Many people, myself included, wanted to move to Mexico to "simplify my life". I sold 98% of what I had acquired over my life and decided to start a "new season".
It has worked for me. I decided to rent rather then buy because it is less expensive to rent in Mexico.
I wasn't sure if San Miguel was where I would always want to be since I'm a "water person" and avid sailor. Lo, how I ended up in the mountains still amazes me.
I purposely chose to rent because buying in Mexico requires full cash. There are no mortgages. Then the property becomes a dead asset as you can't borrow against it. The only way to get your money back is to sell it. Something that is not always easy to do. Especially for those who bought high in the years between 2002 and 2006. Some have been trying to sell for four or five years because they think they'll get all their money back. Possibly not.
Moving possessions to Mexico is very expensive as I mentioned yesterday and fairly complicated. A document must be prepared called a "menaje" with serial numbers of all electronic items, and a detailed list of all items in the load. A mover can help you with that. Be sure, if you are moving furniture down here and personal possessions that you use a mover who is familiar with the requirements at the border and that they are reputable.
Until about 1986 ex-pats could not move furnishings into Mexico. It was to protect the furniture making industry. I must say, there is not much you can't have made in Mexico. The quality and beauty are exquisite. If you know where to go and how to communicate your wants and desires.
So, the topic today is rent, buy or build.
I always suggest you rent for a year until you have time to check out the "lay of the land". Is this the place you want to be? Is this the area of the town you want to be in? Are you going to be able to handle the climate, the altitude, the day to day life that is so different? Just a few of the things that will be part of the adjustment. Mexico is a cash society. No paying bills online. It is walking to this place and that to pay utilities, rent or whatever. I like it. But, it is an adjustment.
Then buying is not difficult as long as you work with a reputable realtor. In most of Mexico, there are Remax, Century 21, Sotheby's and a host of other agencies with realtors to help you. Unlike the USA, these realtors are not licensed and do not have to go to school to be realtors. It can be interesting.
A long time realtor with a good reputation is an important person to seek out if you are buying.
They will walk you through the process of closing on the house and all the documents that are required according to Mexican law. Oh yes, by the way, Mexican law is by the Napoleonic Code and is not like anything that you normally deal with in the USA so a knowledgeable realtor is muy importante.
Real estate in San Miguel, for the most part, is way more expensive then property in Texas. Just an FYI.
Buying on the coast is a whole other game. No property can be owned outright as it was all designated ejido land after the Revolution. I don't know all the particulars but a bank trust for 99 years is the method that is most trustworthy and legal. I suggest you do a LOT of research and talking to people who are knowledgeable before jumping into that process. At this moment I know two people who still do not have deeds for their property. One has been over 7 years the other well over 10 years. It is nerve wracking and costly. In addition, if you don't have a deed, obviously you can't sell it.
If you are going to build, good luck. Nothing is built in Mexico as it is in the USA. I'm not saying that is bad because the houses here will be standing long after the drywall and wood houses in the USA have deteriorated. But, they don't build with pages of plans. Many builders refer to themselves as architects but they are not schooled or licensed as architects. I don't quite understand how that can happen, but it does.
Yes, you can build for an inexpensive price per sq. ft but it is not a fast process. I have seen many, many, many people say that they would be in their house in six months and 2 1/2 years later they finally get in. I've seen many who have said the house was going to cost $300,000 USD and it was far more then that when finished. IF you don't have a complete set of plans to build from, no one can tell you what the finished product is going to cost.
On the other hand, I've seen people build a bare bones house for about $80USD per sq ft and have a nice, simple, liveable house without all the bells and whistles. It's all up to you and who the contractor is you work with. You MUST have lots of patience.
Things like dishwashers, garbage disposals, air conditioning are seldom found in houses here. Heck, bathtubs are seldom found because of the need to conserve water. Remember, many of us came here to simplify.......
Those who have been in the construction industry in the USA and come down here to build are the ones who become the most frustrated and disenchanted. They think they are going to build it the way they did in the past, without knowing the way things work here. Eventually they learn that it is not going to happen their way but the old fashioned ways of Mexico. A word to the wise.
Again, none of what I say is meant to dissuade you, it's just the way it is. The unvarnished truth.
A question from yesterday's post. Someone asked, if they don't have enough income to qualify for the immigrante visa, can they live here on a tourist visa and just drive back every 180 days to the border (9 hours) cross into the USA, spend the night, turn in their car permit, pay another deposit and then come back in. Yes, it is possible to do. Driving round trip with gas, tolls and a hotel night runs close to $500USD roundtrip. If you're going to live here full time on a tourist visa, I suggest you buy a car in Mexico and ride the bus to the border. That is less expensive and you don't have the permit hassle.