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Everything posted by earlyretirement

  1. Thanks ComputerGuy for your thoughts. Actually there ARE several luxurious homes because I've been at parties and events at some. A few of my friends have really nice properties there but I don't want a private house as I think security is much better in a building vs. a home. I'm not talking "Disneyland type" properties. This property looks tastefully done and materials all are pretty high end. I heard from a developer friend that the Radisson Blu is going to be developed there. I'm not sure what the time frame is but it seems like a Penthouse property there would be more desirable vs. a nice house there. I realize that the locals that are retired there might not like it but it seems like there ARE going to be some projects coming on board.
  2. Hi everyone, I've visited the Chapala area several times and enjoyed it but I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't a higher end hotel. I rented a room at La Reserva which was ok and the room was nice but no AC at all and the mattresses were not that great. I bought a high rise apartment in Zapopan (GDL) that is 3 bedrooms and 2,400 sq. feet and spent a small fortune furnishing it but it's been very successful renting it out on short-term rentals. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this project - http://www.altolagomx.com A penthouse unit with 4 bedrooms (all in-suite bathrooms) and 338 sq. meters with a plunge pool and amazing view of the Lake. The building looks like it's going to be higher end and the building will have concierge, restaurant and bar. It's 9,150,000 pesos (about $481,500 US dollars at current exchange rate) for the bigger penthouse unit which is a special pre-construction price. They said it's going to start being built January 2019 and take around 18 months. The developer seems like a well respected one with offices in Miami and Guadalajara and has designed several hotels and won a few awards and Sotheby's (which typically specializes in luxurious properties) is the exclusive broker. I'm positive I can rent it out on the weekends as there is a lot of wealthy people from Guadalajara that visit and there is no 5 star properties. I'd go very high end furnishing it. But I'm not sure how rentals are mid-week. I'd be curious to hear the opinion of all of you that live there and know that area. Thanks in advance.
  3. My bank in Mexico (HSBC) said the reason they are so strict now is because so many people were laundering money and there is liability for the banks if they aren't really careful.
  4. No reason at all someone in this situation should be living in Southern California. Too darn expensive for cost of living/housing. Check out the City Data forum for San Diego - http://www.city-data.com/forum/san-diego/ There is a poster "moved" that used to live in Tijuana. http://www.city-data.com/forum/mexico/2928929-living-tijuana-mexico-white-american.html You can sign up for that board and send a PM to her. I used to be a moderator on that board for many years (technically I guess I still am) and she always had really level headed and informative posts. Good luck.
  5. Yep. I own real estate in several different countries in South America and I have a last will and testament in each country for those specific properties. I'm not sure about Mexico but several countries don't even respect US wills and you have to have one in that country. Yet other countries are really old school and you can't really write out relatives for real estate so always good to consult an attorney that specializes in this.
  6. In this type of situation, it's almost best to hire someone on the ground in that area that knows the area well. I've purchased tens of millions of dollars in real estate for this type of investor that you're talking about above but it always makes sense to hire a good lawyer, accountant and people on the ground that know the area they are buying in.
  7. Yep. As a Moderator of several free public message boards, I know first hand it's hard to complain on a free board that doesn't charge anything. (I'm not sure if the owner of the site sells advertising or something) but definitely this site is one of the slowest I've ever been on. Reminds me of the early 90's and AOL 56K bandwidth days...Ha ha.
  8. Thanks mudgirl. This is great advice. You're right when I opened my bank account they didn't ask me for a RFC #. They just wanted to see that I had a Permanent Residency Card. The only frustrating thing is that they told me my account was opened so I proceeded to send a wire from a USA account where I already had a lot of pesos. I requested the wire only to have it sent back. When I inquired the manager said that the account wasn't yet open up as Americans have more scrutiny and more background checks to go through. Then they asked me to sign a W-9 Form which I was happy to do but I felt they should have done that when I was in their office the first time. But just 2 days later it was all set up and I had a personalized Visa ATM/Debit card mailed to my address within 3 days. And the checkbooks came only 3 more days after that.
