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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How Much are Home Building Costs in Playa Del Carmen? How do you find a good realtor, architect, lawyer and contractor?

I just found this forum after many, many months of research on relocating to a new country and I can't tell you how happy I am to have discovered it!

My husband and I currently live in Waterloo, ON, he originally being from Vancouver, we have three kids ages 21, 19 and 17, and are so ready to leave Canada! I have been researching all the typical places: Panama, Belize, Spain, Italy, France, the Caribbean Islands and have finally (or so we think depending on costs) settled on Mexico. We have been there many times, love the country, the people, the food, the architecture and the ocean!

My kids are all entering post secondary, so we are looking to have a place that is readily accessible for family vacations until we can take the time to move to Mexico for longer periods such as 3-6 months at a time. We love the area of Playa as it's quite established and there is a ton of stuff to choose from. I'm a real foodie, not only do I love going out but I also love cooking and entertaining, so access to good quality produce is really important for cooking.

A little background on myself and my husband, we currently have online stores based out of Canada, we also have rental properties in Canada, as well as renovating properties, I'm an Interior Designer, my husband does the contracting and/or work. We have very particular design tastes - Modern Minimalist - and are really hoping to make this future home in Mexico our dream home.

So here is my million dollar question, is it better to buy land and build a home vs buying a finished home, or are condos an easier solution?
What are the home building costs in Mexico, specifically in Playa Del Carmen or surrounding area? My husband would plan on being there during the build. We love Modern Minimalist design, so we would need to find an architect/designer and contractor that is familiar with this design style. We are looking at around 2500 sq ft, and definitely want a pool.

So any help you experienced expats could offer would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks again, I look forward to ANY and ALL info you have to offer!
Cheers
Melissa
 

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How Much are Home Building Costs in Playa Del Carmen? How do you find a good realtor, architect, lawyer and contractor? I just found this forum after many, many months of research on relocating to a new country and I can't tell you how happy I am to have discovered it! My husband and I currently live in Waterloo, ON, he originally being from Vancouver, we have three kids ages 21, 19 and 17, and are so ready to leave Canada! I have been researching all the typical places: Panama, Belize, Spain, Italy, France, the Caribbean Islands and have finally (or so we think depending on costs) settled on Mexico. We have been there many times, love the country, the people, the food, the architecture and the ocean! My kids are all entering post secondary, so we are looking to have a place that is readily accessible for family vacations until we can take the time to move to Mexico for longer periods such as 3-6 months at a time. We love the area of Playa as it's quite established and there is a ton of stuff to choose from. I'm a real foodie, not only do I love going out but I also love cooking and entertaining, so access to good quality produce is really important for cooking. A little background on myself and my husband, we currently have online stores based out of Canada, we also have rental properties in Canada, as well as renovating properties, I'm an Interior Designer, my husband does the contracting and/or work. We have very particular design tastes - Modern Minimalist - and are really hoping to make this future home in Mexico our dream home. So here is my million dollar question, is it better to buy land and build a home vs buying a finished home, or are condos an easier solution? What are the home building costs in Mexico, specifically in Playa Del Carmen or surrounding area? My husband would plan on being there during the build. We love Modern Minimalist design, so we would need to find an architect/designer and contractor that is familiar with this design style. We are looking at around 2500 sq ft, and definitely want a pool. So any help you experienced expats could offer would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again, I look forward to ANY and ALL info you have to offer! Cheers Melissa
The million dollar question was about the good realtor, architect, lawyer and contractor!
My advice is to buy land and build according to your taste and specs. Second best would be to renovate an old house, which comes rather expensive. Condos are a headache, at least to me.
Depending on the type of finishes, cost may go from around 7,500 pesos per m2 up to....whatever you want to spend
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Have you built a home in Mexico Gary? I have been reading through different threads and quite frankly it's just as easy to get taken in Canada as it is in Mexico! And that is based on years of experience if dealing with the trades! There are plenty of hucksters out there!
Finding a reputable realtor would be the first priority.
 

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Have you built a home in Mexico Gary? I have been reading through different threads and quite frankly it's just as easy to get taken in Canada as it is in Mexico! And that is based on years of experience if dealing with the trades! There are plenty of hucksters out there! Finding a reputable realtor would be the first priority.
Yes, I have built many houses in Mexico
If I can be of help, shoot away!
 

