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What does it cost to build a house in a rural area?

Something with 2-3 bedrooms for example.
There are so many variables here, but let's start with the rural part. It will be cheaper to build in a rural area to begin with and the taxes will also reflect this. We began with 3 small bedrooms but my wife decided she wanted to make one big, master bedroom and a smaller guest bedroom. We put in two fireplaces because she gets so cold, one in the living room and one in the bedroom but I love a nice fire on a cool night. She stays cold so that means that the three mini split AC's are rarely used and then sparingly as she freezes. That was around $3,500.00 plus labor for the AC's. When we run them in the summer our electric bill goes from the normal 797 pesos to around 1,700 pesos. This is money that can be saved in the right climate but even in the mountains it does get hot in August.

We opted for a pressurized water system over a simple gravity feed tinaco that most Mexican homes utilize but we have good water pressure. We have what would be the equivalent of a well system back in the states with a pump and pressure tank.

We went with a Square D breaker panel with every slot occupied instead of three breakers that you see commonly in our village but we have a lot of outlets. We also had to purchase our own transformer because the one that the entire village shares kept throwing out breakers as we were pulling too much power than could be shared. Most of our neighbors have one light bulb on at a time, never in the day and half of them don't even have a refrigerator so the transformer put us back $3,000.00 plus installation.

The roof also is a big choice, flat concrete is common but we opted for aluminum that resembles red tile. It looks good and the rain makes a pleasant sound, does not leak and is a lot lighter than actual tiles which mildew.

Most homes around me and even in the city have no window screens, how they live with the mosquitoes is beyond me but they do it. We had aluminum doors and windows that resemble natural wood, again, more expensive than just regular wood but a lot more durable.

We also wanted arched windows and doors to get the Mexican look but this is more labor intensive and uses more materials as they make the door or window rectangular or square, then chip out the semi circle so you lose material and spend more time but again, it's what you want to live in for the rest of your life so we spent a little more to make it nice.

We wanted a big porch so we spent extra money there and bought nice enough furniture to make it comfortable, we had wooden benches and a big picnic table but my old bones needed some cushion so we bought nice, new patio furniture and paid too much for it.

We wanted it safe so we built a 9 foot wall around it and topped it with electricity and have security lights, two of which I have disconnected only leaving the one at the front gate on. We added burglar bars, it just keeps going.

They asked if we wanted a septic system or just to run our sewage to the river on our land, we opted for the septic system, more money again but that is what we wanted.

Land is cheaper the further you are from the city but materials have gone up considerably in the past three years. Again, you will determine how much you want to spend and what you want but I estimate that we spent around $50,000 - $60,000, probably more but I didn't keep every receipt. We paid too much for labor and we knew it but we came to know and love the people who worked for us and didn't mind paying them well. You can of course build for a lot more or a lot less, our home is modest but it is paid for and we love it.



 

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What does it cost to build a house in a rural area?

Something with 2-3 bedrooms for example.
Hard to say. We live in an area that is more rural than urban. But we are 20-30 minutes from urban.

We bought an existing house - from a German/Colombian couple who spent a few dollars remodeling. We could not rebuild the house for what we paid for it. Which is one reason why we have home owners insurance.

With the dollar still relatively strong and with the real-estate market relatively weak (buyer's market) - it might be prudent to buy something existing. And then you don't have to live in a construction zone as well.

We have a friend who has an AWESOME house up for sale. Any silicon valley exec would jump at the chance to live in her house - if it were in CA. Yet - here it sits empty...
 

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I don't think they pay a commission on home sales here in Mexico. We went to Xalapa and were told that we would not find anything for $100,000.00 USD there. I find that had to believe as we were not looking for a brand new home. They act like they don't want to show any property, probably because they get paid the same to sit and file their nails or play on the internet..
 

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In our area (in Mexico) it is the same commission as the US - 5%. When we sold there (US) we did some last minute negotiating - where the two realtors kind of kicked in a little...
 

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We have a friend who has an AWESOME house up for sale. Any silicon valley exec would jump at the chance to live in her house - if it were in CA. Yet - here it sits empty...
Maybe your friend's house is not in an area where AWESOME people want to live.;)
 

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Lovely house you have!
Thank you Isla, as I said it is modest but it is new and it is paid for. This leaves us the money to travel a little each month. People don't bother us out here in the country. We have to load our garbage up and drive it into town on trash day but that is a small sacrifice to make to live in this solitude. We are still close enough to several large cities and the beach to be able to see interesting new places.

I know other people are more social but I did my partying on the Yucatan and Cozumel. We can still drive into the city and have a large selection of places to eat so give me my front porch any day over a noisy club, been there, done that, got the T shirt.
 

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Thank you Isla, as I said it is modest but it is new and it is paid for. This leaves us the money to travel a little each month. People don't bother us out here in the country. We have to load our garbage up and drive it into town on trash day but that is a small sacrifice to make to live in this solitude. We are still close enough to several large cities and the beach to be able to see interesting new places.

I know other people are more social but I did my partying on the Yucatan and Cozumel. We can still drive into the city and have a large selection of places to eat so give me my front porch any day over a noisy club, been there, done that, got the T shirt.
I sometimes long for solitude, away from the wear and tear of city life, but living out in the country on my own doesn't appeal to me. You're very lucky to have someone to share your solitude with.
 

