Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Scary but True

We bought a house. I've done this now three times, this buying/selling a house, but this time it's in Mexico and what in the world do I know about buying a house in Mexico?

It's extremely excruciating to try to understand real estate, legal, business vocabulary. Sometimes they use a word over and over again, and I have no idea, and then I ask a factual question about the thing they had just gone on about for many paragraphs.

I have to ask it again: What do I know about buying a house in Mexico? Right now, a few things. There is no multiple listing service. You find an agent, they sell only the houses they represent. There is no way to see the properties from driving around. Everything is behind giant concrete walls and gates. There are very few websites dedicated to real estate in Oaxaca. I have found the few that are, and the prices seem directed toward gringos. The newspaper has very few ads, mostly just listings by agents. Most people sell their houses themselves and sometimes would rather hang on for years than bargain the littlest bit.

But, still, we bought a house. It's new and very urban, packed between a couple other houses and no yard, though there is an inner courtyard, a real favorite house feature of mine. And so we're developing the roof into a rooftop garden. The builder is putting in stairs from the terrace and bars around the roof's periphery to stop wayward kids. I've sketched out a little palapa-type hut with a tin roof supported by posts upon which we can hang a hammock, and a spot for yoga. I've plotted, with my pen, container gardens, hopefully some vegetables. I've planned an outdoor shrine, and an area for bamboo to grow and give us privacy. Steve, in an astonishing turn at conventionality, has insisted upon an umbrella table.

Did I mention that this house is still being built? And that we don't know how we are going to get our ever-weakening dollars transferred over here without paying a ginormous fee? And that I met with the notary today, which is Mexico's version of a real estate lawywer, a supposed disinterested, objective party, and still don't understand the documents she drew up? Add to this that we own nothing, absolutely nothing, having sold off all our assets up north, so we will actually need to buy a house of stuff, the kind of stuff I haven't thought about since college, like mirrors and frames and silverware. Suddenly, I must acquire things, and kind of rapidly.

We're going to live on Calle Sauces, in the Reforma district, across from Tortilleria Elvis. But I know what you're really wondering--will we still have the free guest space? Yes! There is a separate guest quarters, with full bath, on the back patio. Someday, when the dust settles and I am able to sleep again, I will paint the guest room a beautiful blue, perhaps to trick our visitors into believeing that we live near the coast.


JHS said...

Thanks for participating in this week's Carnival of Family Life hosted by Pickel at My Two Boys. The Carnival will be live on Monday, April 7, 2008, so make sure you stop by and check out all of the other outstanding entries included in this week's Edition!

The Buzz said...

WOW! A house... That is so cool! Looks like you'll be staying put for awhile.