  9. Thanks! Yes, there is a lot of great posts out there on this forum and others. I was still not sure of some things and most of the posts didn't post the address where you can go, etc. so I wanted to make it a bit more detailed. You can't appreciate how easy this process is compared to other countries until you go through the process in places like Argentina. I'm still amazed how high tech the system is there and how efficient it is. Even comparing it to the red tape and bureaucracy of the USA. Also, the people there are extremely friendly. In governmental offices throughout much of South America the employees are downright rude. But here even thought the INM offices (and doors) closed at 1 PM, they let me in. Where I described above how the photos weren't taken right, you can imagine my frustration when I came back around 1:15 PM and the doors of the INM office upstairs were already locked. There were people inside already working on their paperwork. But the kind security guard told me to come around and let me into a side entrance and I explained that I just needed to drop off photos and he said no problem. You'd never see that in most countries.
  10. Oh wow. Maybe I just had bad luck with them. I fly around the world about 100+ days a year on all different airlines and my experience with VivaAerobus was the worst. Again, I understand that things happen and flights are delayed. What I hated was the fact that they gave out wrong information, didn't know what time the flight was actually leaving, etc. If they didn't know they should have said we don't know but they told me totally wrong information, NO information on their website, etc. I'm glad that other people are having good experiences with VivaAerobus but I'll never give them a third chance. Volaris is so confident of their on-time arrivals they even sell an insurance if you don't arrive on time I think they refund your ticket. I've never purchased it so don't know how easy they make it for the refund if they are late but I've flown them tons of times and never been late.
  11. Actually I will NEVER fly VivaAerobus again. I flew them twice and HORRIBLE experiences. Yes, it was cheaper but they were horrible with communication. My flight got cancelled and it wasn't scheduled until like 15 hours later. But the worst thing is they gave out wrong information. They told me to come to the airport and the flight time they told me was wrong. It got delayed another 6 hours so my family and I were waiting in the airport for hours and hours. Nobody knew anything. I fly back and forth with Volaris from TJ all the time and always been dependable and on time. Yes Volaris is more expensive but I agree with Intercasa. They are super reliable.
  12. Yeah TMobile isn't that great in the USA compared to others but I've kept my TMobile plan because I travel so much around the world and it's really fabulous the unlimited data while traveling around. The speeds are really slow but I've found it's ok for Google Maps, emails, text messages, WhatsApp and Uber.
  13. Oh here is a checklist of the items you will need to bring to IMF to finish your process: Checklist of documents to take to Immigration for the “canje” procedure: - Original and copy of passport (the original is just to compare with the copy; they will give it back to you the same day). - Copy of the resident visa stamped in the passport. - Original of the FMM document (the one you will receive at the airport marked as canje for 30 days). - Letter requesting the resident card. (Adriana provided me with the letter) - Online form requesting the change of document to permanent resident card. (Adriana provided this to me all filled out) - Formato básico (basic form). (Adriana provided this to me all filled out) - Payment of immigration fees for the card. You must go to a bank to do this payment with a form the Immigration officer will provide to you when you submit your documents. (The payment will be done by you). Pictures: Three recent color photos (no more than 3 months old) with white background, infant size (2.5 x 3 cm). - Two photos taken from the front. - One photo taken from the right, showing the right profile. - Applicant must not be wearing glasses in the photo and hair must be behind the ears; no earrings. - Pictures should be taken in a specialized photography studio. Polaroid or cellular phone pictures will not be accepted. Dues to Immigration for each procedure Permanent resident card: $4,828.00 pesos.
