Saturday, May 28, 2011

Big News! May 28

We are buying a house!  Yes, it's the one I described in my last post.  It is in Colonia (= neighborhood) San Antonio, the neighborhood just to the south of the center of San Miguel.  The property measures about 60' wide by 90' deep, a good size for San Miguel, and like other homes is walled on all four sides.  As I wrote before, it is pretty derelict and much work will have to be done before it is livable.

When it is done, this is what you will find.

  • As you enter there is the guest room and bathroom on the left and a roofed laundry area on the right.  
  • A little farther on the left is my casa (house), which has a living/dining room, kitchen, pantry, study, and half bath downstairs; upstairs is a bedroom, dressing and sewing room (!), full bath, screened sleeping porch, and possibly an outside shower (depending on cost).  Under the stairs is a storage area.  Downstairs toward the back of the property and outside the living room is a tiled patio.  
  • To the right of the entrance is Rick's casita (little house):  a living/dining room, a kitchen, a bedroom, a full bath, and a screened sleeping porch.  
  • In between and behind the houses is garden, now a mess but it will eventually be nice, with two huge old jacaranda trees that create a beautiful peaceful shady look.  We'll put a few chairs there.
  • All along the back of the property is a sunken area (why it is sunken we don't know) but we will put a small pool, maybe 10' X 12" or so, between the casa patio and the rear property line.  Because it's sunny here something like 330 days a year, a solar heater will replace expensive electric heating.  Because the ground is sunken, we won't have to dig to build the pool!  Its lip will line up level with the patio.  Next to the pool and under the casa patio is a large storage room.  We will be ready for next summer's heat!
The work will take somewhere between 3 and 6 months.

We are buying the place for $160,000, negotiated down from $196,000, and expect to put perhaps $80,000 to $100,000 into it.  We have gotten a few sloppy estimates so far from contractors and will soon be ready for bids.  The process of buying here is that the contract must be translated into Spanish and notarized by a Mexican "notario," with 10% of the cost as the deposit.  We are told that the buyer's cost amounts to approximately 1.5 to 2% of the selling price for title search and all that stuff.  We have set the closing date for late next month.  To buy it we will use a HELOC, a home equity line of credit, that we have but do not use on our house on Camano Island, and then will repay it by selling the house as soon as we can in the spring when the renters' lease is up.  We will be back on Camano Island in late February to take care of that.

So we are thrilled to have our own place!  The current reminder of what it's like to live under an unpleasant landlord has been motivating, as has of course our decision to live "separados pero juntos" -- separately but together.  There's a Spanish expression, "juntos pero no revueltos" -- together but not scrambled, which is pretty neat and pretty close to what we mean.

As soon as I can I'll take photos and post them here.  Happy day!


  1. Goodness gracious! You love big projects. Good luck on it all!

  2. Jo and Rick, the place and your plans sound terrific and very exciting!! Frannie (and for Ron)