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Hey everyone,

New guy here.  I'm interested in moving to Ajijic or at least the area.  Was hoping to find some advice on cheap places to rent.  We will be coming down to survey the area but I think its the place we want to move to.  Any advice or direction is great.  Feel free to pm me if you wish.  Also its nice to meet you all.  I've been lurking for some time and excited to join the community.  

 

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Hi...  it is actually a list with contact information of about 14 Chapala (only Chapala) landlords, who all together have approx 100 properties.  It is up to the expat to contact them and check what i

No I'm quite happy here but I was trying to help by sharing my honest experience regarding rentals. I have rented in many parts of Mexico where they don't cater to gringos not just Ajijic. And I did n

Wow, Crazydog, good to know you're so happy here.

35 minutes ago, pagebeard said:

Hey everyone,

New guy here.  I'm interested in moving to Ajijic or at least the area.  Was hoping to find some advice on cheap places to rent.  We will be coming down to survey the area but I think its the place we want to move to.  Any advice or direction is great.  Feel free to pm me if you wish.  Also its nice to meet you all.  I've been lurking for some time and excited to join the community.  

 

First question:  What's "cheap" in your thinking?

Second questions:  What are your minimum space requirements?  No. of bedrooms, etc. ? Furnished or unfurnished?  Pets?

From now until around the end of March, people from the cold places (Canadian "snowbirds") have pretty much taken any rentals available.  After that, your chances are better.  Ajijic is the most expensive place in terms of rents.  You'd have better luck in Chapala or one of the other nearby towns.  Best of luck.

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There seems to be two type of rentals here - Mexicans renting to Mexicans, and gringos renting to gringos. The Mexican rentals include some beautiful homes for relatively small prices (under $450 per month) but are often unfurnished. Fortunately there are many dependable renovated appliances on the market, and always a steady stream of quality used furniture from those relocating back North. You have to find/hire a bilingual friend with a pickup truck.The gringo rentals are often predatory or "pie in the sky" as to the desirability (and value) of their properties. If property is rented as furnished, the law of Mexico requires an extra 16% sales tax and you have the right at any time to ask for a special receipt proving the tax was paid. The government is becoming stricter and stricter about collecting this tax - so, in my opinion, this has boosted furnished rental prices by at least 16%. The overvalued rentals are now having even more difficulty to find tenants.

So the answer is if you are coming down for a well needed break, maybe the ease of a gringo rental is worth it - no different than renting a condo in Hawaii or Spain. The Mexican homes are often in Mexican neighborhoods (surprise!) and many people assimilate very well, to the point of changing their lives. Others -not so much.

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Well to compare I used to live on the beach in Mazatlan in a fully furnished apartment with everything included for 8000 pesos a month.  I think thats a phenomenal price.   I prefer furnished.  I could get by in a very small apartment, even 1 bedroom.  No pets.  And thanks for the advice guys, I haven't ruled out Chapala and Id probably rent from a Mexican over a gringo...no offense my friends haha but usually they offer better prices. And Id prefer to live in more of a "mexican" area...  Thanks again for the tips.

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29 minutes ago, pagebeard said:

Well to compare I used to live on the beach in Mazatlan in a fully furnished apartment with everything included for 8000 pesos a month.  I think thats a phenomenal price.   I prefer furnished.  I could get by in a very small apartment, even 1 bedroom.  No pets.  And thanks for the advice guys, I haven't ruled out Chapala and Id probably rent from a Mexican over a gringo...no offense my friends haha but usually they offer better prices. And Id prefer to live in more of a "mexican" area...  Thanks again for the tips.

That budget is perfectly doable given your modest requirements. Hopefully rental prices in Ajijic will not continue to rise as they have been and will settle into something realistic so you can afford to live exactly where you want to be.

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One difference you may find here is a strong resistance to contracts in pesos. Landlords expect U.S. dollars; that way, they get more pesos quite often. I was lucky enough to get a place that agreed to pesos, otherwise over the last six years my rent here would have skyrocketed.

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For sure, CG. You most often run into the rent in U.S. dollars issue with foreign owned rentals. My first rental here was 500 usd all inclusive which at that time was around 5000 pesos plus or minus each month. Today that same rental would cost me around 9400 pesos. That means I would have 4000 fewer pesos to spend each month. I have lived in my current rental for two and a half years. My rent is 4000 pesos. The house was mostly unfurnished. It had a stove, refrigerator, bed, and a couple of side tables. 

