Things you should consider before building a house in Baja
The idea of a custom-built house in Rosarito can be very attractive. It means that you can dictate the layout and create a space that meets your specific needs.
Some of our clients have the erroneous idea that building a house in Baja may be more inexpensive than buying it. However, that is not necessarily true. One thing is certain: building in Mexico is far more affordable than building in the U.S. It may also be easier on your wallet since you can add rooms and upgrades as you go.
However, there is a lot to know before taking on a construction project in Mexico, so here are some tips that have helped our clients:
FINDING THE LOT
The importance of hiring a knowledgeable agent to find your piece of land can´t be stressed enough. The worst scenario for an aspiring homeowner in Baja is to find himself with a piece of ejido (land ceded to farmer groups by the government), pending liens, and/or the wrong land use.
ARCHITECT AND ENGINEER
- Don´t try to cut corners by just hiring construction workers -more often than not, this will backfire. Building is not easy and involves many aspects, including design, construction, permits, and paperwork. Mexican construction techniques are different from those of the U.S. So we recommend hiring a local engineer or architect to run the show -even if you work in the industry in the States.
- Get references for the engineer and architect of your project. Looking for industry credentials and a college degree is just the start. To find reliable and trustworthy professionals, you´ll need to talk to neighbors who´ve built their own place, and possibly, your real estate agent. A reputable professional will not only provide a personalized design and quality construction, but they will also save you time, money, and effort.
To build in México, the following are mandatory (you may need some other papers depending on your lot´s situation, have your architect and real-estate agent advise you):
- Unique Land-use Certificate
- Alignment Certificate and/or official number
- Type A Registry of Manifestation of Construction
Make sure to express your needs to the architect, and share how you plan to use each space and furnish the house. Also, discuss your plans for the future so that the result will be a reflection of your tastes and lifestyle.
Also, have the architect create a construction plan for you, detailing each stage and completion dates (be aware that delays are very common, even with the best of teams). The calendar will help you organize the purchase of materials: proper planning means peace of mind and savings.
Consider the dimensions, the type of soil, and construction restrictions. These are all determining factors for the project. Some of the lot´s features (like a dramatic ocean view) can be used to your advantage.
Rod, cement, and bricks are the most widely used materials in Mexican construction, so buy this stuff in a materials store, in bulk: you can save at least 10% as compared to paying retail. Such stores will often store the materials and allow for collecting as needed. As regards to electrical installations and plumbing, use premium products, since repair for these often means breaking walls, and they are complicated and expensive.
The finishing materials are usually purchased during the last stages since they are generally fragile and can be damaged easily. Consider using local materials such as red brick and handmade tiles, to give your home an authentic Mexican feel.
- Request a written estimate of the construction cost and all of the materials
- Review the construction rules and regulations of the community
- Make sure that all the construction licenses and permits have been paid
- Should the construction permits expire, remember to get an extension.
- Make sure everyone who works on the project registers with IMSS. and that all the benefits required by law are covered
From the Baja Real Estate Group Marketing Staff. For more information, please contact Kathy Katz at Kathy.katz@BajaREgroup.com.
About Kathy Katz.
AMPI Charter Member-Rosarito Chapter Mexican Certified Baja Real Estate Agent Full Time Resident for over 20 years. Broker-owner for the Baja Real Estate Group with over 20 years of experience doing business in Mexico. Specializing in development, resort and retirement properties.