Because this is a new frontier in living, many folks have questions on how things work at the finca. Living in a treehouse is a curious thing after all! We have a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that most people have when considering a purchase at the finca.
If you are interested in acquiring your own parcel at Finca Bellavista, please fill out this questionnaire and let us know!
In general, there seem to be many questions and misconceptions about purchasing property in Costa Rica. However, the process can be simple and straight forward. Citizens and non-citizens of Costa Rica are granted the same ownership rights for property in this country, which is really no different than purchasing property elsewhere in the world. Same with purchasing a parcel of land and building a home at the finca. Though our homes are arboreal in nature, many of the processes and procedures of creating a home here are very similar to building a home in any other community in the world.
Legal Process – Learn more about the legal processes involved with purchasing property in Costa Rica.
Once an owner closes on his/her property here at the finca, there are several things to consider before moving forward with building a treehouse. As whimsical as treehouses are, there are many practical considerations to make!
Remember, treehouses are like snowflakes, no two are alike. We have found that the most frustrating phase for our owners of creating a living space here is assessing the overwhelming amount of possibilities given starting from scratch. Because this isn’t your typical cookie-cutter subdivision, you can’t really waltz into the office, sign a check and point to design A, B or C. Most people want to be involved in the creative stage of building here, but it does involve a fair amount of forethought, planning and patience.
It’s always best to plan ahead, and there are many factors to take into consideration when scheduling any construction project here at the finca. Because we are a planned residential community, we have Community Guidelines that owners must adhere to. We will forever recommend shooting for a dry season start date, which begins late November-ish most years. Working during the rainy season has many pitfalls and normally equates to time and money lost. However, construction schedules and timeframes are 100% dependent upon the budget and design of a home.
The processes leading up to treehouse construction take time and planning, and we suggest the following:
Step 1: We recommend that a botanist inventory the trees on your parcel for suitable host candidates. During the initial survey, the botanist marks the trees deemed to be the best candidate species on a parcel.
Step 2: Get a feel for the property. Explore and find where each marked tree is on the parcel, and begin the process of deciding where your home should be. Each particular lot seems to drive what sort of dwelling it should or could accommodate. The trees on each lot built on thus far really have “spoken” to their respective owners and usually drive a lot of the planning and design process. The size/type/location of the suitable host trees and their surrounding topography, access, drainage, etc. will dictate the tolerances for the building envelope and design. Think of it as a 3-dimensional, 200-foot tall building envelope with exponential possibilities!
Step 3: Once you hone in on the perfect spot on your lot where you want your home to be, the botanist can come back to do a full assessment of your exact chosen site and trees. This second assessment helps determine what those exact tree(s) overall health may be if you plan on building in them. Things like life expectancy, age, growth pattern, insect damage, drainage/surroundings, limb health and other factors are taken into consideration.
Step 4: Once a parcel’s candidate trees are chosen and fully assessed, then it’s time to start designing and really planning a treehouse. We suggest that people interested in building here start looking at treehouse books and designs to begin getting an idea of what types and styles of treehouses they like. Other books and literature that are helpful are small house or cottage-style magazines and designs, which are great when brainstorming ideas for the built-ins and space-saving necessities in a treehouse. Also, write lists and be thinking about what your wants versus needs are in a treehome.
Step 4: Once you start honing in on what you want and what direction you are heading with construction, you’ll want to start working on a design and selecting who/what company will build your house. Finca Bellavista now has an in-house construction company that can manage and enact construction projects for our owners. Sourcing and purchasing materials (from lumber and lightbulbs to plumbing fixtures and native landscaping) for any type of construction in the Southern Zone can be challenging and time-consuming at best. We cut out the headaches and help our owners dream, create and implement their own ideas for treetop living. We operate like other construction firms in that the first steps would be working with you to draft a design that works with your selected site, design, wish list, budget, etc. A construction agreement/contract would follow, then there are material and labor draws for various stages of the project through its completion (all of these things must be considered with seasonal weather patterns in mind and creating a feasible construction calendar, among other factors like accommodating other projects).
Step 5: Once you decide on your home’s location, you will need to plan for and create an access point for your homesite prior to construction. If this entails trailwork or impacting terra firma, a design must be submitted for review to FBV’s Environmental Review Board. In the short-term and long-run, a solid and well-planned access point to a parcel is far less impactful on the surrounding environment and on a project’s overall budget.
Step 6: Regardless of who is chosen as your builder, remember that per the community Guidelines, all plans and locations for structures need to be approved by the FBV Environmental Review Board, comply with MINAET requirements and obtain a municipal building permit prior to construction. For our purposes here at FBV, we are more concerned with the ecological ramifications of what we build here on the property and are very strict about minimum setbacks from adjacent lot lines, drainage, proximity to streams, nearby trees that may be rotten and/or nearing the end of their life span and hazardous to your home site, etc. Review of designs and plans and permitting takes time, and is not an element of the building process that can be omitted.
Step 7: Once your designs and permits are approved, you can build your treehouse! This process can take varying amounts of time. At the finca, this process has been as short as 2 months and as long as 6 months. Building timeframes are dependent on the size, style and finishes of your treehouse, and depend on variables like weather and materials availability.
Step 8: Once construction is complete, furnish and turn your treehouse into a treehome! Simpler seems to work better in this environment, but with a little extra effort and some creativity, a home here can be just as stylish and comfortable as anywhere else in the first world.
Step 9: Move in to your treehome and begin enjoying the treetop Pura Vida!