From the Ground Up

From the Ground Up

There’s no denying the amount of work that goes into finding and acquiring the perfect property then building and outfitting your dream home—whether it’s located across town from your current residence or a country away. That’s why I pride myself on making the process as absolutely streamlined as possible for my clients, while also being 100 percent transparent about the many ins and outs of building.

My many years of experience in high-end real estate as well as the decade I’ve now spent in Los Cabos (and my construction background in Texas) allow me to provide a detailed bird’s-eye view of the process: from identifying the lot, working with a team of architects and contractors, to appointing your property.

In this post, I’ve broken into 10 principal steps what it takes to build a brand-new property on an empty lot. So, after locating the lot:


Step 1: Call me!

Better yet, drop me an email at, and let’s get the search started. Together, we’ll review potential properties based on your family’s needs and wish list.


Step 2: Make a deal.

The purchase process can feel complicated, but me and our expert staff can help every step of the way. In my blog post “Yes, You Can Buy Property in México,” I answered many of your frequently asked questions.


Step 3: Plan. Plan. Plan.

The Palmilla Master Association has restrictions when it comes to what can be built and where. It’s critical that we review the architectural style and living space square footage limitations prior to sketching out a design. It’s similarly important to consider the ocean views and solar path for the property. This will help you maximize the livability—and luxury—of your dream home. (Before we get too into the details, I’m pleased to report that at no point will you be alone in this process. Robert Jones, vice president of construction at Del Mar, helps to coordinate every step moving forward.)

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Step 4: Get to know the lay of the land.

The process of land planning helps identify the best locations for each living space, ensuring seamless transitions from room to room and the most glorious views. This process extends to the placements of the pool and other outdoor living spaces. For this, what we consider an absolutely critical phase, we work hand in hand with Jeff Vogel of the Vogel and Associates design firm; they’re known for providing high-quality service and innovative, integrated solutions.


Step 5: Start the architectural process.

Once the space planning is complete, it’s time to engage the architects. Working alongside you, they’ll create a floor plan, including early exterior elevations. This phase of the process also includes reviewing platform conditions, determining which walls are necessary to design the building pad, civil engineering, and determining building materials and specifications. Around this time, we will engage an engineer for all the mechanical (AC, plumbing, and electrical) and structural engineering.

Step 6: Meet the designers.

A house becomes a home when you get into the details. As the floor plan is coming together, it’s the perfect time to meet the very talented Lynn Yellen from Ladco Resort Design Group, the design team we have at Del Mar.


Step 7: Bid project for total cost.

During this phase, we will receive and study multiple bids from different general contractors to ensure the best price for the specific project in hand.

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Step 8: Construction begins.

Start the building pad by lifting the construction retaining walls. We work with excellent and reliable crews, and you can typically expect the construction to take about 12 months.


Step 9: Get the keys and see to details.

Once the construction is complete, buyers get to do a walk-through to determine a punch list, essentially looking for anything that could need an adjustment or should be repaired. Now’s the time, too, to bring in Johnny Castineiras from Del Mar 365 property management, and commence furniture installation with Ladco Resort Design Group.


Step 10: Enjoy!

Your warranty on the home has now commenced, but even more importantly it’s time for you to sit back, relax, and revel in this dream home you’ve just built.

~ Michael.