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Last day of the year, it is time for a little recap on the house costs. We spent a LOT of money so far, just to make it barely liveable. Well, it is better than liveable, thanks to BF’s relentless efforts to always fix stuff, move furniture around and try to optimize things. As long as the roof stopped leaking and the house was reasonably clean, that was enough for me. We put such effort into fitting the first plastic protection on top of the thatched roof for example, that I didn’t feel like upgrading to the transparent roof in months. Now that it is all fixed, I am happy the house looks much better, but really, I don’t feel like doing much on it until the other room is finished. So BF is working for two, with the handyman and I am focusing on developing the 90 acre piece of land that came with the house.
A few of you asked about that land, and how come there was so much of it. There were actually two pieces of property on the sale. One is the 22000 sqft lakefront plot where the house is, and the new room is being built. This plot is for us to live on and where I plan on starting a small guest house next year. The other piece of property is a 90 acres land that is on the other side of the road, about 200 yards from the shore of the lake. It was used so far to breed cattle. I thought about bringing my calves over there, but would have to pay for a cowboy and to fix the perimeter, as animals could escape. So I decided instead to try and develop the land. It borders the village on the East, the road on the South, and two other ranches to the North and West. This property will be divided in smaller plots, around a third of an acre, for residential property. I am starting to market it early next year, and hoping to start a nice development for people looking to live close to nature and enjoy the sun all year round.
So far, the big land has not generated costs. It had very high pastures and we were looking for a farmer to put cattle there, but as it is not yet the dry season, everyone has pasture. We ended up giving it for free to a guy who put 50 heads of cattle, so that they eat it all and we can walk around properly. At the moment, we have pasture at chest level!
In exchange, this farmer will also clean the perimeter. We got rid of most of the fencing, in exchange for keeping the barb wire, a few guys did it for free, and we now have a lot of wood that can be used for the works on the big room. We also sold the cattle scale that was on the land for $1300, and bought a boat motor and a few pieces of furniture that weren’t included in the house price for the same money.
Now on to the house costs:
Company creation and running fees: $1900. Most of it was to register a limited company of which we each hold 50% of the shares. It also includes land registry, $200 to change owner on the leasehold for the beachfront land (you can’t fully own lake and seaside property since the 1950s), and $22 monthly accounting fee.
Works on the beachfront land: $8975
Includes electric work $300
Mosquito net for all windows $100
Palm tree leaves to fix the roof $150
Water pump and pipes $400
French bowls field $300
Temporary plastic roof cover $50
Building the entrance wall $840
Entrance door $440
Building a wall to split into two bedrooms: $420
Building materials for the new room $2450
Workers on the room $1800
Excavating the land for the new room $375
2000 wooden sticks and delivery $350
And a $200 a month full time handyman.
Plants and animals: $180. Buying 10 hens at around $10 each and some seeds for the garden.
Includes our food costs, quite high at the beginning to stock the pantry, bed sheets, a deep freezer, blender, electricity, gas for the car and for cooking, going out and travel.
Under $700 per person and per month, this number should go down with time. BF went to Guatemala City and did a big Christmas shopping with enough wine, cheese, olive oil… for months. We don’t find those products here, or at a steep price.
Electricity is $20 per month
Gas about $100 per month
Cooking gas $5 per month
Food, I should really join Mr CBB on his grocery challenge as I have no idea what exactly went into food, since most grocery receipts include some house stuff like buying tupperware, bed sheets or kitchenware.
Misc: $1300 We bought the previous owner a boat motor and a couple of household items that he didn’t include in the sale. It was weird because he left three beds, a fridge, oven, desk… but wanted us to pay for $5 plastic chairs. The motor is worth $2500 new and has barely been used so we mostly bought that.
Total out: $15105
Total in: $1490. Main $1300 from the cattle scale. We sold the plastic roof cover that cost us $160 for $110 after one month of use to a neighbor with a leaking roof. No profit here but at least we got some money back to spend on the new transparent roof. We also got back the $80 deep freezer repair from the shop after much complaining and threatening to take it directly with the owners (our friends, that we would never bother for $80, but a little bluff goes a long way).
Quite reasonable to make a house liveable, start building a new room and live for two months. We put $10K each and have about $5K left on the company account to front the costs of the new room and start the architect on the land development before I need to sell my cattle or bring more money from Europe.
What feels like we are spending a lot is we are constantly making checks to people, for material, wages, and paying things little by little.
As far as progress is concerned, the works were stopped for about a week around the holidays and have now resumed. The stone walls of the new room are being built.
The bowls fields was inaugurated with our Christmas game, it is fun to play, even though the field is not perfectly flat, and a good icebreaker.
On the animal side, the rooster is still weak but alive, after his almost deadly fight with the turkey. The poor turkey is not tied by the beach so that he doesn’t bother the hens, maybe in a few days he can be free again.
We are fencing the property, both for our security and the animals’. There used to be a path right across our garden and we don’t want people to just walk around uninvited. The house still isn’t safe, as the windows have nothing but mosquito nets, and we don’t want curious eyes to check our belongings.
The garden is growing nicely, and benefiting from a new automatic watering system. Now every time the water pump is on, the plants get watered. Fastest growing are garlic and melons, I am trying potatoes too, basil looks like a lost cause, although I have three little plants inside that have taken off.
And after spending the past few weeks talking about the disgusting critters that sometimes pay us a visit, meet our new resident snake!!
How is your week going? Do you like my snake? Enjoy New Year’s Eve, all the best to you all!!