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Zanadu44

Jul 7, 2010, 4:27 PM

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Ajijic Developments

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My husband and I have been looking at a variety of the gated developments in the Ajijic area to purchase and eventually move in 2 years. We will be coming to Ajijic for our 2nd visit, the beginning of August and have a buyer's agent. With as much as the internet allows and the assistance of our agent, he has given us information about the developments we are interested in. However, we would appreciate more of an insider's point of view if at all possible. We are interested in Rivera Alta, El Parque, El Dorado, Cielo Vista and La Reserva. Of what we know of, these developments are gated, have a gym, pool and some have tennis courts. We are an active couple which is why we have focused on these. If anyone has any personal experiences with any of these developments, we would love to hear from you. Also, if anyone knows of any other similar developments that we may have missed, please advise.
If anyone lives in other neighborhoods that they just love and would like to reply to this post as well to boast about their area, please do. Any information is greatly appreciated.



Hound Dog

Jul 8, 2010, 9:52 AM

Post #2 of 54 (12462 views)

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Re: [Zanadu44] Ajijic Developments

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Clearly, Zanadu44, you have not been treated to the musings of John In Ajijic, the resident sage hereabouts and prominent poster on another forum who, were your inquiry posted there, would have informed you unequivocally that the enclave of Los Arroyos Sur in Western Ajijic would be the only "gringo" enclave (or, as some of us fortunate enough to live in the village at large would characterize any such development, "faux colonial redoubt") you could possibly choose, assuming you are considered worthy of inclusion. As any informed person knows, this is the single finest place on the globe outside of Italy.

On a more serious note. Respondents living in "gringo" enclaves are bound to give you viewpoints shaded by their own experiences necessarily limited for comparison shopping by their not having lived elsewhere for the most part. I will tell you as a ten year resident of Ajijic that these enclave may as well be in Des Moines so pick the one with the best gym if that is your passion versus living in Mexico.


Gringal

Jul 8, 2010, 10:19 AM

Post #3 of 54 (12450 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Ajijic Developments

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I think the OP has posted on TOB. And I think I'll give the benefit of the doubt all around here. People want what they want, here or elsewhere. As a fellow happy ghetto rat, I wouldn't want the gated experience.

One thing that should be considered is the difference between gated communities in the States and those here. Rules and regs, collection of dues and general administration of the HOA are the biggies. Some communities are well run and have a good track record; some have internicene wars going that hit the pages of the local newspapers. These are matters which a good buyers' agent should be able to tell you about. If not, I'd get a "second opinion" agent to give you the lowdown.

Best advice: Try before you buy. RENT for six months.


Rolly


Jul 8, 2010, 10:35 AM

Post #4 of 54 (12442 views)

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Re: [Zanadu44] Ajijic Developments

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You may be about to make a serious mistake. RENT for a while before you buy. That should always be the first rule of moving to México. If you buy into something that turns out to be not so good, you may find that you will have a very hard time selling and may have to take a loss.

For more basic renting and buying advice, look here.

Rolly Pirate


DavidHF

Jul 8, 2010, 10:37 AM

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Re: [Gringal] Ajijic Developments

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Be sure that your "buyer's agent" has been here many years, or you'll get little more than a chauffeur. The few good agents here a)work for reputable real estate companies, and b) know the things you need to know and will tell you. Mexico is "buyer beware." There are no guarantees on real estate.


Zanadu44

Jul 8, 2010, 10:52 AM

Post #6 of 54 (12434 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Ajijic Developments

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Thank you Hound Dog for this information. There are so many decisions and realize there are many things we need to consider, however feel that we do know what we want in an area and what we do not want. We also know the areas we do not want to purchase in as well. Our buyer's agent has done well with giving us a lot of information (good and bad) regarding this move.


Zanadu44

Jul 8, 2010, 11:02 AM

Post #7 of 54 (12432 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Ajijic Developments

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You may be about to make a serious mistake. RENT for a while before you buy. That should always be the first rule of moving to México. If you buy into something that turns out to be not so good, you may find that you will have a very hard time selling and may have to take a loss.

For more basic renting and buying advice, look here.


