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Mennonite homes

Hey everyone does anyone know current prices on Mennonite homes? Everything i find is from years ago, has anyone recently bought one? Any advice you have? Thanks in advance!!

Linda Vista has an email: lvly[at]btl.net, or their phone number is 823-0257. Not sure if email is current but phone number is, as it is in the 2014 phone book.
I'm sure they'd be happy to send you an updated list if the one on their website is not current.

Hi,
I visited the Mennonite homes in the Spring of 2013.  They of made of very basic construction ranging from $15,000 to $40,000 US.  The interior has wood paneling on the walls and includes cabinets in the kitchen.  They are not for me but then again my husband built custom homes in Aspen and Vail Colorado.  But it is an inexpensive option and they will move and set it up for you.  Hope this is helpful.  Jude

I just went to their site because I have decided to buy a mennonite house to put on my property while we are building instead of renting for a year. About the same cost but I will have a ready built guest house. http://www.lindavistabelize.com/2014
the prices are actually in BZ $, and range from$5k - $12k for 'shells',  and $17k-40k for finished houses.
:)

They Really are the best way to go. I was thinking about doing earthbag building right off the rip but, This is way easier to have something quick and functionable. Not to mention  they can be moved anywhere. Thanks guys for the replys  : :proud

My wife and I considered earth-bag building, but I got to thinking, why not do like the Mayans and use rock instead. The process is otherwise basically the same. Certainly would be sturdier, and I would never have to worry about water turning my house to mud in a catastrophe. My mennonite house will be my temporary home, then a guest house on my property.

We went to three mennonite prefab home builders. With two of them you could get just the shell (floor, walls, roof). The walls were not finished. With the third you could then have them put in the roughed in plumbing, electrical, insulation, and choose between two kinds of wall board (one being gyp rock).

As it ended up we went with the builder that would finish up the house. We got cabinets made elsewhere (as they did not offer that to us). We have moved in. We enjoy it much more than our garage we were living in. Certainly it is not a North American quality home, but we didn't pay that much for it either. I give high marks to Scott and Linda Vista. He is great to work with. Just plan for the house to take longer than they say. The supply chain in Belize is very fragile and many things can derail the time line. Having said that, how often does construction get done on time in Canada, or the USA.

Scott,
I'm in Austin now working with some people who build earthbag tiny homes and was thinking of doing the same in Belize, however I too want to research the Minnonite homes more thouroughly...will they ship to Caye Caulker?

Sorry to resurrect an old thread.  Those Mennonite houses look cool.

I'm thinking it is pretty difficult to a get a mortgage in Belize.  I expected we'd have to just pay cash for the land.  Are the Mennonite home sales 'cash only' too?

I imagine one can get a mortgage somehow but its probably just easier to plan on not doing it that way.

Methinks:

You can get access to money at much lower interest rates than in Belize. The rates in Belize for mortgages are credit card rates elsewhere. If you are just moving into Belize you will have no banking history here either. Plan on paying cash for everything in Belize.

As far as I am aware, none of the Mennonite builders will construct homes off the mainland. I may be wrong, and there may be one that does, but Linda Vista and Plett's both state "NO" on their website. I imagine you could get them to build it, and you could transport it, and then erect it, on the caye of your choice.
Linda Vista takes 1/2 the $ when ordered, and the remainder prior to erection on your site. The other Mennonite builders probably have a similar arrangement, but unsure of the specifics.

Somewhere I have heard that It usually takes longer to make and deliver the houses than builders tell you. I have recently been told by Linda Vista Builders that it would be between 6-8 months to delivery after your 1/2 down is paid. Can any one tell me if this time frame they gave me seems like it is accurate?

At the moment all the mennonite builders are booked up for best part of a year at least. Maybe it is the sudden popularity of small houses, or simply the idea you can get a house built without all the worry of personally overseeing the construction. Whatever the reason Yes the wait lists really are that long. One mennonite told me he cant get to building the house for his Daughter as they are so busy. But he has to build it for her wedding next summer.

There are plenty of other local builders who will build on your land a very simple house of similar construction we had a very simple wooden house built last year by a recommended builder it took about 4 months start to finish and came in at a very similar cost to the mennonite offerings for similar size, but ours was on Concrete posts as longer lasting than Wooden ones.

The Mennonites who built my home on the lot overran their time by 3 months.  My house is 30' wide x 45' long with 2 8' x 45' covered porches front and back.  If you live in Corozal, you can get an idea if you look at lot #40 in Mayan Seaside out by Smugglers Cove.  The total time was 8 months.

Hello,

I am new to this community (and hopefully soon to be a new property owner in BZ), and was wondering who your local builder was (and where he is located)? I am also interested in concrete pilings and posts when I build.

