• Michaela & Ricardo

Remodeling "Do's & Don'ts" in Lake Chapala Homes




I always tell my clients “There is nothing cookie cutter about any of the houses in Lake Chapala”. Every house is individual and unique, many times in a bizarre sort of way. So when you are looking at homes in Lake Chapala to buy, be prepared that it probably won't be 100% perfect to your exacting standards. Which means that at least some renovations are in order.

So what do you need to know about hiring a contractor and getting the work you want completed on time and on budget? Read on.

DO interview several contractors and get estimates of the work you want done including when they can start and finish.

DO ask to see other renovation projects they have done in the past and speak to the clients to gauge their happiness level with the work and if the work was done on time and on budget.

DO work with the contractor in dividing up the estimate into categories when budget planning. The contractor should be able to help you sort the work into brickwork, plastering, painting, electrical plumbing, and carpentry. Assign a percentage of the cost to each part of the job. This will help immensely in knowing whether you are over or under budget and when to release more money to the contractor.

DO keep accurate records of extras and changes in the project that were not originally budgeted for. This will help you make decisions about your overall budget and keep you from being overly surprised when the end of the project is finally reached.

DO obtain a signature for every payment made.

DO keep a flexible mind throughout the project and prepare for the unexpected. Big renovations can uncover some surprises and you might change more plumbing and electrical then you had originally anticipated.

DO visit the job site every day if possible. There are many things that require immediate decisions and work should be checked constantly. You may not know always when something is being done wrong but if you have any doubts they should be brought up daily with the contractor (not the workers) and worked out to your satisfaction.

DO speak only with the contractor and not with the workers. There is a chain of command on the work site and it's not your job to direct, instruct, or order the workers to do things differently.

DO know from the start that the chances of the project being completed on time will probably take longer than projected and will likely be over budget. There are many things that can slow the project down and this can include holidays and the workers lives in general.

DO be patient and never yell. This will get you nowhere and only bring animosity from the workers and the contractor.

DON'T try to begin renovations too soon after you have moved to Mexico. Try living with things for a bit and see how you like them. You'll soon know what has to be changed and what can be left. Also, in time, your attitudes to house design might soften and become more.....well, Mexican! Waiting a while will give you a chance to visit many other houses and gather ideas on what really appeals to you.

DON'T try to live in the house if you are doing major work on flooring or the walls. The concrete dust and noise will drive you crazy.

DON'T assume your contractor understands you.

DON'T assume you understand the building process.

DON'T assume you'll like the same things that you liked before in your past homes.

DON'T assume anything.

For questions you can contact me here.

Consider taking our week long Retirement Seminar and learn about moving and living in Lake Chapala.

Thank you for reading!

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