Thank you Rolly for your reply. We understand the concept behind renting as well as the consequences of taking a loss. We will not be moving for another 2 years however and feel we want to get in on the market while it is low and are hopeful that the market will improve years down the road if we decide to sell and move. I have your website bookmarked and have found it VERY helpful for us newbies. We have researched the Ajijic area for the past 3 years and any new information is always welcome.


Zanadu44

Jul 8, 2010, 11:06 AM

Post #8 of 54 (12428 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Ajijic Developments

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I think the OP has posted on TOB. And I think I'll give the benefit of the doubt all around here. People want what they want, here or elsewhere. As a fellow happy ghetto rat, I wouldn't want the gated experience.

One thing that should be considered is the difference between gated communities in the States and those here. Rules and regs, collection of dues and general administration of the HOA are the biggies. Some communities are well run and have a good track record; some have internicene wars going that hit the pages of the local newspapers. These are matters which a good buyers' agent should be able to tell you about. If not, I'd get a "second opinion" agent to give you the lowdown.

Best advice: Try before you buy. RENT for six months.


Thank you Gringal for replying. I do understand that people have their personal preferences and that is why I posted my question. I am hoping that people living in these developments that we are interested in would post and give me their personal opinion...the nitty gritty..the good and the bad.


chinagringo


Jul 8, 2010, 11:12 AM

Post #9 of 54 (12425 views)

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Re: [Zanadu44] Ajijic Developments

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Zanadu44:

Please consider the "reality" that a certain number of those who chose to purchase in a development have egos which do not allow them to speak candidly about any problems or issues that exist. First of all, they will try to protect their property values and who wants to admit making a mistake? While there may be a number of reasons for current property owners to be selling, one of the primary ones may be that they are motivated by unspoken problems.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



Hound Dog

Jul 8, 2010, 12:15 PM

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Re: [chinagringo] Ajijic Developments

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Please consider the "reality" that a certain number of those who chose to purchase in a development have egos which do not allow them to speak candidly about any problems or issues that exist. First of all, they will try to protect their property values and who wants to admit making a mistake? While there may be a number of reasons for current property owners to be selling, one of the primary ones may be that they are motivated by unspoken problems.
Regards,

Well said, Neil. No matter what those already here may tell you, dear newcomer; what you ultimately find may or may not be what you seek as are all things on this planet yet to be revealed in this life.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jul 8, 2010, 12:16 PM)


esperanza

Jul 8, 2010, 2:52 PM

Post #11 of 54 (12369 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] Ajijic Developments

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Zanadu44:

Please consider the "reality" that a certain number of those who chose to purchase in a development have egos which do not allow them to speak candidly about any problems or issues that exist. First of all, they will try to protect their property values and who wants to admit making a mistake? While there may be a number of reasons for current property owners to be selling, one of the primary ones may be that they are motivated by unspoken problems.

Remember that there is no law in Mexico requiring disclosure of problems in a house you may be interested in buying. What looks like a coat of fresh paint may in fact be covering up newly sealed cracks (opened up by moving faults), painted over and never mentioned. Or that dry arroyo just behind the house you're considering--oh, that pretty house!--will fill up and run through your living room during the rainy season, but no one will tell you about it before you plunk down your money (I knew someone to whom that happened). Or your gated community has gates at the front entrance, but the bandidos come in over the mountains at the back of the development, where there is no gate (this is also a true story). Or the HOA is so far behind in collecting its assessments that there's no backup money for a major common emergency--that too, happens all the time.

Caveat emptor. Another hand up for RENT FIRST, at least six months and probably as long as a year.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









robt65

Jul 8, 2010, 6:10 PM

Post #12 of 54 (12326 views)

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Re: [Zanadu44] Ajijic Developments

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I really do not understand people moving here at all and that (as I look back on it) includes myself! Why oh why do people ask for information or advice about buying, then when they get the information or advice it they do not listen to it. This forum has to be one of the greatest classrooms on human psychology. I finally did listen to Rolly, Esperanza, Hound Dog and host of others, when I almost bought a home in C.D. Madero. Boy within three months, I was sure happy I listened (although, I must admit begrudgingly) to those who have been here for a long time and have the actual experience.

