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#1 Neilan

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:36 AM

Hello my name is Neilan (Neil for short will work)I am from Oklahoma. I sold almost everything I own so I could make another one of my dream's come true. Whats that you ask? Yes I want to live full time in Cozumel. So I am buying a lot and building my house in Cozumel. So I will be asking questions and adding my input experiences etc. Hope to meet some of you soon! Will be on the island on April 2nd let the fun begin.
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#2 Coz2wonder

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:43 AM

Welcome aboard.

Asking questions FIRST is the best way to not repeat some of the mistakes we have all made B)
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#3 Carey

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:42 PM

Welcome, Neilen

You've come to the right place for help re building. Lot of people here have done it. We've built two large homes here and just completed a huge 3 meter high enclosure wall and a garage. The last was in record time with our absolutely wonderful builder, Bernadino. I can't recommend him highly enough to anyone that wants it built strong, fast and to last pretty much forever. Fair pricing too and the electrician plumber of the crew, Bernadino's son, Mario, speaks perfect English. Personally, I can't imagine using anyone else.
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#4 cvchief

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:58 PM

I always finding exciting to hear people like you Neilen taking that REALLY big step. I look forward to hearing your experiences!
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#5 Charles

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:31 PM

Just curious; How much time have you spent in Cozumel?
What made you decide you would like to live here full time? It is usually suggested that a good investment is to live here NOT on vacation for at least three months, but six months is more realistic. Renting for a period allows you the get a feel for the island and insight into different neighborhoods. Good luck
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#6 Carey

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 09:13 AM

Yes, I would concur with that suggestion. It is one we always give to new people thinking of taking the plunge. There are a lot of very significant cultural differences here some of which may annoy the hell out of you over time. Also there are a lot of inconveniences--from very serious stuff like the current inability of one gringo resident to receive blood for a life threatening condition to small things like laptop computers costing 3 times what they do in the states and Miracle Whip is usually impossible to find.

Some people are very good at rolling with 'the punches' and the perks of living here make up for the bad stuff. But some people who have invested here are kinda sorry they did after awhile, I think. Best way to make sure which category you fall into is to spend at least 3 months full time here living an ordinary, day to day, non-vacation-mode lifestyle. I would add that at least one if not more of those months should be in low season unless you will have the wherewithal to ditch during the hot humid months, mosquito rainy season months and hurricane season.
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#7 Neilan

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 03:09 PM

Just curious; How much time have you spent in Cozumel?
What made you decide you would like to live here full time? It is usually suggested that a good investment is to live here NOT on vacation for at least three months, but six months is more realistic. Renting for a period allows you the get a feel for the island and insight into different neighborhoods. Good luck


Well I was there about all of 8 hours I think before I had to be back on the cruse ship. I thought I got a good fell for the island in that amount of time.
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#8 cvchief

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 03:31 PM

Wow. Your story will be interesting!
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#9 Carey

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 03:43 PM

Spend some more time here first, Neilen. It is a charming, interesting and laid back place is so many ways. But read the postings on these forums and you'll get some idea about the down sides. I would do some more investigation in person here before taking the leap.

For one thing, it's not particularly cheap compared to some other areas of Mexico.
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#10 Charles

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 07:29 PM

Well I was there about all of 8 hours I think before I had to be back on the cruse ship. I thought I got a good fell for the island in that amount of time.


Please tell us you are joking. I know of two situations currently where a single and a couple are trying the end their worst and most expensive vacation of their lives. These were people that had made multiple trips to the island (as tourists) over years, spending at least a week or two here each time and then doing what they thought was a lot of research and preparation. The all the loved the water and the beach and that alone would carry the day.

Sadly the couple sold their business, both parties sold their homes, liquidated cars, motorcycles, furniture every last thing they didn't plan to bring with them for their new lives living in paradise. Both sets completely crashed and burned after less than five months. The majority of their financial assets are tied up here in homes and cars that may take years to sell even at a significant loss. One got a significant discount on the house they bought, the previous owner sold at a loss when they decided it was not for them. Since this person got a "good deal" they spent a ton of money fixing, improving and remodeling and they are ready to sell at a significant loss.

