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The Fountains at Revolution Monument in Mexico City
The Fountains at Revolution Monument in Mexico City
The Fountains at Revolution Monument in Mexico City

Real Estate in Mexico

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: Expats and retirees talk about real estate in Mexico? How do you find a home in Mexico? Should you buy or rent? What is the cost of housing?

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How do I find a place to live in Mexico?

Live in Mexico? Answer this Question

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"I am currently happily settled in Puerto Vallarta, where I find there are more activities that I am comfortable joining than I found in Mazatlán. Though Vallarta is more "verticle" than Mazatlán (which is one of the features that appeals to former Vancouverites), there are also plenty of flat areas with nice homes and amenities and, personally, I rent 4 blocks from the beach (the last block before the hill)," said another person in Puerto Vallarta.

"Use spanish in your seaches. Casa y depas en PV, departamentos para rentar, etc. It is still better if you rent an airbnb and walk around the area that you are interested in just looking for places that are available. The ones that are real cheap tend not to be listed on the web. NEVER send money as a deposit. Don't hand over any money until you are actually inside of the apartment with the owner or an agent that you are 100% sure is authorized to be acting for the owner," added another expat who made the move to Merida.

"Versalles, Aralias & Fluvial just to name a few. Rentals are found easy with boots on ground. You need to view in person and no deposits until you arrive. Otherwise, most likely, you will have a problem with your deposit and may never see it. In Zona Romantica (my opinion is that it’s for visitors/tourist) you will have fireworks almost every night, many tourist, road blocks for celebrations/water repairs, spring/winter breaks, flooding during the rainy season, and parties non-stop," explained one foreigner living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

"I live in a large furnished studio with good sized kitchen with pantry (full size appliances), true dining area (room for 6-8) living area with sofa, coffee table and 2 chairs and nice sized bedroom area. It has a yard with parking and outside dining and is fully air conditioned. It's actually the ground floor of a 2 story house so it's larger than most studios IME. Including my power, water, garbage, gas and WIFI, it's under $400 USD per month. Outside my front door is a park and 2 more parks are within 3 blocks in opposite directions. It's a great neighborhood away from downtown but still has every kind of business within a 5 minute walk. A really nice mall is 2.4 miles away and it's dog-friendly! I've lived in 3 different neighborhoods in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico including Centro and this is by far my favorite! FYI, my AC runs 24/7/365. It's clean, quite, walkable and has green spaces," said another in Merida.

"Cost of living here is far less than the USA as are excellent restaurants, bars, clubs, etc," explained one expat in Rosarito.

"Realtors in Northern Baja are usually honest people who have been here for many years. There are different ways to buy property here. This is not the same as USA yet similar. Most homes sales in the area are legitimate yet. Realtors here are different from the USA as laws are different. I would suggest anyone buying property in Mexico is to hire a real Estate Attorney when a property is found you wish to purchase. Cost is minimal for this and I would advise doing this. Years ago in the area, I bought a property in the area that was not as it was presented and it cost me a lot of money. In this day and age, this rarely occurs," explained one person living in Rosarito, Mexico.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Mexico?

Live in Mexico? Answer this Question

"What is the average price in the country you’re from? In the US it varies greatly! Mexico is a big country and prices will vary depending on where you are, the size of the house and property, and amenities (pool, gated, security, golf course, etc), as well as being higher in the beach and heavy tourist areas. Due a google search on cities you’re interested in and check out COL (including housing costs) on numbeo.com," said another person in Mexico.

"We will be moving into a furnished casita where the landlord lives on the property. From our experience and from other expats we have spoken to, this is pretty typical. Most expats we know do not have animals with them. Bringing pets who are quite needy, has some challenges we never expected. from finding the right food to filling their prescriptions, it has been a challenge that I would love to write about," added another expat who made the move to Oaxaca.

"Now I live in a condo in the Virgin Islands, but during the Mexico time I was not in an expat area. I only met an English speaker about once every 2 months," explained one foreigner living in Poza Rica, Mexico.

"I am in a 2 bedroom/1 bath apartment. it's perfect for me as a single retiree in a quiet neighborhood. This is typical for those willing to pay a little bit more for a tranquil community," said another in Playa del Carmen.

