Moving to Mexico: Expectations vs. Reality (Housing)


Prior to moving to Mexico in 2015, Linda and I had both formed certain expectations about what our lives would be like south of the border. Since we would be surviving on only one retirement, we knew that we would have to be thrifty to make it work. For that reason, neither of us had very lofty expectations when it came to housing or material possessions. We were – and still are – more interested in filling our lives with great experiences.

Everyone knows that life rarely turns out exactly like we plan or hope that it will. With so many variables outside of our control, most of our future plans are really just educated guesses sprinkled with a little hope. Our move to Mexico was no exception.

I thought it would be fun to share some of those expectations with the readers along with what actually ended up happening. I know that many of them are developing their own expectations about moving to Mexico.

To keep the post from getting too long, I will only discuss one category at a time. I’m dedicating this first one to housing.


While we were in Florida, I spent countless hours searching through property listings from Cancun to Tulum. The only listings that I could find anywhere near the coast were all extremely expensive properties that we could never afford unless we won the lottery.

The more I searched, the more discouraged I got. I told Linda that we would probably end up living in a very small apartment or house further inland. The goal was to keep it within a 15-20 minute drive from the beach.


Once we were in Mexico, we discovered that there were more options. I suspect — and I don’t know this for certain — that many real estate companies only highlight their most expensive inventory on their web sites.

Although there are a lot of very expensive properties in the Riviera Maya, we discovered that we didn’t have to be rich or go into debt to live in a great development only minutes from the beach. We were lucky enough to find the perfect place for us right away.

We ended up buying a 2BR / 2BA condo inside a beautiful gated community that has 24 hour security. The community is located inside of a larger resort complex. One of the perks to living here is that we have access to many of the amenities at the resorts as well.

Due to the reasonable price, we were able to buy it outright using the money that we had obtained from liquidating our assets back in the U.S. We now live less than five minutes from the beach.

Our monthly expenses, which include our HOA fees, are much lower than what they were when we lived in Florida. This leaves us more money to travel and truly enjoy Mexico. To see a breakdown of monthly expenses, click here.

Staying on Budget

Linda and I carefully track our daily expenses to ensure that we our staying on budget for the month. If we want to save some money that day, we stay on the property and take advantage of the amenities that come at no additional cost, such as playing tennis or just relaxing under a palapa next to one of the many pools.

I get a lot of emails from readers requesting that I include more pictures in my posts, so here are a few:


Taken our first day in the condo. As is the case with many historical photos, it is slightly out of focus.



This is one of the lap pools and you can see part of the gym through the trees behind it



We have access to over half a dozen pools on the property



These chairs are just beyond the pool from the last picture. I like to come here to think up memes and blog topics.



Free access to multiple tennis courts. The best part is that they even supply the rackets, towels and balls.



Yet another pool. I think I could just do a pool post.

Let’s Wrap This up

Obviously our reality — at least as it related to housing- has far exceeded our expectations. The more that we travel around the peninsula exploring new areas, the more thankful we are that we ended up here.

Note: Readers often ask me for the name of the development. I don’t like to publish the name in the blog; however, I will respond to individual requests for information. You can send me a message through this link: Contact Us.

Author: Qroo Paul

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22 Comments on "Moving to Mexico: Expectations vs. Reality (Housing)"

  1. I’ve been devouring your posts for a while now. Of all the research I’ve done in preparation for my future move down there, your blog is my favourite. It’s concise, informative and entertaining … and this one is particularly relevant because I take delivery of an apartment in this same complex mid 2017. Love all your photos, but when they’re this close to home it’s even better! Thanks for all your work, it’s much appreciated.

  2. Very nice complex.

  3. Yup. There are realtors for locals and realtors for gringos. When we buy, my wife is a national and they won’t see my white face in time to adjust the price 🙂

  4. What if your both white? Do I bring my Mexican employee with me?

  5. Jeff, On the West Coast we’d call that the Gringo Discount,

  6. carolyn richardson | September 6, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Reply

    Where I have already made my own permanent move to Mexico–in my case, San Felipe, Baja, Norte, along the Sea of Cortez, I very much enjoy your articles and encourage you to continue writing and informing others. This article particularly hit home, as I also live within a larger gated community that enjoys a lot of free amenities and activities, the safety layer a gated community provides, with nearby shopping, gas, etc within each reach. Thanks for passing along good information and encouraging people north of the border to consider the many advantages of living South of the border!
    (I also developed my own website for the San Felipe area, listing as much info within it as I can, aimed for the full time, part time gringo or casual visitor to this area—

  7. Timothy Parker | September 6, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Reply

    So are you saying we will have to pay more since we are both white? Just asking. We are seriously looking at moving to the same area as you in about 5-6 years. We go down there once or twice a year to the Hard Rock or Palace Resorts. We own our own restaurant and are just getting tired of all the BS that goes with it. To retire at 58 we can probably not be able to live in the US. Another question is as long as we retain US citizenship, are we able to collect Social Security as long as it is still around. Thanks!

  8. christopher mckay | September 6, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Reply

    Are there any single young (40’s – 50’s”) retirees????? I am in my upper 50’s and divorced and would love to start planning a move……I just don’t want to be without a good woman.

  9. Great post. Very informative . Exactly what I want to do in the near future. Plus you’re on the Riviera Maya. Spend two weeks each September in Cancun at the Royal Islander with many friends who all happen to be time share owners. I’d love to parallel exactly the life style that you have created for yourselves. I’m a retired Executive Chef / Sous Chef. Came out of Key West back to Arizona in Sonoran Desert to serve as Caregiver for elderly parents in thier 90’s and oldest of my 6 sisters who is handicapped. I’m totally a beach person . Sun sand ocean or.seas. Was a surfer in my younger years mostly in Pacific Ocean. Not so agile anymore. Lol
    Love reading your experiences and all you share.Name is John and am almost 68.Single laid back fella. Will be at Islander this year from Sept17 – Oct 1st. Hopefully in near future will buy a one way flight. Lol ..Thanks again for your posts. It’s next best thing to a sunrise each time I read them.❤

    • Thanks for reading the posts and for taking the time to comment. We might even run into each other one day while you are down here.

  10. Martine Addison | September 6, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Reply

    There must be a monthly HOA fee to subsidize all the amenities. I wouldn’t call them “no extra cost.”

    • No additional daily cost which helps us stay on our budget. There are HOA fees and they vary depending on the size of the condo or residence. Our fees are $181 USD a month which covers everything, including 24 hour security, gardeners, painting etc. Since we actively use the facilities and amenities, it is a huge savings for us.

  11. Enjoy your articles very much! Keep ’em coming! We have our condo ready in Cancun (@ KM 20.5 – Nizuc area) and are not there full-time yet (4 more years), but your blog keeps us in touch with the ‘goal’ in mind. Thank you!

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