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!