Buyer beware — PART TWO

With the remaining portion of his retirement, Bob purchased a large portion of land, which he subdivided, thinking he could build a house on one lot, sell it, build another on one of the remaining lots, sell it and then have a nice nest egg with which to build his own house (at very little cost considering it would be built with the profits made on the other two houses). He contacted an architect a tico friend of his had grown up with, but with whom the person no longer was in close contact. The architect drew up plans, eventually got the necessary permits (not because of city delays, but procrastination on the part of the architect) and construction began. The contractor was someone recommended by the architect. The construction crew was inexperienced and lacked guidance. The foreman bought excessive amounts of materials, leaving Bob with leftover steel, wood, cement, tile, etc. – several thousand dollars worth. The architect withdrew money from Bob’s building account and quit. Construction overruns were several thousand dollars and Bob’s house remains unfinished. What was once a healthy retirement account is now invested in two costly, unproductive investments. Bob is emotionally and financially destroyed.

Anyone planning to buy or build in Costa Rica should ask around and check out several references of prospective attorneys, architects, builders and developers. There ARE excellent, legitimate professionals around, but they must be weeded out by diligent research. Don’t ever assume that the “bad guys” will get caught and punished by the government or their colleagues. Don’t assume that the friendly person you are talking to is honest. You are on your own. Beware.

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