Everyone coming down to Lake Chapala wants to rent. Great idea! You absolutely should rent for a while and preferably in different places to get a feel for the different areas. But renting long term, just like buying, has it's own advantages and disadvantages associated with it. So what are these? What's good and what's bad about renting in Lake Chapala?
You get to try different neighborhoods: Probably the number one benefit to renting especially if you are considering buying. Neighborhoods vary widely in Lake Chapala from village life to living in the country, stand alone homes to gated communities. Each one has it's own different flavor. What's right for you?
Flexibility: Nothing is written in stone and you can choose your place and sign a lease for 1 to 12 months.
Live the high life: As a renter, you may be able to live in nicer neighborhoods where you couldn't possibility afford to buy.
Meet new friends: Every time you move you meet new neighbors, make new friends and learn first hand what it is like to live in that area.
Doesn't cost much: Renting is great because it doesn't require much money down. Depending on the length of time, at most you would be required to put down is first and last months rent and a damage deposit.
You still pay for many of the repairs: Unlike north of the border where the landlord is required to take care of the premises, here in Mexico, most small repairs and usage items fall to the renter to repair. This can vary widely depending on your landlord or management company, length of time renting and many other factors. Just be prepared that in many cases it is you who needs to call and pay for the plumber, electrician, etc.
Unfair rent increases: A common trait in Mexico is for landlords to jack up the rent substantially after the agreed upon term. They know that it is a hassle for many people to move and that chances are good you will pay the increase. There are no enforceable rent controls in Mexico
Be prepared to move: There is always the good possibility that the owner will sell or not renew your lease. In the current real estate market this could happen quickly. When renting, you always need to be prepared to move within a month or two.
Is that couch yellow? : Most accommodations come furnished so you have no choice in the the furniture and appliances. That noisy fridge could drive you crazy and the chairs in the kitchen could send you to the chiropractor weekly, buy unless you buy your own furniture, you are just going to have to live with it or move. Recent example: We had a cold snap this winter and there were many complaints on the web boards from renters who did not have a fireplace or space heater in their rental.
Landlords and management companies: Sometimes landlords and management companies can be hard to deal with or even impossible to find. When you run out of water or need immediate repairs, you are handcuffed to deal with the situation out of your own pocket.
May be difficult or impossible to make changes: When renting you are more or less stuck with what you got. Changing counter tops or flooring is usually (but not always) out of the question. I know many renters who put in a lot of their own money to make improvements but in many cases the improvements remain behind when you move. Note that in Mexico, however, improvements made by the renter that are movable, such as ceiling fans or faucets for instance, belong to the renter and you are allowed to take it all with you so long as the home is returned in original condition to the landlord.
You are throwing your money away: Whereas, owning a home gives you equity which you can resell and/or hand down to your children, renting provides you with nothing but a place to live one month at a time.
If you are still set on renting, check out my other blog on Where To Find Rentals in Ajijic. In there, I list all the rental agencies and real estate companies that do rentals. An invaluable resource!
I know this blog gave you a few things to think about and if you have any questions please let me know. If you enjoyed reading this please click on the share button below. I look forward to meeting you in beautiful Lake Chapala and when you are ready to start looking for a home of your own please give me a call. The right one is waiting just for you!