Monday, January 28, 2008

Bad News; Good News

Well, the BAD news is we're not going to buy the house discussed in the previous post.

The GOOD news is we're not going to buy the house discussed in the previous post.

It turns out the house is in an area which can flood badly during the rainy season. Of course, now, during the dry season, it looks wonderful. A new Mexican contractor friend offered to have a look at the area yesterday. He was concerned when I told him that we were in the process of buying a house there. When he saw the house, he pointed out the water flow during the rainy season and pointed out that this house was simply too low and in a flood area. In fact, he even found some standing water behind the house. "Sinking" our life savings into a such a risk would clearly be a bad decision. So, as much as we hated to, we withdrew our offer.

We are grateful to Antonio for taking the time to check this out for us. Back to square one. We are very disappointed that we won't be getting this beautiful, well-furnished this house for a bargain price. But, if it's too good to be true...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Our Children Are Convinced of Our Sanity

Well, all three of our children have now come for extended visits with their respective partners. In addition to having well-deserved vacations, they are all, it seems, coming away with the reassurance that their parents were not being completely insane when they decided, rather abruptly, to move to Mexico. Cassie and Alana, and Eric and Crystal, sadly have had to return to their work-a-day world in colder climates but hopefully full of warm memories with their experiences. Wendy and Troy are enjoying their visit with us now before they head back on February 10.

Everyone has seemed to enjoy exploring the village of Ajijic. Although the place seemed very foreign and overwhelming to them at first, all found it to be a welcoming place and enjoyed walking around, sampling the food, visiting the market, and lounging at the thermal baths. What's not to like? We have been enjoying the opportunity to have extended conversations with everyone and having everyone be on vacation so we can do what we like.

Wendy and Troy have returned from Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende and are back in Ajijic relaxing. Troy is an excellent cook and enjoys shopping in the local markets and preparing wonderful meals. We, of course, are taking full advantage of this! We have been to Guadalajara with them twice, to the craft markets in Tonala and to the historic colonial district. But mostly, we've been enjoying their company and relaxing together.

Since several of our friends and relatives have been asking, Pixie's broken leg is completely healed and she is back to walking around without any problems. We are both watching carefully where we step in the very uneven terrain around here to avoid further broken bones.

We have been spending a lot of time over the past several weeks agonizing about where we are going to live after June. Although all of our children have fallen in love with our little casita by the lake, it is just too small and too dark for us. We want a sunnier interior space with enough room to entertain our friends. The problem we have been struggling with is our desire to live in Ajijic and the fact that we have no furniture anymore. The obvious solution is to continue to rent a furnished house here in the village. There seem to be plenty available. That's a good short term solution, but with prices destined to rise as more people move down here, the long term is murkier. We may live here for 30 years and we want to be able to afford to stay.

With all this in mind, we decided to look at homes for sale in the area. Prices are down a bit now, and owners are anxious to sell. Looking in Ajijic is just too expensive, so we have been looking at outlying areas, and we appear to have found an excellent buy in a neighboring settlement, Riberas del Pilar, about halfway between Ajijic and Chapala. We have found a brand new house that a couple built to sell. The house is one bedroom with a den which converts to a nice private guest area, but which, most of the time can be used as a den. It has two baths, one with a jacuzzi tub and the other with a shower. It has a big screened-in terrace overlooking a large garden with a brightly-colored ceramic fountain. It has a laundry room off the terrace, a beautiful kitchen with unique tile design and a breakfast bar. The living room has a stone gas fireplace, and there is a covered, secure carport with another interior garden space near the entry way. The house is completely furnished with a memory-foam bed in the master bedroom, a beautiful dining room table for eight, sofas, linens, dishes...everything we no longer have!

There are a few downsides. We are not in lovely Ajijic with a lake view anymore. Riberas is a developing community with many houses being built. There is a house across the street and some empty housing lots around our house. So, for now, the house is surrounded by rather ugly empty lots. One lot next to our house has been sold and a new house will be built there. The lot of the other side has not been sold yet. We will have a beautiful house and garden, but no great view. We are a ways from the highway, so we will be more reliant on our car.

The clinching factor for me was that the house is a very affordable price with low maintenance. We will be able to live in the center of this thriving community and be assured of a secure affordable home for many years to come. The property taxes on this house are, unbelievably, $100 USD per year! Not heat or AC is required in the houses here, so the cost to maintain a house, after purchase, is minimal. So, after much critical thinking agony, we are in the process of purchasing the house. We are meeting with the builder and are hiring a building engineer to inspect the house this week. We will move in late May. The owners need to stay on the house till April at least, and we're coming back to the US in April and May, so we'll move when we return. Here are some photos of the house from the realtor's website. I'll post more when we can get back into the house to take photos.