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David Smith – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Condos San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe construction standards in San Juan del Sur are set by the diligence you take to understand the builder you choose. There are very many good quality builders who will build to California earthquake standards, which is important here because we are in an earthquake zone. There are plenty of ways to build properly that way and there are builders who do that, so their standards there are excellent.
 
But you can also build in a ramshackle way without any standards and nobody is here to double check or verify. There’s no approvals process and no inspections process, either. So you build whatever you want to build and it would behoove you to investigate the builder you’re choosing to work with.  Make sure he’s qualified and has built to the standard that you expect. 
 
Relative to already built homes, there’s a building inspector who I know who we would get to check the building. Very often homes that we have to sell have all the engineering and architectural drawings to show how they were built from the original owners. We do the due diligence first before we list any house to make sure it’s strong and safe.  
 
(Condos San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, pictured.)
Zachary Lunin of Aurora Beachfront Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Remodeled open plan beach home north of San Juan del Sur, Penitas, Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYou will see construction of all levels and standards here in San Juan Del Sur. What you would get would depend on what you are trying to achieve with your build. If you are going to work with a contractor here in San Juan Del Sur, it is highly suggested that you look first at some of the buildings that they have done in the past. You would want to walk through the building sites, feel it and touch it and understand what you like about what they have done and what you do not like about what they have done. During the building process, you would always want to have someone to oversee your construction as often as possible. 
 
There is a permitting process in San Juan Del Sur, so in order to get a construction permit here you are going to submit a budget for the project to the municipality and they will charge you 2% of the overall budget in order to pull the permit. More often than not, they do not inspect or check on the building project. They would just want to see that the plans that you submitted are more or less the plans that you are building. They make sure that you are not submitting a plan for a 500 square foot house and then build a 5,000 square foot house and get away with that. But they will not check that your wiring were done right and they will not check if your foundation meets expectations. They are motivated to give you the permit because they are motivated to get the 2% charge. You really have to do your own due diligence and inspection of your own property. 
 

If you are buying a property that is already constructed, they may have issues that nobody would have pointed out. The inspection process is not a typical step here in San Juan Del Sur when it comes to buying and selling of properties. Houses are not required to pass inspection before passing hands from seller to buyer. 
 
Our company does construction inspections here in San Juan Del Sur. I can hire an inspector to go through and give you a report exactly the same as you get in the US. For my clients, there are builders and contractors that I recommend hiring to tale a look at a home before they make the purchase.  It is not something that is required by law here in Nicaragua but it is something that I recommend my buyers to do.  
 
((Remodeled open plan beach home north of San Juan del Sur, Penitas, Nicaragua, pictured.)
 
Joe Lopes of las escadas condominiums – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Home being constructed in San Juan Del Sur Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe truth is I do not think there is any construction standard here in San Juan Del Sur and that is a really bad thing. People just build whatever they feel like building.
 
People tend to be more concerned about standards when they are building big projects, but if it is just a small house, there is almost no standards at all.
 
The locals build even without permits. They just go ahead and build. When you do not have planning, it is bad.
 
If you are buying a house, you have to request inspections to be done and be sure that it is good before you buy it.
Daniel Snider of Snider's Realty Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
House in San Juan del Sur as viewed from the street– Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe quality of construction in Nicaragua and of course, San Juan del Sur varies on the type of builder and the type of materials used. In Nicaragua, we use a lot of steel, reinforced block construction which is up to American standards because Nicaragua is prone to earthquakes. There are termites here too, so if you want to have a wood framed house, you would need to spend on care and maintenance. Usually you have to apply termite treatment on the house to keep the termites away.
 
The aesthetics of buildings in San Juan del Sur are colonial. They have the red tiled roofing. San Juan Del Sur is a fishing village that became a tourist spot and then later turned into an expat destination. The colonial homes here are not the same as the colonial homes that you will find in Granada, but the homes here are inspired by colonial architecture. They have white walls, red tile roofs, some even use palapa roofs. Generally, the houses in San Juan Del Sur are more modern than in other places in Nicaragua.
 
There are houses here San Juan Del Sur which are made with wooden frames and have roofs made from palapa which are palm fronds. Palapa keeps the water out but you have to change it every 5 to 6 years since it is made from organic material – they are palm leaves so after some time they will start to deteriorate. It’s very inexpensive to change palapa roofs.
 
There are some buildings in San Juan Del Sur that are about 100 years old. The central park and its cathedral in San Juan Del Sur is about 100 years old or maybe even older. The buildings and houses here are a mix of old and new construction. There was a lot of new construction done in the last few years as Nicaragua became a more popular tourist destination.
 
In the United States, you are held accountable for your building under local government law. It’s not quite the same in Nicaragua. If you are building a house here I would recommend that you take extreme caution in who you trust with your construction, because just like in many other places around the world, some builders in Nicaragua would take short cuts which may end up with a faulty building. So the outcome of your construction depends on who your builder is, how well-recognized, how well-recommended he is and his reputation based on previous jobs that he has done.
 
Getting a building permit is very easy in San Juan del Sur and the government is nowhere near as stringent on your capacity to build as it is in the US. Of course you will still need to get a building permit and there are also rules in place but the builders do not follow these rules by the book as builders would in the States.
 
I know that there are certain places in the US where they are very strict on what you are able to build, how you build it, and how close your building is to your neighbors. Zoning regulations are not followed strictly in San Juan Del Sur as they are in the US.
Lucy Valenti of Liv Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
We have good construction standards for new building in San Juan del Sur.  If the house is being developed by a construction company in a housing project, they have good standards.  If the house is being built by someone on their own who is not interested in using a proper engineer or architect, that person may have problems with construction standards.
 
Houses and real estate development projects need permission and permits from the municipality, the environmental ministry, the fire department and others.  You can find people, however (usually poor people), who try to be clever and build without complying with the regulations.  For serious projects, builders need to comply with the regulations for construction.    
Carlos Amador of DISCOVER Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
In the past 10 years San Juan del Sur has become more popular.   It is now primarily a tourist town that is very laid back.
 
There are very few larger buildings in San Juan del Sur, and perhaps one or two larger condominium projects.  Relative to single-family housing, there are some very large houses owned by wealthy people and many smaller houses.
 
If you buy a house in San Juan del Sur that was built 30 – 50 years ago, it will not be built to good standards.  Many people who buy these older houses demolish them in order to build a new house because the value is in the land, not the older structure.
 
However, the government is now much more strict relative to building inspection, so if you buy a house that was built within the last 10 years, it was probably well-built, and built to American standards.

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