So now we own the property the fun really begins. I am lucky to know someone that is an architect with her own company who has been very helpful with her advice. Now her company doesn’t do projects this small with our budget but she put us in touch with another architect originally from Mexico who really wants the chance to work on a colonial property and can work with our budget. He also speaks English which is a massive help whilst I’m learning Spanish. My Spanish classes start next month at Apec University which I’m both nervous and excited about. You may ask how I could of spent a year in Central and South America and in total another year in Dominican Republic without picking up the language. I don’t know… I could blame it on the English educational system as languages is not a priority back there but the truth is I needed motivation to do so – now I have the motivation I needed. I have the basics, I can understand what a conversation is about, I can read pretty well but it’s the conversational part that I just can’t grasp – languages was never one of my strong points. But hey, I’m putting it right now.
So we met up with the architect to discuss where we go from here. Unfortunately, as we have no plans for the property they need to be drawn up from scratch. So Rodolfo (our architect) is drawing up the plans as I speak – hopefully we should have them in a weeks’ time. We got a pretty good deal on getting the plans drawn up – the property is pretty huge so its about a three-day job, it would normally just take two but you have to take a couple of points into consideration: The second floor of the main building is totally rotten, you really have to watch your step or you can end up downstairs before you know it. Also, our caretaker has about seven pit bulls in the garden – not quite sure how we are going to move them yet as they are not tame.
So next steps: Me and Jose went to Patrimonio as we have to get a soil sample and archaeological survey but until we have the plans drawn up these cannot be arranged. It would help us a lot if we could get a copy of the plans but Patrimonio, Catastral and Obras Publicas already drew a blank. However, a friend informed us that there is another branch of Patrimonio that also have plans for properties in the Colonial Zone, so off we went again.
The office is called ‘Secretaria de Estado de Cultura’ in the Zona Colonial. They were very helpful and we did find some information on the house. It has a black and white picture from back in 1973 which was when someone decided to renovate the house. It has some brief floor plans and some information on the condition of the house back then. Basically this place has just been left to deteriorate over the past 40 years. But considering it is over 400 years old that’s dip in the ocean. We got shown through to another room with plans everywhere – I won’t say a bad word against them as the architect spent over an hour looking through every single plan he had – the place was crying out for a bit of organization.
So once we have the plans we can apply for the permits. I have been told that it takes two months from start to finish when applying for permits (that’s if everything goes to plan – we are in Dominican Republic which will be a tall order). So we are getting everything in place now. It looks like we have lots of time but I know it will sneak up on us if we are not organized – and its not like we will be sitting around waiting while the permits are being applied for. I have a website to build, business plan to update and a lot more…