I had been to Mexico many, many times over the years. Thought I knew enough about it to make an informed decision. I could not have been more wrong! You have to LIVE the seasons in a place first and learn about the lifestyle of that particular area, before one really knows what they are doing to the most extent possible. Unless of course you are of the very wealthy lot, that can sustain a loss such as a home cost if it in a few months doesn't suit your wants.

If people don't plan on heeding advice from the more knowledgeable,why oh why do they no we ask?!

Robt65


(This post was edited by robt65 on Jul 8, 2010, 6:30 PM)


cookj5

Jul 26, 2010, 8:58 PM

Post #13 of 54 (11782 views)

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Re: [Zanadu44] Ajijic Developments

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"We will not be moving for another 2 years however and feel we want to get in on the market while it is low and are hopeful that the market will improve years down the road if we decide to sell and move."

Zanadu44, I am puzzled by your statement above. What in the world gives you the idea that the market down here is "low"? It remains grossly overpriced with a huge backlog of houses on the market. What keeps the prices up is that there is no mortgage system down here that remotely resembles the US or Canada, so most people pay cash. Having sunk a huge chunk of their net worth into their house, they often compound the situation by sinking another huge chunk into turning it into their dream home. Now, with all that money tied up, but no mortgage payments to make, they are more than willing to hang on for years and years at the same high price, changing real estate brokers every so often so that it may look like a new listing. Please, please, please listen to Rolly and the others who advise renting for at least 6 months (I would advise a least 1 year, and preferably 2 years) until you thoroughly understand what you are getting into when you buy. Your real estate agent only makes money if you buy, and of course s/he will always tell you that the market is low and NOW is the time to buy. Live here first, with your boots firmly on the ground, before you leap into home ownership.


(This post was edited by cookj5 on Jul 26, 2010, 9:01 PM)


johanson


Jul 27, 2010, 8:30 AM

Post #14 of 54 (11701 views)

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Re: [cookj5] Ajijic Developments

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cookj5 wrote, " I am puzzled by your statement above. What in the world gives you the idea that the market down here is "low"? It remains grossly over-priced with a huge backlog of houses on the market. What keeps the prices up is that there is no mortgage system down here that remotely resembles the US or Canada, so most people pay cash"

I first came to Lake Chapala in 1996 and bought the following year. I agree that there is a backlog of houses. But the last house I sold, closed in January of this year. Two years ago, I could have sold it for what I had to pay to build it. It was a little over-built and once I decided to sell it realized that I could not make a profit and would probably as I repeat get about what I paid for the construction. Sadly the recession hit, and I had so sell the property for substantially less than it cost me to build.

So in my (non-expert) opinion, I would say the prices are down here, by a substantial amount. And the reason some house won't sell is because many have time to wait until the market turns.


robt65

Jul 27, 2010, 10:35 AM

Post #15 of 54 (11670 views)

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Re: [johanson] Ajijic Developments

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Cookj5 said one thing in his posting that you did not do .. . . . most Mexicans have so much tied up they are willing to wait. One you are not Mexican and two, you were not willing to wait. I agree with Cookl5 and I am looking for property. Most Mexican people selling still absolutely refuse to believe that there really is a recession going on as it applies to housing and they do not want to lose money so they hold on to what they have. I find the prices to be ludicrous for what is on the market. I find the prices are almost double what should be realistic for such properties even in México.


cookj5

Jul 30, 2010, 7:00 PM

Post #16 of 54 (11496 views)

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Re: [robt65] Ajijic Developments

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Cookj5 said one thing in his posting that you did not do .. . . . most Mexicans have so much tied up they are willing to wait. One you are not Mexican and two, you were not willing to wait. I agree with Cookl5 and I am looking for property. Most Mexican people selling still absolutely refuse to believe that there really is a recession going on as it applies to housing and they do not want to lose money so they hold on to what they have. I find the prices to be ludicrous for what is on the market. I find the prices are almost double what should be realistic for such properties even in México.


