Buying a lot and building your dream home can be exciting! It affords you the opportunity to build exactly what you want to suit your lifestyle and your exact needs, and typically much more affordable than building in the states. In fact, it may be the only way to get exactly what you want!
Plans? Yes, you need plans. The requirements for plans are less than in the United States, but, there are minimums, and always engineering plans and calculations are required. If you have your own architect in the US or Canada, you may use their plans, BUT, your architect will need to provide them in Spanish and in the metric system AND partner up with a Mexican architect or DRO. An unlicensed architect in Mexico will not be allowed to pull the permits without the stamp or a license of a Mexican architect and/or a designated DRO. This holds true for your foreign structural engineer too. The structural engineering must be done and stamped by a Mexican Structural Engineer (here called a Civil Engineer), even if the Mexican Engineer partners with your foreign structural engineer.
Director of the Obra (DRO)
What is a DRO? Mexico does not have regular construction inspections or building inspectors. At most, they may send someone to be a drive by before construction and one after construction. Technically, they are supposed to go into the building and verify completion, but I have yet to have one get out of the car! Unlike the U.S., where every stage of the construction process is inspected and you are subject to corrections or additions from the inspector before you can advance to the next stage, Mexico puts the liability onto a Director of the Obra (DRO).
A DRO is an architect or engineer that has had additional training and is certified by the municipality to act in the capacity as DRO. He assumes all liability for the structure. If there is a structural failure, he is the one you would sue or the municipality would hold responsible. Again, you need an architect, engineer and a DRO. They may be one in the same, or individual entities, but all receive a fee for each of these services. At the end of the construction, your DRO must sign the Terminacion de Obra (Completion of the Work) form and submit it to the appropriate government agencies in order for your construction to be registered at the value of the permit (never short change the permit amount) and becomes “manifested”.
Manifesting the construction registers the construction as completed, at a certain value, allows you to claim and deduct for the construction costs, allows you to sell your property as a property with a structure, as opposed to raw land, establishes your new property tax amount and it is THE LAW.
Here are our top 5 reasons to build your Baja dream home:
1. No cookie-cutter: You can go as minimalistic or as innovative as you wish
2. Cost efficient: You will definitely be in the know and will ultimately better control the qualities and choice of the building materials
3. One Step ahead: Should you chose to rent/sell your property once it is completed, a financial model can be worked out with all the different scenarios and what the return on your investment will look like
4. That NEW Smell! A new house comes with warranties as well as the utmost satisfaction of having everything brand new.
5. Proximity: And since Baja California Sur is located within a few hours flight from the United States, Canada and mainland Mexico, you can visit the progress as often as you like while using the perfect excuse to spend a couple of days by the beach!
The process is simple: you start by choosing the location and narrow it down to the community that best accommodates your lifestyle.
And because we understand the importance of choosing the right Architect and Builder, here are the top three things to consider:
• Reputation & Esthetics. We advise you to take the time to visit the properties that most appeal to you and talk to their architects to see what their designing approach is and what their advice and proposal are. Remember, a good architect will listen to your needs and specifications but will make recommendations based on their experience, the terrain you are about to build on and other relevant factors.
• Budgeting & time frame. It is important that you set a budget and a timeframe to work with, always allowing a 20% more in case of incidentals.
• Legal advisory. A legal document will protect you and the architect and will avoid any misunderstandings in the future.
INTERNATIONAL SURF PROPERTIES has preferred architects and builders in the Mexico markets in which we sell properties. Let us help you Build your Dream Home!