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Mexico housing: An expat’s guide to renting a house in Mexico

Starting a new chapter in Mexico? Whether you’re retiring, or are one of the many Americans moving to Mexico, you’ll need a place to stay. Renting an accommodation in a new country can be scary. Fret not, we’ve got you covered. In this Pacific Prime Latin America article, you’ll find a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about renting a house in Mexico. Read on for the spectrum of property available in Mexico, and a rundown of the rental process and its required documents.

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Types of property in Mexico

Expats looking to move to Mexico will find that there’s a wide array of accommodations to choose from. Note that urban housing is considerably more expensive than that in rural areas. In this section, you’ll find a list describing the types of property you can find in Mexico.

  • Detached houses are colonial-style family homes sometimes shared by a few other people.
  • Apartments and condominiums (condos) are very popular among expats. Many are brand-new and decked out in modern appliances. Keep in mind that beach-front condos with swimming pools are still expensive even by Western standard.
  • Flat and house-shares cater to young professionals who prefer to rent a room in these to meet new people while saving money.
  • Specialist houses are bigger houses with extensive gardens in the countryside. They are often located near a lake, beach, or mountainside.

Should I rent a furnished or unfurnished accommodation?

In Mexico, furnished accommodations usually require no extra deposit. Though more expensive, you won’t need to buy any appliances or furniture. As a result, numerous expats staying short-term prefer furnished apartments. Having said that, affordable furniture is easy to find here for those preferring to customize their living space.

Renting an apartment or house in Mexico

We recommend going for a short-term rental agreement during your first time in Mexico. After all, your new neighborhood may not be what you expected, or simply does not meet your needs. It’ll give you the time to familiarize yourself with both your neighborhood and the country.

Read on for a rundown of the house or apartment rental process in Mexico.

Type of rental contracts

Below are common types of rental contracts in Mexico.

  • Short-term contracts are preferred by newly arrived expats who want to house-hunt calmly without worrying about finding a place to stay.
  • Six-month contracts are normally chosen by snowbird expats.
  • Long-term contracts are preferred by those looking to settle down for a year or longer.

Average rental cost in Mexico

Rent is much cheaper here than in many other countries. This is true even for the country’s priciest metropolis: Mexico City. Similar to most other countries, the average rental cost is determined by multiple factors. For instance, the proximity to the city center, subways, and parks. As well, whether it is in the city, countryside, or beach town matter. Last but not least, it depends on your neighborhood, the size of property, number of rooms, and more.

Cities with the most expensive housing are home to tourist attractions or big economical centers. As a result, prepare to pay more in cities such as Los Cabos, Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Cancun. On the other hand, Tlaxcala, Zacatecas, and Tepic are several cities with the cheapest housing.

See below for the average monthly rent for a furnished apartment in Mexico city.

Furnished large apartment: USD $930

Furnished medium apartment: USD $530

Furnished small apartment: USD $440

Rental process in Mexico

1. Do your research

First of all, get your research going by looking through housing platforms. Airbnb or Booking.com are great for short-term stay options. For longer rentals, check out websites like Vivanuncios, InMuebles24, Homie, and MetrosCubicos, which can give you a better idea about prices and neighborhoods.

You can also rent accommodations through real estate agencies. Don’t worry about extra expense in this case because the landlord usually pays for the agent’s fees and commissions in full. Feel free to walk around your preferred neighborhoods to scout out “for rental” (se renta) signs by agencies. With that said, check if they are registered at the Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios (Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals).

2. Sign the rental contract

Once you agree on an offer with the landlord, you have to sign a contract or rental agreement. Make sure it’s reviewed by a lawyer to avoid violations of the laws. This service is usually included if you are renting through an agency.

Usually, landlords will demand that a guarantor can co-sign the rental agreement. Sometimes, they will even insist that the guarantor be a Mexican citizen who must agree to cover any damage or fees that the tenant cannot. Fret not, however, there are ways to bypass this if you don’t have a guarantor. For instance, you can negotiate with the landlord or simply pay a higher deposit.

Be sure to request a detailed inventory with descriptions and pictures attached to the contract, especially if you’re renting a newly furbished property. You will also be expected to pay your utility bills on time for your rental.

3. Pay the deposit

You will need to pay the first month’s rent  for your house in Mexico, and a further month’s rent as a deposit. Make sure you pay via bank transfers to keep a record of your transactions.

Documents you need to rent a house in Mexico

During the rental process, you will need to provide certain documents to your landlord. These documents will vary. However, below are the most common ones:

  • Proof of identity refers to your passport or identification card. Along with your visa to remain in the country, this is usually what you need during your stay to rent a short-term accommodation.
  • Proof of residency are documents issued by the Mexican authorities if you are a foreigner to show your right to remain in the country.
  • Proof of employment includes your offer of employment letter. Some landlords might ask for your most recent tax records.

These are the less common required documents:

  • Credit check is what larger rental agencies might ask for. Have your social security number with you.
  • List of past addresses. Provide your most recent rental names and addresses.
  • Banking information. Prove to your potential landlord that you can pay for costs of living with a letter from the bank declaring your savings. Alternatively, print out copies of your banking information but be sure to black out all private information.
  • Reference letters from past landlords or current employers.

Protect yourself with health insurance

Securing international health insurance is especially important when you are moving abroad during the pandemic. You will want the best treatment at top medical facilities in case the unfortunate happens.

Pacific Prime Latin America helps you find the best insurance plans for your needs by leveraging our close partnerships with reputable insurers, such as Bupa, Allianz Mexico, and GeoBlue. Get a free quote now with our online comparison tool! For a personalized touch and impartial advice, chat with our team of expert insurance advisors today!

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