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Ajijic Boardwalk, Lake Chapala

Real Estate in Lake Chapala, Mexico

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 17, 2022

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

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How do I find a place to live in Lake Chapala?

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

"We made a discovery trip here in July. Loved the place and stayed a month... We toured the entire area and eliminated those areas that were a bit far out or did not meet our needs. We sold our home in the states in three days which spurred us to find a home... We have a dog and two cats that made renting a bit of a hassle so we decided to buy. I made another trip in September and we decided on one of the homes we had previewed earlier. It is a smaller gated community (7 homes) and we are quite delighted," said another person in Ajijic .

"When we started looking at the money we would have to live on after retirement, I realized that I would never be able to quit work and live comfortably. We started looking at places we could live. We wanted to be close enough to hop up to the states to see family but be able to afford to retire. Mexico was the obvious answer. After much internet research, I stumbled on Lake Chapala. My husband and I knew nothing about Mexico. His vision was from the old westerns. There is a group that provides a week long seminar that will answer all of your questions and also show you the fun side of the area. We booked a trip 3 months away. I used the time to look at real estate offerings. I had limited funds. This is a cash economy so it had to be a house I could afford. They have an MLS listings here so I could check out everything. I contacted a realtor and he helped weed out houses that had issues or less than savory neighborhoods. I wanted city water, a pressurized/filtration water system and city sewer. Many houses are on septic so I knew that I might have to make a compromise there. We had 14 houses on the final list. We bought the second one we had looked at and we paid cash. And it is on city sewer," added another expat who made the move to Lake Chapala.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Lake Chapala?

"Our home is a two story, 2 bedroom with around 2800 sq ft. We have a pool and small garden. The house is stand alone in a gated community. The area in which we live is primarily single family and we are about 10 minutes driving time to the center of town," said another expat in Ajijic .

"We live in a single family dwelling that shares side walls with my neighbors. It is 2 story with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. Houses are made with brick or cider block with a skin coat of concrete. Many houses have beautiful, lush gardens with indoor/outdoor living. We chose not to have one. Many people have maids and gardeners but it was not in our budget. Square footage of houses include covered porches so be aware of that. We looked at one house that a porch was 1/3 of the square footage which left very little living space," remarked another member in Lake Chapala.

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What is the average cost of housing in Lake Chapala?

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

"Much lower than in Washington state. Taxes are minimal but utilities (electricity) is rather expensive... Based on the former occupant's usage, we opted to install solar. This was a significant amount but with a 3-4 year pay back...We are able to have a maid, gardener and pool guy which we certainly couldn't afford up north... Eating out is inexpensive and about 1/2 of what it would cost NOB. The average cost of housing depends a lot on the area one chooses. The closer to Ajijic center the more expensive. Houses with views (which we have) command a higher price tag... We were looking in the $3-400,000 range and there is a good supply at these prices," added another expat who made the move to Ajijic .

"Much lower. We pay our property taxes and water yearly. Our taxes are $699 MX and water is $1000 MX per year. Electricity is expensive in Mexico but still less than the US and is paid every other month. We have our propane tank filled on the off month and runs about $1600 MX for 2 months. Phone and internet is $600 MX per month and that is with unlimited long distanse. We have satelite which comes out of Canada. They have grocery stores that carry US products but it is imported and therefore expensive. Produce, eggs, meat, chicken and fish is amazing and reasonable. You can pay as much as you want or as little as you have for a house and find something to fit your needs," explained one foreigner living in Lake Chapala, Mexico.

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Should I buy or rent a home in Lake Chapala?

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

"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," said another person in Lake Chapala.

"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," added another expat who made the move to Ajijic.

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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.

Ajijic Boardwalk, Lake Chapala

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