Actually, Robert, I never mentioned Mexicans in my post. I was talking about expats having such a large investment tied up, do to no mortgage market and paying cash, that they tend to keep the house on the market for years instead of reducing the price. After all, without the pressure of a monthly mortgage payment to meet, the incentive to drop the price so as to unload the house is much less. I know a number of people in this situation, and believe that it is widespread due to the number of places I see with for sale signs up for years. The only thing that changes is the name of the real estate company on the sign. It may be that Mexicans hold on to their property too, but I have no direct knowledge of that and don't want to make any assumptions. Other than that quibble with your post, I think we pretty much agree on the issue of inflated prices. No need to rush in to buy folks. Take your time or you're likely to regret it.


robt65

Jul 30, 2010, 7:28 PM

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Re: [cookj5] Ajijic Developments

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Hello cookj5,

You are absolutely correct. . . . you did not say Mexican, I did and I should have been more clear to that end. I apologize for any misinterpretation. However for the most part (I believe) that is the correct mentality of persons (Mexican, Italian, Irish or any one) who has property here. Some will wait and some will not, but here in Mexico it appears that most are willing to wait. I think, that (and I would be the same) that he might have had a time line that he wanted, possibly to pay off another home or that he didn't want to loose another home that was on the market at a good price and so he (at that time) may not have been willing to wait. At least that is what I was trying to say. I should have been more careful and more explicit. Sorry about that.

robt


DavidHF

Jul 31, 2010, 8:47 AM

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Re: [robt65] Ajijic Developments

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Our Mexican friends only acquire property, they never sell any. They transfer to children, rent it out, but don't sell it. We have friends with several houses. They use some and rent some. They believe that real estate has solid value for the long term and is much better than securities or cash.


Hound Dog

Jul 31, 2010, 9:49 AM

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Re: [DavidHF] Ajijic Developments

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Our Mexican friends only acquire property, they never sell any. They transfer to children, rent it out, but don't sell it. We have friends with several houses. They use some and rent some. They believe that real estate has solid value for the long term and is much better than securities or cash.

An interesting point David:

One can see how real estate, or what my mother reverentially referred to as "land" in the deep southern U.S. (where land ownership is also a sacred trust) , was considered a safer repository of family assets than securities or cash in a recurringly unstable political and financial environment.

Someone on another forum about Oaxaca (I believe it was geri) wrote of this phenomenon a while back.

She wrote that buying residential property in the historic center of Oaxaca City can be problematic since many of the old line families who have inherited these properties view the properties to be an integral part of their patrimony and consider it shameful to sell real estate accumulated by ancestors and bequeathed to them, perhaps over generations. To complicate matters, because these properties are often purchased and owned by relatives holding fractional shares, agreement of all siblings and cousins and on and on is required to convey ownership and this becomes complicated.

This reminds me of the difference we experienced in buying residential real estate in San Cristóbal de Las Casas versus Ajijic. The Ajijic real estate market is strongly influenced by the large influx of foreigners; especially Americans around whom a U.S. style real estate sales facilitation infrastructure has evolved. In San Cristóbal, there is only one way to hope to acquire a residence at a cost reasonably associated with local market conditions and that is to avoid purchasing properties advertised on the internet and, instead, go there and pound the pavement looking for the odd, hand written notice on a wall that a particular house may be for sale or subtley inquiring in the neighborhood of neighbors near houses one finds desirable. In the historic center of San Cristóbal which is the most attractive place in which to live there, families selling residences inherited over generations are often embarrassed that they are selling a family heirloom over which they were to be simply guardians while on the planet, so sales are, of necessity, low key and private with no public acknowledgement of the price upon which the parties settled. When we came to Ajijic, one of us flew in and viewed properties with a chosen real estate agent finally buying from another foreigner in U.S. Dollars. In San Cristóbal, one of us went there and rented an apartment, walking the streets and inquiring about until a delapidated residence requiring gutting and reconstrction from the ground up, was found. An offer was made through an intermediary and, after negotiating an agreed price with the seller, we accomplished the purchase by our transferring pesos to a bank account which happened to be an account held by the common law husband of the seller who had no personal interest in the property. Buying property in San Cristóbal is not for the faint of heart used to U.S. money transfers through fiduciaries. Escrow? What´s that? Anyway, it worked out in the end. Ignorance is bliss.


