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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Querétaro and Tequisquiapan as retirement locations

On another thread someone convinced me to take another look at Queretaro and in the process I discovered Tequiasquiapan too. Tequiasquiapan in particular seems just like the kind of place expat retirees would love (like Patzcuaro and the Lake Chapala area) - but I am not getting the sense that there are many there. Am I wrong? Is there some reason I am overlooking?

One reason I did not consider Queretaro initially was because it seemed like a great place to live while you're working but I felt retirees might not find much of a cohesive expat community for like minded people in retirement. While I do want to llive in a place where I can have Mexican friends I realize the value of a set of people who share common background and especially language, as we age. I speak Spanish but my hearing is declining and my husband is just learning so we have to locate somewhere he wont feel too isolated.

All thoughts welcome. FOr more info, we will probably rent in the town of Chapala starting in the spring and then start to consider whether we want to move on.
 

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On another thread someone convinced me to take another look at Queretaro and in the process I discovered Tequiasquiapan too. Tequiasquiapan in particular seems just like the kind of place expat retirees would love (like Patzcuaro and the Lake Chapala area) - but I am not getting the sense that there are many there. Am I wrong? Is there some reason I am overlooking?

One reason I did not consider Queretaro initially was because it seemed like a great place to live while you're working but I felt retirees might not find much of a cohesive expat community for like minded people in retirement. While I do want to llive in a place where I can have Mexican friends I realize the value of a set of people who share common background and especially language, as we age. I speak Spanish but my hearing is declining and my husband is just learning so we have to locate somewhere he wont feel too isolated.

All thoughts welcome. FOr more info, we will probably rent in the town of Chapala starting in the spring and then start to consider whether we want to move on.
My perspective on the issue of friends: I have been here for 10 years. With one exception, all of the people I see on a regular basis are Mexican (three friends plus neighbors). The only exception is a man from the US. He is married to the sister of one of my Mexican friends and that is how I met him. However, gaining friends of any origin has been a slow process. Many Mexicans socialize within their family and don't have lots of free time for other interactions. At least, that has been my experience.

Also, for an opinion on your husband learning Spanish: If you speak English at home and you, as a Spanish speaker, handle all of the chores in life like visas, arranging utilities, etc, your husband will have a hard time becoming functional in Spanish, unless he is unusually gifted in languages. Although I like the idea of speaking multiple languages, I don't learn them very easily. Taking classes has been key of course. But after that the activity that probably contributed most to my current ability, has been having to deal with all of life's chores in Spanish. Living in a place where there are lots of foreigners and all of the local shopkeepers are used to English-only customers will not help his language ability.

Just some random, unasked for, comments. Everything in life involves trade-offs and we all have to decide what is important to us. Learning to speak Spanish was important to me, and not easy. My one US friend has been here for 5 years now and is just now taking classes to learn Spanish. He married into a family of 7 brothers and sisters all living within a few kilometers of each other. You would think it would be easy for him to learn Spanish since, except for me, everyone around him is Mexican. But actually, they speak English for him, and he never has to deal with any problems outside the home because his wife does it. So his progress in Spanish is very slow, although he hears a lot of it and his comprehension is better than many beginners.
 

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Check this group out:
International Newcomers and Expats of Queretaro – Social club for Mexicans and Queretaro ExPats

It is the Queretaro Newcomers Club. They are an English based expat group, although not everyone is from the US. They have activities and get togethers and they do volunteer work in the community. They also have Spanish-English interchanges for Spanish learners. I befriended one of the board members and she (a Minnesota native) and her husband (a Queretaro native but with 25+ years living in the US before retiring) have been great as far as helping us look for rental locations and just sharing information about living in Queretaro.

I don't work in the sense you are referring to so I'm not sure why you say it would be a good place if one was still working. There isn't a super large expat community there like in Chapala or San Miguel, but then those places are unique due to the large expat presence there.

We like visiting Tequisquiapan on day trips (it's a 1 hour drive) but it just seems too small for us and I'm sure we'd grow bored after a while. It is very much a pueblo and not a city, although it is a great place to hang out for a day or two. You would have to drive 25+ minutes to San Juan del Rio to do most of your shopping.

From Queretaro you can also visit Bernal in 50 minutes drive time, Mineral de Pozos (our favorite - a beautiful old semi-abandoned mining town with an unusually strong expat presence) in 45 minutes. For the more outdoors oriented, the Sierra Gorda biosphere reserve in just over 90 minutes and several great Sierra hiking trails in under an hour. San Miguel is 45-60 minutes (depending on where you are in Qro.), Guanajuato is 90 minutes and CDMX is about 2 hours. I just love the central location.

