Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Santos Apartment

When we were in Brasil in 2007, we bought an apartment in Santos, my husband's home town.

I was totally psyched to be the owner of a home in a foreign country! It sounded so exotic. I imagined spending our vacations nestled in our own place.

We picked a great floor plan on the second to highest floor, and were told that our apartment building would be ready to occupy in two years. Well, that wasn't so long! We could wait that out, no problem.

Here's what it looked like at the time.

When we visited Brasil in April of this year, we thought we'd pop on over and see how construction was coming along. With only one year to go, there must've been quite a bit of progress! It might even be time to start picking out our interior options!

As we drove I had visions of tiles dancing in my head.

This is what we found.

As you can see, not a whole lot had been done in the last year!

Gilberto found a guy who had scaled down from the roof to collect some supplies and asked him if he knew what was up. It turns out that the finish date has been moved and they're estimating that it won't be done for another two to three years!

I would have to wait on tile selection for a bit longer.

This is just how it is in Brasil.

One of the reasons is that your mortgage payment goes into a pool that pays for the construction. They can only build as fast as there is money to pay for everything. I was told that it's rare to find investors that build with their own money, then sell to recoup the costs. Pooling is a much more common way to build in Brasil. And why no one seemed to bat an eyelash when we told them about the delay.

Here's what it will look like when it's finally done.

I love that it will have orange and blue accents! I also love that the picture conveniently left out all the other building that are around it. Are they planning to knock them down?

The neighborhood is great. It's at the edge of the city so the border of trees is just down the street. And it's on SOLID GROUND, which is a plus in Santos.

Back in the day when Santos was just getting founded, it was pretty swampy. Not wanting to miss out on all the beach front land, the Portuguese filled in the swamp and built on top of it. It was fine until the city boomed and land became scarce.

Most homes were knocked down to build large apartment buildings, and all the building commotion caused the ground to become unstable.

When you drive along the coast, you can see a ton of crooked buildings!

If you look closely at the picture, you'll see several of the buildings leaning in one direction or another. I would be terrified to live in such a place, but the owners just keep pouring new floors and going on about their day.

I'm trying to adapt a Brasilian attitude about the apartment. What's three more years? At least it won't sink into the ground!

And we are thanking our lucky stars that we even HAVE the apartment, at the price we got it for, because the recent discovery of oil off the coast of Santos already has housing prices on the rise. We wouldn't be able to afford it now, just one year later.

So for now, our trips will be spent at my in-laws. My very Brasilian in-laws. I think the next time we go I'll be asking for some happy pills, unless a miracle happens and the apartment is ready to go!


  1. Oooh, and when it's done, we can all go there and throw you a house-warming party. You have room for a couple of dozen virtual guests, right? ;)

  2. Absolutley!!

    In Brasil, you get a gutted apartment and do with it what you want. So I'll need lots of help from ya'll when it's time to decorate!

  3. How amazing - that is so cool that you will have an apt there!! It looks like it will be sweet! LOL the building is so slow getting finished, but I'm glad you got a good deal before housing prices went up. And good luck staying with the inlaws before the apt is ready - you might need some carbs for that trip :-)

  4. What an interesting and informative post! I love learning about foreign culture!

    Now, as for the waiting part. Well, that kind of sucks. But think of all the time you've got to select tiles, change your mind, and re-decide! Definitely a bonus point there!

    How cool that you will have your own apartment in Brasil! Will you be renting it out to others when you are not there or keeping it strictly for yourself?

    I am envious!

  5. i am uber jealous of you right now! even if you DO have to wait a few more years...

    i went down to brasil in nov 07 and it was fantastic. it was my first time down there and i loved it!

    i'm happy for you guys, and what a blessing to have gotten it before the oil find!

  6. i am so very jealous! I have always wanted to own a vacation home and even if it's not finished NOW, it will be..

  7. How awesome! I'm definitely jealous judging by the photos.

  8. Thanks for visiting me.

    It is great to "meet" you.

    Ohhhh your own home in Brasil!

    How fabulous to have a home-away-from-home.

    I think the waiting would drive me nuts, but you will have plenty of time to be indecisive.(if you are like me of course)

  9. Is your plan still to move there or will you just have the apt. for when you visit?

  10. Wow. What a cool thing to own an apartment in Brasil near the beach. It sounds like you are being a whole lot more patient than I would be about the waiting situation, but what good would it do you to get all worked up?

    Thanks for visiting my blog this afternoon. Hope you can return often! :)

  11. I forgot to say - kinda freaky about the crooked buildings!!!! Talk about interesting trivia! Also, my husband lived in Brasil for 2 years...Recife.

  12. Cool!
    I'd like to put a request in for your next trip to take lots of pics of scenery and people. Then post them so I can envy your travels! lol


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