Several years ago, when Husband and I were new to Ex-pat life, he came across Culture Shock for Australian Ex-pats in America. It’s a good read and many of the stages are similar to what American Ex-pats in México go through. Here in Mérida we see people in the various stages, it’s recognizable, we’ve been there too. I think that there are the five stages of buying a house in Merida too.
- The search for the perfect house. This portion often takes place online. Real estate websites are poured over daily. The NSA probably doesn’t review satellite photos with the same intensity and attention to detail. A future ex-pat on a house hunt is a determined being.
- The house is chosen and purchased, often, sight unseen. Sometimes the house is even bought online, but that is a special sort of madness reserved for the true believers.This is also a learning experience for the new ex-pat. Compra-Venta contracts, notarios, fidicomiso, and the current exchange rate are the subject of much discussion.
- The remodel begins, unless the buyer has bought a turnkey house, this is the most stressful part of the home owning process. People are asked “who did your house?”. Recommendations are sought, advice is given, the names of architects are bandied around, gossip about remodels gone bad are as tantalizing as the latest soap opera . INAH is trotted out, the monster under the bed for most historical remodels. Often, the ex-pat has romanticized ideas of Mexican style which INAH shoots down in the name of preserving historical accuracy. There is enough drama inherent in this to fill the Enquirer for a month.
- The remodel runs over. It seems like everyone that I know has been told that their remodel will take 6 weeks. That 6 weeks is directly related to the 15 days that the hardware store also claims as a restocking cycle. Sometimes the house is never finished, at least not by the original contractor.
- The house is finally finished. Life as an expat begins, or the expat realizes that this is not the perfect house, the perfect neighborhood and starts the search for the next house, which will be perfect this time.
Or you find yourself living in the Neverending Remodel, little details that you didn’t think of before, things that your friends did that you want to copy. At some point, either your house takes over your life or an intervention is staged, and you agree that you are done, except maybe for this one more thing…..
Have you been through the 5 stages of buying a house in Merida? Did you skip any steps? Do you have other steps to add to the list?