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#1 lexicon

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 01:39 PM

I read with interest the feedback on electric bills. I was very surprised at how high some of your bills were since I thought that living expenses were really low in Cozumel. Could I get some additional information as to what the basic costs would be to live on Cozumel. I'm mainly interested in finding out what utility bills would be involved and what the average cost per month would be for an basic 2-bedroom home (gas, electric, phone, satellite, water/sewer charges,etc.) I am planning on retiring to Cozumel in the next few years, and this info would be most helpful in determining the feasibility of this move. Thanks in advance to everyone for your responses to my query.
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#2 Coz2wonder

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:35 PM

as you have guessed, the prices per month to live here is all over the board.

Are you renting, or do you own?

Property taxes are low, so that's not going to be a problem for you, but it does need to be considered in your budget.

I spend between $800-1,200 p's a week on groceries. That's for two people.

You said a 2 bedroom house. Are the bedrooms on the first level, or second level? That will make a BIG difference.

Anything higher then first level will be hot...therefore, A/C

Is there a pool? You need to run the pumps, so add some extra to the CFE bill.

My CFE bill runs about $250USD's per month.

Propane. That I don't know about the household tanks. I have my tank filled twice a year which is between $4000-$6000p's each time.

To net this out for you as to what it would cost per month to live here (if you are not carrying any debt with you)...you can live nicely on 2-3K a month.

Of course, if your paying rent, deduct that cost from the 2 or 3K.

I understand that folks will post that they live well below that, but you always budget higher, then you get to pocket the leftover change.

There are other considerations in calculating the monthly costs or perhaps, pre-costs.

You may want to get International Health Ins. If you are 60+ that is about $1,800 per year, per person.

If you are bringing a auto down, then you need to purchase international car insurance.

If you own a house here, you want to look at purchasing homeowners insurance.

It really comes down to what standard of living you can adjust too.

But, that takes a while.

Good luck, and look forward to your thoughts.
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#3 nauticab

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 03:24 PM

as paula stated, rates all over the place. i am on the other side of the spectrum, with a very cool home and paying $250 pesos every TWO months on electricity (yeah, you read that right). no air conditioning, and 220 installation. it's the material of my home and the placement (faces north) that makes a HUGE difference. plus i use mostly soft light energy saver bulbs. i use a 20liter gas tank for my stove and i go thru that maybe twice a year, cooking daily. that runs me about 200 pesos. when we complete my 2nd story, we will likely get a small stationary tank which will cost more but fill it maybe once, max twice yearly, like paula.
water bills, if you use water wisely, are cheap, like 50 pesos a month. i like to prepay several months ahead to avoid paying each month. makes life easier. this is my rate washing clothes 3 times a week.
there are many combos with competition of internet and TV and phone with both telmex and cablemas. mostly running around 700 pesos a month for all three services in one package. that's with pretty fast service.
food will depend on what you like to eat. veggies and fruits are very cheap and some meats are pretty inexpensive too. eating out will cost ya. unless you often go to where to locals go.
if you live like the locals, you will find huge savings. good luck!
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#4 Coz2wonder

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 03:40 PM

we are incorporating some of Nauticab's building materials into our additions. She is one smart lady, who does her homework.

I've live here 7 years, I did use my air yesterday...89 degree's with about 90% humidity. I sat cowering in the corner knowing that I was going to pay big bucks in the next two months.

You know, I bet I could eat cheaper per week/month if I ate out.
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#5 nauticab

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 10:00 PM

paula, the last two nights, in his room with just a ceiling fan, 1 window that doesn't give much breeze, and wearing PJs, my kid awoke in the early early morning COLD! yes, the stuff works.
there is another house built and another under construction using these blocks but no one living there yet. mine is the first being lived in so i am the guiney pig!
i am putting in a chimney upstairs for those nortes!
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#6 Carey

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 06:31 AM

People who lived here and built places here as little as five years ago did not have access to the material you are discussion. If this inquiry is for new construction, it's pertinent. But if they are buying an already built structure, it does not.