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I sometimes long for solitude, away from the wear and tear of city life, but living out in the country on my own doesn't appeal to me. You're very lucky to have someone to share your solitude with.
I love where you are. And I'll share a secret - if you look up and see a brilliant blue sky - you know that we are in Mexico City ! Never fails.

Edit : well you get my point anyway...
 

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I love where you are. And I'll share a secret - if you look up and see a brilliant blue sky - you know that we are in Mexico City ! Never fails.
I am happy here most of the time, but I sometimes wish I could beam myself to the campo for a few days to refresh my spiritsl. Maybe the rotten weather we've been "enjoying" lately has something to do with my gloomy mood. We haven't seen brilliant blue skies for quite a while.
 

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I am happy here most of the time, but I sometimes wish I could beam myself to the campo for a few days to refresh my spiritsl. Maybe the rotten weather we've been "enjoying" lately has something to do with my gloomy mood. We haven't seen brilliant blue skies for quite a while.
Just be grateful you are not in South Florida this afternoon.
 

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We also wanted arched windows and doors to get the Mexican look but this is more labor intensive and uses more materials as they make the door or window rectangular or square, then chip out the semi circle so you lose material and spend more time but again, it's what you want to live in for the rest of your life so we spent a little more to make it nice.





Your builders didn't know what they were doing in this regard- I have lots of arched doorways and windows- they built the walls up to where the arch starts, then put up plywood forms in the arch shape and continued to build. No chipping out what they had already built. Still a bit more labor intensive than rectangular, but at least I didn't pay for blocks and cement that ended up as rubble. And my plumber/electrician put in all his stuff as the walls went up- no building and then days of chiselling out for that stuff.
 

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Your builders didn't know what they were doing in this regard- I have lots of arched doorways and windows- they built the walls up to where the arch starts, then put up plywood forms in the arch shape and continued to build. No chipping out what they had already built. Still a bit more labor intensive than rectangular, but at least I didn't pay for blocks and cement that ended up as rubble. And my plumber/electrician put in all his stuff as the walls went up- no building and then days of chiselling out for that stuff.
I'll make sure that I tell these craftsmen that have done this all of their lives that they don't know what they are doing according to a Canadian who saw a house built differently.

In smaller spans like windows, yes, but in a large arch such as the porch in order to have the strength to withstand earthquakes they had to use steel reinforced headers for the top of the arch, not a bent piece of plywood then just pour cement into for the entire piece.

They then built up to the reinforced header and began the arch, I watched the entire process and asked questions as to why they did things the way that they did. They used plywood on the small windows, the large arches of the porch required steel reinforced headers due to the longer span.

I'm sure that people in different parts of Mexico build by different means, probably according to where they are in regards to the fault lines. In areas that are not prone to earthquakes, less reinforcement is needed, but I don't think that you are in a position to say that these men who do this for a living, to certain standards in certain areas "don't know what they are doing", but I'm sure they will get a good laugh out of it.

If your plumber and electrician "put in all of his stuff as the walls went up _ no building and then days of chiseling out for that stuff" then your house is of a different construction type than mine. Mine is made of solid bricks covered with stucco, not hollow cinder blocks. Using solid bricks there is no way to put in the electric lines or pipes without chiseling that I know of unless you cut each block individually to accommodate the pipes and wires which would be as much if not more work.

Granted, coming from the wood frame houses of Texas it looked bassakwards to me as I have ran my own plumbing and electrical lines in the walls, between the studs then covered the whole mess with sheet rock.

But construction is different in different parts of Mexico, I'm sure.
 

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I had a real adventure in construction: buy a house from another century which has been "remodeled" over the decades. Add to that the fact that the surrounding properties have been serially parceled out to the point of it being impossible to figure out where certain plumbing drains into. Yes, it had good "bones" and a great location, but I'd recommend against going that route. My best advice is to buy a house in good shape that only needs some cosmetic improvements: not plumbing, wiring and reinforcement! Before buying, make friends with a geologist who can help you eliminate properties that have been stuck back together after separating on unstable ground. This actually happens.
Building? Hmmm.
 

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No Zorro, my large arched pass-thru and windows all have steel headers I can assure you. If I had taken in-construction photos I'd post them for you.
And no, they are solid blocks. The plumbing pipes were put in as the walls went up, no problem, then they blocked and plastered up to and around them. The pipes also went in through the rebar headers before the headers were poured. Electrical conduit required a bit of saws-all-ing, but was definitely done before any plastering so was minimal.

I love the resourcefulness of Mexican builders and was impressed with how they are able to use found materials for many things while in construction. And I am not saying that you didn't end up with a beautiful house that you are pleased with.

But the notion that just because they have been doing this all their lives means that they are doing it "right" is false. They do it like their dad did it and like his granddad before him. If they did things "right" across the board, there wouldn't be so many houses with salitre problems, and they would know that it's a no-no in cement and concrete work to add water to the mix after it has already "slaked", which they do all the time and which weakens the strength of the concrete. As an example.
 
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