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#1 Felipe1

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 05:32 AM

Hi everyone, my name is Felipe. I have been visiting Cozumel for about 17 years now and have dreamed of retiring there. My wife, son and daughter in law visited last week and spent a week at the Cozumeleno. I met a local named Jimmy who works there and he offered to show me a few homes for sale by the locals. We were on vacation and did not plan on house shopping so he will send me pictures and we will plan a trip soon just to seriously look at homes. I will retire in two months and from what I've seen here we can live much better there than we can here in Texas. Of course I have a lot of questions, but I'm browsing the topics here first and finding many of the answers.
My son was enthralled with the island but I tried to exlain to him that the reason we were having so much fun was that we were all together. It may be different once we move away from the family and grand kids permanently. Not knowing anyone other than a few mariachis could be kind of lonely at first. Also, my wife is a huge phone person and I don't know how she could call the states for a reasonable amount of money unless there is computer software that would enable our somewhat computer challenged family to interact via the internet.
I'm glad to meet all of you and look forward to learning more.
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#2 jic811

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 06:39 AM

Get internet, which is very good, majic jack or vontage and go. I have two Majic jacks and works great!
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#3 liverbird

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 07:52 AM

With regard to the phone question, I have both Magic Jack and Vonage and they are both really good and have their advantages and disadvantages.

Magic Jack is great for travelling, if you have your laptop with you, or are going to be in front of a computer screen a lot. If someone calls you and you are not on the computer, you won't know about it.

Vonage is really good, and I would say a better option for a more permanent base. This is mainly because you can hook the (small) box up to a modem/router and plug in a proper telephone and it will then work in the same way as a traditional home phone. Like Magic Jack, you pick a telephone number with the dialling code from where you want so that calls from the US to you and vice versa a local calls. It really is a great system.

This may all sound complicated if you are not conversant with computers but both systems are in fact really easy to set up. You would have no problem finding someone to help you.
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#4 Carey

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 02:39 PM

Take great care indeed in who you work with re purchase of a house or lot. You can't imagine the number of ways you can be royally screwed here. It's not the US and there is little or no protection from hoaxes and frauds and misrepresentations involving real estate. Many of us have had the experience of trusting a charming local to help us with this kind of thing only to get badly burned. This is not to say Jimmy isn't a fine, upright guy. But buyer beware and, ultimately, if you decide to purchase something, you need a good lawyer in your court to be sure all the titles are clear and the work properly done. Heed me on this or you may live to regret it.

Second, do NOT purchase anything here until you've spent minimum of 3 months living on the island. And not in resort conditions which is what you've experienced so far. Rent a place in a neighborhood where you might actually end up living and see what it's really like. Sure there are a lot of good things about living here. But for some people, it just doesn't work.

There's a lot of social isolation if you don't speak Spanish, for example. The English speaking expat population is quite small and not very well organized.

It's very very hot and humid 6 months out of the year. Prices are NOT much cheaper than in Texas on a lot of things. The political atmosphere is decidedly unfriendly to foreigners who want to retire here and downright hateful to a non national that tries to get a paying job.

And then there's hurricane season where we get slammed but good every 3-5 years seems like.

That said, the people are really sweet, the water is beautiful and its a very interesting place to live.
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#5 Jim912

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 03:11 PM

Another phone option is Skype. It's two cents a minute to call the states. Computer to computer it's free. And we also purchased a Skype telephone number which is about $50 year. With your family living in Texas you can get one with a local area code. Your friends and family call that number and it rings on your computer in Cozumel.

My wife's family and our son can call and talk all day without a single charge. Works great.

Making friends, learning where the locals eat and socialize are all part of moving to a new area. Lots of great infomation on this board. Post or PM if you have questions.

And the others posters are right. Be sure and check the area thoroughly including the night life. If there is a bar with a loud band on the other side of your wall it could make for a lot of uncomfortable nights. And don't forgot to find out how bad your subdivision flooded?

As far as the cost of living you will find electricity about three times what it cost in Texas. Gas will be a little more but you won't use nearly as much. Propane is cheaper and labor is cheaper. Fresh foods are usually cheaper. Electronics are more expensive. Property taxes are not nearly as much.