  14. I read so much wonderful and helpful information on this forum and others that I thought I should at the very least post about my personal experiences getting my permanent residency card and "pay it forward". I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve purchased real estate and lived in several countries in South America. Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. When possible, I always like to get permanent residency status if it’s feasible and there aren’t major hurdles to cross. I lived in South America for 8 years so I’m well aware of red tape, corruption, inefficiencies, etc. I’m totally conversational in Spanish (although not totally fluent). I read a ton of posts online on this and other websites. I live in San Diego and started the process there at the Mexican Consulate office in San Diego. It took forever to get an appointment online. This office is so busy so it took a while to get an appointment online. https://consulmex.sre.gob.mx/sandiego/index.php/visas?id=455 But their website is really detailed and an option to read everything in English for those that don’t speak Spanish. It outlined everything I needed to bring. Although I’m in my early 40’s, I applied under the category of Retired Income Holder “Rentista”. You can read all of the income requirements on the URL link above. But basically you only need to show a monthly average balance of $80,000 US dollars for 12 months. Or you can show that you get retirement income or cash deposits into your account of at least $2,000 US dollars each month for the past 12 months. I met the criteria for both as I own several rental properties and have regular monthly deposits into my bank account each month. But when I presented my bank statements they didn’t care about the monthly deposits when they saw my bank balance easily exceeded the minimum thresholds. I printed off several bank statements with different banks I have because I wasn’t sure if they would hassle me about my age and if I’d need to show more savings. But I didn’t need to. Just keep in mind they are VERY strict about the no PO Box on the bank statements. Now on that website link it specifically says not to have a PO Box on your bank statements but when I started the process it wasn’t so prominently listed and on several of my bank statements I didn’t have my home address on it. And they wouldn’t accept those statements. Fortunately, I brought statements from another bank that had my home address on it. They accepted those so fortunately I brought other statements! They took my US passport and I paid $36 US dollars. They took a photo and then I had to wait there about 1 hour and voila! They put a visa in my passport and it had an expiration date when I had to finish the process in Mexico. I totally forgot that I was going to Cabo with my family before I was going to finish the process with my permanent residency. I didn’t know that you can’t enter Mexico without finishing your process. I was going for a short 5-day vacation. I read that you could possibly get permission to leave but I didn’t have time to deal with this in Cabo. So unfortunately I had to start the process all over again! So if you’re starting the process make sure not to apply for the Visa until you can go to Mexico and finish it. I tried again to get an appointment for the San Diego office (as I live in San Diego). But it was now booked several months out for an appointment. I started to investigate and noticed there was also an office in Santa Ana, California which wasn’t far from San Diego. And surprisingly there were tons of appointments. I sent an email and was surprised to get an email back right away with them offering for me to come in 2 days for an appointment. I gladly accepted and went to their office with all my same documents and explained the situation where I was already approved but I couldn’t finish and that I entered Mexico already so I had to start again. They did require all my bank statements again but they issued another Visa within 30 minutes. That office in Santa Ana is fairly dead so I’d recommend if you live in the area to go to this one vs. San Diego which was a zoo. At this point I had to enter Mexico and finish the process there. I purchased an apartment about 2 years ago in a development that was a totally new construction in a high rise tower in Guadalajara. They just finished it so I was moving down for the summer to get it all furnished. I was just going to do it on my own as I speak Spanish but I’m always a fan of paying for assistance if it’s reasonable. I reached out to Spencer who I believe is in Chapala and I also reached out to Adriana from http://www.yucatanexpatriateservices.com/contact-us as I read some great articles from her website. Both were really great and helpful but it just came down to Adriana being so quick with emails. I got back emails within minutes. Although she wasn’t located near Guadalajara, she said that for $105 US dollars she would basically fill out all the forms needed for the appointment, give me detailed instructions where I needed to go and what I needed to do along with a list of all the things I needed. I thought that was a great deal and extremely helpful and a valuable savings of my time. So I paypal’d her $105 US dollars and she asked for a copy of my passport, the Visa Stamp in my passport and asked a few questions and she sent me PDF copies of all the forms I needed plus a requirement of the things I needed including “dwarf photos”. (special smaller photos that they use in Mexico for the Permanent Residency Card). I can’t recommend Adriana enough. I sent her questions before the process and she always was quick to answer them. All her information was spot on