We have two structures on our compound separated by a large garden. Built in the traditional way without these new blockes that are driving everyone who reads about them pretty rabid with jealousy, frankly. Wasn't an option for most people until very recently.

Anyway, our typically constructed home with the best possible orientation -- north facing -- and with plenty of through window openings designed to catch the prevailing trade winds just had electric bills come in of $4000 and $7000 pesos respectively. Divide that by 2 and use 12.30 for conversion of pesos to dollars and you have our monthly electric bills at a time a fairly low AC use.

We run ceiling fans wherever we are, several computers and monitors always stay on. We run the AC in one room only during the heat of the afternoon and in the bedroom from around 9 PM until 7 AM.

Water? We water our garden in the dry season and take really long and frequent showers and wash a lot of clothes in our machine. Our water bill is typically $150 pesos/month.

We don't have the giant gas tank that only needs refilling once or twice of year. No room for it. I probably buy ?? 10 (tops) large gas canisters full per year from the street guys that come by constantly. They're around $30 US per tank.

Bottled water, a necessity here, is an expense. We use the most expensive service, Cristal, and their garrafon'/bottles just went up to $19 pesos per 5 gallons. And we tip quite well as the bottles have to be carried a long way and up 3 flights of stairs in one instance. So potable water is definite expense.

Our phone and the fastest connection offer to a non-business client runs around $850 pesos/month. And we have much faster speed than many of our friends who opt for a less expensive internet.

Cablemas television, basics plus five premium channels is around $50 US/month and more if you want an additional premium package, the adult channels, the international channels.

Property taxes and garbage are very low if you own property. But there are rumblings of reassessments on that front, aren't there? Property taxes are absurdly low, really. It's way out of wack and I think that's going to be addressed in the not too distant future.

Medical and dental care is much less expensive here and the quality is very good. Although if I needed specialized surgery, I would hightail it back to the states in a New York Minute.

Groceries are about the same price more or less. Eating out at the fancy tourist places in this town is expensive -- $25 for an entree and all sides extra. But you can eat at the loncherias and tacquerias very cheaply and well.

There's my two cents.
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#7 lexicon

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 07:05 AM

That helps quite a bit. Thanks for the info. As to water, sewer, and other expenses, it would be good to include them in my budget. Any input on these would be also helpful. We are looking for a one-level home, two bedrooms, with or without a pool.
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#8 lexicon

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 07:16 AM

The additional comments from all of you have helped immensely, regarding those added expenses I inquired about. I hope that when we actually get down to purchasing our home, that we can find one made of these new building materials. It sounds like they really make a huge difference as far as the home environment and the subsequent cost to maintain its comfort.
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#9 Carey

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 07:54 AM

The additional comments from all of you have helped immensely, regarding those added expenses I inquired about. I hope that when we actually get down to purchasing our home, that we can find one made of these new building materials.


Then don't bother to look at anything but new are nearly new construction or else build it yourself on a lot. Nauticab is still building her house as we speak, I believe, started ?? about a year ago. And I think she's the first person on the island to have been able to take advantage of this new building material. I'm sure Dailene will correct me if I'm wrong ;)

Re your query about water/sewer that was answered twice above if you read carefully -- it's cheap.
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#10 nauticab

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 12:08 PM

i can't remember if the other home built with this material that is for sale is thru coz living or coz properties, built by a nice guy named patricio. the house is located on calle 23 between 35 and 40 or so, about a block behind conalep. he is also building one on 15 ave "C" between 15 and 17, or 17 and 19. right now he only has the outside wall up on that property. the one at conalep, i believe, is complete. i have been inside....nice floor plan, but it is 2 story.
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#11 Carey

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 01:10 PM

Re the contention that the second story is always hotter or makes the structure hotter, I have to disagree with qualifications. True, the second story gets sun beating on the roof. But if you only build one story, the sun beats on the first story roof. And a second story protects and cools the story below.

