Isn’t it really important to know all about rain damage before you purchase property in Costa Rica?
As a responsible real estate broker, I put a list of 14 tips on how to prevent rain damage to your property.
Almost everyone who writes articles about Costa Rica has already written about the rainfall in Costa Rica. For sure there are a lot of published pictures about a mudslide in Santa Ana and other disasters. That’s the reason, I would like to attack this issue from a different and unusual angle: a real estate agent’s angle.
In Costa Rica, we have a lot of rainfall and properties often suffer a lot of rain damage. I want to tell you what to look for and what to do before and after you buy property in Costa Rica.
The weather is changing everywhere in the world. Rainfall in Costa Rica has doubled over the past two years. Third world countries don’t think ahead, they fix the problem of rain damage when it is too late. In Costa Rica, it is the same thing, there is no such thing as prevention. I’m sure you don’t want to belong to that same group of people who don’t prevent rain damage to their property.
Costa Rica has a Committee for National Emergencies (Comisión Nacional de Emergencias – CNE). CNE was created to prevent risk and attend to national emergencies. And yes, indeed they do attend to the national emergencies. BUT, there is never enough money or foresight and planning to do any risk prevention.
That said, every year, at the beginning of the Costa Rican rainy season
- the same rivers overflow,
- the same mountains create mudslides
- and the same roads and highways suffer.
The result is a lot of rain damage of course. If you want to live in Costa Rica, you better get used to the rainfall in Costa Rica. It is what we have and it’s part of that life that we love so much.
I needed this long introduction in this article to try to make you understand that rain damage is a national situation. It is not something that will be fixed soon. So, when you buy a property in Costa Rica, all the above is important for you to keep in mind and use this rain damage prevention checklist.
Rain Damage Checklist
I will try to make a rain damage checklist of things you should look at. When you are not totally sure, get the opinion of a pro. And I mean a geologist or someone who knows what he/she is doing and not a realtor who says “it’s been here for 100 years, so why wouldn’t it be here for another 100”. Don’t listen to salesmanship, listen to knowledge and expertise. The Costarican rainy season can do incredible damage and lots of buyers don’t even think of that, I would like you to be aware.
14 Tips to prevent rain damage in Costa Rica
- Check if there are any large rivers in the area, where they are located and if these rivers have overflowed their banks in the past.
- If there is a river bordering the real estate you’re looking to buy, make sure it is deep enough and that when something or someone blocks the river for some reason, the water can’t come your way.
- Check if behind or to the sides of the Costa Rica real estate there is a mountain or a hill. Look for signs of erosion. Make sure rainwater can get away easily. Make sure the hill can’t come down on you. If the hill is high up, go all the way up there and check out the situation up on top. Landslides go down, not up. If the property has a steep or inclined topography, look for signs of erosion. Either your neighbor’s property can fall on yours or yours can fall on your neighbors.
- See if any water coming into the property from above or from the road can get away and keeps it away from the house, especially when you are below the road level. See if you need to build gutters, you should use that info to negotiate the price. If you look for the signs of water that washed soil away, you’ll find it if it’s there.
- Check the condition of the road to get to the property. Is there any damage to the road? And what kind of damages are there?
- Make sure the gutters and downspouts of the gutters, plus the storm drains are well installed (use home inspector). Also, make sure the roof is in good health.
- Make sure the septic system won’t be underwater during the rainy season.
- Look for green spots and mold, that’s how you find the problematic areas inside and outside the house.
- Look at retainer walls and see if there are any cracks.
- See if the Costa Rica real estate has earthquake cracks or sagging.
- You can fill cracks in walls easily most of the time. But if a property is on a fault line and the house is not built according to code, you’ll be filling walls for the rest of your life. A little paint will cover everything but a good home inspector will be able to tell very easily if the property has any structural problems or not. Either erosion of the soil around or underneath the house or earthquakes can be the result of those cracks in the walls.
- Check if the rainwater has not created erosion and already hollowed out the house underneath or has touched the foundation of the house.
- Make sure the power meter and electrical installation haven’t suffered water damage (home inspector).
- If you plan to buy in a gated community in Costa Rica, make sure the condo administration does all the maintenance in time.
I think I have covered most of it. Feel free to email me any other suggestions.
Rainy Season Maintenance
After you bought the property and live in Costa Rica, don’t forget to check before the rainy season in Costa Rica starts:
- Clean out your storm drains or water drains all over the property
- Clean out your downspouts and gutters
The rainy season in Costa Rica starts in May and ends in November. The heaviest rainfall in Costa Rica is during the months of September, October, and part of November.
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