Feb 1, 2010, 3:59 PM
Post #9 of 27
Now for yet another point of view: I've lived in Mexico for 30 years and have never owned a house here, nor do I plan to buy one.
Re: [Gringal] NOW THAT YOU'RE HERE: MORE ISSUES
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In the USA, I owned several houses at different times. I bought a few previously owned houses and I built a house from the ground up. Each of those properties was wonderful at the time, and each of them sold readily when I was ready to move elsewhere. But each of them was a constant financial drain, and only two of them realized a modest profit when sold.
Frankly, I was tired of property ownership. When I moved permanently to Mexico, I vowed that I would never buy another house. I've been very, very fortunate in the landlords here: whether foreigners or Mexicans, they have to a person been willing to take excellent care of their properties. I have never been in the unfortunate situation of having a big repair expense that 'should' have belonged to the property owner.
My current landlord (Mexican) is generous in every respect: willing to tend to property maintenance, willing to make additions to the property that enhance its value, and willing to let Judy and me make changes in the house (at his expense) for our personal comfort. For example, about 18 months ago we remodeled both the master bath and the kitchen--and our landlord paid more than 3/4 of the costs. Last summer, he installed a solar water heating system for us rather than simply replace the existing gas-powered water heater. His reasoning? He was enjoying the savings in gas from the solar water heater system at his home, and thought we would like the same savings. During November, he emptied and cleaned the aljibe (cistern), resealed it, installed a filter system where the city water enters the property, and bought us a spare filter. Very recently, he had a monitored alarm system installed in the house.
This house, situated on a double lot in a beautiful residential area of Morelia, has two stories, three bedrooms, four full baths, living room, dining room, upstairs library/TV room, huge kitchen, terrace surrounding three sides of the house, laundry room, more closets and other indoor and outdoor storage than we need, gorgeous flower-filled garden, a two-car covered cochera with automatic doors, and terrific light and air from plate glass windows. Wanna see? http://www.flickr.com/...s/72157605980374473/. PS: the photos of the kitchen are post-remodel, the garden photos were taken just before we moved in 2007. The grass is not patchy anymore!
Our rent is extremely reasonable, even after three small annual increases. By law in Mexico, landlords are permitted to raise the rent no more than 10% per year. In the last three years, our landlord has raised the rent a total of about 12%. The change in the dollar/peso exchange rate means that although we are paying more rent in pesos, we pay less rent now (in dollars) than we were in 2007.
We do pay for some small repairs, but nothing that would break anyone's bank. This week, our handyman will do a few little chores in the house: repair the bolts on all the toilet seats, fix a couple of door knobs, a few small etceteras. Cost will be about 150 pesos.
Meantime, the money that we could have paid to buy a similar house sits in the bank and collects interest. For the life of me, I just can't figure out why I would want to put that banked money into real estate, especially in this economy. When I go to my reward, I'd rather leave my heirs the money rather than the headache of a house and its disposal in a country my heirs don't know, understand, or choose as their place to live.
YMMV, but I'm quite content.
(This post was edited by esperanza on Feb 1, 2010, 4:52 PM)