A Costa Rican Home Inspection!
Over the last 18 years of Eric and I being together we've bought and sold 8 homes in Canada, 2 in Costa Rica and then their is my professional background of being a Realtor that has allowed me to be part of a good couple hundred inspections over the last few years.
First of all a home inspection is considered a luxury in Costa Rica. You wont find a long list of home inspectors ready to book appointments like you do in Canada. This is generally requested by North Americans as we are used to having homes inspected prior to purchase to know what we are getting into. You'll have to rely heavily on your realtor that your working with in Costa Rica for a resource in that specific area. For us our home inspector was an engineer that does construction & building of homes. We liked that they are registered builders as it means they know what the code is to complete a new build.
In Canada a home inspection is approx. $400-600 often 40-60 pages of details specific to the home on ALL levels. Major issues like foundation cracks, roof shingles needing replacement and even minor things like a GFCI outlet is missing near the sink or a tile is loose. In Costa Rica our home inspection was $300 and 1.5 page of written information and 1 page of microscopic photos of his findings. It was quite comical yet surprisingly just as informative.
The homes in Costa Rica don't have basements generally it's main floor living and potentially a 2nd floor as well. The review is focused on structural issues -cracks in the wall, condition of the roof, replacement of anything that may be addressed like we have 1 lose tile in our bathroom that needs fixing. Overall it was quick & simple review of the condition of the home. We weren't there for the inspection we were still in Canada so we were heavily relying on the report. Things that we noticed they didn't mention like they would of in a Canadian report are things such as -The roof needed to replaced they said in a few years due to the rust but we had to replace it immediately as we just hit rainy season and it was showing signs of leaking which couldn't of been seen upon a visual inspection. In Canada most inspectors have a special guy to detect wetness behind walls. They also didn't mention that the windows were original only that they are in good condition and the bathroom ones needed replacing due to the corrosion they didn't open and close properly anymore. Nor did they mention all the cracks and drywall damage in the ceiling that we had to repair -this is more cosmetic but in Canada this would be pointed out.
Overall we were happy with our inspection report. We knew for the most part what we were getting into and they were all things we could handle. Nothing popped up that we couldn't handle, granted knowing the roof leaked would have been nice to know in advance but it wasn't a deal breaker for us.
Here is a copy of our 3 page Costa Rican Home Inspection Click to enlarge them to see the detail better.
I hope this helps with what to expect with inspecting a home in Costa Rica. If you are buying a home without the ability to see it I strongly suggest you have a 3rd party to review it's condition.
Kristy & Eric
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Thinking of Buying / Selling in Canada or Costa Rica? Feel free to reach out as a licensed professional I have trusted contacts to connect you with if I can't do it myself!