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. 


  1. My personal recommendation is to not do a renovation from afar. Don't do it. Rarely does it go well.

    An architect here can be thought of more like a general contractor, depending upon him to have knowable trained crews and supervising them is what you pay for. That and his knowledge of the permit process.

    You need to have water and electricity to the site for the mixing of cement and the using of power tools. Don't bother with phone until you need it. The first thing that happened in our house was that the phone line accidently got buried under rubble and was unusable for about 6 months, and we foolishly had contracted for DSL thinking we could go there in the evening and use the computers while we checked up on stuff. Ours was a minor remodel. Removing added walls and unblocking doorways. Also because TIM and stuff happens our 6 week remodel took 6 months and we were there every day!

    Congrats on the new house. If you are staying in La Ermita come and say hi. Lexy and Debbie know where I live.


  2. Whoohoo!!! "Sort of" is definite progress! So glad to read that everything is working out in your favor, finally, hooray!

  3. Thanks for your suggestions Theresa. It is a puzzle as to how I'll get renos done with just a month or so to spend in Merida this year. (The Plan of course is to increase this time ASAP.) I guess that's why I imagine getting it done in absentia. But perhaps it's wiser to slow down and also think about an architect's help. I hope to meet you in person next trip!

  4. ...and thanks Susan. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your adventures with your new home. Congrats to you!