Most people never build a private road in their lives, but mine deserves telling about it. It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to write about our continuing efforts constructing a new home in Atenas.
While our custom home construction project moved forward, we saw the need for a new design and construction of our private road.
But now I’m getting ahead of myself. I want to back up a bit to the beginning. I mean after we bought land in Atenas and before we broke ground on our home construction. You see, at first, we couldn’t break ground because ….
Well, because there wasn’t a road to our property. You see, we live on the top of a community outside Atenas. At the time we bought the land, a dirt road wound up around the side of our lot and the neighbors. This road is legally called an easement.
Imagine in your mind a dirt road stuck to the side of a cliff and you get the idea.
Well, we thought – that’s not a big deal. The person who sold us the lot, the nephew of the developer of the community, had made a promise to us that he would put down asphalt on the dirt road as part of the purchase at his expense. So we expected to not have any problem at all … no road yet, but there would soon be one.
Little did we know?
Our architect took one look at the geography and threw a yellow card. “No way,” he said. The road, it seemed, was too precarious. The asphalt that was going to be laid down was likely to crack. His prediction was that one of the construction trucks that came up the road would wind up breaking the road and maybe even going over the side. Needless to say, that was not a terribly comforting idea.
So we had to build a “real road.” You can imagine the five-corner negotiations. Us (my wife Katya did most of the work, god bless her); our neighbor; the seller of the lot; the architect and the contractor. Everybody had an opinion and a better way to do things. It was, as they say, a cluster ….
Eventually, it all got settled. We built a concrete road with an interior wall. Our private road is now anchored firmly to the hill by rebar that runs into that wall. The wall is nicely finished in beautiful laja or slab that Katya picked out.
A draining gutter guarantees that the runoff will not erode the outer edge. Our seller kicked in cash to the value of what he would have provided. And after 4 months of delay, the private road was built in all its glory.
The lessons from this one: Do your due diligence. We knew we needed a road. We thought we had one planned. But it wasn’t right for the location and we hadn’t asked the right questions before we bought the land to find out.
I imagine for other purchasers it will be something else – after all, for most people, a simple asphalt road will work just fine – but whatever it is, it will be there. There is always something.
So … ask questions. Lots of them. Get a realtor; an architect; a contractor – get everyone who you trust to look over your shoulder. Somewhere on your property is your “road.” Don’t let it stop you – but go in with eyes open.
Pablo R. is an ex-pat who first bought a building lot in a gated community in Atenas (from GoDutch Realty of course). Once he and his wife Katya were the proud owners of this incredible property, they designed and built their 2nd home. Image source Happy photo created by drobotdean – www.freepik.com
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