Mennonite homes

Hello all,

Very useful info.  I am planning to build a Mennonite house in the Corozal area ( off consejo road) next year, on concrete pillars.  anyone who can provide good concrete builders in that area would be of help.  It i best if you send me info via my email, *** as i check that more regularly.  Thank you.

Conrad

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Hello:

I am currently looking at buying a lot/lots in Mayan Seaside and having a couple of Mennonite shells installed vs buying a local house for sale and adding a Menn. shell. I am a builder so  would probably finish them myself.

Would you be able to provide estimates of costs for  permits, septic and cistern ?

Are building materials, kitchen/bath fixtures readily available?

Did you have to remain on site while your home was being constructed/assembled?

Any unexpected expenses?

Any disappointments with your chosen  plan?

Many thanks.

Hello:

I am currently looking at buying a lot/lots in Mayan Seaside and having a couple of Mennonite shells installed vs buying a local house for sale and adding a Menn. shell. I am a builder so  would probably finish them myself.

Would you be able to provide estimates of costs for  permits, septic and cistern ?

Are building materials, kitchen/bath fixtures readily available?

Did you have to remain on site while your home was being constructed/assembled?

Any unexpected expenses?

Any disappointments with your chosen  plan?



Many thanks.

bob j

Bob:

Mayan Seaside - not sure where this is. Building materials, kitchen/bath fixtures are readily available in various hardware stores on the mainland. Of course, the variety is much less than in the USA or Canada. Although supply is getting much better than say 6 years ago, if you know you need it, and the store has it buy it. If you wait until you need it, the item may not be there.

The other thing is that with the very humid weather some items do not store well. For example bags of cement will get too much moisture and after some time will become useless to use.

Theft is a very big problem in Central America. Construction sites are a prime target if they are not watched over 24x7x365. The theft may come from within the workers you hire, or from locals. For this reason we did not start building on site, until we arrived in country. I was on site twice a day, and often did surprise visits at night. We had planned on having the chain link fence up before construction started, but that company did not put it as a priority. They didn't want to work in the rain.

Permits were not required were we built, until the year we came. As with much of this type of fee there is no written schedule of fees. Thus lending the fees charged to be fattened up. Always get receipts for everything.

Like everything the costs estimates vary with the location, size, and specifications. You can purchase precast septic tanks that can then be delivered. We built our own as we are on a farm. When we came down for 'vacation' we spent a lot of time going to different hardware stores, grocery stores, etc to see the price of things, and what was available.

Thus far we have decided to build with materials and equipment readily available here. This means you can get workers that have done the task with those materials before. I have educated our workers on the way I want things done. I built up our farm slowly. That way I could monitor the functionality, and durability of what we built. With each new structure I have altered things a bit.

When we build our long term home, I know we will build out of poured concrete, import good windows, and insulate walls and roof well. This will reduce the cost of cooling and dehydrating the home. Coming from the prairies in Canada with a 10% humidity to a 90%+ humidity it is surprising the toll that humidity takes on structures, equipment, and animals. A home built as we now plan it will make life here less expensive, and more comfortable.

From our research around Central America, we expected and planned for an 8 foot fence around our 'house and workshop area'. What we did not plan for was more than a barb wire fence around our farm. We quickly learned that fences like that are not respected. Cutting them to get in and blaming someone else was always the trespassers first response. Many just passed through the fence and stole fruit, chickens etc at will. Therefore we ended up building a chain link fence around most of our property or barb wire with field fence.

We put signs on the fence which were all stolen within a couple of weeks. Animals like chickens, sheep, goats are considered take away food. What this means is that they can come onto the farm and easily take away these animals to barbecue. I spoke to more than a few local people that gave up on sheep because of this problem.

We therefore opted to get Kangal (Anatolian Shepherd Dogs) to assist with the discouraging the take away food business. That has worked well for a couple of years, though recently 3 of our pups were poisoned, and an adult was shot twice. Two of the pups died. One needs to have people on the property for most of the time.

Home invasions have become more prevalent in Belize (across the whole country). Therefore plan your security against this. There of course is no guaranteed way to protect yourself, but you can do things to make you and your property a harder target so they go elsewhere.

Thank you for the detailed reply.



Having lived/worked in rural Costal Rica seasonally for a number of years, I am quite familiar with the theft issues you've experienced.

I think my experiences are what attracted me to Consejo, which is a small  coastal village near Corozal with a few expat developments where there are many eyes to keep watch, both residents and FT employees who have a personal stake.

Has the experience made you reconsider your decision to have a family farm and/or build a permanent home there?

I will certainly heed your advice and plan to have prebuilt shells delivered/installed  while I am on site.

re: Has the experience made you reconsider your decision to have a family farm and/or build a permanent home there?

We still like it here. Our hope is that now that Christmas has passed they will be less aggressive to get our carry-out-food. We like the climate, our farm, and friends we have met here. We are just fine with the limited choice on restaurants, the stores, etc. We like the simpler life.

Going back to Canada - specifically Alberta where government has destroyed the economy, and think it is their right to take businesses away - no, do not want to go back there any time soon.

I haven't decided exactly where in Belize I want to end up so this inquiry is not targeted to a specific district at the current time.

What is the availability of "fixer-uppers" in various areas in Belize. I would be interested in finding a home that may need some serious work but has a sound structure and already has the basics (water, septic, electric, etc) in place.  I can do most of the work but want to be sure that any materials and work put into fixing up the structure would increase the value above what is put into it.

There's an excellent candidate for a fixer in Copper Bank owned by an American couple. It's waterfront and all concrete is in place. Has a concrete wall surrounding the property. I think they'd be willing to sell for a low price to a serious buyer.

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