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Just dropping into this thread (although I’ve got no answers for you) because Waterloo is my home town, so hi! to a fellow Waterloo-ite.

I’ve been living in Mexico City for 18 years. We built our own house here and I honestly can’t tell you how much it cost. We just kept building and spending until it was finished. It was mostly a do-it-yourself project. We designed the layout ourselves, and had the plans drawn up by our brother-in-law who is an all-but-degree architect. He oversaw the construction and hired the workers, but it was my husband who had to do the on-site daily supervision of the workers.
 

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I would never build without being there to watch over it ..... unless you have a very good friend to take your place

Didn't see that hubby would be there ...... he better be
I agree with you on both comments.
Either a friend or an Architect or contractor.
Husband would be useful if he speaks Spanish, otherwise, he could be fooled by some people.
I've been doing that for 25 yrs
 

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Just last week I broke ground on my second house building project in Mexico. I am not in Playa del Carmen but in Colima. So, things may be different here. But, just in case this may be useful, I will offer my two cents worth.

There are a lot of good reasons for buying a house already completed and probably just as many for building a house from scratch. If you want a house right now, want to avoid the time and frustration that can and usually does go along with a building project and can find something you like, buy an existing home. If you want to save money and can speak enough Spanish to manage workers, have the time and patience to manage a project and want a house built just for you, then build it yourself. But, I would strongly suggest extreme caution in simply hiring an architect to design and build your house.

First off, in Mexico, the architect generally is the contractor. The architect will design your house and then work with an engineer for the "calculos" and full blueprints. The engineer is the one that actually submits these blueprints to the ayunamiento to have the permits issued. Once the permits are received, construction can begin and the architect is typically the one that will act as the contractor and supervise construction until completion.

The problem with this, in my opinion, is how the architects are compensated. Typically, they get a percentage of everything you spend to build your house. Which, of course, gives them exactly the opposite incentive of what you want. You want a house completed as quickly and economically as possible. The architect want to spend as much as possible for as long as possible to make as much money as possible.

Walk or drive around any relatively new neighborhood and you will likely see any number of houses where construction was started and never finished. In many of these cases it is because the architect told the home owner that the project could be completed within the stated budget. But then ran through that entire budget long before the construction was complete.

So, in short, I would highly recommend either finished construction or build it yourself if you can manage the project yourself. However, if you hire and architect and expect him to complete the construction for you, you should have at least 30% more to spend than the budget you give the architect and expect the project to be completed about 3 - 4 months late.
 

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There are several ways to work actually, two of the most common are:
- As dwwhiteside said, to pay the contractor a percentage of what the job cost. I would not recommend this for obvious reasons.
- Precio alzado: which is to convene a price for the whole work, write everything down in a contract, agree on the specs of the house, quality of the materials, imss payments, etc. delivery time... and take it from there.
The latter is the better way, this is, if you know some one honorable and honest as well as capable to do the job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow, thanks for all the response! From what I've been reading on past threads from this forum, as well as other forums is exactly what GaryJ65 has said, it's absolutely essential to have a very detailed Precio alzado - and please excuse my spelling if that's incorrect. Unfortunately my hubby and I speak "travel Spanish" so we both have a lot of learning to do. We are both leaning towards buying land first, and then taking the time to plan the build. We are in no hurry to build yet, so I don't mind taking the time to get it set up properly.

I guess one very important question is how much does one generally pay for land in Mexico? So for example, if a lot is listed in a development for $86 000.00 what is realistic offer - list? 30% below list - 50% below list? Friends of ours just purchased land in Turks and Caicos and put an offer in for 50% off list and got it. Is that the general rule in Mexico? Is it dependant on area?
Not sure how the real estate game works in this country! We know our market VERY WELL in Canada……
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Nice to meet you Maesonna! How have you found leaving Waterloo (albeit 18 years ago) and living in Mexico? Was it a huge adjustment?
 

