home inspections? They will tell you: why do you want to waste your money on a home inspection! Don’t worry, we will fix anything that doesn’t function. Your request for a home inspection from the developer or builder who sells you a home or condo will be countered as such. A promise is made so easily.
What happens if you don’t move into your condo or house immediately? What happens if you purchase the property as an investment and it takes a while to rent it out?
I know a lot of people who have bought or built a home with a Costa Rica home builder or a real estate developer without having done a home inspection before closing. Then, they have problems with things that don’t function later. Don’t you think it’s safer for you to make the request than to worry the builder not being happy with home inspections?
Before you buy from a developer in Costa Rica, please read this blog about earthquakes and construction in Costa Rica too!
We have sold building lots to clients and then they want us to recommend a good home builder. Home builders are the same all over the world; they run into money trouble at the finishing stages and start taking shortcuts.
Or the condo in that condominium building you bought by seeing only floor plans will be delivered to you before the common areas are finished. What can you do about that? Another issue that can easily happen is that you will close in the dry season, so you don’t even think about a leaking roof. What will you do when the next rainy season the roof is leaking everywhere? Then you will understand perfectly well why the developer was never happy with home inspections.
The builder’s rep can tell you that having a new construction home inspection is a waste of money. Some developers are selling so well, that even if the inspector came up with any issues, it wouldn’t matter; they wouldn’t fix anything. I’ve seen it happen.
One buyer I know said she felt like canceling the entire purchase after hearing that, and I can’t say I blame her. Who would want to buy a home from someone with an attitude like that? It doesn’t matter if the developer is happy with home inspections or not, the buyer is King. Or not?
Most builders use specialized crews or sub-contractors for certain jobs. A crew for the concrete block walls, a crew for the tiles, the drywall ceilings and walls, plumbing, electrical en so on and so forth. In developments, the crews go from one house or condo to the other until done and disappear. So when the house has to be delivered and a home inspection will show missing things or mistakes made during construction, they’ll have a hell of a time to get it all fixed. That is the reason for the builder’s rep reasoning for not accepting a home inspection before closing.
A North American invention
Costarican builders and real estate developers are not used to home inspections, that’s a North American invention, and it is a very good one. I always insist all my agents should recommend a home inspection before closing or before delivery of the newly built home; it’s a matter of being a responsible real estate agent to do so. The only reason for using a good home inspector is to make sure that any construction defects are addressed right away before they turn into an expensive problem.
When you buy land in Costa Rica and you hire a Costa Rica builder to build your custom home, make sure you write up a good contract with your attorney, specify as many payments as you can in the different building stages and stick to it (please do!). Make sure you include a home inspection before making the final payment or to be able to hold it until everything works correctly.
A developer’s clause
In the case of a condominium, most Costa Rica real estate developers will include a clause as follows:
The balance of US $………. will become due within the following fifteen calendar days after having performed the closing walkthrough and approved the unit to be totally finished to the specifications offered by the SELLER in Exhibit X, in order to celebrate closing, and complete and cancel purchase price. This means you have the right to do a home inspection but generally, buyers don’t realize that. Now, make sure you keep an original and signed agreement (I’ve seen developers giving the buyer only a copy) with all the addendums and exhibits.
A home inspection is perfect public relations opportunity for the builder but most developers in Costa Rica don’t understand that, or they just don’t care. If the home inspector comes up with a list of construction defects, the builder has a golden opportunity to fix the issues with a smile. This creates trust and goodwill with the buyer, which can lead to new referrals.
Not many defects
Normally, at home inspections, you won’t find a ton of defects in the new house or condo. It is all stuff that could probably be corrected in one day, such as
- a kitchen cabinet drawer that won’t open because it was in a terrible location
- a back-pitched plumbing vent
- or improper flashing above windows
- … stuff like that.
Make it easy for yourself, use a real estate agent when you purchase and a home inspector before closing, they can save you a ton of headaches. And insist on a home inspection, even if the real estate developer is not happy with home inspections
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