With soaring real estate prices and a shortage of housing, living in a home you love in Puerto Rico can feel like an impossibility.
You’d love to find the perfect home for your family, but after months of searching the market you are starting to realize it doesn’t exist. You are considering buying a fixer upper or taking on a new build to get what you need but are overwhelmed by the mental load of figuring out how to begin a project of this size and managing the risks. Horror stories of endless spending, stretching schedules, and stressful conflicts between contractors and designers makes you hesitant to take the next step, but what other option is there? Here at Five Star General we pride ourselves on offering a solution to this problem. As folks who handle these sorts of projects day in and day out, we’ve amassed knowledge to give and would like to help you on your way by sharing the top 5 things you should know when preparing for your dream home in Puerto Rico.
1. Location, Location, Location
Let’s start with the basics. Make sure you select a home or land in a place that is meaningful for you, your family, your friends, your work, and your community. Location is important not only to anchor you to the neighborhood you want to invest in, but also because project viability is often related to appraisal value which also vary by location and surrounding homes. Many people don’t think about the critical role financing will pay when they go to execute their full vision for the property. With high demand and low supply, the cost of construction in Puerto Rico is significantly higher than what Google or Zillow will tell you.
2. Pull comparable Sale:
Since you plan to do a project in the first few months/ years after purchasing your property, it is critical that you understand what similar properties are selling for in your area. Some quick math will offer not only a sense of what an appropriate starting budget should be but also a feasibility gut check on if your project is possible or preferable to buying a home that is much closer to your ideal needs without the tie investment of the design/build process. It may be that your property is “too nice” for a comprehensive remodel to pencil out as a good investment. Sometimes a home with less work done to it already might be a better starting point. It’s important to find the right house for the right project or be willing to commit to staying for a few years to recoup your investment Puerto Rico is an island of very different neighborhoods and you should visit them at all hours day and night. Just looking on Google and different websites is not enough.
3. Talk to a Bank:
Once you have a sense of what your budget might be, talk with a bank or two about what’s possible. It’s always a good idea to talk to professionals who can help you further assess project viability and help you plan for the future! Plan for a finance strategy that allows you to pay for design and construction. At Five Star General LLC, we’ve developed resources to share with our clients to help them understand the different financing products available in our market for their project and share the basics of how these products work, how they qualify, and how to estimate what their monthly payment will be so they can better prepare for their project. We have a great resource lender on the island that lends in Puerto Rico and in the states.
4. Project Budget does not Equal Construction Budget
It’s important to understand that in Puerto Rico require you to work with a team of licensed professionals to execute your project. These jurisdictions have a vested interest in ensuring all of its housing stock is well built and safe. To make sure this happens, each jurisdiction requires drawings and letters from hired professionals to submit for permits and review during construction at city required inspections and each professional takes their own fee which needs to be planned and accounted for. At Five Star General LLC, we combine architecture, construction, landscape and interior design into one unified service provider, drastically reducing the number of consultants required. Our integrated approach has us performing the bulk of the work and managing the few remaining consultants so responsibility falls squarely on us, drastically simplifying the process, reducing stress and reducing fees
To understand your all-in cost, you’ll also need to consider where you’ll live during construction and what you’ll do with your belongings. Many people think they can live in a home during a big renovation but we do not advise it! You know those 95 weeks in Puerto Rico? Yeah, that might be the week your AC has to be turned off. Not to mention living with all the dust! We encourage all of our clients to move out during construction and consider the cost of renting and storing furniture as part of the project cost.
5. Have Professionals Assess the viability of your project with You.
Once you’ve found your must-have property, it’s super important that you consult professionals to help you assess the viability of the project you plan to take on. There is so much to know regarding design and construction and the local municipalities come with extra hoops to jump through. Our code is super specific and development potential varies with each property. The last thing you want to do is get into a home that’s more of a project than you bargained for and have to move again. Hire a home inspector and reach out to a local architect and builder for guidance before you’re fully committed! If you’ve found the property you think is the one and need some help assessing viability, Five Star General, LLC offers consultation services to discuss possible development options, assess the general condition of the home and its parts, and advise on overall project budget. If you’ve already found your spot and are starting to plan your project, schedule a consultation today at our website Fivestargeneralpr.com We look forward to meeting you.
Life’s too short to settle for an uncomfortable home. With help from Five Star General, LLC your family can live a comfortable, inspired life in a custom designed to home, crafted to meet their needs.