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Monterrey, Mexico

Moving to Monterrey, Mexico

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 03, 2023

Summary: Many expats move to Monterrey, Mexico for its vibrant culture, beautiful scenery, and excellent job opportunities. The city is known for its modern infrastructure, low cost of living, and friendly locals. Monterrey is also home to a number of universities and colleges, making it an attractive destination for those looking to further their education. Additionally, the city is close to the US border, making it easy for expats to travel back and forth. With its many attractions, Monterrey is an ideal destination for expats looking for a new home.

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What do I need to know before moving to Monterrey?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Monterrey, they said:

"Monterrey is the capital city of the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon and is located in the northeastern part of the country near the U.S. border. The city is well-known for its vibrant cultural and industrial life. The climate in Monterrey is very diverse, ranging from semi-arid to subtropical. It is known for hot summers, cooler winters, and a large amount of rainfall throughout the year. Monterrey has a very developed modern infrastructure, with a wide variety of businesses, shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The city also boasts a well-developed transportation system and a variety of healthcare facilities. It is important to remember that the crime rate in Monterrey is high, so it is important to be aware of your surroundings and practice caution when living there. Additionally, you should be prepared for both the formal, paper-based bureaucracy and informal bribery culture that exists in the city. Before making the decision to move to Monterrey, research the neighborhoods that best suit your lifestyle and needs," remarked another expat who made the move to Monterrey.

"First and foremost, consider using a relocation support company. Monterrey is a vast city and bureaucracy and a lack of sources of public information mean that starting out in Mexico can be tricky, even if you know Spanish. Other than that, be patient and practical and try not to let the experience be any more stressful than it needs to be. There are ex-pat groups (Newcomers Group, ASOMO, Mexpat) in Monterrey who meet regularly and can help you feel more at home in Monterrey. For further information on relocation services in Monterrey, see: www.integra-mty.com," explained one expat living in Monterrey, Mexico.

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How do I find a place to live in Monterrey?

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

"Finding a place to live in Monterrey can be done by searching through websites such as Easy Roomate, Craiglist and Expat.com. Additionally, it is possible to find shared apartments, housing through universities and rental offers on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It is also possible to find properties by using local newspapers, online and physical real estate agents as well as visiting popular sites. Once you have identified a particular property, it is best to visit it in person or contact the real estate agency responsible for the rental," remarked another expat who made the move to Monterrey.

"We needed an area that was convenient to my husband's job. The plant he works at is outside the city in an area that is not very nice, so we had to strike a balance between amenities and convenience. We bought our property so we also wanted to find an area where we thought that prices may rise over the next few years. We ended up choosing a property in an undeveloped area on the outskirts of the city. It was particularly appealing as we knew the surrounding areas were earmarked for development. We also have the convenience of having the green areas of the countryside on our doorstep, with the convenience of the city just 5 minutes drive away," explained one expat living in Monterrey, Mexico.

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

"Expat homes and apartments in Monterrey vary but typically have the necessary amenities and can range from basic to luxury. They are typically modern and well-appointed, typically featuring multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, a kitchen and living area, and private outdoor spaces. In more upscale homes and apartments, contemporary appliances, furniture and fixtures are part of the package. Some homes and apartments come with common amenities such as a pool or gym, while others can offer access to city-wide amenities such as golf courses and other activities. Security is also a key factor when selecting a place to live in Monterrey," added another expat who made the move to Monterrey.

"We live in a 3 bedroom house on a new development. The style of the house is pretty typical - modern, reasonably spacious but with a small back yard - as is the street - a gated community with green areas and a communal pool. However, we don't live in a 'typical' ex-pat area. Most foreigners choose to live in San Pedro Garza Garcia, the most expensive neighbourhood in the whole country. There is a large American community here, not least because many ex-pats have their housing paid for by the company they transferred here with. San Pedro was not really an option for us as we wanted a house not an apartment (and a house in this area costs roughly the same as its equivalent in the UK or LA) and as we both speak Spanish, we didn't feel the need to settle in an ex-pat community," explained one expat living in Monterrey, Mexico.

