Thursday, September 04, 2014

moving to mexico -- the other places

Mexico was not my first choice for retirement. 

Once I had decided to hang up my barrister robes, I started looking around for a place to spend those much-vaunted golden years.  The retirement books include lots of lists of considerations -- most of them based on personal tastes.  They were all a bit too logical for me.

So, I started with what I knew.  Living overseas had always been high on my list.  That made Britain and Greece natural candidates.  I had lived in both places in the 1970s.

The last time I visited Julian and Andrea in 2007, we stopped in a Cotswold village.  There was a little stone cottage with a thatched roof for sale -- similar to one I had lived in during my two years here. 

The memories started flooding back.  Narrow hedgerow roads.  Misty fall days.  Roast beef and trifle.  I could live here.

That is, I could live here if I had an extra one million pounds rattling around in my pocket.  Even though the cottage was outside the usual commuting distance to London, City lawyers and financiers were vying with one another to buy up these pieces of bucolic splendor.  I put the idea aside.  It was out of my price range.

Yesterday, Julian took me past several estate agents to get an idea of current house prices in the Oxford area.  It was an act of mere curiosity.  After all, I am in the process of becoming a Mexican homeowner.  Or, at least, the owner of a house in Mexico.  They are not quite the same thing.

You can see the first candidate at the top of this post.  A semi-detached (think duplex) home listed as 4 to 5 bedrooms.  The rooms will inevitably be small in American terms.  All of that for 300,000 pounds.  Or about $495,000 (US). 

I particularly liked the qualification of "offers in excess of."  Bargain hunters need not apply.

My family has a strain of trailer living in its DNA.  My genes might be a good fit with this Britished-up mobile home in a trailer park.  Just 150,000 pounds.  About $250,000 (US).  Just a bit too dreary for me.

Or, I could live my own version of Coronation Street in this tiny two-bedroom row house (terraces, here) that looks as if it may have once served as public housing.  For a mere 250,000 pounds.  $410,000 (US).

And, if I wanted to live in a house styled more like those found in American suburbs, there is this "stunning home" (as the brochure describes it) for the equally stunning price of 735,000 pounds.  $1,210,000 (US).

You get the drift.  To my former Oregonian eyes, now acclimated to home prices in Mexico, the listed prices are knock-me-back high.  And, if I had looked around in London, as was my plan at one point, the prices would be astronomical.

Rent, you say?  Yes, I did look at that possibility.  After all, I am a renter in Mexico right now.  Have been for the last six years.

I looked for a place similar to mine.  Duplex.  Two bedrooms. 

In Abingdon, I could rent an unfurnished place (my Mexican rental is furnished) for just under 1,000 pounds a month.  Over $1,600 (US).  Plus utilities, fees, and taxes.

My place in Mexico is one-third of that -- and includes most utilities.

Looking back on what I might have done is always instructive.  If only to reassure myself that there is wisdom in the paths I have chosen.

There may be a cottage in a Cotswold village that has my name on it, but there is little chance I will be living in it. 

And that is fine with me.


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