One of the great benefits of building or remodeling in Yucatán is that it is relatively inexpensive compared to construction costs in Canada, Europe, and the USA. Labor is inexpensive and materials: hard woods, stone, marble and cement are very reasonable.
It is a very good idea to hire a reputable architect that either has a construction crew or works closely with a good contractor. Trying to save a few bucks by hiring your own guys and running the construction yourself is NOT a good idea. I know, I know, you were a general contractor and/or a handyman and you can do it yourself with the help of a few laborers. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have seen well-intentioned people with construction experience, start their own projects and end up paying more to get someone to come in and fix the mess.
When it comes to getting the permits, buying the materials, managing the laborers, paying employee taxes, and understanding local customs and workers’ expectations and requirements, a good local architect/contractor can save you money, time and a lot of frustration!
Mérida has many good architects and contractors. Get some recommendations from your real estate person or a local friend. Ask to see the architect’s portfolio of previous projects and ask for references. A good architect is going to be delighted to show you their stuff.
Go in with a basic plan of what you want, i.e., number of bedrooms, baths, room sizes, floor plan, patio, pool, garden, etc.
Just about everything in Yucatan is currently constructed out of cement block. When constructed properly, using the correct mixtures of sand, concrete, water, experience and expertise – the structures are extremely durable and virtually indestructible. This is why damages from hurricanes are usually limited to windows, doors, windmills, and vegetation.
Concrete structures should have at least two good coats of sellador (sealer) applied to them before they are painted. Due to the humidity in Yucatán and the propensity of cement and mampostería (many older structures are a stone type of construction known as mampostería) to absorb moisture, make certain you prepare and dry your surfaces. Before painting, make certain that the walls are good and dry! Then apply a few coats of sellador on your interior and exterior walls. Sellador is inexpensive and well worth the extra labor.
Albañiles (concrete construction tradesmen) are currently in high demand as the growth of Yucatán continues to boom. Finding good, experienced albañiles is important. If you are building on the beach, you especially want to make certain that you have employed albañiles with the integrity to make certain that the concrete is being mixed with sweet water (not salt water). Many of the decrepit buildings on the beach that have been destroyed by hurricanes were poorly constructed because the cement mixture contained salt water.
If your house is inside the boundaries of the Centro Histórico or Patrimonio Histórico, you may need permission to make changes to the house, especially the facade. Another reason to find a good architect/contractor to help you with your project. You will be glad you did!
If you are thinking of moving to Mérida or are simply curious about this wonderful old Colonial city, hear opinions and insight from actual expat residents about what makes Mérida their choice of anywhere in the world to live. Discover how they went about the building and renovating process and why they chose to live here.
Mexico International Real Estate
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