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Sometimes you get what you pay for. I don't want to profile all Mexican landlords under this but expectations are different in Mexico when you rent. 

1. You are most likely renting unfurnished. You are new to the area. Don't know jack shiit where to go buy furniture and 99.9% of the stuff they sell here is overpriced crapp. Instead of coming down to Mexico to relax or enjoy your retirement you are now running back and fourth trying to make this place livable. Oh and the furniture was supposed to arrive 10 days ago but it's still not there and they promise you it will be there tomorrow. (This happened to me and it got very frustrating!)

Also you may discover there is no hot water and lots of leaks in the house. Mexicans are a lot more slack about repairing leaks or even building their homes leak proof to begin with. So you have to hire your own contractors to come in for repairs because the landlord doesn't seem to want to fix it. (It happened to me in a 2 year old house rented by a Mexican landlord and I know many others that had landlords not fix anything). Also a lot of contractors will lie about arranging a time to come fix things and never bother showing up. (It happened to me too multiple times)

Most Mexican renters know that it's their responsibility to make the place livable. Our cultural norms regarding rentals are different. Also a lot of the times places get trashed (not in gringoland so much but in other parts rented by Mexicans) and the landlord will show the house trashed to prospective new tenants. (Try looking for a rental in Guadalajara and you will see what I mean by that). 

Also a friend of mine agreed to rent a furnished place from a Mexican landlord and the day she moved in the guy had taken everything and left some old used furniture behind. She lost her deposit and her precious time.

When you rent from a gringo they usually operate rentals the same way they would in the US/Canada. They come furnished most of the time so you don't have to run around sleeping on the floor the first month. 

Also they speak your language. So if Spanish is not your greatest skill you don't have to suffer with the language barrier. Also sometimes even if you know what a Mexican landlord says they may not mean what they say. Look up the definition of "magnana" or "ahorita" .You get a lot of that here. 

Again not all gringo landlords are great and not all Mexican landlords are crap but like I said the culture of renting is different so keep that in mind. 

Also do a simple google search on rentals in Ajijic/chapala and you will see what's available. There are rentals in all price ranges starting at $400 a month.    My advice is to not book anything unless you see the place first. 

 

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Pagebeard, you will discover that there are as many ways to live in Mexico as there are foreigners living here. What you find here depends on your personality, life experiences, world view, resources, values, and beliefs. Sometimes I listen to others talk about their experiences and their interpretation of those experiences and marvel that we live in the same geographical location. You will recognize when people are kindred spirits and when they are not. You will find yourself drifting towards some people and away from others. Just know that none of us has The Truth, only our truth. You seem to have the right attitude for having a great adventure here. Best of luck.

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For sure, the glory days of the rental market here seem to be gone at least for now.  There were quite a number of rental houses available only because they couldn't be sold in the down market.  Now they are being sold and there is less available. 

We have a ways to go before we get as pricey as San Miguel but the trend is not the renters' friend.

Crazydog is not far off.  Mexican landlords like to deal in cash and don't like to provide a lot in maintenance.  That very cheap rent in pesos may not be so cheap if you have to start paying for repairs.  The professionally managed properties are going to be the most expensive per month but you generally do (but not always) get a higher level of service.

Get away from Ajijic, rents get more reasonable.  That's the tradeoff.

 

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40 minutes ago, ComputerGuy said:

Wow, Crazydog, good to know you're so happy here.

No I'm quite happy here but I was trying to help by sharing my honest experience regarding rentals. I have rented in many parts of Mexico where they don't cater to gringos not just Ajijic. And I did not just make up all those events. When I was new to the area I would have appreciated people be honest with me and not just "welcome to paradise where everything is so cheap and you sip margaritas all day long and expect things like in good ol murica" 

Mexico requires us to adjust and understand the local culture. And the local culture of rentals is different. If you prefer less adjustment than the best way is to rent from a gringo, although like another poster said it doesn't always guarantee things either. 

 

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17 hours ago, Crazydog said:

Sometimes you get what you pay for. I don't want to profile all Mexican landlords under this but expectations are different in Mexico when you rent. 

1. You are most likely renting unfurnished. You are new to the area. Don't know jack shiit where to go buy furniture and 99.9% of the stuff they sell here is overpriced crapp. Instead of coming down to Mexico to relax or enjoy your retirement you are now running back and fourth trying to make this place livable. Oh and the furniture was supposed to arrive 10 days ago but it's still not there and they promise you it will be there tomorrow. (This happened to me and it got very frustrating!)