Thank you!
Veronica

Hi hope this was meant for me we Used Mr Amilio Coc from San Jose Succotz, he doesn't  like to travel too far from his home base, he built our house in the Belmopan area. started mid may 2014 and my son moved in start of august same year. I had seen some of his work at the Trek stop resort in Succotz where he built all the cabins for them also I saw a two building house he built in Bullet tree. His work is solid and well made but he doesn't do a lot in the way of what you may consider cosmetic  finishings. we were looking for quick and simple so the finishing aspect we have done over the period since. i.e. puting up the internal boards on the Outside walls and painting. We also went with screens and shutters instead of windows and have found them effective in the climate.  If you need a little more info send a private message i can send a couple of photos taken during the building process.

Yes, I went with screens and shutters as well and have no regrets for having done it.  Should have installed even more, but what I have is good.  Skylights would have been a good idea for my place, too.  I'm in the Consejo area.

Hi,  terrific, yes,  it was meant for you.  My apologies for not being specific in addressing you,  I didn't know the thread here didn't nest replies. :)

Thank you very much for the information. I will need to find a reputable builder in Stann Creek, maybe get the concrete work done independently.  We are interested in a very simple  but well-built home. I love the idea of screens and shutters. I'm certainly not moving all that way to do things the way I do them here in the North. ;)

Kind regards,
Veronica

nice to hear it. There are some folk who just think they can come to Belize to live the life they have in there home land but on the cheap. Belize is a wonderful place so long as you don't expect it to be like anywhere you have lived before.

We are thinking about building a Mennonite home on our lot and will use it as guest house after we have built our main house.  When you said finished house for $17K-$40K, does it include water, electricity, septic tank, etc..?
Thank you

Would you mind sharing as how much is the total cost of your house including utilities (water and electrical hookup) and septic system.
Thank you

The Menonites will wire up the house with lights and sockets and put in the plumbing pipes but that is all you have to get the electric  connection sorted for yourself, either solar or mains. As for the the Septic and soak away and water supply, rain water tanks or Mains if you live in a supply area, you will have to get those done yourself. If you get a local builder they will do all  except connect to the solar or mains electricity supply.  Which have to be done by the BEL or your soar company (we used Pro solar from Belmopan and have been happy with them for the last 18 monthsPlus)

Thank you for your prompt reply.
We really appreciated.

As to costings the original house 1000sq ft on 9 ft concrete posts with a small 10X10 block room built underneath to house the utilities/solar batteries with septic soakaway,  one smallish water storage tank and water pump. came in around 50k Belize$ the solar was an additional 10k. Since then we have added a second larger water storage tank and had another 400 sq feet of the underhouse blocked for additional storage and a second bathroom  and a small gas tankless water heater at an additional cost of about 15kBelize dollars. This house will be our sons house as we have just started the building of our Retirement house. the estimate for this house done to our basic design is $150k Belize all in, fully finished. Our only additional cost will be the costs of water storage tanks, and BEL costs to connect.

Thank you Terrific for the info

Agreed, great specific information about building costs, and very helpful. We have a similar plan to Terrific, but also in the Stann Creek district. We hope to start our road in May, and enlist a builder soon after. Although we had planned to use Linda Vista for our initial house, we may look for another qualified builder, since they are 6 mo to a year  out to completion.

MBarlow,

I am purchasing property in Corozal area and would like to know what Mennonite builder you chose. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Ray

Who built the home for you on the island that was similar to the pre fab houses?

Hi there Diana in Cleveland can you please provide me with your builders contact information thank you so very much!

Can you please share your builder contact information thank you.

My wife and I just returned from Belize. Having grown up in the building trades I would like to offer a few suggestions.  Mennonite homes are constructed well but, there are factors that must be taken into consideration. First of all, with the rapid demand in Belize for these homes they are backed up, and manufacturing time is a longer process. Due to demand the wood used to build these homes is not allowed the proper drying time to avoid later bowing, or warping. These homes are built similar to mobile homes, in that they are assembled at a facility, placed on flatbeds, and then transported to their location. The lifting onto the flat beds, transporting over rough roads, and subsequent placement on posts can compromise fasteners slightly. Also, improper bracing in the center of the structure can lend to floor sag over time. Gaps due to shrinkage over time allows for insects, and there is maintenance involved with any wood structure. All that said, the Mennonites are quality builders, and provide a good low cost option for establishing a home in Belize.
If one is desiring a quality built concrete block home, a shell can be erected for $75 - $100 per square foot Belize dollars ($37.50 - $50 U.S.)  A completely finished concrete home would be approximately $150 - $200 per square foot Belize dollars ($75 - $100 U.S.) In the case of concrete homes I would recommend zinc roofs with a 2 in 12 pitch, or greater. Concrete roofs require much heavier foundation requirements, and concrete is subject to seepage over time, and in some cases settling could result in stress cracks. Regardless of what you are told consider a well for water supply, especially in the north. You will not have to worry about running out of water during the dry season, they are far less costly than underground cisterns, and using one with a purifier, and reverse osmosis system provides safe, clean drinking water. Wherever you consider building consider the drainage on the lot. Standing water invites mosquitoes, and other issues too. Whatever you decide, though it is still developing, Belize is a wonderful country with clean air, fresh foods, friendly people, and beautiful forest and waterside locations. I hope this info is of some help.

