or Build, or "Fixer-Upper"?
Buying land and commissioning
a house on it will provide you with much better value for your money:
The price of land and construction will be less than an equivalent
house bought built.
The downside of this,
of course, is that you have the additional time, effort and expense
of project managing a build. You would do well to be in Mexico for
the duration. Architectural firms can be hired who will design,
build and finish your house for you. They usually work on a multi-stage
payment basis, and guarantee that the price they have quoted you
is the price you'll pay, or within 10% (either way) min/max.
The choice of whether
to buy or build will again be a personal one, and probably also
based on what you are looking for and what is available: you may
need to build in order to get what you want!
When you do the maths,
you'll probably find that you'll get more for your money than by
buying something built, but keep in mind the additional effort you'll
need to invest.
A special note about
buying land: Be sure, if you buy land, that it served by a reliable
water source. Ideally, your plot should have a mains feed, but if
not, it could include a well, or water from a neighbouring plot
- if it does, make certain that this arrangement is in writing and
that the additional costs, if any, are clearly stated. Land without
water has very little value.
The Fixer Upper
(an American English term, now used as "Spanglish" in
Mexican estate agent speak) is a shell house in need of serious
maintenance. These enable you to buy the property at the 'shell'
value, and create a home, almost from scratch. Some "Fixer
Uppers" include old colonial buildings, that can polish up
into magnificent homes - if you have the time and resources to dedicate
to them. These days, the people who own these 'shell' homes do not
underestimate the value of the property once it is renovated - they
have learned from previous experience - so unless the seller is
desperate to sell, you may not be able to buy your 'shell' property
as inexpensively as you may think or hope! Shop around and think
carefully about the costs you don't know that you don't know about
when embarking on this kind of project.
Regulations & Standards
There are no official
"builder's guild mark" or similar standards for buildings
and property in Mexico.
If you are buying a property
that's built, then you should hire a good surveyor to check the
place out thoroughly before agreeing to buy or handing over any
If you are having your
house built, ask the architects to show you examples of their previous
work - and go to the places to see them - don't just look at the
photographs. Once again, a professional survey to assess the quality
and state of the architect's previous buildings will b shrewd.
In areas near
to the coast, and in regions containing a large proportion of volcanic
rock, a soil survey may also be a good investment - especially if
you are buying land to build on... your architect may provide assistance
in this area.