A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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When we spent a month in Guanjuato, I was more interested in finding out about its real estate than about that of other Mexican cities, because this charming city was then on our short list of Mexican places where we might like to live, part-time or full-time.

I first poked around on the internet (searching Guanajuato and “real estate” at google) and found some delightful old haciendas and tastefully decorated mansions, but 2 billion pesos is out of our price range, even with a good rate for the dollar. There were also houses and lots in and around the city at lower prices online, but a good rule of thumb is that the properties that get onto websites are targeted at relatively well-to-do people who aren’t in the area.

Local residents of a Mexican city wanting to buy a house, or other real estate, start talking to people they know.

So I did that too. I found out that Guanajuato real estate, much like back home, has gone way up over the past decades. Gone are the days of finding a livable house in a nice location here for under a thousand dollars, and perhaps even for under ten thousand dollars. I met  a local family here that had had their two-story home built for around seven thousand dollars, but that was some unspecified number of years ago.

I would guess that Guanajuato real estate might run a bit higher than in some other nice cities of Mexico, because this is such a lovely place and so popular with tourists,  Mexican as well as foreign. But that is just a guess.

Get the Chopper to Go Shopping

There’s a handy weekly publication coming out on Saturdays, available at newsstands around the city, which is an excellent place to start researching Guanajuato rentals, homes for sale, and land for sale. It’s called Chopper, which is pronounced “chow (to rhyme with show) PAIR.” The issue I bought recently cost 6 pesos (about 50 cents) and was full of articles on a variety of subjects. The classified ads were near the end. Chopper is in Spanish, but with a dictionary and a little help from a local friend, I was able to figure out what the ads meant.

Almost all the ads had telephone numbers to call, and some of the ads gave actual addresses. So phoning could be a challenge unless your Spanish is quite good. You could probably hire  someone  to help you at one of the language schools.

I happened to buy a late January issue, so it was probably more loaded with rentals than usual, as the University was resuming after a long holiday break. It appeared that many students pay about $50 US per month for their housing, with many of the ads specifying rooms or shared rooms for males or for females.

Moving up a cut from that, there did seem to be quite a range of rentals available, though most don’t give their price. Here’s an example of one that did:

Casa en Lomas, dos recamaras, sala-comedor, cocina, patio de servicio, DOS banos, jardin, cochera para DOS autos techada, renta $7,000. Tel. XXX-XX-XX.

My translation of this would read: House in Lomas, 2 bedrooms, living room-dining room combination, kitchen, service patio [place to scrub and hang up clothes], two bathrooms, garden, roofed parking for two cars, for rent, 7,000 pesos per month [about $630 at the time], phone.

The houses for sale began with one at about $8,000 US. I didn’t go look at any, and I suspect anything that low is likely to be funky, or perhaps unfinished. (Obra negra literally translates as “black work”… a friend explained it means uncompleted.) There were a few in the $20,000 US range as well. I noticed some nice-sounding ones in the $50,000 US to $80,000 US range. An American resident I spoke with had bought a house here several years ago, and she commented that when she had looked at a recent Chopper, she had been shocked to see how much prices had gone up.

As for land, when prices were given, it was either a total amount or per square meter. One square meter equals 10.8 square feet… a meter is about 39 inches. The cheapest I noticed was a place that advertised lots for your country house at the entry to a particular ranch. They were offering 1,000 square meter lots for 40,000 pesos, about $3,600 US. I have no idea what add-on fees there would be, what it would cost to get utilities or even if you could, let alone where that ranch is. But I did think it was interesting, to get a sense of the lowest prices.

I comment about the lowest prices I noticed, not that the places would be anything desirable necessarily, but they might be. Mexican policy for foreigners who apply for a FM-3 visa to live in the country on income from outside Mexico is evidently that if you own a home, they will require you to show half the amount of income you otherwise would. It’s a variable amount (even varies from one Mexican consulate to another in the U.S.) but is somewhere around $1,000 US per month for one person, $1,500 per month for a married couple. So a low-cost purchase could be cost-effective in that way.

Rentals I Saw

I did look at a couple of rentals. I looked at a very cute apartment (attached house, really) for rent for 5,000 pesos a month, about $455 US, plus electricity. It was four levels, with three bedrooms, two baths, a nice though small living/room kitchen, and stupendous views from the top-level bedroom. It was empty and could have been rented for something more with some furniture. It came with parking. This place was in a hilly neighborhood some 15 minutes walk to downtown. Later, someone asked me for photos of it, and I got a chance to take some. They are on this page about a Mexican unfurnished apartment.