Also you may discover there is no hot water and lots of leaks in the house. Mexicans are a lot more slack about repairing leaks or even building their homes leak proof to begin with. So you have to hire your own contractors to come in for repairs because the landlord doesn't seem to want to fix it. (It happened to me in a 2 year old house rented by a Mexican landlord and I know many others that had landlords not fix anything). Also a lot of contractors will lie about arranging a time to come fix things and never bother showing up. (It happened to me too multiple times)

Most Mexican renters know that it's their responsibility to make the place livable. Our cultural norms regarding rentals are different. Also a lot of the times places get trashed (not in gringoland so much but in other parts rented by Mexicans) and the landlord will show the house trashed to prospective new tenants. (Try looking for a rental in Guadalajara and you will see what I mean by that). 

Also a friend of mine agreed to rent a furnished place from a Mexican landlord and the day she moved in the guy had taken everything and left some old used furniture behind. She lost her deposit and her precious time.

When you rent from a gringo they usually operate rentals the same way they would in the US/Canada. They come furnished most of the time so you don't have to run around sleeping on the floor the first month. 

Also they speak your language. So if Spanish is not your greatest skill you don't have to suffer with the language barrier. Also sometimes even if you know what a Mexican landlord says they may not mean what they say. Look up the definition of "magnana" or "ahorita" .You get a lot of that here. 

Again not all gringo landlords are great and not all Mexican landlords are crap but like I said the culture of renting is different so keep that in mind. 

Also do a simple google search on rentals in Ajijic/chapala and you will see what's available. There are rentals in all price ranges starting at $400 a month.    My advice is to not book anything unless you see the place first. 

 

Ya I know some these things all too well.  I should emphasize that I have lived in Mexico for 4 years and been through the process of hiring people that dont complete a job.  I'll be doing a little recon in December to survey some apartments before I rent.  I was surprised to not see much posted online for it being an expat area.  Was just hoping to maybe hear someone had a friend of a friend kind of thing.  Thanks for everyone's help, I got a couple leads through pms and hope to meet some of ya in December or January.  I will most likely be living there long term I hope!

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Since you will be arriving at the peak of the high season when rentals are most scarce, you may want to look into hotels or B&B's. One hotel that is very reasonable is the Hotel Perico and it has housekeeping suites.  Not located centrally, but transportation is available or you could rent a car until you find an apartment.

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9 minutes ago, gringal said:

Since you will be arriving at the peak of the high season when rentals are most scarce, you may want to look into hotels or B&B's. One hotel that is very reasonable is the Hotel Perico and it has housekeeping suites.  Not located centrally, but transportation is available or you could rent a car until you find an apartment.

thanks ...i figured it would be prime season unfortunately and staying in a cheap hotel for a month is acceptable for me until I find a place.  

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Hotel Perico is in the middle of nowhere. More central are Ajijic Suites on Colon across from the plaza. Also the western most of the 2 motor court motels on the Carretera between Juarez and Aquiles Seradan. Both can be had on Airbnb for about $12/day. Ajijic Suites provides a breakfast of sorts. 

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4 minutes ago, tomgates said:

Hotel Perico is in the middle of nowhere. More central are Ajijic Suites on Colon across from the plaza. Also the western most of the 2 motor court motels on the Carretera between Juarez and Aquiles Seradan. Both can be had on Airbnb for about $12/day. Ajijic Suites provides a breakfast of sorts. 

Wow Tom thanks...12/day...maybe ill just live there haha!  Ill check that out..good advice mate.

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Come check out the bigger town of Chapala.  We are just 10 mins down the road by bus and things are much cheaper here.  More than likely you will find Chapala to be much more livable.  Wider and smoother side walks, much flatter,  more open areas.  The only benefit of living in Ajijic I can see is that the town is better painted with murals and artwork.  And has more gringos with more international cuisine options available there.  Think of Monterey and Carmel (but in a more humble Mexican way)  Chapala is Monterey and Ajijic is Carmel, the little rich bohemian and artistic neighbor down the road.  There is a Belgium guy here in Chapala named Ronnie, who makes excellent chocolates and sells a list of rentals for 10 pesos or so (to cover the xerox charges) Rentals he checked out himself. 

 

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The comparison of Chapala and Ajijic to Monterey and Carmel is hilarious.  Ever actually been there?  Nothing against the first-named towns, but that's a wild stretch.

BTW,  the chocolate man is Roni, and you may be able to send him a PM since he posts on here. 

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