target. Believe it or not the most difficult thing in the process was those darn dwarf photos. I took the measurements that she gave me and found a special studio in San Diego that took the photos. More on that later……. So I went down to the IMF office - Avenida Alcalde 500, Centro, 44280 Guadalajara, Jal., Mexico (Google Map location here: https://goo.gl/maps/afxy5i9LrWT2 ) Go upstairs to the 2ndfloor and go back to the left corner of the building as you come up the stairs. You wait in line in the center and tell them you’re there to get your permanent residency. It was really interesting to see all the various people there. I saw several Americans as well as people from all over South America. Most of the Americans couldn’t speak Spanish and they had paid assistants with them. What was interesting is that almost none of them had filled out the forms ahead of time. They were going to the office to get the forms to fill out! So they were waiting in line a while only to get the forms. Once the person saw that I already had all the forms filled out they sent me to another window. The person at the information booth basically finds out what you’re there for and they will give you a colored card with a # on it that tells you which # to go to. It’s a very efficient system. I waited about 45 minutes and went to the window and gave them all my forms, showed them my Visa in my passport and they had me fill out some paperwork. They gave me a little ticket that I had to go pay at a bank for 4,828 pesos. There is a bank a few blocks away that I paid the 4,828 pesos and they gave me a receipt. Then I went back to the IMF office in the same line. The lady told me that I didn’t have to wait in line again. Just to bring her the receipt when I was done. I waited for her to finish with the current client and then I gave her the receipt. Then she told me that I would get an email within 2 weeks (probably sooner) telling me that I was ready to pick up my card, get fingerprinted and I’d give them the pictures then. She also gave me a paper with a website and a # that I could enter in and get my status of the application. I was AMAZED that within 15 minutes of leaving the IMF office that I got an email from them saying that the process has started. I was amazed with how efficient and quick they were! About 8 days later I got the email and I was in Puerto Vallarta on vacation so I couldn’t go for a few days until I got back. But I went back, waited in the same center aisle information booth and they directed me to the window at the left of the booth. It was very quick to see the girl. The girl asked for my photos and here is where the problems were. She told me the photos I got although were the right dimensions, the position of my head wasn’t what they required. I asked her where I could go that knew exactly what they were doing. She said they weren’t allowed to recommend photo places. I saw several photo places on the corner so I left and she said to go get it and I didn’t have to wait in line again to come back to the window. So I asked the first place and they said they didn’t do those dwarf type. I went to another place and they said they did. So I paid 150 pesos and was on my way. You can imagine my disappointment when I get to the window and the lady said these are wrong too! Then I think out of pity the lady at IMF wrote the address of a photo place. She said they aren’t allowed to recommend a place but she said after 2 wrong photo places screwed it up she said she knew this place knew how. So I went around the corner to Av. Hospital 496 upstairs and there is a professional photo studio. I think I paid 120 pesos for a few photos. Sure enough it WAS different. So success! I got fingerprinted with all my fingers in a black ink that was really difficult to get off your fingers and they just give you a piece of paper to clean your hands. I suggest that you bring in some wet wipes (they have mini packs) to clean your fingers after that. The lady told me that within a week it would be ready to pick up. She told me to come back on Monday (I went on a Tuesday to get fingerprinted and turn in my photos). Sure enough by that Saturday I went to log into the website where it had status updates and it said my card was ready to be picked up. I was so amazed how efficient this was! It took me 4 YEARS to get permanent residency in Argentina and this was so easy here in Mexico. I was amazed how efficient and tech advanced they are here at IMF office. I was easily able to get my CURP at the first meeting when I came here. They gave you a paper with it and it had a digital code you can scan with your Smartphone and goes right to the page where you can print out your CURP. I went to the IMF office the following week and my card was ready. I was so happy that it was so efficient and easy. I was now able to open up a bank account which I did the following day easily with my new Permanent Residency card. They ordered me a check book (not sure if I’ll use that much) along with a Visa ATM/Debit card. And just yesterday the electricity company asked me for an RFC # which I did NOT have. I didn’t know what the process for that was but a Google search easily showed that you can instantly get the RFC # if you have your CURP (which you will get when you get your permanent residency card from IMF). Just go to https://www.siat.sat.gob.mx/PTSC/ and go to RFC and type in your information and voila you can instantly print out your new RFC card. Again, I was amazed with how easy they make this! Bravo Mexico. I hope this is helpful to anyone that needs to apply for their permanent residency. I thought it was really simple with not a lot of hurdles to jump through and not major money requirements. Good luck!
