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    Managing Your Property in the Yucatan

    So you have made the big step… from thinking of purchasing a property outside of your country to actually doing it! Felicidades!

    Merida offers great real estate opportunities, from amazing colonial houses to modern beach homes and everything in between. Maybe you are going to be the only one enjoying your house in Yucatan, but you cannot be here all the time. Or maybe since you are not yet living here, you have decided to rent out your house to guests as a vacation rental or just make it available to friends who come to visit when you are not here.

    This Is Not My Beautiful House!

    If you are the only one who comes to stay at your Yucatan home, we know that when you come here, you probably just want to relax and enjoy your beautiful home, this great weather and our beautiful city and beaches. If you do not already have a property manager for your home, you will probably find that you arrive to your home after a few months and it is not at all like what you remember.

    The grass and plants have grown so much faster than you expected (this is the tropics, after all…) or they have completely died (but it is a climate called “tropical desert” and goes through periods of extreme dryness). Humidity has invaded all the clothing you left in the house and has left the unpleasant smell of mold. There are bugs everywhere (both dead and alive), in places you often do not expect them. The water and electricity have been cut off and at least one appliance has stopped working due to rust or mineral build-up as a result of the hard water or a power surge or a lightning strike or all three.

    So now instead of relaxing and enjoying yourself, you find yourself trapped in a morass of phone calls in a foreign language, endlessly long visits to JAPAY (Water) and CFE (Electricity) offices (you can practice your Spanish while you watch the telenovelas in line…), days wasted waiting for the handyman and other repairmen who invariably do not show up on time or who do show up and take hours to fix the problem, forced evacuation of your house for the exterminator and more. And then, when you finally have the house back in perfect condition, looking beautiful again, you realize you are leaving the next day!

    We know many people who have had this experience first hand.

    A Basic List

    To prevent this unfortunate circumstance, here is a beginner’s list of the most pressing issues that you must be aware of when you have a house in the Yucatan that you manage from afar:

    • Utility bills: TELMEX (telephone), CFE (electricity), JAPAY (water), Telcel or other cellular phone company, trash collection, gas and cable TV are utility bills that most house owners have to pay. Inform yourself of when, where and how to pay them, so you can be sure that when you arrive everything is paid and functioning.
    • General House Health: Arrange for someone to visit your house regularly to check that everything is in order. Your visitor should turn on fans and air conditioners, run faucets and showers, flush toilets and turn on (and off!) lights. Request that they inform you of anything irregular seen in the house.
    • Interior and Exterior Maintenance or Repairs: The services of carpenters, gardeners, exterminators, electricians and plumbers are the most common ones needed.
    • Dust and Humidity: Especially during the dry months (winter and spring), dust is quite common here in Yucatan. If there is a lot of wind, the house you left spotlessly clean could be dirty after only a week, covered by a fine layer of dust everywhere. During the rainy months (summer and fall and sometimes in early spring), humidity can creep in and cause problems like mold in clothes that are packed away, mold on leather furniture or shoes, mold in any enclosed spaces.
    • Cleanliness and Critters: Regular housekeeping should be a part of any house maintenance, whether you are living in it or not. Having regular weekly activity in the house will also discourage bugs or small animals from setting up light housekeeping.
    • Taxes: City property taxes, called predial, must be paid once a year at the beginning of the year. The earlier you pay, the less you pay, so the sooner you pay, the better. You can not sell your property without evidence of paying this tax, so close attention must be paid to the payment and the receipts.
    • Swimming pool: If you have a swimming pool, it should be full and cleaned regularly or drained and cleaned regularly (but not as often). A pool full of water and well maintained will avoid mosquitoes as well as cracks and peeling of the pool surface and tiles. A drained pool runs the risk of cracking the interior surface or tiles and of pooling water after a rain (and thus, mosquitoes).
    • Banking: In order to have some of the aforementioned bills paid on time (some of which must be paid in cash), it is often convenient to set up a local bank account into which you can transfer money. That money can be withdrawn by your local representative or property manager as needed. Some banks also have the ability to pay bills online, but we must caution you: those bill pay functions don’t always work the way they should. If they don’t, the bills still need to be paid and someone needs to do that in person.
    • Other relationships: Depending on the stage of building or maintenance that your house is in or any activities that you are undertaking in the Yucatan, you may also need to maintain contact with and/or pay architects, contractors, attorneys, accountants, and insurance agents.