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What is the average cost of housing in Monterrey?

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

"The average cost of housing in Monterrey is relatively affordable compared to other cities in Mexico. The cost of renting or buying an apartment or house in Monterrey is typically lower than the national average in Mexico," explained one expat living in Monterrey, Mexico.

"Lower. However, some parts of Monterrey are seriously expensive. If we consider the 'nicer' (safe, clean, reasonably located) neighbourhoods, average prices range from MXN $7,000-MXN $16,000 per month rental on a 2 bedroom apartment and MXN $10,000-MXN $27,000 per month on a 3-bed house. Purchase prices for these same areas range from MXN $950,000-MXN $2,200,000 for a 2-bed apartment and MXN $2,000,000-MXN$5,000,000 for a 3-bed house. The above prices are averages for these areas. There are plenty properties available above and below these prices in decent areas of the city," said another expat in Monterrey.

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Should I buy or rent a home in Monterrey?

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

"The decision to buy or rent a home in Monterrey will depend on your individual preferences, lifestyle, and financial situation. Buying a home is a long-term investment that can increase in value, whereas renting typically does not provide any potential financial benefit. When purchasing a home, you will need to consider the cost of a down payment, closing costs, taxes, and other expenses. Renting is usually the lower-cost option and comes with fewer responsibilities, such as maintenance or repairs; however, you may not have the same flexibility or freedom as homeowners have. Ultimately, it is important to consider your budget, long-term goals, and other factors before deciding to buy or rent a home in Monterrey," said another expat in Monterrey.

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What should I pack when moving to Monterrey?

We asked people living in Monterrey to list three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They responded:

"Clothing for all seasons, warm coat, rain gear, sturdy shoes, hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, flashlight, first-aid kit, toiletries, cooking supplies, cleaning supplies, bedding, towels, small tools, bike and/or public transportation cards, an umbrella, insect repellent, and a sketchbook/photo album for documentation," remarked another expat in Monterrey, Mexico.

"Things I wish I had brought: * Sachets of sauce mix - Thai and Indian food are virtually non-existent here and I really miss being able to rustle a meal up in 20 minutes. Other food items such as cookies, chocolate and Bisto gravy, which you can't get here. If you can't get something in Monterrey (which is a rare occurrence in itself) you should be able to find it in Laredo or McAllen just across the Texan border. * Warm clothes for in winter. It gets quite cold here in December and January, particularly indoors, where tiled open-plan houses are not designed to stay warm. * Not something I personally missed, but something to bear in mind - you should have all relevant paperwork (marriage certificate, degree certificate, children's school certificates) validated by a solicitor and your local Mexican embassy before leaving your home country. It will speed up Visa/School applications no end once you're here Things I wish I had left at home: * Electrical equipment - personal computer and DVD player. We have had to have special 220W outlets installed so we can use them. This obviously wouldn't be a problem if you're coming from the US or Canada, etc * Medicines - they are much cheaper in Mexico and you will find the same or equivalent products as in your home country * Again, not relevant to me, but people driving over the border from the States should remember that guns are illegal in Mexico and still penalties will be enforced if you are caught trying to cross the border with one," said another expat in Monterrey.

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What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in Monterrey?

We asked people in Monterrey if they could share any humorous cultural blunders they commited. For new expats, keep in mind that these incidents are an inevitable part of expat life. Learning to laugh about them is the key!:

"In Monterrey it is customary to greet other people with a handshake even if you have met them before. Refusing to shake hands may be seen as impolite or disrespectful. It is also important to dress appropriately for the occasion; casual attire is recommended for most social occasions, but wearing work clothes or formal attire is often required for more business-oriented events. Do not bring up controversial topics such as politics, immigration, or religion, as these may be uncomfortable for some people. Additionally, avoid talking loudly in public or drawing attention to yourself," added another expat who made the move to Monterrey.

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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.

Monterrey, Mexico

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