I'm not trying to talk you out of Morelia or Tequis., they are both great places and one of them very well may be your top destination. I'm just sharing my thoughts and impressions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you circle100, for the link and the further information. The impression I have of Queretaro is based on very little other than its economic status as one of the powerhouse, fast growing centers of the international economy in Mexico. That makes me assume that a couple US retirees have a hard time making contacts with other expats, who I assumed would be too busy working to help others settle in. And as far back as my Peace Corps days, I have wanted dual support systems, one of expats and one of local people. You make Queretaro sound very enticing; I can see that it's very beautiful.

I thought of Tequisquiapan (see I can write it correctly when I am paying attention) because it seemed like a Chapala (town of, which is about the same size by population) and we liked Chapala precisely for being a town and not a village. But it's not all about size of course.

Are you already living in Queretaro or still planning to move? - Elisabeth
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
TundraGreen, very true on how he will learn to cope in Spanish! I already learned this lesson while we were in France, where I know my way around very well (and I speak much better French than Spanish). He disappeared for a couple hours in Chapala when I thought he would be gone for 20 minutes, and I realized he has to find his own way. I had had a half day on my own while he wasn't feeling well, and he hadn't had a chance to do anything independently. I am usually more practical than he is, so I do tend to take over.

Agreed that it becomes harder to make friends as you get older.
 

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Are you already living in Queretaro or still planning to move? - Elisabeth
We are making one more trip up from CDMX on Sunday thru Tuesday to see a few more houses and then make a final decision and sign a rental agreement. We will be moving in a few weeks after that with the timetable defined by when the rental would be available. I expect we'll be settled in within 3-4 weeks or so. We have been going up every 10 days or so for the last month to look at houses.

I think there is a pretty wide range of expats there, some still working and some not. I'll keep you posted as we get settled in and let you know what we find!

What my wife and I did back in 2009 when I first moved to Mexico was make a series of visits to the cities that were our finalists (Guanajuato, Puebla, Morelia and Xalapa) and we spent a couple weeks in each place to get the feel of it. Then we decided. We went with Guanajuato by unanimous vote, but after 5 years we felt it was a little too small. Hence, we made the decision to move to the larger Queretaro, which interestingly was not on our original list but we had visited there many times during our time in Guanajuato and gew to really like it. We decided we missed out by ignoring it the first time!
 

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We are making one more trip up from CDMX on Sunday thru Tuesday to see a few more houses and then make a final decision and sign a rental agreement. We will be moving in a few weeks after that with the timetable defined by when the rental would be available. I expect we'll be settled in within 3-4 weeks or so. We have been going up every 10 days or so for the last month to look at houses.

I think there is a pretty wide range of expats there, some still working and some not. I'll keep you posted as we get settled in and let you know what we find!

What my wife and I did back in 2009 when I first moved to Mexico was make a series of visits to the cities that were our finalists (Guanajuato, Puebla, Morelia and Xalapa) and we spent a couple weeks in each place to get the feel of it. Then we decided. We went with Guanajuato by unanimous vote, but after 5 years we felt it was a little too small. Hence, we made the decision to move to the larger Queretaro, which interestingly was not on our original list but we had visited there many times during our time in Guanajuato and gew to really like it. We decided we missed out by ignoring it the first time!
In case you haven't already discovered it, Harry's Bar on Plaza Independencia used to be the local hangout for north-of-the-border types. I suspect it still is.
 

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In case you haven't already discovered it, Harry's Bar on Plaza Independencia used to be the local hangout for north-of-the-border types. I suspect it still is.
No, wasn't aware of Harry's. All of my friends and contacts in Qro. are Mexicans, so I have had little contact with expats there besides the board member of the expat group that I mentioned in my earlier post.

I'll have to visit Harry's and meet some of the expats in town. Thank you for the tip!
 

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Also, for an opinion on your husband learning Spanish: If you speak English at home and you, as a Spanish speaker, handle all of the chores in life like visas, arranging utilities, etc, your husband will have a hard time becoming functional in Spanish, unless he is unusually gifted in languages. Although I like the idea of speaking multiple languages, I don't learn them very easily. Taking classes has been key of course. But after that the activity that probably contributed most to my current ability, has been having to deal with all of life's chores in Spanish. Living in a place where there are lots of foreigners and all of the local shopkeepers are used to English-only customers will not help his language ability.