    If you do not have somebody in Merida who you can trust to take care of the things listed above, we would like you to know that YES can provide you with these and other property management services.

    Property Management Remote Control

    Think of the YES team as a “remote control” service for the management of your house in the Yucatan. Our team of property managers are locally born and raised with all the knowledge and connections that implies. They speak excellent English so you can communicate with them easily, avoiding any surprises or misunderstandings. They also speak fluent Spanish so they can communicate clearly with service providers.  They are here in Merida so they can conduct your business for you when you are not here, ensuring that services and follow ups are done before you or your guests arrive.

    Our property managers are familiar with and accustomed to communicating through e-mail, Skype, chat, and Facebook. They carry Blackberries and can be reached anytime during business hours (and often outside of them as well). In addition, the YES offices are staffed five days a week during business hours and there is always someone who speaks English (or Spanish and sometimes Italian) answering the phone.

    Guest Services

    In addition to helping you avoid problems with the list above, we can also help with guest services if and when you rent your home. We can…

    • Arrange for property to be cleaned and operational upon guest arrival.
    • Manage the rental process from beginning to end, from the greeting of guests when they arrive to the final inspection after they leave.
    • Maintain availability during the guests’ stay in case of emergencies or problems with any household details.
    • Provide concierge service to your guests (including but not limited to making  restaurant reservations, arranging tours and transportation, handling medical emergencies, etc.)
    • Communicate with the cleaning service to determine if there are any problems with the guests who are using your house.

    If you want additional information about our services, please contact us at info@yucatanyes.com or call: 011+52-999-927-2437 or 011+52-999-925-5808.

    We are standing by to help make your living experience in Merida more enjoyable and carefree!

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    1. Carole Bell
      July 8, 2011

      Is there a particular area where more Americans live?
      Somewhere that the English language is used and understood? I live in NH. I am a senior citizen who would like to visit Merida.

    2. July 11, 2011

      Carole, in Merida the majority of expats choose to live in the downtown area. However, this does not mean that you will be hearing people speaking English in this area all the time, in fact, most people in downtown speak Spanish so we encourage you to take some classes so you can understand and make other people understand you; there are some gatherings at the Merida English Library http://www.meridaenglishlibrary.com where you can meet other expats living in Merida and also locals who are trying to practice their English and you could practice your Spanish. If you need further information about living in Merida you can also read http://www.yucatanliving.com or contact me to adriana@yucatanyes.com

    3. John
      October 25, 2011

      If I want to rent my home during times I am not there, what do I need to do in the way of registering with Hacienda and do I need an accountant?


    4. October 26, 2011

      John, the answer to your question will depend whether you own the house through a “fideicomiso” or through a Mexican corporation. If it is the first option, you need to contact the bank holding the trust so they change the purpose of it from “residential” to “business”. Then they will issue the corresponding receipts and file taxes. On the other hand, if it is owned by a corporation, then you will need to hire an accountant because the corporation will receive income and you need to report that to tax authorities in Mexico. If you need further information, please contact me to adriana@yucatanyes.com

    5. Victoria
      September 7, 2012

      How can you receive your mail in Merida in the absence of a permanent address? Are there mailbox companies in Merida with local offices in the States that forward mail?

    6. September 14, 2012

      Victoria, there is one company called “Mail Boxes Etc.”: http://www.mx.mbelatam.com/index.php

    7. Victoria
      September 14, 2012

      Muchisimas gracias, Adriana, muy amable.

    8. Walter Ostrom
      June 24, 2014

      My wife and I are looking for rental in Merida,Yucatan from Jan10 to March 30, 2015. We need 2 bedrooms, 2 baths,etc. plus a pool.
      Rent $1000-1500US. Please adviseThank you Walter Ostrom

    9. Yucatan Expatriate Services
      June 30, 2014

      Walter, if you are looking for a house to rent you can contact Tierra Yucatan Real Estate (www.tierrayucatan.com): info@tierrayucatan.com or contact us if you need any assistance during your search: info@yucatanyes.com

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