• Michaela & Ricardo

First Steps For Moving To Lake Chapala

Updated: Apr 14



Every day we receive questions asking for advice on various topics regarding making the move to Lake Chapala. I love responding to all your questions and welcome you all to reach out to us at any time.

Following is a typical type of question that we receive and my answer to them:

I have been watching many of your informative YouTube videos and found them very interesting and helpful. I am thinking of coming to Lake Chapala to stay for a month and see how I like it. I do not speak Spanish so moving to a new country seems a bit overwhelming.

I am single, 62, ready to retire and looking for an area that I can feel comfortable and call home.

You featured a house on $217,000 US that looked wonderful to me. It had lots of murals and beautifully established gardens. I don’t know if it is in an area that I would feel safe but it looked wonderful to me.

I am looking for some advice on what you think may be helpful options. I have a house I would need to sell in Atlanta,GA. I too am a Realtor, and would need to get rid of 35 years of things. I am willing to do so because I would like to retire in a place where my financial future is more reliable.

Being alone, I do feel I need help with many things. I see you offer that and wondering how you might help. Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks for reaching out and for your kind words about my videos. I like to be informative without all the fluff, because after all, expatriating to a new country is serious stuff.

You are like many people so you are not alone. You would like to get out of the states but don't know where to begin. You see this heaven that so many people talk about, just across the border, but don't know how to go about getting there or even if this is for you. This is why so many people are finding our retirement seminars so helpful. We give you all the information you need to make an informed decision to make the move.


The home you noted is located in Riberas del Pilar, a large residencial area between San Antonio and Chapala. This is a safe area and is close to good restaurants and shopping.

The first thing you need to do is come on down and check the area out. Try to stay 2 weeks if you can, or longer, and see if it is for you. There are many B&B's and Airbnb's to stay at.

While speaking Spanish is definite asset, it is not absolutely necessary. Everyone starts somewhere and as long as you have the willingness to learn and try, you will be just fine here. There are plenty of concierge services if needed for helping you with the various bureaucratic tasks.

Seems like the thing you need to do in the meantime is to start seriously clearing out all your stuff. It took me about 1/2 a year in total (3 months and then I went at it again for 3 months) and I still have a bit of stuff in Canada to deal with. It may be the most difficult part of your move to Mexico, both emotionally and physically. But if you are mentally prepared to do so, the sooner you get started the better. Think about what, if any, of the items you want to bring to Mexico with you. Once you are finished you will know if you are in the "small move" category or the full "household move" category.

You'll might also need to consider selling your home in the states as all sales here are "cash only"

Once you have decided that Lake Chapala is right for you then you need to start thinking about a residency visa. Temporary or Permanent? There are different qualifications for both and some minor differences on what you can do when living here.

Think of the whole process as STEPS. Have a plan, do the steps in order. Often you cannot move ahead to another step before finishing the first. For instance, many people would like to buy a car but don't have the proper visa or paperwork to do so. This can lead to frustration but if you know in advance the documents you need and the order that you need to complete them in then the whole process becomes much easier. (at least less stressful)

Our goal is to give you all the information you need. If you have questions please let us know.


Michaela & Ricardo are your FULL SERVICE Real Estate Agents. Along with our Retirement Seminars, our over 20 years of combined experience Lakeside, and our network of area Professionals, we help guide you to from beginning to forever in your Retirement Journey to Lake Chapala, Mexico.

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