To All My Friends who told me I was crazy to buy a house instead of renting one at Lake Chapala Ajijic, Mexico

October 17, 2009

Sid, Thank you so much for your advice and counseling as we went through the process of deciding to rent long term or to buy a home here at Lake Chapala Ajijic.

We thought it over very carefully and came to the following conclusions:

1.  A few years from now the price of homes here will have increased.   The cost of living in Canada and the States is getting higher and higher and pensions remain the same.  People are living longer and are going to want to find a place to live they can afford.  I’m confident there is going to be an increase in the number of us “Boomers” heading for Mexico, especially as word of mouth is spreading the good news:  Live in Paradise longer, for less!

2.  When you rent you are at the mercy of a landlord.  Have a broken washing machine, refrigerator, water pump?  Will he fix it and when?

3.   You spend hours making a beautiful garden; your landlord is not too interested in putting a patio out there so you spend the money because you’re going to be living there for a few years.

4.   The furniture is there and you have to live with it whether it’s comfortable or not.  Or you could rent unfurnished and spend money on furnishing it to make it lovely.

Then when your lease is up it looks so good the landlord decides to sell it or increase the rent.  Now you have to find a new place to live and THEN you discover your furniture does not look as good in this house, your curtains don’t fit etc.

This can get expensive!

5.  Many people are snowbirds who only want the house for 6 months so choose to rent rather than buy.   I think that situation is no different than if you live here full time.  Every time you come it’s often a different house, a different landlord, a higher rent.

Ajijic Scene 2
Ajijic Village Street Scene by Sid Grosvenor
If you plan to return to Lake Chapala for a number of years this does not make a lot of sense (to me anyhow).  Thousands of dollars are spent on rent with nothing to show for it.

If you just don’t know if you’ll be spending a significant amount of time at Lake Chapala Ajijic  yet then of course renting until you know our area is for you makes sense.

But, once you know or even before you’re dead certain begin the process of house hunting in different areas that may be right for you to get an idea of value.

You will be surprised that before you know it you will be able to spot a “good deal” by the asking price even if the particular “good deal” is not a home you think you would be happy in for some reason.

Then, when you do find a home that just “fits” you will know it and you will also know if it’s a good deal “For You”

I’ve met a number of nice people that rent, but wonder if they’ve really weighed the pros and the cons of there decision.

I hope they are smart enough to give you a call Sid and get you working for them.

Especially NOW when there are some great “deals” out there.

You found us a fantastic “deal” and we’re very grateful.

Regards, Deanne Barber

  • Joseph

    Hi Sid,

    Hope you are well. Val & I are planning another trip to the area sometime next year (march?). Anyway, we also wanted to check out Manzanillo for a few days. Do you know any RE agents there both for rental and/or to look at some properties. We want to get a feel of the area. Is there anyone like you there?! ;).
    we are trying to decide to fly into Guad or Manz & bus or rent a car.

    Any ideas/suggestions appreciated.

    Joseph Quarto
    Seattle, WA

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Joseph and Val, Thanks for the comment and questions. Unfortunately I don;t have any contacts in Manzanillo. As far as I know they do not have a multiple listing service there so each firm will want to sell you their own listings. I also seriously doubt due to the lack of a MLS that you would find a Buyer’s Only agent.

    Outside of the Lake Chapala area the phrase BUYER BEWARE takes on an added emphasis. Our MLS group here follows very closely the National Board of Realtors guidelines from the USA and are affiliated with them via training programs.

    The other problem with buying anything in Manzanillo is that you can’t own the property in your own name by direct deed being along the coast. You take possession via a Bank Trust (Read a lot more fees to begin and every year you retain possession.) NEVER. NEVER read NEVER purchase a property via “Presta Nombre”.

    Some people contract with a Mexican National to put there property in his/her name. This is extremely dangerous. If you feel the beach area is for you after a through conisderation of the cimate and extra costs then use a Bank Trust.

    A lot of people find out sooner or later that as great as the beach areas are for visiting that its too hot to live there all year long and the new wears off. I know of one couple who could not wait to get to Manzanillo moving there from Lake Chapala… and now they’re back here.

    It’s more or less a 5 hour drive by car from there, Not sure of the time by air but I would guess under an hour including check in time (but that’s a guess).

    I hear the big luxury buses are good too, but none of them go from there to here. They will take you to Guadalajara and then you face an expensive taxi ride fro the bus station here…. or a hassle to get from the big bus terminal in the Tonala area to the central downtown bus station in Guadalajara where you would catch the bus to Chapala.

    Compare ALL the costs and the convergence factors and you will probably be flying, but keep us informed of what you find out.

    All for now. Thanks again for checking in with us. Look forward to seeing you in March 2010. Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • GailAnne

    Nice words Deanne….see you soon!!! Get me the info re: LIA kids, ok??

  • Jill

    The problem with putting down roots in some countries, is that safety can be precarious. Reading your article dated in 2009 and seeing that Mexico is still having its problems, it makes me think I’ll never buy- just rent. My expectations are really basic, and as we age, we want even more safety.

    Take care. And remember, there is always a way home:)

    All the best to you two:)

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Thanks so much for your response to my article at Chapala regarding renting as opposed to buying.
    We are now into 2011 and we still feel we made the right decision.
    As time goes by I feel that Lake Chapala is going to see more and more Canadians and Americans moving down here to be able to live well on a lower income. This eventually will effect the price of rentals and home ownership.

    I feel very safe, despite all the adverse publicity about Mexico – especially living in Lake Chapala.

    Thanks again for taking the time to respond to the article I wrote.



  • Jill

    You are most welcome:) All the best!

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