Expat Chit-Chat is intended to give you a glimpse into the lives of Belize Expats who have already made the transition to Belize and have wisdom to share to help you make a smoother move to Belize.
This installment will dive into the lives of Frederic and Sylvie who came from France and have settled into Consejo Shores, the oldest and most established Expat seaside community in Northern Belize.
- NAMES: FREDERIC AND SYLVIE
- ORIGINAL LOCATION: FRANCE
- BELIZE LOCATION: CONSEJO SHORES, COROZAL DISTRICT
- OCCUPATION: NORTHERN BELIZE CONTRACTOR
Q: HOW DID YOU END UP IN BELIZE?
A: Before coming to Belize we were living in the Paris area in France and had a stressful and busy life.
We wanted to change for a more peaceful and less expensive life and started to look for another country to move to.
From the information we gathered, we found out that Belize was one of the best places for expatriation and we decided in 2004 to come here.
After a short stay in Ambergris Caye, we established ourselves in Consejo Shores, the best expat development on the continent at that time.
Q: What else did you enjoy about the area?
We like where we are because it is close to Chetumal in Mexico and it gives us the opportunity to do some shopping and to go to nice restaurants.
Q: Did you have any fears in moving to Belize?
A: We did not have any special fear coming to Belize.
We had already lived abroad and had travelled a lot so we were used to dealing with different cultures.
Q: What is the biggest mistake that you made along the way and how did you rectify it?
A: Our biggest mistake when we arrived here – and the one most expats do – was to listen to everybody we met, which made us make a lot of mistakes.
Our advice to new expats would be: do not listen to everything you are told, whether it comes from local people or from foreigners, but do your own investigations and experience by yourself.
Q: Did anyone help you to make the transition?
A: Nobody helped us in making the transition. We learned everything the hard way, by making our own experiences.
Q: How did your family/friends at “home” react to your move to Belize? How did you handle it?
A: Our family and friends reacted well.
Of course, it was a bit difficult for us to know that we would be far away and would not be able to see them often.
Q: What characteristics do you possess that most helped along the way? How did it help?
A:The characteristics we possess that most helped us are: being independent, smart and resourceful.
Q: What else is important for furture Expats to understand about the process?
A: Expats have to realize that they will not find here what they are used to having in their own country.
This is a country of nature, and expats should stop trying to bring their city habits and requirements.
They should also use common sense and be realistic about their expectations.
Q: As a Building Contractor, what advice do you have to those looking to build in Belize?
If they plan to build, they should never start a project without a written contract.
That doesn’t mean just a list of materials, but a legal agreement that will specify the 1) scope of work and 2) the payment terms and therefore protect the 2 parties.
Q: From your perspective, how can Targetbelize.com further help the future Expats of Belize?
A: TargetBelize could help the needs of future Belize expats by promoting services that could be useful for them.
For example, one of the most important thing for expats who plan to build in this country is to find a reliable and skilled contractor who will carry out their project and protect their investment.
For more information about this topic, visit the website: www.newbuildingconcept.net.
Editor’s Note: Building in Belize is not the same as building in other established countries where building regulations, real estate standards and building options are plentiful.
Most construction in Belize is done with concrete block due to severe weather concerns, but much inland construction is done by local Mennonites using local wood.
The patented polymer process that Frederic utilizes is quite unique and addresses the insolation concerns of concrete and the pest infestation prevalent with wood homes in Belize.
On his web site, Frederic talks about quality construction and how owners expose themselves to quality problems when they:
- select contractors based purely on the cheapest price
- choose the cheapest products
- specify impossibly short construction project durations
You can read more about choosing quality first here.
It is well worth investigating www.newbuildingconcept.net.
You can reach Frederic with your questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch for future posts regarding the different construction options in Belize.
Are you planning to building in Belize? Leave a comment about your search for a builder below.