I can’t count how many times now I have helped someone buy their first home in the Yucatan… hundreds? thousands? I’ve been selling homes to extranjeros (foreigners) here for almost fifteen years.
Most of the time, when people first get here, they are in the process of falling in love with Merida and the Yucatan. They love the old homes, the opportunities for renovation and for creating something beautiful they can call their own. They love the vibrancy and culture of the city, or they love the chance they have to afford something at the beach. They love how close Merida is to their home in the States or how wonderful the weather is here when it is cold back home in Canada. If they come from a big city in North America or Europe, they love how relaxed this city is… Merida, after all, is the city of tranquilo. If they are from the US or Canada, they love the European influence in the architecture, the stately mansions on Paseo de Montejo, the soaring cathedral on the Plaza Grande. If they are from Europe, they love the affordability of beautiful old homes and haciendas. And everyone loves the mystery of the Maya culture, the adventure of Yucatecan cuisine and the chance to learn or practice their Spanish.
What most people do not think about when they buy their first home is what it is really like to live here. I think they underestimate both the beauty and the beast.
Most people are not thinking about how they will deal with the inevitable paint, plumbing or electrical issues that are just part and parcel of living in a home in the tropics. A house in a warm climate with hard water has issues with corrosion, paint peeling, humidity, etc. One day you’ll find that ants have eaten through your electrical wire. Another time it will be humidity in the walls causing the paint to peel. Maybe your flotador in your tinaco will stop working. Before this, you didn’t even HAVE a flotador, did you? So how could you have anticipated that it might not work?
Luckily, you are not alone in dealing with these house maintenance issues. And wherever you are in the Yucatan, somewhere near by is a man or woman who makes it their job to fix people’s plumbing, or rewire their electrical or repaint their walls. Your home maintenance issues are easily solved with 100 pesos here or 100 pesos there, and they help keep all those local business people in business.
What most people ALSO don’t understand fully when they purchase their first home here is how lovely it really is going to be to have a home here. If you come from the Great White North, there is nothing that quite prepares you for the pure pleasure of walking around your house, barefoot and wrapped in a sarong early in the morning or late at night. It is hard to really understand, until you’ve been there, the complete luxury of swimming naked in your own pool in the middle of the day, serenaded by birds and the wind in the palm trees. Until you have lived through an afternoon thunder storm in your own home, warm and dry, watching sheets of water wash down your walls and into your courtyard or your garden, you just cannot quite appreciate how lovely it will be.
I know probably hundreds of people who came to Merida, fell in love with it, and bought a house here on their first trip. I know hundreds more who took their time, making multiple trips and waiting until they were very sure. Either way you do it, you’ll never be fully prepared… because that is how Life is, right? But whatever way you choose to buy your first home in Merida, I think you’ll be glad you did.