Your advice is prognostificatively perfect. You have described the process, and the pitfalls, down to a tee. I'm worried that you have been watching me and are now penning my story. My Spanish is not where it should be, but my life here has been absolutely smooth, all because my wonderful wife will not throw me into the deep end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Do please keep me posted! Interested in how you found a house, and how you got around the need for an avalo or fiador, which is a common requirement in some locations. Feel free to PM me if you prefer.

We are making one more trip up from CDMX on Sunday thru Tuesday to see a few more houses and then make a final decision and sign a rental agreement. We will be moving in a few weeks after that with the timetable defined by when the rental would be available. I expect we'll be settled in within 3-4 weeks or so. We have been going up every 10 days or so for the last month to look at houses.

I think there is a pretty wide range of expats there, some still working and some not. I'll keep you posted as we get settled in and let you know what we find!

What my wife and I did back in 2009 when I first moved to Mexico was make a series of visits to the cities that were our finalists (Guanajuato, Puebla, Morelia and Xalapa) and we spent a couple weeks in each place to get the feel of it. Then we decided. We went with Guanajuato by unanimous vote, but after 5 years we felt it was a little too small. Hence, we made the decision to move to the larger Queretaro, which interestingly was not on our original list but we had visited there many times during our time in Guanajuato and gew to really like it. We decided we missed out by ignoring it the first time!
 

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Do please keep me posted! Interested in how you found a house, and how you got around the need for an avalo or fiador, which is a common requirement in some locations. Feel free to PM me if you prefer.
I think it is better to answer on the public forum so others may (or may not) benefit.

We used a combination of techniques to find the house. To start, some friends drove me around to various neighborhoods that they thought would be good for us and I copied down some phone numbers on "for rent" signs. The trouble with that technique is you can't see inside the house and you don't know the rental price they are asking until you call.

We also used Vivanuncios, Metros Cúbicos and Segunda Mano quite a bit. We called the phone numbers I had written down as well as the ones from the ads we liked on the websites and scheduled visits to the houses that interested us during the dates we were going to be in Queretaro. We made three trips -- I made one alone and then two more with my wife and baby along.

Many of the rentals were managed by Real Estate agents and on the first of the trips with all three of us along we made the mistake of letting the agents take us around to show us other houses that they were renting. Most of them were of no interest to us even though the agent said it was "perfect" for us, so we wasted a ton of time on that trip.

On the third visit I did all the scheduling and ignored it when the agents told us they had other houses we should see. That worked far better and we saw more houses that interested us in much less time than the first trip. Beware of those goofy Real Estate agents! You will have to deal with them, but don't let them dictate your plans.

We narrowed it down to a decision between two houses, one was a house in an open neighborhood that had a beautiful design and layout, great size and a gorgeous view of El Pueblito's pyramid, but it had not been very well maintained and updated.
The other was a new home in a gated community with 24/7 security, a pool and a gym. It is slightly smaller and has very little personality since it is identical to all the other houses in the fraccionamiento but it is still a very nice place. We opted for the gated community house since 1) we were concerned that the poorly maintained house might give us troubles and 2) we travel so much that we liked the idea of the security while we are away and 3) our little boy is crazy about water and will love the pool just a block away from the house.

As for the aval -- that was a problem in only one case where the owner insisted on an aval with property in Queretaro. I don't have that option so we just said "oh well" and kept looking. Ironically that house we wound up renting is in that same gated community and is the exact same model house as his but just one block over! And for less money!
The other owners accepted one of two things in lieu of an aval: a Póliza Jurídica or else a pre-payment of X months rent up front. The owners of the house we rented were OK with 3 months up front, plus the security deposit of one month's rent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Very helpful. On alternatives to aval, I have heard numerous people say not to expect any deposit back under any circumstances; basically, just amortize the cost over the time you rent. I wonder if that would also apply to the extra months up front.

One thing that has me looking at both Tequis and San Juan del Rio is that we do NOT want to be in gated community, unless it's a very small one near a walkable commercial district. Being able to walk to local markets, restaurants, and preferably a city center or neighborhood with some character, is one of our top criteria. Queretaro seems to be full of developments with identical row houses, no trees, and nothing in sight but more white waves of houses.

