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My House, Made in Mexico! or 'Mi Casa, Hecho En Mexico?' Part 2

My House, Made in Mexico! or 'Mi Casa, Hecho En Mexico?' Part 2

The completed books might be placed under the following categories: comedy, mystery, tragedy, self-help, how to, and a least a dozen more. These articles 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. Building from the ground up it is very likely to result in a great deal of disappointments and financial distress. “Let the Buyer Beware” was never more applicable than in Mexico.
 
From the Ground up
 
Rarely will the land be leveled. The shape of the land will be the shape of your new home not built on sand – period. There is no rational explanation why some steps in the home are 3” high, others are 9 ¼” and others 6.” Also, steps are likely to be everywhere seemingly randomly placed. There is a plausible cause to believe a multitude of levels will be found all over the house without any blueprint indication or verbal explanation. Do not ever expect to use a wheelchair in a house built in the mountainous areas of Mexico.
 
Gringo Builder’s Stories
 
There is the man from Texas (a former builder) who traveled back and forth for well over two years in order to “oversee” the building of his home. One day he discovered that there was an extra apartment in one corner. He never asked for it, but he got it. Later, he was fined thousands in additional “social security” because the house was classified as a mansion so the payment percentages were more than normal – thousands of dollars higher. A construction contract is not like a contract elsewhere.
 
I interviewed a couple yesterday that said, “You can retire in Mexico and joy the country, or spend all your time supervising your home being built. It is as simple as that.” They went on to tell about some remodeling work. The tile was to be an exact match to the old tile. The worker’s saw that it was not, and yet they cut each piece carefully and did the whole job with perfect craftsmanship. The boss and the owner had them rip it out and start over. That honestly happens all the time in Mexico. Workers assume that thinking is not their job, to do so is disrespectful of the boss, so they only do exactly what they are told to do no matter how wrong the work may seem. It is frustrating to the homeowner’s, and it is a horrid waste of time and money.
 
 
A Building Contract Does Not Translate the Same
 
Even if the building contract is translated, the architect, engineer, or director of the project probably will never refer to it. Mexico is a country of verbal exchanges between people, not written documents. Only the government is fixated on documents. When you buy a finished house, a specialized real estate attorney who has ties to the real estate market will take care of your legal issue. That is not the case with a builder’s contract. There is not an ethical, moral, or business standard for the building contract that is similar in to those in English-speaking countries.
 
Inspections of Building Projects
 
The architect can design anything – most places do not inspect the line drawings or the actual construction. Nothing is guaranteed for a day, year, or any time at all. The engineer has the final say about everything. It is very unlikely that the builders will have any idea about what the client wants or needs. Their “best guess” is very likely to become your “worst nightmare.”
 
Conclusion
 
Look for the location you like and find a house that is close to what you want. The best option is to buy an existing pre-owned home that has all the “quirks” of an English speaker already built in. Then 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. My spies tell me this information is valid in all of Latin America.
 
Happy house hunting!
 
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.