10 Tips for Moving To Merida

Not to waste your time, here are our 10 tips for securing an apartment in Merida, MX followed by our story of finding permanent (1 year) housing there.

10 Tips for Moving to Merida

  1. Identify exactly what you want.
    • number of bedrooms and baths
    • number of mini-splits (air conditioning units)
    • Locations you want to stay in. Generally, there are 3 main areas foreigners stay.
      1. The Norte area: The Montes (Montecristo, Montes de Ame, Montebello, Montejo, Montecarlo…), Buenavista, Benito Juarez, San Ramon Norte, Altabrisa….are surrounded by bars, restaurants, high-end malls…
      2. Las Americas & Caucal – are on the outskirts of Merida but offer very cheap and large, beautiful housing. Both are about 20 minutes to ‘Centro’ and both are somewhat isolated.
      3. Centro: which is the center of Merida, not to be confused with ‘City Center.’ This is the older, higher priced, colonial style architecture tourist usually come to see. It’s tourist central.
  2. Ask for the contract. Get a copy of the contract ahead of time (don’t allow yourself to be rushed into signing), interpret it (google translate!!!), and attain complete knowledge of what you are signing. There are no regulations for real estate in Merida; an agent can legally walk away with you money if you surrender it to them. They will offer to hold the property for you if you place a deposit down (“because they go really fast” they will say). If it goes it was not meant for you. Don’t be a #gringo (ignorant foreigner), this is not America, they can keep your money. No $$ until you are receiving the keys.
  3. Accept no promises. Lots of places promised to install, fix, perform maintenance, clean…. after they received the deposit. Smells like BS, because it is. If the owner does not care about the property prior to your move in, they will not care after your move-in. We ran into this a lot here.
  4. Know your paperwork and liabilities. You will sign the eviction papers upon move in as a part of the contract in Merida. This is standard.
  5. Check the House Over:
    • Internationally speaking, plumbing is generally not too good. Run the facet and flush the toilet at the same time and check the suction power.
    • In Merida there is a lot of mineral build up on faucets so make sure the water pressure is something you can live with.
    • Also run the shower and see if you smell sewage. Once water hits dried sewage it will give off a strong scent. If you smell it ask yourself if you want to smell it for the duration of your stay.
    • Check the fans to make sure they are sufficient at full speed.
    • Check outlets.
  6. Check and verify amenities. Check what was stated and what is written into the contract. Our wifi was advertised for our property, upon preliminary review of the contract it was not there. We asked our agent and now we have some strong wifi*.
    • Check that amenities work….if you have a washer or a blender included in your contract make sure it is in running order.
      • Note: when a property says they offer wifi – our preference is to have dedicated internet not community wifi for the complex or apartment community. Be sure to check. we’ve noticed two levels of wifi here: slow and fast. Landlords are willing to boost internet speeds to close the contract. A great negotiating point.
  7. View your home more than once. Be sure to see the house a second time prior to signing. Emotions run high when you are looking. We happily passed on a property that we loved initially when we went back to view it and we were turned off by some different features.
  8. Check for water damage. Merida is a humid city and if you don’t like to smell of mildew or rotting walls (smells like old library books) check for water damage. Touch the walls see if they feel cold, look for water stains that have been painted over by windows, doors, and under AC units.
  9. Know who will be managing the property. Phone numbers and all manners of contact. If possible speak to neighbors about maintenance. We had a potential neighbor tell us they were living with a backed-up toilet for a few weeks and was not able to get the maintenance person to come out….and this property look good to us and was a possible contender.
  10. Be patient! Be prepared to seek out the perfect home for you. We had to get another Airbnb to extend our search to find our perfect home.

Our Story

For us, finding an apartment in the Yucatan has taken longer than any other place. It hasn’t been hard, but our desires have grown with our travels and we did not want to settle for anything this time (price, amenities, or location) around. Finding an Airbnb was easy, ordering food and getting around town were both easily navigated and pretty straight forward; but locating permanent housing with the things we wanted took us like 4 weeks.

Here are the things we came looking for:

  • A/c in bedrooms and living room
  • 2 bedrooms, 2 bath
  • ample space (>90m²  /968 ft²) -s/n I love how we think metric now
  • in a pedestrian upscale neighborhood (surrounded by stores and shops)

    Our Mexican Casa
  • property with some amenities included
  • rent under $500/ month

So, this list was not unreasonable but we were told that this is high season now (August) so the pickings are slim and it is a sellers market. All of the realtors use the same bag to close quickly. We found this to only be partially true. We saw many homes that met our basic requirements and quite a few impostors that fell very short.  There was only a short list of properties that met our requirements, were well taken care of and were in our price range.

 The Standouts were the homes that were managed by the owners.

  • Proud owners
    • The owners were present at the showings
    • The owners were key in promotion and showing of the property

Trash Properties some common denominators of properties we did not like were:

  • Properties were unkept (dead cockroaches on the floors, grass uncut, obvious minor repairs not done, generally in a state of igaf (I don’t give a fuq condition)
  • Full of promises to add amenities after we gave a deposit
  • Multiple realtors tried to show the same property
  • Owners not involved

Generally speaking the properties here are beautiful but unkept.

Things to Know: Merida Property Market

There is no standard MLS (multiple listing service)so multiple realtors show the same properties. Note: the properties that made our final list were only shown by one realtor. Also, there are no certifications or requirements to become a realtor here in Merida so anyone can decide to become one. The only regulations we ran into were ones to benefit owners. We did not find any rental rights or rental regulations here…. The point is to be weary of anything that looks too good to be true. Only exchange money for keys and a contract!

We enlisted the help of 12 realtors to locate our property using websites such as:

Also, to note, we walked neighborhoods that we wanted to live in (the Montes…) in the evenings (because it is hot af here) and took note of the listings that we saw which helped a lot!

Standard rental procedures in Merida:

  • 1 month rent
  • 1 month contract/ lawyer’s fee (can negotiate to reduce to $5000 which is the cost of the notary where you sign the contracts at .. aka the lawyer’s office)
  • 1 month deposit if you have a guarantor (aval*) or 2 months if you have no aval.

*aval – cosigner who owns property in Merida.

That’s all y’all. If you have any questions please feel free to ask! #openbook over here.

 

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