The exchange rate certainly makes your dollar go farther but you will probably not see a tremendous cost savings if you keep up your same lfestyle especially at first.
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#6 diverdicozumel

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 09:52 PM

Please heed the warnings to live in the area you may purchase in. You MUST have an attorney review your documents and determine the condition of title. If you do not do this you will have YEARS of sleepless nights. The magic of the island will quickly fade when you find you have no recourse or control over anything! Do not give a down payment until you are totally satisfied with what your attorney advises.

Do not leave your "brains at the border"! Cozumel is NOT the US. Our developer actually believes stupid Americans deserve to be screwed!

Five years , 4 attorney's, lot's of gray hair, and a boatload of money later, we have title.

All that said, the reality of the thieves has not taken the thrill of our second home in paradise away. Best of luck to you.
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#7 Felipe1

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 05:08 AM

Thank you for all of the replies and good advice. I will for sure have a lawyer check everything out before we drop any money. Jimmy just suggested to see some of the locals houses before just going straight to a Realtor. He thinks that they mark things up a little too much. We live on the coast of Texas and got slammed real good by hurricanes Rita and Ike, took trees through the roof on both of them so we are no strangers to hurricanes. We were without power for months after Rita the devastation was so widespread. The only reason why we got power as soon as we did was because there is a sewage pump station at the end of our road and sewage was backing up in a mans pond in his yard.

I have friends that live in Paamul below Playa Del Carmen and have spent a few weeks with them, they also gave me some good advice. Getting the pets there seems to be a challenge, my wife loves her animals and so do I honestly. I have dove with a local there named Charro for many years, his son Carlos also has a friend with a house for sale. I have spent considerable time driving around the island so I am somewhat familiar with the place other than resort life but I'm sure there is a lot that I don't know. I will have a modest retirement from ExxonMobil, it would be a lot better if I stayed at work for 5 more years but that is not going to happen. From what we have seen at the supermarket, food, liquor and cigarettes are cheaper than Texas but the housing is pricey on the Realtors websites. There wasn't much for less than $70,000 and those weren't very attractive.

Just how bad does the storm surge get on the island? I know that Wilma slammed the island pretty bad.
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#8 Carey

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 09:56 AM

That's the good news. We don't get storm surge to speak of. The Yucatan Channel is ?? a mile deep -- very deep and becomes so very quickly so, unlike on the US Gulf Coast, water can't build up and come surging in. There was seaweed and debris two blocks back into town after Wilma. I live 3 blocks back and we saw nothing.

The ground water table rising is what you have to worry about. Heavy rain in low lying areas and you could get waist deep floodng. In Wilma we had no flooding in our house but our garden sat under 2 feet of ground water/rainfall for more than a week and killed most of the plants.

Another piece of good news. Power was restored to the downtown central area of Cozumel where I live 10 days after the storm passed. It was amazing.

On another subject, if you find a house on the island for $70,000 US it's going to be Waaaay back in the hood away from most of the amenities you will want. And it's either going to be tiny or it's going to be a gruesome fixer upper.

If you buy an older house that hasn't been completely renovated and preferably by a chilango from Mexico City or a US ex pat, plan to completely rewire everything from the ground up. The old wiring that was done here on buildings older than 15 years and less in some cases is Just Terrible. There are a lot of hairbrains running around the island calling themselves electricians that don't know their thumbs from their arm pits.
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#9 Willie

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 02:02 PM

I need to move to Cozumel and be an electrician..or maybe just an elctrician trainer. I have been doing electrical work since 1978 and teach electrical school for the company I work for now. I'm just kidding, but it sounds, and looks from what I have seen, that Mexican electricians are a bit lacking in thier workmanship and practices.
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#10 Coz2wonder

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 03:16 PM

Yucatan Channel (Caribbean Sea)is about 1,700 feet deep. On the east side, the shelf goes down about 3,000 feet.

Willie, you not far off from what Cozumel needs...Trade Schools.

We have a University here with 4 year Marketing Degree's...that might qualify you to work at DI as a sales clerk.

With all the kids here, and no expectations of learned skills, it is shocking that no one has done this before.

Just think of the trade schools in the states...how many, how diverse.

Can you imagine, Cozumel with a skilled, certified labor force...what a wonder opportunity for these kids.