What is sad is they didn't heed basic advice and live here for even three months, although six would be better, more realistic to begin to get a feel for the island and island life. Sadly they were so sure of themselves, they have nothing left, no foundation left in the States and until they somehow manage to sell their homes of which there are many that have been on the market for years, they lack the means of trying to getting established again. The one that decided to buy into a failing business took less than three months to realize he was throwing good money after bad. Was real sorry they bought a house expecting that the business would start turning a profit if they poured enough money down that drain. One is hoping their five month experiment may only have cost them $90,000 dollars. The other, if and when they can sell the house, they're hoping their five months of bad business planning will cost only $150,000 dollars.

Those are expensive vacations at $15-30,000 dollars per month. And they were working, their days were often filled with aggravation and stress, although they did both have beach time, it only took about two months for them to realize they had made a mistake and another two months to admit it. Here's hoping they somehow manage to get back the $200-$250K they hope to get back one day so they can buy again, not rent in the States.

My advice, make sure you buy a round trip ticket.
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#11 Coz2wonder

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:58 AM

What you describe Charles does happen here, but it happens far more in the states. Look at the job and housing markets.

Slow and steady is the key.

Never buy anything without legal representation.

Good luck to you.
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#12 J belle

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:55 PM

Renting first is certainly not bad advise, but not the only approach I think. To me, outcome is more predictable if you have lived outside the us before in warm climate non European counties for extended period of time (and liked it, of course), you are at or close to retirement and don't need to start a business or relocate children, and/or you are considering living only part of the year there and can maintain some modest living arrangement with or near stateside family. Doesn't hurt if you already know you enjoy studying and sometimes stumbling over Spanish. Plus,some unanticipated risk factors like unexpected health problems of yourself or a loved one "back home" you don't get a test run on by renting first. Not that you can't be incredibly happy here if none of those factors apply to you-of course you can! It's a wonderful place just to be. One of our guests told us the best part of being in cozumel is "just the air."
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#13 Freezin' Canuck

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 04:34 AM

Thanks for all your advice, pro and con. It is extremely valuable for those of us still contemplating living part of the year in Cozumel.
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#14 Freezin' Canuck

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 04:36 AM

Thank you all for the balanced advice that the forum provides, and various, if not divergent, points of view from people who have "been there" (living that is). Been coming to Cozumel for more than ten years, but always as tourists, and plan to spend even more time in the future. It has always taken a cattle prod to get us back on the plane to Canadian winters. We are seriously weighing the pluses and minuses of buying versus renting, plus other factors (medical, language, etc.) and all the advice you provide is/has been enormously helpful as we make up our minds going forward. For us, as we get older, the winters are the chief factor although this past year has been the mildest and shortest on record (can we all say climate change??). For the past week, for example, temperatures have all been plus 20 C-more like Cozumel, snow is all gone, ice almost gone from the lake ( I don't know what this will do to the maple trees and water table that depend on the snow pack), and can switch over from the well to lake water soon, and it's not spring until tomorrow. Cozumel is relatively accessible from here although who knows how fuel prices and the general economy will affect air fares in the future. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks again for all that you do for others.
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#15 Coz2wonder

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:02 PM

I am trying to remember when I first found this site...many moons ago I am sure.

Like you, we also came here frequently as tourist and the love fest began.

With many questions asked from the folks who live here, and being pointed to the right contractors, and lawyer we took the plunge 9 years ago.

We purchased property here, and sat on it until we where absolutely sure this is where we wanted to put down roots.

At first we had grandiose house plans drawn up, and then started to get a reality check on the cost, and maintenance on such a big plan. So, we started really slow with just building the pool house, decks, and pool.

We rented a house in town, so that we could stay close to the build, and where able to change things before everything was frozen in concrete.

We never did build the BIG house, and have now plans to expand the pool house a LITTLE more.