Also second stories are MUCH breezier. The higher up you go the more you catch the wind. I have one 3 story structure and the top story is like a wind tunnel sometimes I have to close the kitchen window or it blows so hard the gas flame bends way to the side out from under the pan and this is not just during a high wind either, a storm or whatever. The second stories of both structures are breezy as well and the first stories because of the high surrounding walls, the least breezy of all.

One first story has no windows on the west or south side so it stays pretty still and hot but is just our storage/laundry room area.

The other first story structure has large doors opening on the east and west side and stays quite cool and breezy until the weather starts getting real nasty as it does about now. This is both because of the big doors correctly oriented east and west and also, I believe, because there is a story above this sala room that also provides insulation from the roof heat.

I also have a first story bedroom that stays very cool only because there is a palapa covered terrace up above it to keep the sun off. The identically sized and oriented back bedroom which no longer has a palapa covered terrace is notably warmer.
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#12 lexicon

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 09:02 AM

So what are these new building materials called? If they are not the usual concrete blocks, what are they? If anyone knows, please respond. Would like to look for a home made like this, but need to know what to ask for. Thanks.
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#13 Carey

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 10:32 AM

My reading of Dailene's post above is that there are only two homes on the island currently that use this type of construction. One is hers and one is recently finished and the address given in her post. And another one is being built. I'm sure she'll come on and give you the name of the type of blockes used. (Blockes (BLOW-kays) is how you refer to this type of item down here, by the way.)
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#14 nauticab

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 11:22 AM

aislawall, sold by maya located on the transversal and 80, the name of the product. most old school folks don't believe in it and will say it won't last during a hurricane. but homes built with this material are the only homes that have survived many hurricanes. they just don't understand it. sorry, only in spanish... http://www.abc-cancu...liestireno.html


yes, mine is the first and only here in cozumel being lived in. the other near conalep is done as far as i know, but it is for sale.
however, there are many homes, slightly newer construction, that have been using the styrofoam bovedilla (the part that is in between the beams of the roof) for years. just this will make a huge difference in the heat transmission to the interior.
we are completing the 2nd floor and just waiting on the bovedilla to arrive so we can pour the roof. if anyone is interested in seeing this product, you can email me and we can set up a time. hampster will be using this on the 2nd floor of his new construction. and paula says they are using it for their addition. it's new stuff for here, been in europe for over 30 years. just takes time to be accepted.
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#15 Coz2wonder

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 01:02 PM

that is a good question that I didn't ask...have you gone through a hurricane with the new construction?

As for putting a "chimney" in a bedroom...don't they burn wood?
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#16 rbstrong

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 02:41 PM

Patricio just added a second story to our house using Aislawall. We are only down a couple weeks at a time throughout the year, last trip was in March, so can't say how much this helps on cooling yet, but we havn't had to use the air conditioning at all. The 2nd story definitely keeps the 1st level much cooler. I guess our next trip this summer will give us a better idea on efficiency.

Hoping it holds up as well in a hurricane as I hear it does.

Rick
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#17 nauticab

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 06:04 PM

not yet, but considering the walls are all "castillos" and are actually stronger than block, i'm not worried.
http://www.icfmag.co...dy_Catoire.html
http://www.quadlock....e_car_crash.htm

and this is the best
http://www.forms.org...p to Storms.pdf
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#18 pecas

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 09:06 AM

Patricio also built our home using this material. Our experience isn't as dramatic as Dailene's but we do see energy savings.
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#19 lexicon

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 09:54 AM

Thanks to everyone for your comments. This info has really helped me. You're all the greatest - as always.
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#20 Richard W

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 01:19 PM

Interesting thread .... For existing homes have you considered a 4 inch layer ( 4" x 4'x8' boards/sheets) of styrene and then cementing over that?
Its produces a terrific thermal barrier. Yes cement roofs are heat sinks for sure.
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