I looked around the world for a year in every Spanish speaking country I could find. Having been to Mexico twelve times in my adulthood, I just thought I should try another country. Leaving the US was a project in and of itself but locating a special place for my family was quite different set of parameters for international living. Puerto Rico, Fiji Islands, Spain, Portugal, Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chili, and Uruguay were among the inquiries. And after looking at buying costs, water and road infrastructure, ease of importing creature comforts, military presence and political instabilities, drug presence, and schools, soccer and town populations, I came to see Mexico real estate as the best alternative for many reasons.
I bought from an American owner which certainly helped calm my nerves and she had lived in Mexico for years. When I found our current home online, it had everything I considered fabulous except the schools. An international home school program called K-12 filled that hole. The rest was perfect. Emotions ran wild when the romance of a stone home with 14 foot ceilings came at a not too shabby price. When I compare the house to those in Europe, I felt it was a miracle. The size of the town was perfect, 4-5K people and an amazing colonial environment with desert terrain and big sky for mountains with a mountain backdrop. We arrived at night and I felt we were in a storybook tale. Never, had I felt this magic. Waking up in the morning too and walking the town drenched in sun and cobblestone streets, our wish had come true. International living had never looked so appealing. I have traveled to many countries in the world and have a soft spot for Provence, France … too expensive to live though with closing taxes and electricity being ridiculous in cost, and gas, property taxes, and food also off the charts, Mineral de Pozos was close to Provence at about 30% less in cost (estimation). This area of Mexico has a very similar climate to Provence as well, lavender and sunflowers grow well too. Warm in the day and cool at night, perfect! No muggy humidity either.
Assuming all people have a standard for international living, the yardstick is never going to be the same as the USA or Canada. I could not believe quinoa and millet did not exist here but I quickly learned who to use to bring my missing comforts over the border. We also ferreted out organic farmers and groceries to accommodate our lust for no chemical food. Soccer is everywhere, so the kids could play constantly. Again, though, the fields are either dirt, concrete, or artificial turf. An adjustment and a learning curve to let go of our spooled ways. I have never seen such talented and happy youth play soccer. I have four kids and my oldest played for 17 years so I think I am qualified to make that statement. Lastly, paying bills online is just NOT an option. Get over it. Enjoy the day and figure out how to have fun standing in line to pay your water bill, electric bill, phone bill, or banking exchanges. On that note, all can be done at the bank … so pick a bank that you like and a banker that is bi-lingual and life is good. I have found international banks to be more accommodating.
For me, buying Mexico real estate has been a blessing in countless ways. Origination fees less than 1%, closing and notary fees nominal, real estate taxes under $ 300 a year, home insurance under $ 500 a year, and our food bills are about 50% less than the US, our health insurance is international and about 20% less than we were paying, my banking has no fees, the exchange rate from USD to the peso has proved to be lucrative as well if I time the exchanges correctly. We have sun most of the year and my kids are less addicted to TV and the 'mall mentality'. We walk through the mountains and desert several times a week and have the tranquility to be grateful for our new life and our new surroundings. Change has nourished our family. In retrospect, it is the best choice we have ever made since all the learning and adjusting.