What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Ajijic, Lake Chapala
Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
We moved to Mexico from a retirement motorhome, not a house,and brought everything in two trips in an SUV. Whatever one doesn't want can be put on consignment here and whatever you forgot will eventually be found to be available; just ask around.
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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?
Do your homework, then come for a preliminary visit. Talk to local expats, visit the Lake Chapala Society & other venues to meet them. Walk the town for a few days and enjoy the evenings in our great restaurants. Once you decide to make the move, your new friends will be able to give you priceless advice suiting your circumstances. Mine is: Travel light, bring your car but not furniture or major appliances. Bring your computer fall/spring clothing only. Frankly, I don't like the "gated communities". If you are moving to Mexico, live in Mexico, not the "suburbs" you left behind. Oh, learn some Spanish, learn to relax & enjoy this beautiful place and its wonderful people.
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
We live on a principal street in Ajijic, convenient to everything in the village. It is a new house of two bedrooms (one up, one down), 2 1/2 baths, a "mirador" with a view of the lake and mountains, and is light & bright and fully modern. We have satellite TV, phone, computer, etc. The price was under $100,000 USD unfurnished and we had fun furnishing and decorating. The house is modest in size, like a townhouse, but the location allows us to walk, rather than drive; good for the health
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
We had visited months before, staying in a local hotel. When we sold the motorhome and moved down, three months later, we stayed with friends for two weeks and then bought a house. It was a private sale, without realtor, so was closed by a local attorney/notario in a matter of days.
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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 housing costs here are much less than in the US. Taxes and utilities are very, very reasonable and there is no need for A/C or a Furnace since the climate is perfect. Upkeep is simple masonry, plaster & paint with labor costs being very reasonable. This house would rent for $550-600/month, but we recently rented a very nice older house for friends at $450/month for a winter visit. Those are hard to find!