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Starting Anew in Xela

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maire54
3/13/2005 12:43 EST

I am taking a leave of absence from my teaching position, selling my home and moving to Quetzaltenango. This town has held a great fascination for me for many years so I've decided I should try to make a go of it there before I get too old to remember where it is I'm going. Question: What are real estate prices like now, (I've heard they have sky rocketed in the last 7 years), I'd like to be establish a small guest house (bread and butter) with an adjacent gallery/salon/cafe.(I could also establish a bilingual preschool but for the moment I shall step away from education.) Is this a feasible idea or a mere pipedream? How much capital might this take? Thank you for any and all suggestions/critiques. (PS I speak Spanish)

Artchoice
3/17/2005 22:09 EST

Hi, I'm not familiar with Xela but have heard nice things about the area.,, First I'm sure you know it gets cold there, like ice forming on the windshields in the am hours. I have some questions you may want to look over, regarding your move here at www.livinginguatemala.com
The list can be very revealing about your minimum standards of living.

We are currently building a 3 bedroom close to Antigua. We have done plenty of looking around and that's really half the battle. If you know spanish then you are in good shape to start. "Hurry up and wait.." is a standard here.

I would suggest renting for a year and gettining settled in. Don't rely on a Real Estate Agent, the trick here is to ask.. ask and ask some more. Ask the waiter, ask the gardner, ask the water delivery guy. Hand out a small businer card with your cell number and makes lots of contacts.. it's amazing how the prices go down when you deal directly with the seller and not an agent.

Make very sure the title to the land is clear. Beleive it or not there is a lot of land that has been registered locally (Mayor Office) but not in the capital city.

Title checks with a good lawyer can run from 100 to 300Q and worth it.

Every tranasaction of major importance here is done with a lawyer, including the purchase of a car, a boat, land and a contract to build.

The amount you will need depends on your life style, what can you live without? Good Internet? Good Wine? DIrect TV?

While most GOODIES can be obtained, there may be a premium price for some, you just gotta be here and look and document.

Land in my area goes from $5K on up, but the size and location varies.. again.. what is your lifestyle?

Easy answers are.. food is cheap, cable tv runs about $8 a month, a gardner is about $12 for 4 hours, new cars are about $12,500
auto insurance is about $800 a year (depends on coverage)

I used an excell spread sheet to figure land prices since I got many "Delas" but the spreadsheet will figure the price per Sq Ft and Sq Meter in US and Quetzal and really tell the story.

Ask, ask and ask again, in some cases I was told "It's very expensive" by the locals but ask gently, how much, remember the Guatemalan expensive might be cheap in your world.
Hope this helps. Wish you were here... It's really nice!
Art

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