One of the good things about the Lake Chapala area is that I agents are used to dealing with expats, and the expats share a lot of knowledge about the agents. The expats are also densely networked so they tell each other about opportunities. Once you have an idea where you want to settle, you can walk the streets looking for bulletin boards and signs, and ask in coffee shops. etc. There are many things that attract me about the Queretaro area, so I thank you for pushing it gently as you did!
 

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One thing that has me looking at both Tequis and San Juan del Rio is that we do NOT want to be in gated community, unless it's a very small one near a walkable commercial district. Being able to walk to local markets, restaurants, and preferably a city center or neighborhood with some character, is one of our top criteria. Queretaro seems to be full of developments with identical row houses, no trees, and nothing in sight but more white waves of houses.
These developments you mention sound like my idea of housing hell!
 

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Very helpful. On alternatives to aval, I have heard numerous people say not to expect any deposit back under any circumstances; basically, just amortize the cost over the time you rent. I wonder if that would also apply to the extra months up front.

One thing that has me looking at both Tequis and San Juan del Rio is that we do NOT want to be in gated community, unless it's a very small one near a walkable commercial district. Being able to walk to local markets, restaurants, and preferably a city center or neighborhood with some character, is one of our top criteria. Queretaro seems to be full of developments with identical row houses, no trees, and nothing in sight but more white waves of houses.

One of the good things about the Lake Chapala area is that I agents are used to dealing with expats, and the expats share a lot of knowledge about the agents. The expats are also densely networked so they tell each other about opportunities. Once you have an idea where you want to settle, you can walk the streets looking for bulletin boards and signs, and ask in coffee shops. etc. There are many things that attract me about the Queretaro area, so I thank you for pushing it gently as you did!
If you live in Qro centro, basically between Universidad and Zaragoza and between Bernardo Quintana and Technologico, there are lots of walk to local markets, restaurants etc. The outlying areas have much less appeal to me. I would refine it even more to be between the Mercado La Cruz and Centro, say Ezekiel Montes.
 

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Yup, there are those kinds of developments everywhere in Queretaro. They are cheap and safe and so people opt for it.

Ours is a bit different in that it has trees and a lot of green areas, mini parks as it were so it isn't as mind numbing. We will eventually buy so this place is temporary and we'll see how we like it (or not).

BTW, look at Jardines de la Hacienda, La Joya, Quintas del Marques and Tejeda in Queretaro. They fit the bill for what you seek. We almost opted for Tejeda. The others didn't have any houses we liked in our price range -- not that they are super expensive, we found many houses in our price range -- but it was a matter of timing that none of them got us excited. When it comes time to buy, that's where we'll be looking. The house in Tejeda had awesome bones and if we bought it we could replace and fix everything that bothered us, but when you rent you are at the landlords mercy.

I will read the contract carefully, but I can't see how not having an aval should cause you to lose your security deposit. The 3 months up front we never "get back" per se, we just have prepaid the final 3 months of rent. That means we would have to give them 3 months notice, which is fine by me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
We are retiring so looking to keep rent plus any maintenance fees to under 12000. Not really interested in being in a subdivision with expenses for pool, playground, clubhouse etc. In my view those only go up (or get dilapidated) and we wouldn't use them.
 

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We are retiring so looking to keep rent plus any maintenance fees to under 12000. Not really interested in being in a subdivision with expenses for pool, playground, clubhouse etc. In my view those only go up (or get dilapidated) and we wouldn't use them.
Unfortunately, you won't find much at or below that price in the centro area; not even close unless you are OK with a tiny apartment or a place that is pretty run down. That is why I mentioned Quintas del Marques, La Joya, Jardines de la Hacienda and Tejeda. They are old school neighborhoods where houses are mixed in with taco stands, tortillerias, bakeries and small restaurants and they are not very far from centro (except Tejeda, which is farther south). You will find houses in those areas at or below $12000 -- I know that for sure because that was our upper price limit as well and we found several places. If you are still considering Queretaro, those are the areas where I would look to find what you guys are seeking but within your price range.

Not one of the subdivision houses we looked at charged maintenance apart - it was always figured into the rent. I understand the dislike of subdivisions; I dislike them too, but with a family viewpoints sometimes have to change. Most of the subdivision houses had lower rent and were in better condition than the independent houses. Again, for us this is temporary while we consider where we might want to buy.

In San Juan del Rio you will find plenty of nice rentals in your price range, but in my opinion the city doesn't have a whole lot to offer besides low priced housing and its relative proximity to Queretaro and Tequisquiapan.
 
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