This time last year I had just returned from a house-hunting trip to Barra de Navidad and La Mananilla. After a bit of scouting, I had decided that was the area of Mexico I wanted to live in retirement -- and I was ready to buy a house.
The house that drew me to Barra is pictured at the top of this post. It was not on -- or near -- the beach and it had been through some construction halts, but it really appealed to me. It was built on a 10,000 square foot lot with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. There was also a 1-bedroom guest house on the lot.
It was priced a bit higher than I wanted to pay, but it appeared to be a good deal -- even though it would require some finishing touches -- such as windows -- and doors.
Like many a gringo before me, I was ready to buy as soon as I could. I booked a flight for late November. And -- as is the case in most real estate stories -- it sold the weekend before I could fly down. I had a backup house in mind -- but it sold the same weekend.
Fast forward about 8 months. The first house shows up on the market listed at almost three times its original price. Obviously, the seller was after another gullible gringo to snatch up what had been a virginal property and was now gussied up with more pancake makeup than a ten-dollar whore.
In late November the price dropped by over $200,000, but it is still far too expensive for its location. Maybe -- with a view. But a view it definitely does not have.
The lesson? Every book on moving to Mexico warns readers, blogs warn readers, expatriates warn listeners: do not buy until you first rent in an area. (I know there are exceptions. Some of whom write very good blogs listed to the right -- and who have been happy with their quick purchases.)
I suspect this little lesson is a reminder to me. After all, I am the guy who almost bought houses on a single trip to an area. If I had done that, I would not now be able to retire.
But I didn't buy; and I will retire in a fleeting few days.