Jimbo

Jul 31, 2010, 12:48 PM

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Re: [Zanadu44] Ajijic Developments

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Well, I just have to join this thread. My wife and I lived in Chapala-Ajijic for two years and moved to Mazatlan nine years ago. When we lived there I frequently posted on this board and often warned about the upcoming economic depression/recession and what that would do to the "value" of real estate in the U.S. and to real estate in expat enclaves like Chapala-Ajijic and San Miguel (as well as to investments in the stock market). I was roundly criticised at the time. What a fool I was? How could that happen. Well, the rest is history, as they say. And that was before the real estate "boom" in the U.S. really took off. That "boom" was what fed the ridiculous prices in Chapala-Ajijic (and San Miguel and Vallarta etc.). The prices were laughable when we left nine years ago and still are. I think it was Rolly who made the point that prices there don't really reflect true economics, since many have sunk much of their savings into places and don't have mortgages. A local realtor told me last year, when I visited, that prices should be at least 25-50% lower than what they are listed at - across the board (he was one of the honest realtors). It isn't a transparent market. You need to understand the market, know the neighborhoods, know what the real price of a property should be etc. You won't learn that through dealing with a real estate agent. RENT FIRST! I can't emphasize that enough. Rolly and cookj5 are bang on. Thank them! We rented when we were there and, if we ever did move back, we'd do so again. Don't count on making a lot of money on that dream property by buying low. Prices will eventually go lower. I'd bet big dollars on that. Here in Mazatlan we rented for three years before we finally bought. We bought a place in the colonial area because we found out a contractor who was building a new house here (rare in "old town") was in financial trouble. We're basically fluent in Spanish and were able to negotiate a very good deal that eve the Mexicans here sometimes marvel at. That's the only reason we bought. You can have an "active lifestyle" by just living in the Chapala-Ajijic area. There are tennis courts and other amenities available and lots of walking paths. It's a lovely area. I'm going back to spend a couple of weeks there later this summer and I enjoy it everytime I visit. I'd consider living there again. But, as I wrote earlier, I'd RENT. It's not as if there's a shortage of places. After you've spent a minimum of two years renting maybe then you will know where to buy and you'll better understand the market. Just remember, it ain't Kansas, Dorothy. It's a much different market and it's a much different lifestyle than you're accustomed to. Rent and grow accustomed to living in the Lakeside first. And you may decide that renting the whole time you live there is the best route to take. I have a friend who has lived there for nine years who has done just that. He's paying the same monthly rent he did when he first moved there. Sounds like a good plan to me.

Saludos:
Jim Bentein


Hound Dog

Jul 31, 2010, 5:29 PM

Post #21 of 54 (11301 views)

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Re: [Jimbo] Ajijic Developments

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With all due respect, Jim (Bentein), your recall of your astute projections for Lake Chapala is selective. In 2001, you predicted the crashing of the Chapala/Ajijic real estate market because you predicted doomsday for the lake which, according to your prediction, was to be close to a dismal, dry lakebed by about now with catastrophic consequences for the local real estate market, not because you predicted any serious financial distress in the homeland of so many of Lakeside´s expat retirees. Today the lake has recovered to the point that it is closer to capacity than it has been in 32 years according to the Guadalajara Reporter. Also according to The Reporter, the lake has regained 77 centimeters in level so far this rainy season which compares with 39 cm. in all of last year´s rainy season ending in October. The beaches are alive and thriving and the municipality has constructed new malecons that make the once moribund, dry and pathetic waterfront an exciting place to visit for countless local families and tourists. Construction, both commercial and residential, from Chapala to Jocotepec, is occurring at a frenetic pace. Unlike when you were here, we have new Soriana and Walmart superstores and the restaurant scene is far healthier than the hick town you left for Mazatlan.

We moved to Lakeside at about the same time you did, I believe, in early 2001. We bought a house immediately upon arrival and, even with the problems you cite in your posting, we could, today, sell, that house for anywhere from 75% to 100% more than we paid for it and that was no cheap house when we bought it. Sure, we have invested in some home improvements over the years but we have more than recovered every dime of that investment several times over. By buying instead of renting we have had nine years plus here free of capricious landlords and rental payments over the past nine years that would, in total, have cumulatively exceeded 70% of our original purchase price without building a cent in equity for us. Meanwhile, during those nine plus years we have had no significant fixed expenses and have been able, consequently, to buy a second home in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas in 2006 which has also increased significantly in resale value should we decide to sell today which is something we would not even contemplate unless we decided to sell either Ajijic or San Cristóbal or both of those houses to buy another house which, had we rented over the past better part of a decade, we would not be able to afford.

