One can be as active or ¨retired¨ as one chooses. Many expats opt to contribute to their favorite charities benefiting the Mexican people: the aged, the infirm, the poor, the orphans, the sick, the uneducated. Others volunteer in areas in which they have some expertise such as English instruction, medical care, computer instruction and repair, the list goes on and on. Others pursue old hobbies: bridge, chess, fishing, gardening, flower arranging, painting, writing, golfing, para-sailing, travel and culture. All this and more to be found here at Lakeside.
Compared to the United States, Canada and Europe, living here is very reasonable. Mortgages are virtually unheard of, once in awhile you might persuade a Seller to hold a note for you for a few years, but for the most part houses are bought on an all cash basis. The cost of maintaining your house once it's purchased, is very low. Remember, there's no air conditioning bills, no heating costs, no insurance in many cases, real estate taxes are minimal - usually less than $100 U.S. per year, labor is very inexpensive, maids & gardeners getting about $2.50 per hour at this time.
Right now, the price range for decent, livable houses is running from $95,000 U.S. up into the hundreds of thousands, some in the millions. The million dollar properties are a bit more than decent and livable, as you can imagine. Houses with a gorgeous lake view (practically everything here has a mountain view) will cost at least $200,000. Lots can cost anywhere from $20,000 up to $100,000, again depending upon location and view. Foreigners can obtain direct deeds or can put their property in a bank trust. The property must be free and clear of all debts and liens prior to the transfer of the deed from the Seller to the new Buyer. We also have property inspectors who will look at your prospective purchase to determine if its structurally sound and/or needs repair of any kind. Rents have risen along with property values and you can expect to pay from $500 U.S. to a $1000, more for a deluxe estate with a pool. Before taking occupancy, you will pay a first and last months' rent, a security deposit equal to a month's rent, a telephone deposit of $200 and, if you have a pet, a deposit for it as well - usually $200. The owner will probably pay the water, real estate taxes, homeowner's association fees, and the gardener. This of course, varies with individual owners.
If you're going to be in Mexico for a short term, the visa you get at the airport or at the border will be adequate for you up to six months. If you're coming here to live, then you need to be considering an FM3 visa. Immigration laws and requirements are fairly complicated and ever changing, so be prepared to find anything you know now to be entirely different at some future date. That being said, let me tell you my experience. Many people I know, including myself, got their FM3 visa in the U.S. at a Mexican embassy or consulate. If you have one within a reasonable driving distance, call there and find the requirements and see if you can't get it before crossing into Mexico. It's easier. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until you get here and get the information you need and, maybe, hire someone to help you. If you drive into Mexico, you'll need to get a permit for your car and pay (with a credit card) a fee. Right now it's around $35 U.S.
The People & the Culture
The religious and family values in Mexico are strong and binding. These are the first things that all foreigners remark on when they arrive in this country. Mexicans are friendly people, language will probably be the only problem you'll encounter when dealing with them. You must learn to bargain since its expected on the street and in the local markets, looked upon as sort of social event. Department stores and super markets, of course, have fixed prices, but almost all other shopping calls for diplomatic bargaining. Many Americans and Canadians feel that Mexicans are just like them except for the language. That's is NOT true, you're dealing with an entirely different cultural background and legal system. Keep this in mind at all times as you travel throughout the country and enjoy that unique difference.
What type of person retires to Mexico? There are many answers to that questions, but some of the characteristics that are evident: self reliance, love of adventure, resiliency, fearlessness, to name a few. Living in a foreign country is not for everyone and we find that the person that comes to Mexico and is determined that he must change the people and the country to make it more like ¨back home¨ is assuredly not going to be happy here. Come here with the idea of adapting yourself to the culture, both the old and the new, and the rhythm of everyday life and you should be able to spend many satisfying -years in this sunny land of flowers and history.
Last Updated January 1, 2013
Our office is in the center of Ajijic village on the west side of Colon street, 2½ blocks south (downhill, toward Lake Chapala) of the Carretera, just downhill from the bank at the plaza and on the opposite side of the street (Ajijic street map).
Owner, Broker: Michael Kavanaugh
Calle Colon #1, Ajijic
Mexico C.P. 45920