Sunday, September 12, 2010

About Us and the city of Merida

My name is Jay Blackshear. I live with my wife and two yougest sons in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. My family and I decided to move here after 3 years of due diligence. And I mean due diligence. While looking at Mexico we narrowed it down to four cities: Guadalajara, Guanajato, San Miguel de Allende and of course...Merida. We found that Guadalajara was too big for our young family, Guanajato was not quite modern enough and real estate in San Miguel de Allende was overpriced for what it offers. Merida is just the right size for us, modern enough for us to enjoy our lives and raise kids, and affordable enough for us to operate a small business in the states and live here with all of our needs met.

My professional background centers mostly around Real Estate Investment and Sales. After faith, family and friends, real estate is one of the few things I have done in life that I can say I have a degree of passion for. Since 2001 I have been involved in over 400 Real Estate transactions in roughly 15 states within the United States. During that time my experiences were centered around the REO foreclosure industry. Based on my experiences in the industry, I believe I can say with confidence that the real estate market in the Yucatan is stronger and healthier than anything in the USA. There are few if any appreciating markets in the US as we speak. On the other hand, Merida is an emerging market with appreciation of around 10% to 15% per annum. The growth here has been steady, safe and modern. 

Because of its geographic location (3 hours from Cancun/Playa Del Carmen), modern amenities and reputation for being the physically safest region in Mexico, Merida has seen some pretty consistent growth over the last decade. The population of our city is around 1.2 million but I can tell you it feels like it's about half that much. It just doesn't look or feel like a large city. And it is continuing to grow at a healthy rate. There are two groups of people buying homes here: 1)Expats mostly from the US and Canada and 2) Middle to upper class Mexican nationals who are relocating here for the many of the same reasons we moved here: It's affordable, modern, not too big's close to some of the best beaches in Mexico.

Prices in real estate here can range anywhere, in US dollars, from $40,000.00 to $2 Million and up. There is a very broad range. The cost of housing here is comparable with most of the Texas real estate market which just happens to be some of the most affordable real estate in the US. And I would say the overall cost of living here is about two-thirds of what it is in the state of Texas. If you are from California or New York it is at least half. The same applies to most Canadian cities and states.

Merida is a very safe city with modern amenities. We have police.... lots of them. Federal, State, Local, Military. We have it all. The government of Mexico takes preserving the safety of our region very seriously. Tourism is big business for Mexico. Progresso is a little beach town about 20 miles to the North of Merida. It gets 2 U.S. cruise ships a week that port there. Cancun and Playa del Carmen are three hours to the East of us. Lots of tourism obviously. The whole region appears to be safe. We also have modern amenities. Costco, Sam's, Wal Mart and Home Depot. Restaurants, 4 shopping even has an ice skating rink for the kids.

 There are no established Real Estate Agencies in any of the states of Mexico so most real estate companies in Merida are self-licensed. We don't have a centralized MLS system like the US or Canada but the market has a way of establishing itself and the prices of the real estate market fluctuates and sets itself just like any other market does. It is very important that you have a reliable and trustworthy buyer's agent representing you, regardless of whether you are looking to buy or rent, regardless of whether you speak Spanish or not. You need someone on the ground in this market full time to let you know that you are getting a good, fair and honest deal. If you need a referral let me know. I will put you in touch with the people that have helped me in the past, the people I feel will help you the most, who are trustworty in the process of things.

We have a section on the blog here called FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions). We can go into more detail about more issues in that section. And if you have questions on things we have not posted or written on as of yet then just give me a call or send me an email. My contact info is below. Just know that we are here and available to help you make this transition if you feel this is what is right for you. Let us know how we can help you navigate one of the biggest decisions you will ever make.

Jay Blackshear

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