I tell you and the reader all this not to brag about our good fortune, which is modest at best, but to relate our experience in building home equity and assuring we have a place that belongs solely to us and is inviolate barring a descent into social chaos. This experience mirrors the experiences of countless other homebuyers at Lakeside and I am pointing out that there is an opportunity cost downside to renting which could be substantial - especially beyond a brief interim period while getting to know the lay of the land.

Anyone who tells you, dear reader, that the only solution for you is to buy or to rent and that his/her solution to that quandary is the only solution for all - is blowing major smoke at you. We have friends who decided to rent when they moved here at the same time we did and, today, that rental expense has provided them a roof over their heads subject to the whims of a landlord and nothing more.

Just remember a couple of things. Never invest more in real estate whether at Lakeside, or in Phoenix or Las Vegas for that matter, than you can afford to lose and that´s especially true at Lakeside where you cannot leverage the deal with a mortgage but must come up with cash out-of-pocket. Also remember that, since the real estate market at Lakeside, and even more so in Chiapas, is a cash only market without the speculative incentive of excessive mortgage leverage, the real estate market values here more accurately reflect the supply and demand forces of knowledgable buyers and sellers without the "bubble" affect of cheap and easy mortgage access. Therefore, when a house sells here, it´s because the buyer has the cash to afford the damn thing and thinks it´s worth the agreed price. Now, the buyer may overpay based on the buyer´s financial capacity but here at Lakeside, unlike Mazatlan, one can live without air conditioning or burdensome property taxes and assessments so, folks, if you have to, you can dine on sardines, Spam and crackers for a while until things get better without being evicted by a bank or landlord for non-performance. That´s important, yáll.

Now that I have sung the praises of Lakeside real estate investment, I think I´ll head down to the lake water´s edge which is now only one house and a lawn from mine whereas, when Jim was here was about a half kilometer to the south, and make sure that sucker has slowed its aggressive seasonal surge. If it gets much closer, I may put this place on the market and get the hell out of here.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jul 31, 2010, 6:04 PM)


mevale

Aug 1, 2010, 7:55 AM

Post #22 of 54 (11207 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Ajijic Developments

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In Reply To

By buying instead of renting we have had nine years plus here free of capricious landlords and rental payments over the past nine years that would, in total, have cumulatively exceeded 70% of our original purchase price without building a cent in equity for us. house which, had we rented over the past better part of a decade, we would not be able to afford.
.


This is a very strange analysis, especially coming from a former banker. Or are you unfamiliar with the term "opportunity cost"?

Your conclusions are incomplete and nearly worthless without knowing the rates of return on alternative investments.


Jimbo

Aug 1, 2010, 9:16 AM

Post #23 of 54 (11178 views)

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Re: [Zanadu44] Ajijic Developments