As for medical, we purchased AXA medical/dental/eye, and prescription drug policy which at our age runs about 1,800 usd's a year. My husband has the same policy with an international rider on it that will cover him anywhere in the world.

There certainly are challenges living in any foreign country, but with the right frame of mind, patients, and never getting in over your head, it is truly an adventure.

9 years and still counting.
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#16 Neilan

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 07:58 PM

Yes I was jokeing LOL if you know of a place for sale let me know I have a few friends looking also... And I don't like the way my deal is turning out
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#17 Carey

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 06:54 AM

Well, you got us good, Neilen! Since you're still looking, you might want to check in with Coz2Wonder's husband, Greg Czora. driftdiver@starband.net is the address I have for him. Hope that's current??

Anyway, Greg will have access to everything that's for sale on the island that is listing with a real estate company and I can personally vouch for his honesty. He'll know about lots, too

Buying land directly from Mexican sellers Mexicans tends to be a trial here. There is a tendency to raise the asking price after the buyer has agreed to former terms. And sometimes they just troll -- putting up se vende signs and waiting for someone to offer an absolutely outrageous price. There are numerous lots in town with se vende signs on them that have been rotting there for 12 years or longer.

We bought both our lots from Mexicans. The first went quickly and easily as the seller was a local no-nonsense business owner. The second, the corner lot next to our first property, we tried and failed to buy numerous times over a 12 year period but the owners wouldn't sell. Too many hkids wanting to split the pot. Finally got it last year when we had the wherewithal financially to pay a high enough price so it could be divided 6 ways and make everyone in the family happy.
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#18 Charles

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 01:20 AM

Yes I was jokeing LOL if you know of a place for sale let me know I have a few friends looking also... And I don't like the way my deal is turning out


There are hundreds of houses for sale. Many are listed with Realtors, some are direct deals. You need to do a hell of a lot of home work if you want to successfully buy here. If you joke with us, why should we do anymore than return the favor in kind. Again I suggest having an attorney. Be aware that there are no laws regarding disclosure, a handful of real estate agents will give honest answers to direct questions, but most will not volunteer the information you need to know. I will give a tip, don't buy a house in areas that are prone to flooding. People hate it if they get a foot or more of water after a big rain, really messes up the furniture. LOL
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#19 Carey

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 07:14 AM

This gent is interested in land and building I believe he said.
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#20 beachgirl

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 07:45 AM

Our plan has been like this:
20 years multiple vacations a year to the island(we know vacation is NOTHING like living there)You can't spend your day in the bars and party all night as you do on vacation and expect there to be no down fall later. (although it was fun while we did it!)

About 7 years ago we started the transition list and if all fell into place we would make the move. We started bringing extra home goods and have friends who so kindly have stored our things. We sold our home here in the states, did tons of gleeming the expat forums and took all info to heart. Some, as here have been invaluable in our choices. We found a 6 month lease through some US residents who have a home there, and will be there in a few weeks.

There are so very many little things that can turn into big things if you don't prepare before getting on island. I find it is much easier to take care of things here such as what banking options work best for you to phone service, etc.... Thak you all our friends who have been so supportive!

We feel renting first will give us the feel we need to make the right choice for the future. I agree that living at least a year first before committing to permanent housing is the best choice..at least for us. Our rental is in the Chorpus Christi neighborhood and feel this will be a good transition from the states before we find something in the city elsewhere. We have stayed with friends in other neighborhoods and really feel that is our best option later. We will take our time and take it day by day. If owning a home later is in the plan than we will be so much better prepared.

We are not wealthy but have lived within our means all our lives. By doing this we are able to go for "live the dream" at this stage of our lives. I understand there will be unexpected surprises and by staying focused and liquid we will be able to handle each as it comes. We live by.....no worries, no problem.... as it just is what it is. We'll deal with it.

Everyone of us has approached this dream in different ways and those to come will do so also. I wish each and every one the best of fortune and luck. Those who take this path are truly living and isn't that all that really matters in the end?

My favorite saying: "You only do what you know how to do and when you know better you do better."
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