Where do I start?
Have you made the decision to commit to living here? First thing is to thoroughly research the area for the site that best suits your needs and requirements. We are fortunate to have many knowledgeable local realtors, a few of whom have actually been here longer than I have and can help evaluate the conditions of climate that are so important in selecting a home site. When the choices get narrowed down to a few top picks, its a great idea to have an architect also do an evaluation of the possible choices to build on.
what is the building process?
As in the USA, there are requirements and permits needed in order to build. Almost all construction is masonry, ie., brick, concrete block, adobe, so engineering for these types of construction is mandatory and there are many qualified professionals that can get that done within the permit process. The advice and services of an architect familiar with the Todos Santos area is a must, since there are climate, air and light conditions that are specific to the area that have to be fully integrated within the framework of a successful residential design. Once the design process is complete its time to choose a building contractor. there are many honest and capable builders in the area, giving an owner the opportunity to choose the person with whom he/she feels comfortable working with. The architect will be on the owner’s team, explaining the project to contractors and keeping the best interests of the owners underwriting the selection and the costs.
With the document package in hand and the design approved by the owner, its time to begin construction. A very good idea to employ the services of a knowledgeable person to supervise the building process and report regularly to the owner on progress and any issues that surface during the build. The architect can fill this role, since he has the most intimate knowledge of the design and will be frequently onsite.
Site visits by the owner during the process is advised, frequent video reports can keep the owner current with the process and aware of progress.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
My crew is just completing a high ceiling 2000 square foot residential project turn key with a lot of custom details and exterior terraces and site work in 10 months start to finish. A smaller residence of approximately 1000 square foot with 500 square foot of outdoor living terraces should take about 6 months, possibly less.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
Residential work to a high standard of finish can range from $100 USD to $150 USD per square foot. Bare bones box with no exotic details can start at $60 USD per square foot.
SPECIAL FEATURES & CONSIDERATIONS:
ROOF DECK: Sometimes due to the neighborhood and the build out, a roof deck is needed to capture the view. Also a great spot to hoist a few at the sunset.
SWIMMING POOL: Not too expensive to build, depends on size of course, intensive maintenance at this latitude, but there are good pool service outfits to take care of that.
GUEST CASITA: Can be a great opportunity to earn some extra income and a good place to put Uncle Bob when you get tired of listening to his war stories.
NEIGHBORHOODS: The Todos Santos area offers distinctly different residential settings.
In the village: If you want to walk to events and places of interest, like the great variety of good restaurants.
Beach Adjacent: which is generally toward the north side, for easy access to the sand and surf.
Dune Lots: are sometimes available; large strips of dune have been subdivided and lots can be purchased. All of the coastal requirements have been established by the county and are clearly described for a competent building contractor.
The North Side of Town: Generally shows more new foreign investment, the houses tend to be larger, lower density, not as much build out.
In Town and Close to Town: Tend to be noisier, but more interesting within the mix of local culture. An in town setting needs to be observed daytime and at night to see what the authentic atmosphere in a specific location is really like.
ROADS: Many roads have been paved in the central area in the past few years, there is one paved trunk road out to the north side of town, but all the branch roads are still dirt.
ACCESS: A flat lot allows a generous living area on one level, which can be advantageous for folks who have or will have trouble with stairs in the future. Two story residences offer view opportunities and separation of living and sleeping areas.
WATER & POWER: Water and electrical power are from the local infrastructure grid. In fringe areas consider solar power and ample on site water storage. In the village and in some close by areas there is city sewer, beyond that system each residence must handle
and process waste water.
SEASONAL OR FULL TIME RESIDENT: The climate differences influence a great many people to seasonally migrate between Baja and the USA, spending the winters here thru May and returning in November. Our extreme is August and September, with heat and humidity that some folks prefer not to endure when the summers up north are so beautiful.
ANIMALS: Dogs are the most common animal Americans make a part of their lives and our area is just fine for them. Vaccinations kept up to date are a must.
BUGS: Are what you would expect in a small built out area surrounded by open country but screens and well fitting doors are all that’s needed.