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Peter F Gordon, MD of Lake Medical Group – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Brick and cement home, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI've built office buildings and apartments in Guadalajara. I've seen people who come to Mexico and expect a house like they would have in the States or Canada. 
 
Make sure that you really get well oriented and well connected before you try to build something in Mexico. There are some people who have lost everything trying to build a home because they got in with the wrong people. There are many excellent architects and contractors to work with who get things done, including securing building permits. You need to make sure you get the right personnel and check them out very well ahead of time. 
 
Construction standards in Mexico are varied. The lowest quality construction in Mexico would use cement for the flooring and cinder block for walls. The general standard for construction in Mexico is sometimes of better quality than the quality of construction in the States. In Mexico, builders don't use a lot of wood, but use high-end and quality components for construction. They use cement, stone, block, and brick, but not plaster. 
 

In the States, people would say, "That's very expensive because you used plaster." In Mexico, plaster is very inexpensive. So instead, you could have stone and marble floors, as well as finished and plastered cinder block walls. The walls are very thick and soundproof. They might use very inexpensive aluminum for doors and windows or go high-end and use wood.
 
For electricity and wiring, builders in Mexico do the simple way of using plastic tubing to run wires through the walls. Air conditioning is mostly the split-type. Split-type air conditioners are the best to use health-wise and for cooling and low maintenance. Homes have ceiling fans. 
 
You might have problems with termites in Puerto Vallarta. There is this wood called "parota", which is a natural wood in Puerto Vallarta that's readily available. It does very well with heat, humidity, and against termites.
 
(Stone floor, Mexico, pictured. )
Yvon Marier of Travel  Info Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
fountain Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe construction in Mexico typically uses bricks with rebar and I-beams. We’ve had several properties in Mexico where we never had a problem with construction. Everything in Mexico is built with concrete. For example, the condominium building where we used to live is very strongly built, even though it was right on the ocean.
 
What amazes me is how Mexicans take concrete and turn it into beautiful things that look like marble. Concrete is for the Mexicans as wood is for the Canadians. and it’s amazing what the Mexicans can do with concrete. As an example, we have a beautiful waterfall and pool in our backyard which you would think is solid rock but is actually all made of concrete.
 
(Pictured: fountain in Mexico.)
Andy James – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The Great  Pyramid of  Cholula, Mexico made of mamposteria, – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe construction standards here in Mexico have codes to adhere to, but I don’t know anybody who adheres to these codes. There are architects here and builders here, and they will generally build something to a better quality than other guys will. There are a lot of people here who say they can do things but really can’t. 
 
Here in Mexico, you’re unlikely to be inspected. It can happen downtown, especially if you mess with the façade because some of that stuff is protected. For example, we were doing renovations on a house downtown in the historic area in Merida, and there was a knock on the door (I wasn’t there- my construction manager was). The guy told my construction manager that he was going to shut the job down because the workers were not unionized. My construction manager lifted this man off of his feet and threw him on the street, and we didn’t hear from him again. That makes me think that he was just there to shake us down. 
 
Strange things happen here in Yucatan, and if you get on the wrong side of a particular individual who has ties with the government, he can lock you up in red tape for the rest of your life. They can pretty much just close you down, and then you will not get anyone, and in order to get yourself out of that, it’s going to be very difficult. 
 
There are a lot of old buildings here in Yucatan that are made from "mamposteria," which is rubble. This is something that was built over a hundred years ago. The entire Yucatan peninsula is compacted rubble. If you build a bridge, the stuff they’re digging up is limestone and rubble. 
 
Rubble refers to rocks- anything from the size of a tennis ball to the size of a basketball. These rocks are naturally occurring in the ground. They used to build everything here in Yucatan with rubble, just like all of these walls that you’re we have here in my home. Now they don’t build with rubble in Yucatan anymore.  They build with concrete block. 
 
There’s a good possibility that the building standards on the coast are higher because they have to withstand hurricanes and whatnot, and there are probably more professional builders there. You just have to be careful- there are a lot of cowboys here.  There are not a lot of standards, and not everybody who says they can do a thing can actually do that thing.
 
(The Great  Pyramid of  Cholula, Mexico made of mamposteria, pictured.)
Liliana Cota of Stewart Title Baja and Stewart Title Puerto Peñasco – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
House in San Felipe, Baja California – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMany houses in Mexico, like my house and many others, are made of concrete, which is different from the US because in the US, they use a lot of wood. If you want to buy a condo here in Mexico, you’ll find that they use the same materials that are used in the condos in the US. If you buy a house or a small property in a community, I am pretty sure that will be made of concrete, which is different from what they use from the US.
 
However, a house in Mexico is not suitable for extreme weather like in Canada. Most of the houses here in Mexico have exhaust fans on the ceilings to help the heat escape and keep the house cool. Most of the properties that are built for the expat market are mostly beachfront. Those houses would have big windows so that natural light comes in and you have a great ocean view. 
 
If you are building a house in Mexico, you do have to pull permits.   However, the process is not as strict as it is in the US where government officials come and monitor and see if you are building what you said you would build. As a title insurance and real estate service provider company, we here at Stewart Title strongly recommend getting all the permits and licenses if you are buying a property or building a house because an inspector might come and visit the property and ask for the permits. Any additional construction that you do to your house should also be reported to the official entities in the area for them to keep track of what you have done on your property. It is a requirement by the government. You could go ahead and make changes to your house and not pull permits but in the end, when the time comes and you want to sell your property, you will have a hard time proving that you spent another $10 (for example) remodeling your property after you bought it. Some people do not get permits even if it is required.  
 
(House in San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico, pictured.)
Sandi Vandiver – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Mazatlan house – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBased on my own personal experience in Mazatlan, I would have to say that the construction standards in Mexico are marginal.
 
I built lots of houses in my lifetime, so, honestly, I just thought I was more clever than I turned out to be. They use different materials here. I happened to hire a builder who did use some inferior materials, and I paid the price for that.
 
When you build a house out of concrete here, there’s nothing about it that’s plum or straight; they just can’t do it. There’s not a good system of checks and balances, and inspector and so forth. Mostly, things are built somewhat cheaply.  Unless you’re doing something really custom and you’re staying on top of it 24 hours a day, you’re just not going to get the same standards as you would in the US.  
 
(House in bright blue, Mazatlan, Mexico, pictured.)

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