Buying on a Budget: Part 8
In this series, Buying on a Budget, you will learn how to evaluate the Mexico real estate market. You will learn how and where to spot savings and be provided with all the necessary tools to buying real estate on a budget. So that when the right property presents its self you will be ready. In this edition of Buying on a Budget I will discuss how Mexico stacks up to other popular retirement destinations in the U.S.
Why Mexico, when you can own property in other warm weather locations in the U.S., such as Arizona, Hawaii or Florida. There is no doubt about it these places have appeal. The real question is how the appeal of these places stacks up against the best locations in Mexico, especially in terms of property prices and the cost of living. Let’s consider why people look at moving to popular U.S. locations and see how they stack up against the reality of Mexico.
Close to Home
There’s a certain comfort in being close to home. If you buy a property in Florida you might think that you are closer to home, but once you are on the airplane the difference in flight time is usually less than an hour or two. Also, even though flights to the U.S. are cheaper, these price differences are minimal and other savings in Mexico will more than make up for this. There is a growing number of direct flights to the United States and Canada. The cost or travel distance to Mexico is not a reason to choose the U.S. over Mexico.
Popular retirement destinations like Florida or Arizona are going to include all the stores and services that Americans and Canadians have grown accustom to. High-speed internet, satellite TV, modern hospitals, good roads, Walmart… who would want to give these items up? The good thing is you don’t have to!
Free trade with the U.S. and Canada, as well as growing tourism has brought a good deal of modernization to Mexico. To many people’s surprise, Mexico is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Large international companies have been tracking these trends. Walmart, for example, has opened up 2000 stores in Mexico in the past 12 years; as reported by Forbes Magazine (April 2012). What is attracting these corporations to invest billions of dollars into this country? No doubt, it’s the economic stability and future growth potential. The investment from these businesses means better quality of living and infrastructure.
In addition, it’s worth pointing out that Mexico’s natural attractions have been made more accessible to visitors. Mexico’s beaches are being ranked as the most beautiful worldwide. The various climates in Mexico are very attractive and compare head to head with Florida; many people even consider them to be better.
Safety and Security
This is a big one. As surprising as it might be too many Americans and Canadians, this is actually a point in Mexico’s favor, rather than against it. I have heard people say that they saw a report on the news about a drug and gang violence. Mexico’s drug conflicts are real, and they are a problem for the country. On one hand, real solutions are being carried out by the government with tangible results. On the other hand, the U.S. newspapers are written to sell the paper, and often do not include the full story. Some points that are very rarely reported include:
- These conflicts are isolated to very specific places in only a handful of locations. Since most North Americans aren’t familiar with the locations, headlines will state they happened in “Mexico”. Leaving a misleading impression that these conflicts plague the entire country.
- Most expat destinations in Mexico are safer than most popular warm weather destinations in the U.S. For example, the Yucatan Peninsula (famous for its beaches, Mayan pyramids and colonial cities) has a murder rate of 2 per 100,000; this is comparable to Wyoming and Montana (sorry, no beaches or year round warm weather there!) This is less than half of the 5 per 100,000 in Florida and the 6 per 100,000 in Arizona. (Source: Neighborhoodscout.com)
- Many Americans and Canadians residing in Mexico will report that they actually feel safer in Mexico than in their home city.
Safety is not a reason to choose a U.S. over Mexico. Official statistics and real life stories show that there are very safe places to live in Mexico, as safe the U.S.
Prices and Costs
Most Americans and Canadians will easily realize that Mexico offers substantial savings over similar popular retirement destinations in the U.S. As shown in Part 7, Living in Mexico on a Limited Budget where I discussed all the places you will save money at while living in Mexico.
You also have to take into account the real estate property and the price. Sure, you could find a really cheap condo online in Arizona or Florida. But you need to take into account what kind of property you are looking at. Take a close look at the details of the property, the location, etc. They are often in undesirable locations, far from the beach, and not located near quality shopping and necessities.
If a buyer is working with the right real estate agent in Mexico, the agent wouldn’t even present the counterpart to such a property, mostly because nice properties in good locations can be found for very reasonable prices. Beautiful properties in Mexico can be found for the same price as that not-so-nice condo in Florida. Even in a place like Playa del Carmen, a condo at a comparable price will be a much nicer property, in a better location.
Uncertainty of a New Country
This is a very understandable point for anyone who has never lived in a different country. It is a big step. Mexico is different, they speak a different language, and they have different values, customs and ways of life. Culture shock is real, it takes time for people to adapt. Experts say that there is about a one year acclamation process, going through stages of bliss, annoyance and then adaptation and becoming one with the community.
However, this having been said, while going through this process, there are a couple things which make it easier and often times pleasant to get used to the differences in Mexico. One is that there are over 1 million Americans and over 300,000 Canadians living throughout the country. There is solace in knowing that you are not alone. Your new communities will probably have many neighbors from back home. Many will be happy to help out a newcomer get to know the area. Large expat communities will have expat restaurants and bars where they like to hangout, there are also clubs and planned events.
The Mexican culture by nature is more open and friendlier. When Mexicans see a new neighbor or a new face at a local hangout, their first reaction is to approach the person and find out more. The Mexican culture tends to be very inclusive, community events and festivities are for everyone.
With all these advantages that Mexico has over other retirement destinations in the U.S., it’s not surprising there are an increasing number of people moving from Florida and Arizona to Mexico! Back in the 1970s Florida was the paradise destination for retirees and others looking for a warm weather vacation home. Back then, Mexico didn’t even compare to Florida, but that was 40 years ago, and the times have changed. It would be fair to say that now several regions of Mexico are what Florida and Arizona were back then.
In the next edition of buying on a budget, I will discuss how to calculate your budget when buying property in Mexico. Be on the lookout for the next informative article!
Now, if you have any question about buying on a budget or if you are interested in any of the TOP MEXICO REAL ESTATE properties we have listed anywhere throughout Mexico, please feel free to contact our Top Buyers’ Representatives and we will be glad to help you find your very own piece of paradise.
And remember, here at TOP MEXICO REAL ESTATE…
We make it happen!