What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
Brought -- More high quality king sized bedding, more US DVD series, more crafting supplies
Left at home -- More of my children's belongings, bicycles, hiking boots
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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Don't just look at the houses that the company, company HR rep., or a real estate agent picks out for you. Do your homework BEFORE you come here -- read the local papers online, get hooked up with the local expat. group, Torreon Circle of Friends, and ask questions. Some individuals will try to quote astronomical rental prices to expats as there are very few here in Torreon -- also, there are some local property managers who are best avoided.
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
Two level stucco home... perhaps not as "ritzy" as some other expats. We have Saltillo tile floors and painted walls, while some expat housing here is all marble, etc. But we are in a gated neighborhood and aren't bothered by constantly ringing doorbell with people selling brooms, asking for jobs, looking for handouts, etc.
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
Chose a gated neighborhood with 24/7 security guards. Good choice as the drug wars in Mexico heat up.
We found the house through a real estate representative provided by our relocation firm... but we had to make her work for us and not just show us the few houses she THOUGHT we would like.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
Housing costs are on par with what we experienced in Cleveland, Ohio before the foreclosure mess hit. It is hard to set an average as it depends upon your neighborhood and the style of house you want. It also GREATLY depends upon your negotiation abilities -- make sure you have a local (most likely NOT the person who showed you the property) help you as it is quite reasonable to negotiate rental prices DOWN -- especially since prices seem to be set artificially high for expats and there is a good amount of perfectly adequate housing stock available at the moment.