We are partnering with Mennonites, local tradesmen and of course working ourselves with an architect. The Mennonite shells are ok, they use some different framing practices that they will adjust (I met in person at their yards) to your specs but it may change the price. Overall they are sturdy, similar to a mobile home except for several things:

They use ALL hardwood unless you ask for something different.
Their dimensional lumber is different than in the US, better actually a 2 x 6 is actually 2 x6 and so on. This is much stronger than dimensional pine lumber in the north at 1.5" x 5.5.

You can buy the "shell from them with windows, doors steps and decks--(they call them verandas) and have a local contractor (such as ourselves or someone you have chosen) do your finish work at a much lower cost. You can also "stick build" which is building onsite at your lot from scratch.

Things to be aware of:
They do not kiln dry all of their lumber, hardwoods take longer and should be air dried first to reduce drying time in the kiln. Air dried lumber in the US is normally used for buildings without climate control, such as barns garages etc. I know they have built many homes this way but have not had enough conversations to see how they hold up over time.

Lumber will twist and warp if no dried correctly, also a higher moisture content makes it appealing to wood boring insects.

See link
https://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgtr/fplgtr117.pdf

I think with some research or a good consultant in Belize you would be fine with lumber or if you have the budget available concrete.

Great observations rayonthebay!
Let me add some observations about my 16 year old Mennonite home I bought last year and how it has held up.
It was well constructed, using structural beams I don't think one can get anymore as in current construction I have seen they are different with splices. The three main support beams in my place are one piece (no splice) each 24 feet long. They are of a very dark almost black, heavy, hard wood. The original vertical post under the structure are of the same wood and weigh about twice what currently available, pressure treated, same sized posts weigh. I saw that when the crew was removing them during the construction of the new concrete foundation/post we put under it last year, finishing two weeks before Earl hit.  :happy:

The bottoms of some of the posts were in poor condition due to water running down them and pooling on the original concrete blocks. I also need to replace some of the lapped wood siding on the lower parts of the house due to deterioration. On the south side, there is metal flashing angled out slightly deflecting water starting two planks up, and the  siding is fine there. I will be putting something similar on the other sides after repairs and painting.

From pictures, I can see for the first two years the house was either not painted or just stained/water coated. The current paint is in poor condition and (to me) an ugly color combo. That gets redone this year.  :D 

The tongue & groove wood floors are in great shape, except they did not drive the planks tightly together...since my lot is sand,  I make every effort to not track it up the stairs and inside, but still it collects in these groves. I hate gritty sand under bare feet, then forgetting to wipe my feet before climbing under the sheets...   :nothappy:  So make sure your builder drives the planks together before nailing them in place.

The interior  walls and ceilings are regular wallboard. If i were building new, I would suggest using the wallboard made for use in bathrooms due to the high humidity.

As rayonthebay said, pay attention to drainage.
That would include gutters and gutter drains. On homes that i have flipped in Texas, when there was foundation problems lack of gutters was some or a major part of the problem. I am adding gutters and underground (sand) drainage to my place in belize as I can see that without it over 16 years things have moved.

On the Placencia Peninsula, I see an increasing use of concrete under  Mennonite or other wooden homes instead of wooden posts. Some with a simple foundation and concrete post as I had mine redone with, or adding a slab and concrete blocks to make a storage area under part of it, or a full lower floor. The higher costs of concrete is offset by lower Hurricane insurance costs. Check with the local insurance companies on what they will cover before deciding on how you support your wooden home.

What homeowners insurance covers and how they name the coverage in Belize is a different ballgame than in the USA.  The costs are not that bad, as some might lead you to think, but talk to local agents as part of your Due Diligence before buying or building in Belize.

Hi, I am purchasing a lot in Corozal as well. Would love to get connected to see my options to build. Thanks.

Thank you for the info. Great advice.

Hey Suncrave,
We are building in Corozal also. Where do you plan to build? I will help in any way with information you may need. I am very familiar with the area and builders.
Ray

Hi Ray, thanks for the reply. I am in the process of buying the lot right next to the Blue Iguana Restaurant on Consejo Rd in Corozal Town. I am super stoked. I am selling another lot elsewhere in Belize at the moment. I will start building as soon as that lot is sold. Where are you building? I just got back from Corozal and am somewhat familiar with the area. Can we connect through private email instead? Thanks!

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