All systems go!

Ok at some point in the future I will post a ‘how to’ page with a walk-through of how to get permits for a property in the Colonial Zone here but more importantly is that I have actually started work!

I won’t lie I was beginning to lose hope with the project, not just the fact the permit process is a joke but I have been getting quotes over the last couple of months and they have been coming in higher than the price of the property. I am under no illusions of the scale of the task ahead but I have been going through quotes for the last week nonstop and there are huge differences in material costs and labour costs.
I hate to think it’s because I am a ‘gringo’ over here but I have proof in black and white ink! I actually think some of the builders must have thought I was stupid and would not read the quote. For example, one of the builders had in their quote RD$1,4million pesos for electrical wire! I know the house needs rewiring but come on… that’s around $34,000 USD! If that wasn’t enough of a shock the quotes were all over place, the highest was RD$4,000,000 more than the lowest.

Measuring up
Measuring up

To be honest me and Katherine my wife was a bit shell shocked with these quotes, we even discussed trying to sell the house as even the lowest price was almost double our budget for renovations. It took us a few days to mull it over and a lot of phone calls back home for advice on what to do. We had two options sell the place (which takes a long time here) or go for it. Obviously we decided to go for it, there is no way I am going back to England as to be honest if we sold up that probably would be the outcome.

No the problem we have was how are we going to make this happen? With half the budget of the quotes we have received we needed to get creative. No sooner had I started thinking I found an Austrian engineer that had been living over here for the last 10 years (message me if you want his details). His name is Rudolfo and he was really enthusiastic when he came around to see the place and was straight up on the roof checking it out. It was the first time I had been on the roof, to be honest there wasn’t much point before as I knew when I bought the place it needed replacing.

What a state...
What a state…

This is actually going to be my job; I will work along with Rodolfo all through the renovation project so I am really excited to get started.
I have decided to split the project up in to sections… first and foremost is the roof and floor. So I took Rudolfo on to do this part with me and with a view to do more after. I have a very strict budget – this is where it helps to be organized… I took the average price of all the other quotes for each section of the house i.e. roof, floors, walls, electrics, plumbing and so on. It works out that I need to be able to complete each area at 47% of the quoted price to be able to complete the project.

Crazy some might say? over ambitious? or maybe I am just stupid? either way we will find out by the end of this project. Now I know that unexpected costs come up, even more so with a 400 – 500-year-old house but even so I have been to suppliers and I think it can be done.


So I took on Rudolfo straight away, I love a straight talker and he seems very genuine. He also took on three Haitian workers to help us. So there are 5 of us in total. Also just to give us that little bit more of a challenge I have set us a target of three weeks to replace the roof and a week to replace the 1st floor. Other companies said 6 weeks but this is going to be my home as well as our business and we want to get a move on, especially when it has been 8 months since we bought the place.

I was lucky with finding Rudolfo as he had just finished a project and could start straight away. So after a day of planning we set a start date for the next day. Exciting (and nervous) times ahead.