Mexico at a Glance
Living in Mexico
As an expat in Mexico, you will form a multitude of contradictory impressions as you travel through vibrant cities and across the serene countryside. When planning your stay in Mexico, you needn’t be overwhelmed by the country’s cultural differences and diversity, however.
Living in Mexico is fairly cheap compared to many other countries. Of course, the cost of living depends largely on the location of your residency. When you decide to spend time living in Mexico, be sure to investigate which residential areas are best avoided. Crime levels are often higher in certain urban districts. Speaking to locals and other expats in Mexico will go a long way in figuring out the best place for you to settle down.
However, if you do not already speak Spanish, it is highly advisable to take the time to become at least proficient in the language in preparation of life in Mexico. It can be rather difficult to find a place to live with an insufficient command of the local language.
In lieu of learning Spanish, you can also consider hiring a real estate agent to help you get a good deal and avoid paying an unreasonably high rent while living in Mexico.
Agents usually know all the nice neighborhoods and are more than willing to assist foreigners living in Mexico with their house-hunting. It could be a good idea to talk to a few different real estate agencies to find the best rates. Agencies may list the same postings at different rates.
If you do indeed speak Spanish, newspaper ads and online searches present a cheaper alternative. These can be good sources for a lot of information on various types of accommodation, and this is a common approach to find apartments or houses. Scouring newspapers with classified housing sections, such as El Universal (website in Spanish only) could pay off.
Another way to find your dream home is talking to locals and visiting cafés and hangouts. Most Mexicans are very outgoing and will be happy to talk to you and help you out along the way.
For decades, Mexico has experienced a serious housing shortage in the bigger cities. Particularly lower income groups have suffered from this lack of affordable housing options, as is evidenced, for example, by the Neza-Chalco-Itza barrio in Mexico City, one of the biggest slums in the world.
In the past, different government agencies have supported the development of affordable housing for people living in Mexico. In 1974, for instance, the National Workers’ Housing Fund Institute began to provide loans to create new housing space for Mexican workers. This did, however, not improve the situation for low earners. Especially in urban areas such as Guadalajara, Mexico City, or Monterrey, the local housing shortage is still a big problem for people on a budget.
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