What was the one thing you were most afraid of with your new home? How did it turn out?
We were afraid the house would go over budget and could potentially take a lot longer to build than projected. Or even worse a builder wouldn’t finish the house.
Was the building process what you expected?
Overall, it was much better than expected. I think we didn’t expect it to be the same as building in the States so therefore we didn’t get upset when things didn’t go as planned and we very happy with the end product.
Was there anything that you feel did not meet you expectations? For example, a certain sub-contractor, finish item, communication w/ our office or something with your floor plan?
Understanding how things work differently in CR in more detail would have been helpful. For example, I was starting to get very nervous that we didn’t have a fully executed contract even though we were starting construction. I didn’t realize that an attorney needs to be involved and everything needs to be in spanish to be legally binding as in the states you can just have a copy of signatures for the contract to be binding. We also didn’t fully understand why we needed to pay a title company to manage the funds as in the States you can just wire the draws and receive copies of the expenses. Understanding how far in advance you needed finish items so we had more time to make selections and we would have sent more items (such as light bulbs and cabinet hardware) had we known in advance some of the limited selections available here. The grading around the pool could have been better prior to putting down the grass. Some areas are level with the paver deck and then other areas are lower than the deck.
What exceeded your expectations?
We were very happy with the allowances you included in the budget. You should give examples of finish items to your clients so they know how realistic the allowances are. Normally in the states the allowances are very low and you go over budget on all of them. We were thrilled the house was finished so soon.
What areas do you think we could improve in?
Better documentation of selections made and changes. There were a number of times we felt we had to repeat things we already discussed and some things that were missed, such as drawers in the island, fixed shower head in master, cabinet hardware etc.
What was your favorite thing about working with us?
We felt that we could trust you and your trades had our best interest in mind. We greatly appreciated suggestions, such as doing the wave tile on the entire back walls in guest baths and stepping stones & tile on outdoor shower. You have a really good crew and we appreciated all the communication, especially getting photos and videos during construction. Also loved having a personal shopper find us furniture in SJO. That was an added perk you should really highlight.
Would you feel comfortable recommending us to others? If so, please take a few moments to write us a brief note about your experience with working with us that we could use on our website and/or marketing material.
We have traveled through-out Costa Rica and fell in love with the Costa Ballena area. We planned on purchasing a home but after seeing the limited resale options available we decide to build a home. As a home builder in the US I was well aware of all the things that could go wrong especially in another county and after interviewing a number of builders and understanding the way contracts work in Costa Rica we realized we needed to really trust the builder we worked with. We found Ben because we were staying in a home he recently build and we were very impressed with the quality of the home. We hands down would recommend Ben and his team. From the beginning stage of designing our custom home right thru warranty work after completion Ben has always been accessible and followed throught on getting the work completed. If we had to sum up our experience with Ben and Paradise Homes in one sentence it would be our home was completed ahead of schedule and under budget and we couldn’t be happier. If we decide to build another home here we wouldn’t even consider working with someone other than Ben & his team.
Josh & Heidi
I want to personally commend yourself for the quality product that you deliver. You have set yourself ahead of the rest in our community as a builder, professional, and organizer.
It is so refreshing to see you planning your business and knowing that behind the scenes you are working your tail off thinking of your customers and their needs. You have no idea how helpful this is in the real estate sales process. No one else does this, just you. Builders (here) simply build, but you provide a full solution. Your new website is an example of your professionalism – well done.
Good on you Ben.. your success in Costa Ballena is clearly assured by the manner in which you work.
John M. Wieland
Coldwell Banker Costa Rica
I met Ben Morris in San Diego 15 years ago. He was working for a reputable landscape architect firm, loved to surf travel and had a great work ethic. Timing was fortuitous as I had purchased the land and started to design a project for Tierra Pacifica in Guanacaste and desperately needed someone with his skill set to help through implementation. Ben was up to task, packed his bags and moved down there. In partnership with Doug Stern, Ben helped to complete the master design and implement the infrastructure, including the clubhouse, gym, pool, tennis courts, walking trails, that would become this beautiful community. In addition to this Ben helped to sell a majority of the 75 lots which were part of Tierra Pacifica.