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Hmmm. Apparently you're a former banker and you haven't noticed that the U.S. and world economies have taken a little dip?
You obviously have selective memory. Yes, I did harp about the lake. But I also went on about the speculative frenzy in housing there in the Lakeside and the one in the U.S. - and that was before things really got crazy. As you'll recall, those were the waning days of the dot.com frenzy and I also warned about the speculative frenzy on the NASDAQ and in general in equities. Wow, was I wrong there?
Clearly, I was wrong about the lake, something I have acknowledged on this forum. To be fair, many other people were wrong, including the moderator of MexConnect, Tony Burton, who has some expertise in the subject. So were many other experts. I'm delighted the lake has come back. We can thank the federal and state authorities for having released water into the lake from upstream and God, for bringing the area an unusual amount of rainfall the last few years. I'm still not convinced the lake is totally out of the woods but I hope I continue to be wrong.
As for the subject of home ownership versus renting. You say you ""could, today, sell ... that house (the one you bought back in 2001) for anywhere from 75% to 100% more than we paid for it". How do you know that? Have you actually placed it on the market? Check with other homeowners in the market who have tried to lately. Tell you what. If you can actually sell your house for 75% to 100% more than what you bought it for in today's market I'll come to Chapala-Ajijic and take a swim in the lake and eat fish from it. As for San Cristobal's market. Don't know, but I suspect that market is less expat-driven, so it would be more difficult to determine.
Yes, one does have to put up with the "whims of the landlord" when one rents. But the answer to that is simple. Just find another landlord. Look at the number of rentals in the area (I was there last summer and I'm sure there are more now).
As for Mazatlan, yes it gets hot and humid in the summer and air conditioning is needed. Your point? It's beautiful for seven months of the year. The 'winters' here are the best I've ever experienced anywhere. But the summers in the mountains, including the Lake Chapala area, Morelia etc. are wonderful. That's why I'm going there for a couple of weeks this year (my wife actually likes the heat and humidity - loca mujer).
As for "burdensome property taxes" in Maz, you have clearly been steered in the wrong direction there. Our property taxes for a three-bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, six-year-old house are the equivalent of $80 a year U.S. Overall, even with air conditioning, our cost of living here is less than it would be in Chapala-Ajijic because we don't need to drive into Guad for medical appointments with specialists, entertainment etc. and the public transit here and the taxis are dirt cheap. In fact, we've never bothered to buy a car here. And because it's a city the shopping choices are almost unlimited.
But this isn't intended to be a Maz versus Chapala-Ajijic debate (at least not by me). I was delighted to see how the Lakeside area has blossomed when I was back there last summer (first time in six years). The lakeside improvements are wonderful. The addition of the Walmart and Soriana give the high-priced "gringo stores" serious competition and grocery and other prices have clearly been adjusted accordingly. I would live there again - and I don't think I would have written that when we moved in 2001. It's a beautiful area.
This started out as a forum to provide some sort of guidance to the woman who has an "estate agent" and who is looking for a gated living experience. Obviously, that is a lifestyle others on the board may not aspire to (including me). She and her husband do. We have the same options here, with areas like El Cid being gated and "American-like". I can't offer guidance in that regard because it wasn't a lifestyle we were ever interested in (although, ironically, we ended up renting in a gated condo community when we lived in the Lakeside). I'm not sure anyone has answered that question yet.
I maintain my essential point (and one shared by others) which is that it is unwise to buy before you get to know Mexico and the area. I'm glad the poster I'm responding to had a good experience and he and his wife are still enjoying it. I can tell you that that is just not so with many expat couples, here in Maz or in Chapala or anywhere in Mexico. Either one of the pair misses the grandchildren or misses the old friends in the coffee shop or whatever. In the past few years many couples have found the return they were expecting on their investments just isn't there and, now that they have sunk a chunk of money into real estate (in whatever expat community) they are somewhat trapped. Many need to sell, take their cash and go back to work in the U.S. (or Canada). Obviously, if they had rented that would be a much easier thing to accomplish. My wife and I also went back to work after leaving the Lakeside, even though we have decent savings. But we're very fortunate and our skill sets (me a journalist who specializes in the energy industry and my wife an accountant) allow us to work on-line.
In any case, after this long response, the advice remains the same. RENT, RENT, RENT.
And to the the ex-banker poster. Good luck gaining that that 75-100% profit on your house. Want to buy some Nortel shares? They were "worth" $140 at one point.


Saludos
Jim Bentein


Gringal

Aug 1, 2010, 10:52 AM

Post #24 of 54 (11156 views)

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Re: [Jimbo] Ajijic Developments

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At the rate that lake is rising, we may be into liquid assets.

(The devil made me do it).


Hound Dog

Aug 1, 2010, 2:43 PM

Post #25 of 54 (11111 views)

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Re: [mevale] Ajijic Developments

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One, mevale, writes:

This is a very strange analysis, especially coming from a former banker. Or are you unfamiliar with the term "opportunity cost"?

I am familiar with the term "opportunity cost". Are you familiar with the term "reading comprehension 101"?


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Aug 1, 2010, 5:10 PM)
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