Design phase finished, let the new phases begin!
It took a while, which is understandable considering all that's been happening in the world, but we are finally done with the design phases!
The architects sent us all of the plans which included: the first level, the roof, the side elevations, rainwater drainage, plumbing, electrical, propane, doors/windows and other details.
It was like unwrapping all my presents on Christmas Day. Where to start?!
I rushed in to work to print off large copies of the plans so I could sit and go over them. Do I need to go over them? Probably not. But I sure enjoy it.
Which switch controls that light? Is there an outlet over here? Where will the tinacos sit on the roof? Where will the propane tank sit? How will all the drainage work?!
It's so interesting and it fulfills a sort of daydreaming quality. It's a step closer to defogging the final vision so I can walk around it in my mind. This is also coming from a person who genuinely enjoys looking at maps.
Meanwhile, the architects asked if we should move on to the next steps. Mainly starting the construction estimate and applying for the permits.
This part is going to branch us down a couple of roads in this post.
The first road is applying for the permits. Since we're in Mérida's Centro, we need to get a permit from the Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH.) This will take up to 10 months. I was pretty aware this was going to be the case. In fact, with everything right now, I'd be surprised if it's only 10 months. There's also an Urban Developments permit which will be about another month.
There is a way to cut the line, but it's fairly expensive at around $3,000 U.S. Angie is all for paying it and getting going. I don't entirely disagree. There is an antsy-ness that makes me want to always be moving forward.
First, though, I'd like to see the construction estimate. Is it going to be roughly what we were initially quoted? Or is it going to be 3x more, or something like that? Did our design drag us into territories that our wallets can't handle? If that's the case then there's no need to pay to cut the line when we may not be able to build right now anyways.
If it comes back in the same realm of that initial quote, then by all means let's cut that line!
In the meantime, we'll just try to get it sent in the normal way.
That means sending the architects a copy of my ID (passport, which thankfully I just got my new one) and a copy of the fideicomiso (the bank trust.)
This brings us to another branch.
Paying my fideicomiso is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Every year is a struggle to get someone at the bank holding the trust to answer me as to how I pay the yearly fee. It was supposed to be easier this year. I was supposed to be able to fill out a form and send them my credit card info and they would charge it for the fee every year when it was due. Easy.
Right after I paid the fee last year I worked at getting it set up to pay with my credit card. For a year I tried to get the info on how to pay by credit card. Every month, sometimes a few times a month, I would email and ask for the forms and relevant numbers to fill out.
Every month there were no replies or the replies were putting me off to other people.
When coronavirus came roaring into hellish existence around March, I was told that the credit card method wouldn't work because they were having problems charging cards. But I got the form anyways and I sent it in to them. I had a few months until my payment was due. Hopefully, things would be fixed by then.
A few more emails and they finally confirmed they got my credit card info.
A few months later and I started checking my credit card balance. No payments were made.
I started furiously emailing the bank. Could they let me know if there were problems charging my card? Did they need me to correct something on the paperwork?
Now, as a note, everyone else I've dealt with in this process of buying/building a house has been exceptionally wonderful to deal with. Even this particular bank is pleasant, when I can get a hold of them. It's just a matter of getting a response.
I was a month past and closing in on two months past when my payment was due. Still no response and no charges to my card.
I hated to bother the notary again, but the last time I had trouble getting the information to pay the fideicomiso he was able to contact someone and get me set up and paid. So I apologetically asked him for help again. He had one of his people attempt to contact the bank.
I tried again, and the notary tried again, and I tried again and finally a response.
They were still having problems processing cards. Not sure why this has been a problem for months, but I guess it is.
Well, now I need a copy of the fideicomiso for the INAH permit application. Do I have that paperwork? I have a lot of paperwork from the purchase of the property, but looking through it there is nothing emblazoned across the top 'FIDEICOMISO!' that would stand out to me.
Can the bank get me a copy of this? I ask the bank. Crickets.
Notary to the rescue. I ask him and he sends it instantly. Well, it turns out I did have a copy, but it looks nothing like I expected it to look. So, I am a fool this time (not the first time and certainly not the last) for not understanding the paperwork in my possession.
Let me stress this because I can't stress this enough. If you are buying property in Mexico, find a great notary. I absolutely love my notary and he has saved me in a pinch so many times! I offered to pay him for all his additional help but he has brushed me off each time. If we get this house built, his whole damn office is invited to that house warming party!
I let the bank know that I got my copy of the fideicomiso, so they needn't worry about it (not that they were) and to please just send me the info to pay using a bank transfer. I just want to get it paid this year and we'll fight about getting the credit card set up next year.
So, they do and that is paid and I can live at ease again.
I send off the documents to the architects and we are off to the races. Well, maybe turtle races if we're thinking on the scale of 10 months.
But even with that, I'm pretty damn excited with how far we've come and where we're possibly heading! You should be able to tell from the crazy amount of exclamation points I've used in this entire post.
Can't wait to see where the next few months will bring us. It's all a welcome, if small, distraction from the rest of the world.
Take care and be good to each other!