By Joseph Sanchez
President, Rocky Point Home Builders

We meet with many clients each month and answer many of the same questions such as what the process is to get permits, how do we establish electric, water, what are the costs? We thought this month we would address the steps required to break ground on your dream home in this month’s article, so you can have a better understanding of the process and costs.

Step 1 – Clean Title

Before you begin to design your home, you must first make sure that all tax payments are up to date on your property or you will not receive your permits. This is easy and tax payments are inexpensive compared to paying property taxes in the U.S or Canada. Make sure you keep all receipts for your tax payments in a file, so you can easily retrieve them when needed.  Before you build your home, you must prep lot by either excavating or adding fill to make it level.

Step 2 – Topography Survey

Before designing your home, you must get your lot surveyed by an engineer. This is an important aspect of your home design because a professional architect will use the survey to design the home according to the flow/slope of the lot.

Step 3 – Home Design Blueprints

Before you can begin to build your home you obviously need a blueprint for construction. The blueprints will be taken to city hall and your HOA for approvals and permits. We highly recommend working with a Design/Build contractor for designing your home because the benefit is your home will be designed according to your budget. A design/build contractor knows the costs of construction so if you want to stay in budget, this is especially important. Don’t make the mistake of designing a dream home by an independent architect then take it to a contractor and become shocked by the price. A design/build company will design the home according to your exact budget. 

Before you can begin to build your home, you need a blueprint for construction. The blueprints will be taken to city hall and your HOA for approvals and permits.

Step 4 – HOA Approvals

Once your home design is complete, most HOAs want to review the plans and approve them first before you get permits from the city. Some HOAs charge money for the permission to break ground others do not. Some have environmental impact fees, road fees and other costs. All HOAs are different and it’s important to understand the rules before purchasing your lot.

Step 5 – DRO Permit

After your HOA signs off on your plans, if required, now it’s time to take your blueprints to the city engineer known as the DRO here in Mexico. The DRO will review the plans and sign each page of your blueprints. There is a cost for his signature, and it depends on your location of your lot and the sq. meters. The more desirable the location and the larger the home the more expensive the cost. But costs can start as low as $1000 and go up from there. Unfortunately, there is no published pricing schedule to review it is only determined by the DRO office on a per application basis.  However, your architect or contractor will get this completed on your behalf.

Step 6 – City Permits

Once you get your DRO signature you are now ready to get your construction permits. Your contractor or architect should do this on your behalf and will navigate the bureaucracy for you. The costs can start as low as $1000 and higher again depending on the location and the total sq. meters of the design. This is the part where they will ask for your tax payment receipts for the year, a copy of your Fideicomiso and a copy of your IDs. If you are unsure of what a Fideicomiso is, ask your real estate agent. Once all the pre-construction steps are completed you are ready to build your home.

Step 7 – Water and Electric Service

Once you get your city permits and the DRO signature you have the green light to break ground but first you need to establish electric and water on the lot before anything begins. The electric company here is CFE and the water company is OOMAPAS. Your contractor should again take care of this for you and work with them to get it done. Costs for water, if its available in your subdivision, starts as low as $300 and can go higher depending on location. For electric service, costs can start as low as $500 and go higher again depending on location and depending on if you need a transformer. If you need a transformer than can add a significant cost as much as $1,000-$3,000. When buying a lot look for a transformer near your property if you don’t see one that should be taken into consideration before you purchase. You will again need a copy of your Fideicomiso and a copy of your IDs to establish the service.

Step 8 – Lot Prep

After all that is completed, we are almost ready to break ground, but first we need to prep the lot. This is a cost most purchasers don’t realize until they reach this point. Many lots here in Rocky Point need fill or excavation. This service is outside of the cost to build the home. If your lot is fairly level with the street, you are looking at a couple thousand dollars only. However, if excavation or fill is needed, that can be expensive because the machines are leased by the hour. We have built homes where excavation can be as high as $25,000. When purchasing a lot always look for a level lot if possible because it will save you money.

So now you know the costs necessary to start construction of your home. The costs outlined above are extra costs and outside of the contractor’s price to build your home. 

About the author: Joseph Sanchez is president of Rocky Point Home Builders a design/build contractor specializing in custom home design, construction and renovations. He resides here in Puerto Peñasco with his wife and three children and is originally from Chicago.