Sunday, February 7, 2010

Our house in Merida - officially (sort of)

We have a house, or a  contract to buy one, anyway. A "promesa de compraventa" is signed and "earnest money" has changed hands. Now, we're told, the contract is ironclad and awaits paperwork, including the creation of a bank trust to hold the title, known as a fideicomiso. Three or four weeks and it will be ours. Yikes! What have I done? Pardon the jitters, I'm sure they'll pass.
It is hard to believe it's real. For four months since I was last in Merida and made an offer on this house, we've waited for a technical issue with the deed to be sorted out. We were advised not to sign a contract of purchase before the issue was settled. So the house could have been purchased by someone else in the meantime if they put forward a better offer (though they would have had the same problem.)
In the meantime, other cute houses were listed and sold, the Canadian dollar rose and fell against the USD (the preferred currency of foreign real estate purchase in Mexico), and I tried not to think too far ahead.
 Now the list-making begins: How do we hook up utilities (or do we even want to do that before the renovations are underway)? How do we arrange for work to be done on the house while we are here in Canada? I know many people hire an architect (something that is not common for lower-end renos in Canada) but is an architect necessary for a basic upgrade that doesn't move walls or add to a building? Is it advisable to arrange for a property manager before the house is ready to be lived in?
Can I get there in a month or so to arrange to get work underway, or should I wait? Do tradespeople continue working through the scorchingest months or is there a break in the action during the late spring/summer?

I think the first thing I'd like to do is some extreme pruning on the giant ficus tree in front of the house. It is getting into the overhead wires. Does anyone have recommendations for a careful tree-pruner? Do I need any kind of permit or approval from the power company to get this done?
This is a whole new chapter and I've got a lot to learn.