  15. I was amazed how efficient the Mexican tax system is. I needed an RFC to open up an account with the electricity company here in GDL and I was able to just go to https://www.siat.sat.gob.mx/PTSC/ and in the section where it says RFC I just plugged in my CURP and information from my apartment and it instantly generated a RFC that I was able to print. I've purchased properties all over the world and had to deal with various tax entities but never seen anything as efficient as the Mexican system for getting Permanent Residency and also getting tax ID #. Wow. Impressed.
  16. Thanks everyone. I found a realtor. I decided to go with Sotheby's which seems to have the highest end luxury rentals. My property is higher end so I wanted to go with a good agency. I found out that the commission on a long-term rental is 1 month's rent for the commission. Thanks.
  17. Yes, definitely I agree about specialization based on neighborhoods. I'm just amazed that it's this difficult to find someone with all the technology out there. Realtors here don't seem to spend any money on Google Adwords based on certain areas as much as other places I own real estate.
  18. I just finished furnishing and decorating my property in Zapopan. I'm interested in renting it out long-term. Does anyone have any trusted realtors that they know that specialize in that? Also, what are the typical commissions that the owner needs to pay a realtor for finding a long-term lease tenant? Any other comments/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  19. Thanks. I'll try this. Yes, I ordered one on Amazon but I was hoping to get something here locally quicker as the Amazon option takes a while. I'll try these options. Thanks so much.
  20. Does anyone know where I can buy a Propane Tank Adapter here in Guadalajara? Like this - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071SLPDTL/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I bought a Fire Column in the USA and had it shipped here. I assumed here in Mexico it would be like the USA and they would have 20 Lb. propane tanks available everywhere. As you know in the USA they are available everywhere including most gas stations. I bought a 20 lb. empty propane tank and had it filled at Z Gas here in Guadalajara. But then I got to my apartment and I realized that the tank has the threads INSIDE of the connector instead of the outside. I saw these online on Amazon but when I went to Home Depot and another store they didn't sell these adapters. Does anyone know a place in Guadalajara that sells these adapters? Thanks in advance for your help.
  21. I purchased a new construction apartment in Guadalajara (Zapopan) and it was finally completed. I purchased a ton of new furniture in the USA and had it shipped down to Guadalajara and the process was really a hassle because the company didn't really communicate at all. Plus it took several months (when they initially told me it would only take one month). It seems like most companies doing it aren't good. I asked all my Mexican friends and they also said they had nightmare scenarios with who they used too. I moved all the big stuff like beds, sofas, tables, entertainment centers, etc. Now I just have some artwork for the walls that I have in another property and I don't want to go through another customs broker. I'm thinking of just driving to Tijuana (I live in San Diego) so it's very convenient for me. Is it possible to just cross into Tijuana and just drive to Fed Ex and just ship the package there? Will the Fed Ex office in Tijuana ask me for any documentation on the package? I assume not since it's from Mexico to Mexico but I'd appreciate any advice/thoughts from those that might have done this. Thanks in advance.
  22. When I lived abroad for 8 years I used https://www.virtualpostmail.com They were fantastic! They would hold mail and I could forward it anywhere. I'd also get packages there and they also do check depositing if you need that service. Their customer service was incredible.
  23. Thanks. Yes, I thought my screen froze. I already requested to delete the other posts.
  24. Hi everyone. Does anyone know how long you can go between charges without your Movistar SIM card going inactive? I know in other countries that I don't visit often, I can go a few months and then when I come back just recharge and it still works. I went to a Movistar store today in the Andares Mall and the guy there was clueless and wasn't sure. I can't find the info on their website. Does anyone know for sure? Thanks in advance.
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