Around 2005 we purchased a large piece of property in the Southern Zone and after several trips Ben fell in love with the area and decided to move. Since that time he helped us complete 2 projects, including the entire design and build out for Casa Big Sur and Tierra Verde.
Ben has great style, is passionate and trustworthy. If he tells you he will do something he does and finding all those traits in construction, whether in the US or in Costa Rica is not easy. I would recommend him for any construction project you are entertaining as he has built a team and the experience to execute on budget and time.
Call me with any questions.
We interviewed seven builders in Costa Rica before making the decision to work with Ben. An artist myself, I knew that we would be incorporating some unique features into our home, and finding a qualified builder who was willing to work with my “creative” ideas was important to me. Although we haven’t completed our main house as of yet, we have completed our guesthouse, and are extremely happy with both the results, as well as the experience. Contrary to the stories we were told about the experiences of others building in Costa Rica, our experience has actually been downright enjoyable. Not only has Ben successfully overseen our project, he has been a wonderfully creative sounding board and advisor. Additionally Ben has a true passion for landscaping, cultivating gardens of unique species of plants to be used with his clients. The icing on the cake is knowing that while we continue the process of building our home, Ben is already brainstorming the landscaping plan. We are excited about completing the main house, as this is where our combined vision will come to fruition.
Although, personally, I am partial to the aesthetic part of the building process, we recognize the tremendous need for quality work in this environment. For that reason, it is absolutely critical, that not only your builder, but each and every member of the team be skilled, knowledgeable and reliable, as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. I cannot begin to express how much we love our team. From the crew members who amaze us everyday with their skill and work ethic to Bobby our electrician who always seems to think of the questions before I ask them, we feel incredibly blessed. We have watched in amazement as Julian our architect inspects the work weekly, patiently making adjustments to the plan to accommodate the changes I have made to the original design. I am confident that his attention to detail will ensure the safety and stability of our home. . As I think about our team, I am reminded of the saying…”you don’t have to like your surgeon, he just has to be the best”. Although that may be true, it certainly is nice if they are the best, and you really like them too! I feel strongly that even though our project will one day come to an end, our friendships with these genuinely great guys will continue on.
Crystal Machiele and Jeff Blenkarn
Costa Verde Estates
Karen and I selected Ben Morris and Paradise Homes after interviewing several home builders in the area, based on his track record of quality construction, and good communication skills. The entire process from planning and design, through construction, and landscaping was a very challenging journey, that Ben managed with impeccable professional integrity. His team includes a professional architect and engineer, as well as highly skilled craftsmen for custom wood, stone, metal, glass, concrete, plumbing, and electrical works. Plants and landscaping are a big part of what makes Costa Rica special, and Ben has expertise with landscape design. We were impressed with the freedom to choose all of the finishing elements, such as tiles, counters, lights and plumbing fixtures. One of the special and unique aspects of this project, was our access through Ben to acquire custom wood and stone carvings from Bali, that were integrated throughout the home.
On the business side of the project, the finances were managed effectively by an escrow account service company, with monthly reporting on all expenditures. The progress of the project was reported regularly with video clips and photos using WhatsApp and email. Since we were not in Costa Rica during most of the construction, these communication tools proved crucial, especially for decision making. It was challenging for Karen and I to find common ground on many decisions, and Ben was able to guide us effectively through several obstacles. Some mistakes were made, and many design changes were implemented, all corrected and managed effectively.
We are happy to say that our home, Ballena Royale, is a masterpiece of construction, and we owe much gratitude to Ben and his dedicated team of workers. They helped us transform our dreams into reality.
Karen and Dave Ternes