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.
I wish I had brought my cat. He is living with my father at the moment. But I do miss him. We aren't sure how long we'll be here, though, and we do know a woman who had a hard time getting her dog in and out so we are holding off bringing him down for now.
I also wish I had brought more specialized food items. Spices, tahini, couscous, kalamata olives, marsala wine (just to name a few). I love to cook and haven't been able to find some items down here.
And, last, I wish I had brought more guide books in English. We have been traveling everywhere down here and they would have come in handy!
We use everything we brought down with us. Including all of our furniture and our two cars so there isn't anything I regret bringing.
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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?
The move was easy for us because we had help from my husband's company. I would have prefered to live closer to Villahermosa (we are about an hour away) but the commute would have been terrible for my husband. My advice would be to learn as much Spanish as possible!!!! Don't rush into finding a home if you can avoid it. See what is out there. Also if you can get help from locals do so. Mexican people are some of the nicest people on earth. I still stick out like a sore thumb and will probably never master the language but most people are very patient and are eager to learn English themselves!
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
We live in a large home one town over from where my husband works. I think the type of housing one chooses depends on the expat. Some are single and would rather live modestly and pocket the excess money from the monthly stipend they are given towards housing. Others have families and need/want more elaborate housing. I don't know any expats living here who aren't working for a U.S. company. This isn't the type of area people move to on a whim. They are sent here for work.
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
We used a local realtor for a while but actually ended up renting a house through a private owner. The house was across the street from one of the properties we viewed with the realtor. My husband asked one of his Mexican co-workers who knew the area and she just happened to know the owner.
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Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
The costs are a little less to about the same as the U.S. (to rent). The locals have realized they can get more for their properties because they are dealing with petroleum companies who are willing to pay. And, I think there was a housing shortage for a while. The house is nice though. We pay about usd $1800.00 for about 3000 sq.ft. You can rent cheaper places but you will generally end up with problems (leaking roof, older appliances).
An Expat Shares What it's Like Retiring in Lake Chapala, Mexico
A retiree who has lived all over the world as a house sitter, talks about packing up and making the permanent move to Lake Chapala, Mexico. She had been there many times before and is thrilled she finally made the move - she appreciates the lower cost of living, expat community, close proximity to Guadalajara.