Before closing, we had invited 3 contractors for the new home renovation. Two things happened at about the same time. Actually, it’s more accurate to say, our escrow closing HAPPENED.
But having an acceptable contractor ready for the repairs and home improvements HADN’T HAPPENED…yet
Brooke Bishop, one of the GoDutch “Realtors Extraordinaire” had made contact again with our original home renovation contractor #1.
She got him to agree to sharpen his pencils and provide a new quote for our clearly described repairs, improvements, and additions.
Home renovation contractor #2 is the local builder from a large company with an on-staff architect-partner. He came to meet me at our new house. The builder greeted me in perfect English. This is a big plus to be able to communicate clearly with your builder in one’s own native tongue. He inspected the premises, picked up our “request for quote” document, and took pictures of our house. He also took the one remaining set of original house architectural plans.
His use of technology and engineering software was quite extensive and impressive. It would have impressed me even back home in the States. With the advantage of his use of tech tools, he promised to have a quote back to me in just four business days. Now, we were rolling!!! I had good vibes from this local builder.
And I had one more home renovation contractor from out of the area recommended by Howard Jones, our other GoDutch Realtor Extraordinaire, Isa Jones’ husband, still to meet.
We arranged to have contractor #3 and his architect to meet me at our rental. Then they were to accompany us to our new house. I wound up following them to our new place via a new route, which cut the commute by five minutes to an even thirty. At least, if contractor #3 didn’t pan out, I now had a shorter route in time. At least, now I’d found a new way of commuting from the rental to the new house.
Contractor #3 and his architect, a woman, inspected the house and then very carefully measured the thickness of my plaster cracking walls.
Taylor Jones, Isa and Howard’s son, came along as an interpreter. I was explained that the plaster on the wall was 50cm thick. This is roughly seven times thicker than the 7cm he would build. I was impressed by his level of detail. He also assured me that not all of the plaster was that thick. At least not every last bit of plaster inside and out would need to be removed.
I digress here to address what had been a running difference of opinion. Contractor #1 said every last lick of the plaster throughout needed to be removed right down to the cinder block.
The home inspector had said in his report that none of the plaster needed to be removed. That an application of an elastomeric bonding product and elastomeric paints over the plaster would be satisfactory.
Contractor #3 estimated that removal 50-60%, but not all of the existing plaster, would be necessary.
I tended to believe that if some of the walls carried seven times the weight and volume they should, that no amount of bonding agent and elastic paint would be an acceptable solution.
Contractor #3 and his architect looked at the roof, gutter and drainage construction over the front entrance of the house. They commented on how poorly designed it was. That was also a fact that our home inspector had pointed out.
This home renovation contractor was the only one of the three contractors to notice the defective design and implementation. That struck another positive cord with me. Contractor#3 said the daily commute would be long, but manageable. He was happy to quote and do the work.
They finished their inspection and took our request for a quote package. Then they promised to get back to us with a quote in one week. You probably want to know how the quotes came in and who we selected to do the work. You’ll have to wait until the next blog about the home improvement quotes.
First, I’m going to describe the “escrow closing ceremony” as performed in Costa Rica. It was far different than the complicated multi-page, multi-signature process that we were used to in California. There were no legal mumbo-jumbo and endless forms and statements this time. In California, every possible entity known to man in the real estate world covers their ass.
Our closing went like this: we all sat together in the same room:
- The seller,
- Two real estate agents
- Our lawyer
- We were introduced,
- Shook hands,
- We signed ONCE
- On ONE PIECE OF PAPER,
- Our lawyer signed,
- The seller handed his commission to his agent,
- We were handed the keys,
And it was done—maybe ten minutes altogether. Quite speedy and quite civilized.
However, we came back to earth later that same afternoon. We now received a healthy dose of the kind of bureaucracy we were used to in California.
Brooke took us to ICE, the national electrical company, to change the two electricity accounts at our new home into our name. After waiting for almost an hour for our number to be called. It took a total of ten of my signatures, two of Brooke’s. Brooke acted as the seller’s power of attorney. Then we had to make a trip to the Correos (post office) for a certified form that we had just presented to the ICE representative. Then more endless typing on the official ICE computer. Altogether, this operation easily took 90 minutes. Pura Vida!
The author of this blog, Ticonuevo, is a US expat who moved to Costa Rica. He and his wife used the services of GoDutch Realty to purchase a property in Costa Rica. In his blogs, Ticonuevo describes his own experiences of taking the step of moving to Costa Rica and getting a new life started.
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