I also saw an apartment in a convenient location, just off the downtown area, a few blocks from the market. One large room, one small bathroom, and quite a large kitchen cost about $90 a month, with electricity running an extra $25 or $30 a month. The place was heated with electricity, and at some 6700 feet in elevation it can get cold here. This place was located on a cute little callejon (walking street) — you’d get your exercise hauling your groceries up the hill! — and while I was there, I noticed that you could hear the pedestrians going by and talking. It didn’t have a lot in the way of windows. I was told that for about $150 a month, there was a much larger and nicer apartment on the the next floor, and repairs were underway on it.

Some Canadians we met told us that they had stopped in Dolores Hidalgo, a city about the same size as Guanajuato and about an hour away. They had noticed a development of new houses going in and were curious. A friendly security guard showed them around. He said that the houses sold for (or maybe began at) 240,000 pesos, under $22,000. They were 3-bedroom, 2-bath, with nice kitchens and an upstairs balcony you could use year round. I didn’t get directions to the development but the Canadians said that they were down a major road a ways from a huge statue. You could get into the center of town via bus or combi (van). This couple had been traveling for months in Mexico and said that they had seen many other developments like this going in all over the country. I didn’t think to ask them about the size of yards, probably small or maybe just patios.

There’s a lot to learn about Guanajuato real estate! This is at least a start.

19 Responses to “Guanajuato Real Estate”

  • The information is this article for house purchases is VERY out-of-date! Any house that is habitable in a neighborhood that you would be willing to live in would run about US$50,000, and you'd expect to put any $10,000 to $20,000 on improvements. I have bought and remodeled 5 houses here, so I have a pretty good understanding of the market.
    Rental prices in the article are more accurate, although the chance of finding a nice rental through the Chopper are quite small.

  • Rosana says:

    Thanks very much for the update, Mike. It's been a few years since we were there!

  • henry ponce says:

    hola encontre esta pagina, he estado intentando encontrar bienes y raices en la ciudad de Guanajuato pero no encuentro mucha informacion … saben de alguna agencia que me puedan recomendar.- saludos!!! henry Ponce

  • Rosana says:

    No se, Henry.

  • Anonymous says:

    Guanajuato’s main attraction is the architecture and style in the city. Its actually built on a creek, he has an old Spanish baroque atmosphere in its streets. What most of our customers like Guanajuato, is that it is a real Mexican city, it is not like going to a resort in the Caribbean or Pacific,is addressed by a real estate company located in the city.

  • Rosana says:

    Agreed, it is very different from a resort. Guanajuato remains one of my favorite small Mexican cities!

  • Anonymous says:

    Guanajuato hard to navigate if they are not healthy. However, housing prices in some neighborhoods of the city are 15 to 20 percent per year.Six years ago we saw what we thought was a house of proportion mansion.Sells for $ 75,000. With a little work it could be a source of income by renting rooms..

  • Rosana says:

    Hard to navigate is right! A lot of the hills are very steep. We spent a month on the edge of town. It was an easy walk down to the center of things but back up was something else again.

  • Victor says:

    Thank you.  I am looking to move out of CA. because it is too expensive and I am looking to retire in a few years.  I have been to Guanajuato a few times and have always loved it.  Thanks for the into to the real estate picture.

  • Rosana says:

    It’s a bit out of date now… haven’t been there in several years.

  • Nanci Curry says:

    This is very interesting. We’re moving to Guanajuato in a couple of weeks and still are in need of a realtor. We’re interested in rental properties – can anybody help?

  • Rosana says:

    Nanci, there are forums for all parts of Mexico on mexconnect.com — that could be a good start. Enjoy! It’s a lovely city.

  • Localcookbook says:

    Hi.
    Would you still buy in Guanajuato ????

  • Rosana Hart says:

    No, I personally wouldn’t buy anywhere in Mexico now.

  • Jenny Atkins says:

    Why wouldn’t you buy in Mexico. Need to get out of crazy US. I hoped that Mexico would be a good alternative.

  • SJC2Dominguillo says:

    Umm… it’s never a good idea to go buy real estate in a place you don’t know. Go there and rent for a while and see what you think. The Mexican culture is very different from ours and many people love it but others are not a good fit.

  • jim says:

    I am wondering if anyone has any new information about real estate in the city of Guanajuato. The listing on line seem to be geared to gazillionaires-as expensive as San Francisco! I’d appreciate a referral to a reputable agent there or a site with reasonably-priced (between $100k-$300k) listings. Hablo español. Gracias.

  • SJC2Dominguillo says:

    I think you’ll have better luck when you are there, as the online stuff is targeted more at expats.

    Also try http://www.mexconnect.com/forums/

    Best,
    Rosana

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