How I Found a Nice Rental at Lake Chapala

April 28, 2012

I’ve been living Lakeside for nine months now, and the time seems to fly by. I can’t say I know what I do all day, every day, but I know I’m enjoying life here.
When I first began researching the area I used the internet to find as many sources of information as I could. 
Sid’s was way up there on the list and I also found four-to-five web forums that had plenty of information. 
One of the topics that I was very interested in learning more about was “how to find a rental”. 
On our two trips down to visit the area it was pretty easy to find a place to stay. First trip down we stayed in a very nice Bed & Breakfast, and on the second trip down we found a nice little one bedroom apartment in the Ajijic village so we could experience what it would be like actually living there. You know, buying groceries, cooking at home, and generally leading a life like we lived here.
But, as time grew short and we knew we were going to move down, it was time to get serious about finding a rental where we could live for six to nine months, or more. 
That’s a little bit different than finding, essentially a vacation rental (our two trips were only a couple weeks long to see the area) So, I hit the web forums and started asking questions and got all sorts of information and answers and really was confused as to what to do next.
To me it seemed like there were a few different avenues one could take:
·       *Rental management company, and there are several
·       *Vacation rental web sites, and there are many
·       *Bulletin boards scattered around towns at the grocery stores
·      *Web forum postings, requesting if anyone knew of a rental
I’m sure there might be other sources of rentals, but these were what I narrowed my choices down to.
Being conservative and knowing that it was important to find something that my wife could enjoy, I focused in on the rental management companies and their internet web sites. 
There were lots of nice sites, and lots of pictures, and it seemed like a large selection of homes to choose from. I prepared my list, contacted the rental agencies, advised them as to when I was coming down and made appointments. I allowed a week for my visit, figuring that within a week I’d be able to firm up a place for a move-in approximately 1 month later.
When I came down for the appointments, the first thing I found out, is that pictures (on the web) don’t necessarily represent reality. 
I was very disappointed to visit, probably 15 houses on my list of 20, or so, and find that the pictures really didn’t depict the house. And, in most cases, it wasn’t a positive experience. 
I wasted nearly four days of my seven day trip, chasing around with rental agents to houses that were definitely not what I was looking for. 
However, I did finally find a very nice house that we moved into, at the price I was willing to pay, and with a rental agent that has made the experience painless and pleasant.
So, if you’re coming down and planning to rent, my suggestion is to allow sufficient time to find the right place. You’ll hear all sorts of people say you should be able to find a place in 3 or 4 days. 
Well, I’m not saying that isn’t possible, I’m just saying that if you’re planning on moving down for a period of time to see if you like it or not, finding the right rental is important. You want to avoid having a bad experience renting as it will definitely taint your opinion on the whole experience.
Keep in mind that pictures don’t always tell the whole story.  If you’re doing most of your research over the web, increase the number of places you want to actually see because it is likely several of them won’t be quite as nice as they appeared in the picture. 
As to the question of whether to use a rental management company, or rent from an individual, that is a personal choice. 
I wanted to give our evaluation period every possibility of success, so I went with a rental agent who has taken care of any issues with the house and made the entire experience very painless and positive.


  • Theodesmedt

    NAMES of B&B and rental agent please, otherwise this article is worthless, sorry.

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Theo, Thanks for your comment. We prefer to make personal introductions. Mexico is about relationships. We want our clients to get the best possible service here so we prefer to make personal introductions.

    I’d recommend the book “Mexican & Americans – Cracking the Cultural Code” by
    Ned Crouch to help you understand that my statement to you is not a put off but
    based on my experience in Mexico for many years and my more formal study of
    the Mexican Culture.

    Perhaps other reader found more value than you found in the article.

  • Jackb

    Well, having not stayed there for more than a few days at a time (going back 25 yrs.), I too thought one could find an apartment in “3 or 4 days”.  I guess that’s from all the rosey articles I’ve read over time.

    But, I can see what you mean about “pictures don’t always tell the whole story”.  I remember one time my wife and I were studying a place in Chapala, on line.  The write-up was glowing.  The interior pix were very nice.  The price was great.  But wait, what about that chain link fence to the left and that barbed wire. Oh no, is that a scrap metal junkyard, and isn’t that a metal quonset hut further back with junked cars?  Well in this case, the photographer showed just a little too much!  Now, when looking at similar rentals, we always wonder – what is across the street?

    Thanks for the article.  It was very helpful.

  • Sid Grosvenor

     Hi JackB

    Thanks for your comments. Yes, it’s best to come in person to find a good
    rental. It’s also good to check every aspect of the rental and not just expect
    things t work. Flush the toilets, run the water etc.

    Let us know when we can help Jack. Tu amigo, Sid

  • Earlene & Ernest Williams

    Hi John…..may I ask what rental agent you used? Would you recommend that person? Thanks Earlene & Ernie Williams

  • John

    Hi Earlene & Ernest,

    I worked with Jorge Torres at Hernandez Realty. I found him to be very professional and very nice to work with. And Yes, I would recommend him very highly.

    Good Luck

  • Sandy Schoon

    Very good advise Mr. King. One more piece of advise I’ ll add is don’t rent a property without seeing it first. You are right pictures can lie. Some property managers at Lake Chapala won’t show a property while the tenant is still there. My advise is move to the next place. Check out the linens, check out the kitchen and what dishes, pots & pans, utensils, etc. Is available.

  • disqus_PqCnW3sl8r

    Thank you Mr. King for that information. I would like to visit in November if that is a good time. Weather wise. I could use any information that would make my visit enjoyable. Good B&B and places to see. Have a great day and take care. Mark

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