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Wow, thanks for all the response! From what I've been reading on past threads from this forum, as well as other forums is exactly what GaryJ65 has said, it's absolutely essential to have a very detailed Precio alzado - and please excuse my spelling if that's incorrect. Unfortunately my hubby and I speak "travel Spanish" so we both have a lot of learning to do. We are both leaning towards buying land first, and then taking the time to plan the build. We are in no hurry to build yet, so I don't mind taking the time to get it set up properly. I guess one very important question is how much does one generally pay for land in Mexico? So for example, if a lot is listed in a development for $86 000.00 what is realistic offer - list? 30% below list - 50% below list? Friends of ours just purchased land in Turks and Caicos and put an offer in for 50% off list and got it. Is that the general rule in Mexico? Is it dependant on area? Not sure how the real estate game works in this country! We know our market VERY WELL in Canada……
It works the same way as everywhere, they set an asked price and then you make an offer. You may as well ask a real estate agent or, if you already know the area you like, contact a "valuador" for a commercial estimate on the land you want. It doesn't have to be a full study, just an estimate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the info dwwhiteside! Are you managing the project yourself? We have learned the hard way here in Canada that when you hire someone for a job, the white hat ALWAYS has to be on site! Our objective is to find the land first, secure that and then work towards the build. This gives us time to work out the design, then find the architect for the drawings. Out of curiosity, do you speak Spanish yourself? We are pretty accurate for job costing in Canada, we always run within a 5-10% overage - however we always budget that in at the beginning of the job.
What is the design style of the home you are building? Did you have difficulty finding a good architect to draw up the plans?
Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Is a Valuador something that they will readily give out to a potential purchaser? I would think the real estate agents would want to shield this from a potential buyer!
 

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Is a Valuador something that they will readily give out to a potential purchaser? I would think the real estate agents would want to shield this from a potential buyer!
The valuador has to give you that info, mostly as you are going to pay for it
 

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Is a Valuador something that they will readily give out to a potential purchaser? I would think the real estate agents would want to shield this from a potential buyer!
The valuador has to give you that info, mostly as you are going to pay for it
Just to clarify, the valuador is someone who will provide a commercial estimate of the land independently of the real estate agent, correct?

Gary, any tips for Melanie on how a potential buyer can find a valuador?
 

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Thanks for the info dwwhiteside! Are you managing the project yourself? We have learned the hard way here in Canada that when you hire someone for a job, the white hat ALWAYS has to be on site! Our objective is to find the land first, secure that and then work towards the build. This gives us time to work out the design, then find the architect for the drawings. Out of curiosity, do you speak Spanish yourself? We are pretty accurate for job costing in Canada, we always run within a 5-10% overage - however we always budget that in at the beginning of the job.
What is the design style of the home you are building? Did you have difficulty finding a good architect to draw up the plans?
Thanks again!
I am very slowly learning Spanish. My wife, however, was born and raised in Mexico and she is actually the one directly managing the project. For this project, we purchased a lot just around the corner from our current home and so, in affect, we are always on-site or just around the corner.

For our first project, we pegged our building costs at $5000 pesos per square meter and were within 10% of that figure. For this project, since it is our second, we expect to be much closer. I am not really sure how to describe the style of the home, maybe Mexican Modern.

interviewed several architects for this job, always stipulating exactly what we wanted; the design and architecture drawings, the blueprints and permits and a few visits from the engineer during the construction. What we did not want was for the architect to act as contractor and project manager. Some of those we interviewed were simply not interested in such an arrangement. Some were but at far too much cost. The one we hired was just completing a project directly across the street and we liked his work and he gave us a reasonable price for the "package" we wanted to purchase.

To be honest, the most difficult part of both projects was buying the lots. I believe you will find that prices for land in newer and more, may middle class neighborhoods, is probably more expensive than similar neighborhoods in most US cities. In the neighborhood where we are, lot sizes range from 230 to 350 meters and prices are from $2100 to $2500 pesos per meter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That's been the most helpful bit of information yet! I particularly like your description of Mexican Modern! We will be starting the Spanish lessons in our home town soon and I'm planning on joining some meet up groups so I can practice. I feel the language barrier could be a real concern!
We love the modern Mexican style as well and the quality of construction in Mexico is amazing!
What made you decide to leave the US and move down there?
We are tired of the high taxes in Canada..... And the lack of return for what we pay
 
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