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The Vital Role of Home Inspections for Mortgaging a Costa Rica Home

Home inspections are an essential part of the home-purchasing process in Costa Rica. Whether it’s a newly built home or an older one that has been remodeled, a professional inspection of the house can help ensure that you have made a well-informed decision. Find out more about what to look for during an inspection and why this step is so important.


Employing a Qualified Home Inspector

In Costa Rica, there are a lot of people advertising as home inspectors. However, no license is necessary for such. Many people would provide this service, but the level of expertise of the Inspector and the thoroughness of the examination completed vary greatly. A prospective home buyer should thoroughly investigate the background and credentials of a home inspector before hiring their services. The satisfaction of the Home Inspector’s other clients with the work and services rendered should also be investigated during this inspection. A certified home inspector must be knowledgeable about all aspects of home building, with a focus on foundation inspection, roof inspection, electrical and plumbing installation, and plumbing.



What to Look for in a Home Inspection Report

A home inspection report includes a visual inspection of the property from the roof to the foundation and everything in between. This includes electrical, plumbing, safety, and structural components. The inspector will also look for signs of pests or damage from moisture or water penetration. The report will then outline any issues found and their potential cost to repair or replace, so you can make an informed decision about purchasing the home and assess your risk accordingly. To prevent the possibility of flooding during the “Wet Season,” drainage systems surrounding the property are also very important to inspect.



Building regulations and governmental control

A construction code outlines the minimal building criteria for Costa Rica because of its location in a seismically active area. Reinforced concrete foundations, cement block walls, and either clay tile or corrugated metal roofs are the typical building materials used. To get a building permit, the Building Plans must be certified by an Architect who is a Member of the Costa Rica College of Engineers and Architects. It is not necessary for the Building Plans to be created by an architect. Practically speaking, government oversight stops after the municipal building permit is issued. An architect may oversee the building process or be left in the care of the builder and the builder’s foreman, or “Maestro de Obras.” In Costa Rica, trade training is not required, and most are learned “on the job.” Municipalities seldom ever evaluate residential building projects before they are finished. Depending on how personally involved the current owner was in the construction of their home, they might not have much firsthand experience with the condition of the structure or any potential flaws. Additionally, you will need a water letter which you can learn about here.



The Physical Characteristics of the Property

When you hire a home inspector in Costa Rica, they will physically inspect the property and look for any signs of structural damage or insufficient engineering that could affect the safety or livability of the property. This could include checking for structural weaknesses in walls or foundations, assessing roof wear, verifying that doors and windows have been properly installed, as well as looking into underground sewers, water systems, and electrical wiring. The inspector can also evaluate areas such as physical defects related to painted surfaces or carpeting.



Technical Evaluation of Infrastructure Quality and Reliability.

The inspector should also consider technical aspects of the property, such as electricity and telecommunications (internet, TV cable access), water and sewage pipes, sewage treatment facilities, and other amenities like air conditioning and lights. The assessment of these items should include their quality, condition, and reliability. If any of these essential household components are not functioning properly or have known issues, they should be noted to inform the buyer’s future decisions. In general, it is extremely important to have all infrastructure evaluated before purchase to ensure generations of safe occupation have been possible.



The Home Inspection from a reputable source is a crucial step in the due diligence process leading up to the private mortgage, in addition to having a lawyer review and report on the status of the registered property title.


-Co-written by Lawsen Parker (Operations Manager) and Glenn Tellier (Founder of Grupo Gap)



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