Tomorrow, I have my first appointment to view a house! I really doubt this is going to be The One because of its location, but I still think it’s worth viewing since it has a pretty typical layout.
The owner said he had another house for me to view and as soon as I mentioned the neighbourhood, I knew I wasn’t interested. It’s one of the new US/Canadian-style car-centred subdivisions with houses that have no character. I clarified that I want a vibrant walkable neighbourhood and an older house with traditional features. Once I haltingly got that out, the owner said that it was clear that I understand what I’m going to get with the house I asked about and he’d be happy to show it to me. We are meeting at eleven and he WhatsApped me the address.
I was then able to Google StreetView the house to get a sense of the neighbourhood. It looks quietly residential (and not dissimilar to my neighbourhood in Almería), in close proximity to a small shop and a Six (beer!) store, but and I’m pretty sure it’s too far west from most of what I want.
I’m going to share a few pictures from the listing, but first, here’s a little disclaimer. I learned from helping friends house hunt in Mazatlán that Mexican real estate listings can be amusing in that very few are “staged” like you see NOB (north of the border). So it can be hard to get a sense of what a space is really like since the photos can show the home full of possessions or with construction materials or even dirty. They also sometimes recycle photos so that when you go see the space, it’s been repainted or redecorated and actually looks better. So it’s really important to go see the homes in person, even if they don’t look great in photos.
From all the research I’ve done, this seems to be a very average house in Mérida in terms of its style and how it’s aging. You can get much prettier looking houses, but the older ones are better constructed for this climate. I’ve spoken to a few construction-industry expats here that I trust and respect and they say that my open-mindedness about appearance is really wise. I’m better off with an older house that needs a good scrubbing and paint job, but which has thick walls, cross-ventilation, and high ceilings than a house with granite countertops, a fancy bathroom, low ceilings, and thin walls. However, both are equally likely to have a terrible electrical system and I was given pointers on red flags to look for in that regard.
So with that said, here’s the kitchen of the house I’m going to see. I really like the collection of liquor bottles! 😀
This is actually a really great kitchen by Mexican standards in that it has lots of countertop space and a few cupboards!
The house appears to have those brick floors throughout the ground floor and I really like them. I also like the arches. I’d ask to repaint the red walls in a more pleasing colour, though.
This is one of the bathrooms and is a very typical older style. I could live with this after a really thorough scrubbing. It has two things in its favour: the grout isn’t disgusting (very common here since it’s rarely sealed) and the toilet has a seat!
Here is another very common element, the staircase that made my best friend go NOPE.
There is a dearth of staircase banisters in Mexico. But get this… I saw the same thing in Spain. My house in Almería had a staircase not unlike this one. Tip: hug the wall. 🙂 One thing that is not clear from the photos is whether this house has one bathroom with a full bath on the ground floor and then two bedrooms upstairs. I absolutely want the guest quarters to be on the ground floor to separate the public and private spaces of the house and also so that older guests don’t have to tackle a scary Mexican staircase.
I’m quite excited about the house itself because it has such character, but, again, the neighbourhood is giving me pause. I’ll report back tomorrow!