Renting vs. Buying – Part Two
Okay – Continuing on with the question as to buy or rent.
We relegated, in this budget, $600 toward monthly living expense. If you can find a home in the U.S. or where ever you’ve decided to retire, for $600 a month to rent, then you are fine…and you can find a home, with just a little looking for that amount! Maybe not in every city, but certainly in most places!
Renting relieves you of paying property taxes, a lot of the upkeep, responsibility to stay in one place, etc. Renting also gives you no assurance that your rent will stay the same month after month. A landlord can raise rent just about anytime they wish. After all, it was their money that they paid a financial institution that enables you to have a place to rent and live.
You could also use that $600 to put toward buying a house for yourself.
And eventually, that home would be paid for and you would have no more monthly payments. Of course, the responsibility of keeping the property up is then up to you.
One more scenario:
Suppose you own your home, but you could use a little bit more income to be more comfortable in your retirement. You can sell your home, put the money into an investment place that will give you some income, hopefully without ever touching the principle. Then, again you will be paying rent, and will have no real assurance of being able to control that cost. However, if you can find rent that is a lot less than you had budgeted, such as in some areas in the States and in a lot of places in Mexico, then, you just might want to give up the responsibility and enjoy the freedom that also comes from not owning property. And even if you have never owned, and have always rented, why do you think you should change that whole situation in retirement?
The way to find the best places to rent, for the least amount, especially in Mexico, is to drive and walk the streets!
Talk to everyone you meet, ask them if they know of anyone needing to rent their property. Decide on the area or town you want to live in or near, then, get busy combing the neighborhoods. Stop in the markets – stop in the Internet cafes – ask them about rentals. A lot of stores have listings hanging around their entrance – ask the people there. Word of mouth beats every other way of finding a really affordable home to rent (And it’s a good thing to do if you want to purchase too). You should of course, check the chat groups on the Internet of the areas you might be interested in, and the newspapers from those areas. If you can’t see yourself going around and talking with the natives and other Expats, and feel the need for a realtor or an agent, I doubt very much if you are going to find the very best bargains, but they do fill a need. Of course, the buildings with “Se Renta” (for rent) signs are always another option and should be included with all the above.
Especially in Mexico, where natives usually do not have the money to purchase a home, renting is the usual outcome.
That simply means there is going to be a lot of rentals – all types of rentals – available, almost all the time. Even though banks in Mexico are now offering financing, the interest is almost always way above what we think of as acceptable – or even considerable and what Mexicans can afford.
You should make sure you know whether the rent includes water, electric, etc. Have all of that spelled out specifically and clearly before you agree to rent anything. There is also the possibility of renting a house, finding out you really like the location and the structure, and asking the owner if there is a possibility of buying that home. After all, if you’ve lived there for a while, you know all the good parts of the home and the bad – and usually the bad can easily be corrected.
I am so sorry there just is not one perfect answer for everyone concerning renting or buying.
Just like every other aspect of our lives, we are all unique…with different wants, different needs. Each person’s situation is different. You can always change your mind, especially if you decide to rent first. Renting first is usually a good idea, because then, you can do your searching for a home to buy, if you decide to do so, in a relaxed, unhurried manner. Get your budget set up – see what is going to work for you.
EMAIL FROM JANE:
Your site is like an encyclopedia for me as I have been preparing over recent years for retirement, and as I think about each topic I need to address. I am following closely your guidelines for preparation, like the ones you mention in this recent post. Have been very, very helpful as I plan.
Next July, I will turn 62 and will begin getting social security. At that time, it’s my plan to move to Mexico! Yippee! I raised my children by myself (no child support) and worked hard at a career in order to do so. They are grown and successful and now it’s time to do something for myself that I’ve always wanted to do.
The three of us have spent lots of driving time in Mexico, on vacation, so we’re very familiar with the culture and love it. I speak Spanish moderately well and my children speak it fluently, and we’re excited about the times they’ll come to visit.
I have read your posts from folks (like Jerry) who are living very well on less than $1,000/mo. I have no assets, no retirement, and will be living simply on my social security. I’m very frugal and know I can make it work! Seems like I hear the most about lower costs near Lake Chapala (away from the Ajijic area. I am thinking, though, that I would like to live closer to Mazatlan. Do you think there is a little nearby village that would have lesser living expenses than living right in the city of Mazatlan?
You do a wonderful service for so many people. Thanks for your help.
Addendum from Barbie – I have not heard from Jerry for quite a while now – last I knew, Jerry left Mexico and was living in Thailand.
Addition Feb 3, 2013 – the amount you need to move to Mexico has changed – see – http://consulmex.sre.gob.mx/detroit/index.php/info-english