MAKE the MOVE to MEXICO
5 EASY STEPS!!
by Baja Real Estate Guide
Moving to Mexico is easier than you may think. There is a process to follow and lots of documentation, but the path is well traveled by thousands of others before you!
As with any big project, you are best served by focusing on the big items. Take action on these first 5 steps and many of the little details will naturally fall into place.
STEP 1: Find a Place
If you plan to buy, use this magazine as an unbiased representation of the most successful Realtors & their brokerages in town. Narrow your search to a few Realtors, prepare your list of questions and interview them. Advertising is not cheap, so you can be confident the Realtors in this magazine are closing deals.
Finding a rental for more than a few months but less than a year can be tricky. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:
- Drive around neighborhoods you like checking for signs that say SE RENTA.
- Look on Craigs List. On Craigslist.org, at the bottom of the far column to the right is a link for “cl worldwide”. Click that and then “Americas”, then “Mexico” and then finally “baja sur”
- Realtors talk to each other. Ask yours if he/she knows of any rentals.
- Go to a development you like and ask about their rental pool. Most of them have one.
- Look in local magazines for property management companies and contact them directly.
STEP 2: GET LEGAL
Mexico, like all other countries, does require you to have a Visa to enter even if it’s just for a short vacation.
There are three main types of visas.
VISITANTE – Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM). This Visa is intended for visitors who plan on being in Mexico for less than 6 months a year. This is the Visa you’re given on the airplane, the cost for which is included in with your airline ticket. Don’t lose it! Whether you’re in Mexico for only a weekend or for the full 6 months, you’ll need to present it upon exiting Mexico. This Visa works well for people who own 2nd homes in Mexico that they only visit a few months a year.
RESIDENTE TEMPORAL – This is a Temporary Resident Visa for folks who want to be in Mexico longer than 6 months but less than 4 years. This visa is renewable each year, and if your 4 years turns into 10, as it does for so many of us, after the 4th year you can apply for permanent residence.
VISA DE RESIDENTE PERMANENTE – This is the Permanent Resident Visa for foreigners who plan to live in Mexico full time, indefinitely. If your goal is to become a Mexican Citizen, start with this Visa.
STEP 3: PACK
Most homes in our area are sold furnished so people gradually bring their clothes and small amounts of personal possessions down in suitcases over repeated trips. If you’re bringing new goodies to decorate your home, you’re currently allowed $500 US dollars’ worth of new items annually, tax free, per person, when entering Mexico by air and $300 US dollars of new items if entering Mexico by land. Bring the original receipts when you travel in case you get the red light!
If you want to bring down more than will fit in your suitcases or if you’re moving an entire house, there are a several companies close to the border in San Diego who do nothing but import goods between the two countries. It’s not as expensive or complicated as it sounds. The surcharge you’ll pay is usually cheaper than buying everything locally.
Some of these importation companies are experienced enough they can coordinate the entire move for you from door to door. You provide minimal documentation and they handle the rest. No need to itemize each box or make trips to the Consulate. These professionals know exactly how to supply the information that customs officials want and will make sure you don’t do any more than is necessary.
STEP 4: GET INSURANCE
An often forgotten yet very important item on the list is insurance. Because it’s so easy for us to enter Mexico, one can easily assume that our Auto, Health and Homeowners policies are valid in Mexico as well. This is not the case.
Insurance is cheaper in Mexico with oftentimes much better coverage. Policies even come in both short term and long term options. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to try to hold onto their Mexican health insurance policies even after they’ve moved back to the United States!
STEP 5: DATA COVERAGE
Gone are the days when you should be stuck paying $400 for using your cell phone in Mexico. Most major carriers in Mexico, Canada and the US all now offer North America plans with unlimited calls/texts and varying amounts of data. Keep it easy for yourself and use your Canadian or US phone while you’re in Mexico. Call your carrier before leaving and upgrade to a North American plan.
INSIDER TIP #1:
Make everyone your friend in each part of this process. People in Mexico are friendly. This is a transient community and everyone you work with along the way can be a future resource to you. Your impatience at wanting to get settled quickly will win out some days. If you’re friendly though, you will be amazed by how many people, 1) remember you & 2) by how many people, who barely even know you, will take little extra steps to help you.
INSIDER TIP #2:
The Baja attracts people who take pride in figuring things out for themselves. We are resourceful, smart and adventurous. Use this information here as a guide to get you started, but after reading it, use those smarts and call a professional! Laws and the common application of those laws can change at any time. A professional will explain the current process to you in 5 minutes and can immediately send you a check list of documents. The time, frustration and stress you will save is well worth the few extra dollars. Remember, this path is well traveled by others before you!