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My House, Made in Mexico! or 'Mi Casa, Hecho En Mexico?' Part 1

My House, Made in Mexico! or 'Mi Casa, Hecho En Mexico?' Part 1

Pause, right now, and read these two articles first – please – you will be glad you did.
 
This author is a resident of Mexico, has been for years, and could write several novels about building homes or businesses in Mexico. The completed books might be placed under the following categories: comedy, mystery, tragedy, self-help, how to, and a least a dozen more. This article will explain why buying a finished home that has some of what you like, most of the view, and all the physical location is your best option.
 
What Am I Missing?
 
Mexico is a foreign country. There are countless cultural differences. Finding your way around as a visitor is complicated by language and sociocultural challenges. For the sake of this article, first and foremost: Mexicans do not build houses like in the USA, Canada, or even Europe. Lifestyles are different in Mexico. Above all, construction procedures are a lot different in Mexico.
Many of my friends bought a completely furnished home in Mexico, formerly owned by an English speaker, and simply made a few changes to suit themselves. They have few complaints and spend most of their time enjoying their adopted country. There are others living in Mexico, who love their pre-owned homes and also the time to travel that decision made possible for them. That is why I suggested buying a finished home that has some of what you like, most of the view, and all about the location.
 
Construction Differences
 
Typically, the estimate for a home, other than in Mexico, is triple the materials cost and twice the time. In Mexico, the norm is triple the time (and labor costs) and double the materials’ cost. Concrete, and other stone products, take time to dry. However, the real problems are due to a different way of looking at how life will be lived in the home. Additionally, what you might assume is going to occur and what actually happens to you will not be even close.
 
There is no survey of the land. Buildings are placed exactly on the property lines – well, sort of on the property lines. The office I am in lost over a foot to the house next door. First come is first served in Mexico unless you are related to the right person. The last in line loses.
 
The Best Alternative
 
Find the area of town that you like, afterwards look for something for sale in that area. Find the view you appreciate and locate something you like near it. Find another English speaker who is moving and see if you like outlets placed evenly on the wall at a height you expect. Doorways high enough that a person 6’ tall can walk upright through them. Bedroom with clothes closets are nicer than not having any of them. Counter tops for females who are taller than 4’10” and shower stalls for people weighing over 150 lbs. are more comfortable for most English speakers. How about a toilet that does not behave like a rocking chair? Another consideration is the tanaka (water tank). It is likely to be placed only three feet above the kitchen-sink (poor gravity feed) – it is 20’ high in the house built by the English speaker, and the water pressure in the kitchen is great. Take one day away from watching the Mexican builders and many of those nightmares will be incorporated into your home in concrete. They have entirely different standards for building than are your expectations.
 
Summary of Part 1
 
No matter what you think now, it is the small details that will make a difference in your loving that new home or not. Look again at the homes for sale, anywhere in Latin America, and reconsider buying an existing home that has all the “quirks” of an English speaker already built in so you can spend your time loving enjoying the exotic delights within this great country instead of being frustrated over cultural differences that show up most often in the construction of a house.
 
Written by 2Casa Expert:  Dr. Jacqueline Zaleski Mackenzie, author, speaker, and social scientist


www.jacquelinemackenzie.com, is author of Empowering Spanish Speakers and other books to help understand the Latino culture. She has a BS and MS in business and an EdS and PhD in bilingual and special education and sociocultural studies. She lives in a native village in Central Mexico where she researches the Mexican culture and remodels a campesino home.