"I live in a house. Houses and condos are the typical places expats live in Puerto Penasco," explained one expat in Puerto Penasco.

"We rented a 3 BR/3 Bath home. It is very modern and has a small front yard and a beautiful back yard with a pool. It is 2 stories. We also have a terrace overlooking the back yard and a sunny roof top overlooking the front of the house. The house has a large wall around it and an electric gate in the front which is very nice for our 2 dogs and 2 cats. They can go in and out as they please," explained one person living in Merida, Mexico.

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What is the average cost of housing in Mexico?

Live in Mexico? Answer this Question

If you are thinking about moving to Mexico, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Expenses here are FAR lower than the USA even though Real Estate here has gone up in price. Still very affordable. I live in So. Rosarito close to Puerto Nuevo. My house is on a Hillside above the ocean with spectacular Views of the Ocean and coastline. I have a 3 bedroom house, 3 baths home with huge view patio and enclosed parking for 3 cars. This for a fraction of the cost of an ocean view home in California. If you are looking to rent, Ocean view and ocean front places are low price and vary from area to area. Many American colonies here have 24/7 guards and security. Rents vary from about 400 USD to well under 2000 USD. Depending on size and area, Everything from small apartments to huge view homes are available," said another expat in Rosarito.

"My husband found a two bedroom one bath house in Pensiones neighborhood in Merida Yucatan for about $35,000 USD. It needs another $10k in upgrades or remodeling but it is a cute home and would be great. The rents here are all over the place. But a huge home with a lot of amenities unfurnished in my neighborhood (4 bedrooms or 5 with three bathrooms and so on? Goes for $14,000 Mexican pesos a month. About $675 or $700 USD give or take," remarked another member in Mexico.

"Housing costs are definitely lower than in our home country (NTC), but given our limited Spanish, we feel we are definitely paying an expat premium. With that said, the apartment is furnished very nicely, has all the amenities and all utilities are included (yes, wifi also!). We are not too upset to pay a little more of a premium for a nicer place in an area better suited for our two dogs," explained one expat living in Oaxaca, Mexico.

"We lust bought a small (1400sqft) house in Rosarito for $325,000. Not much inventory so if are ready to buy you can't be real picky. The 2 places we really wanted to see sold the day before we got there. New house built in 2019, nice furniture & long range ocean view," said another person in Mexico.

"My costs are highest now in VI because we are still having a disaster economy. Then, in MX housing costs were much lower than I was accustomed to in Florida. I have heard they still are extremely low compared to most anywhere in the US," added another expat who made the move to Poza Rica.

"The housing costs [in Playa del Carmen] are definitely lower than in my home country. I am 3 blocks from the beach and I would be paying 3 times as much in my home country. The average cost where I am is about $1,000.00 USD per month. for a furnished 2 bedroom apartment with utilities included. I pay a little less because the furniture is antique...which some call old," explained one foreigner living in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Should I buy or rent a home in Mexico?

Live in Mexico? Answer this Question

If you have not spent a lot of time in Mexico, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:

"We bought a house. It was not easy, but with a good realtor and notario not impossible. Living near the coastline, we had to purchase a fideicomiso (bank trust) and that was expensive," said another person in Mazatlan.

"I continue to housesit in the same home I have for the past 10 years. There are many housesitting opportunities here for people considering moving to Lake Chapala," added another expat who made the move to Lake Chapala.

"We bought an empty lot and built a house on it. Had to get construction permits, since I was a resident at the time it had to be in my wifes name as she is a citizen," explained one foreigner living in Apizaco, Mexico.

"We purchased a home... Buying is easy but selling is a challenge so they say... Ours went well and we have moved over 20 times in our marriage so buying and selling homes is not new to us... One serious recommendation is to get an attorney to look over the papers and assist in closing. Realtors here run from great to not so and having a knowledgeable third set of eyes makes the process painless," said another in Ajijic.

"We bought a condo that we lived in for 9 years, then sold it and built our house. I is a very easy process, as long as you have a good realtor," explained one expat in Manzanillo.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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The Fountains at Revolution Monument in Mexico City

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Mexico GuideMexico Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Mexico.

Mexico Forum Mexico Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Mexico on our Mexico forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Mexico Index Mexico Index
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Contribute to Mexico Network Contribute
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