To Rent or Not to Rent at Lake Chapala- Ajijic

April 3, 2014

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Hi Everyone,

Well for most folks, at least initially, this is a no brainer. To most people it just makes sense, no matter how much you’ve fallen in love with our area on a first exploratory trip, to begin the adventure in living here in a rental home.

I rented for just long enough to find the right home to buy, which was just under 3 months. There’s no one right answer as to how long you should rent. Each couple or person is different. I tell people… “You will know when you know”. Don’t think you “must” follow some arbitrary rule.

I never push people to buy or do anything else for that matter, because I personally don’t like being pushed (even if it’s for my own good), so I just don’t do it.

I’ve worked with clients who insisted on buying a property even before ever visiting the area. I had one couple who rented for over 3 years. No, it did not take them THAT long to decide the area was right for them. It just took us 3 plus years of looking to find them, “Their Dream Home”, at a price they could afford.

Of course the sooner you know for sure the better, because for most folks the advantages of owning are better than renting. The owner doesn’t decide to raise the rent, or sell when the lease is up, etc.

Years ago I knew a couple who loved their rental, but the wife really wanted a pool. She did not want to buy, I think because her husband was significantly older than she, and my guess is that she did not want to be saddled with owning a home if he predeceased her.

She resolved her problem  by asking the landlord owner if she could install a small pool in the back yard, to which he readily agreed. Then, when the lease was up he promptly raised the rent significantly to her utter amazement.

He argued that now that the home had a pool it was worth more rent. They were not happy, but could not find a better rental with a pool.

OK, Just how do you find that perfect rental here at Lake Chapala- Ajijic.

Here are some suggestions: Look for potential rentals on area bulletin boards. You will find them on either side of the entrance to the Wal-Mart store, in front of the Super Lake Grocery in San Antonio,Tla. and at the Lake Chapala Society board in Ajijic.

Remember to be sure you understand the lease terms and understand who pays for what services like internet, telephone, gas, water, gardener, housekeeper, Association Dues, Satellite service, and Repairs.

Of course you can find a rental from a number of rental firms as well. These vary in service levels and I’ll be happy to send you a list of the ones we recommend and have given our clients good service, Just send me an e mail to and use the subject line: “Lakeside Rental Agencies” and I’ll get a copy of contact info for eleven of the best rental agencies right out to you.

ONE LAST VERY IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER (No matter if you use an agency or not.)

No matter who you rent from be sure and check to see if everything works.

Flush all the toilets, turn on all the water taps, try out all the range burners, check for light bulbs and operation of all lamps, lights and pumps. Do you get hot water when you turn on the hot water tap, note any and all areas of damage to walls, floors, and furniture.

Be sure you know how to turn on and off any alarm systems. If you’re a security nut like me you may want to get external door locks re-keyed. Be sure if you’re in a gated community that you have the community office number.

Remember, you can’t count much on local courts to help you in the event of disputes, because rental laws here are not as user friendly as in most of North America.

All for now, Tu amigo, Sid




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