I wish I had contacts in International Trade Schools, but that is not my skill set, or knowledge base...Somebody has got to see the wide open opportunity here.
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#11 Felipe1

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 01:43 PM

I was contacted by a Realtor from this site. We will be down in August to look at property.
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#12 Coz2wonder

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 02:26 PM

Go with an agent who has been recommended.
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#13 Felipe1

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 07:26 AM

Is there a list of recommended agents? I did a search here and didn't see one. I was contacted by a person from this site who has over 75 listings.
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#14 Coz2wonder

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 07:51 AM

My husband who is an agent here, does not troll the sites for clients, so it wasn't him.

Having 75 listings means...nothing.

It could be a real agent, working for a real company. It could be an "Independent" who has captured from the "real" agencies website listings, then they become a 3rd party in the mix.

It could be anybody? As you have stated, Jimmy at the hotel was ready to show you property.

If you are going to use a lawyer to review the documents, if it where me, I would use the lawyer for getting an agent who has creditability in the marketplace.
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#15 Felipe1

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 02:58 PM

Can you recommend a credible agent? Would your husband be willing to show us some property?
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#16 Coz2wonder

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 03:10 PM

I would like you to read page two of the following site...http://www.cozumellandlikegold.org/

It is a non-selling, objective information sheet about buying property in Cozumel.

The best thing you can do is collect the best information available, and then select the best person to represent your interest.

If you choose to select Greg, his contact information is as follows:

Greg Czora,who is a RE/MAX agent.

Greg@cozumelforsale.com

Or if local, 044-987-876-7667

RE/MAX website is: www.CozumelForSale.com
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The most important thing in life is not knowing everything, it's having the phone number of somebody who does!

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#17 Carey

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 11:07 AM

I would recommend Greg Corzo as well. He's honest and hard-working. Nice guy
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#18 Felipe1

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 04:56 AM

Thank you, I emailed Greg and hope to hear from him soon. I am a paramedic/firefighter at a large local refinery and will turn 55 this August. My friends all say that I'm crazy to retire at 55 from such a good paying job as the last 5 years add exponentially to my lump sum retirement. They really lure you to stay those last 5 years because you have the experience that they want and add a lot of money to your lump sum.

But... I'm tired of burying my friends and coworkers. We just buried a brother firefighter last week, 53 years old, never smoked, didn't drink yet he died of cancer. Three others have also died of brain cancer after working there along with many others that weren't on the fire brigade. A lot of really nasty chemicals go into the making of our gas and diesel. I'm getting out while I'm still alive, or while I still have some life left.

But, by leaving so soon my savings will only be a little over 600,000.00 dollars. My adviser will dump $50,000.00 in my "slush fund" that I can tap immediately and this will only leave me $2,100.00 a month off of the interest of the rest. I have three job offers to instruct and planned on teaching to make ends meet but finally talked my wife into moving to Mexico. From what I've seen on the real estate sites there, I'm wondering if we might not be better off looking in Paamul? I have friends there and the electricity is cheaper, perhaps the housing and land is also.

I have approximately $20,000.00 equity in our house, so added to the $50,000 we have $70,000.00 to shop with for a house. From what I've seen, that won't buy much of a house on the island unless you settle for a less than desirable neighborhood. I think that we could pay a house note after putting down a large downpayment and still live OK, but would Paamul be a better bet in my shape?
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#19 Carey

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 08:58 AM

Felipe

Come down here for three months minimum and live in a rented home back in town. Preferably come in a time frame that allows you to experience both the good and the bad weather we have here. (Good weather November through March or April) Keep very good track of your costs. Then make a decision about moving. You can also use that time here to really look at property both here and on the mainland. That is my advice.

You won't be able to find a job in Mexico. If your wife is Mexican, she can get a job but she'll be typically working 12 hours per day 6 days per week. And the pay will be considerably less than US minimum wage. Unless she goes into timeshare sales.

That's the reality. But come down and try things out. It could be you just need a long vacation away from the hell of your dangerous job at which point you'll rethink that teaching offer as a golden opportunity, one that doesn't pay what your other job did but one that at least allows you to continue to stockpile some money to offset what inflation will do to your savings over the next 35 years that you might live.
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#20 desmei

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:30 PM

Willie, when we were there in the spring, my husband said he'd love to move down there and open a garage (he's a lic. mechanic, both heavy duty and automotive)...but he looked around at the locals cars and the scooters with no lights and figured out really quickly that he'd end up starving! :lol: It's really too bad... *sigh*
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