Saturday, April 30, 2011


Obtain a bank trust (known as Fideicomisos) needed by foreign citizens to own property in most of Baja. Never allow the seller to record a lower price than you agreed to pay for the property....that transfers his capital gains tax to you. If and when you sell Mexican property, you will pay Mexican capital gains on the difference between the recorded price you paid for the property and the price you sold it for. BE SURE TO FENCE the property promptly when you buy. This constitutes the act of taking possession. If you fail to do so, a neighbor may fence off a portion of your land, accidently or deliberatly. If this illegal fencing is not contested within a reasonable length of time, under Mexican law, the land belongs to the person who fenced it. What is walled off is what is yours, no matter what the survey states.
A fifty year Fideicomiso bank trust allows the foreigner to sell or rent the proprty and may leave it to heirs. The trust can be renewed at the end of first 50 years. When that expires, if you have not sold it, you or your heirs have the opportunity to renew for another 50 years.
FIDEICOMISO: A Mexican bank is the actual purchaser of the property (your trustee) and holds it in trust for you, the purchaser (the beneficiario). You pay a yearly fee for this trustee service, so talk to people and ask for a price that is guaranteed not to rise/escalate annually. The initial term is 50 years. The trust safeguards your rights to the land and your beneficiary rights to the land.
A Fideicomiso trust will incure trust charges which include a permit from the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, recording fees with the National Registry in Mexico City, the first year's annual administration fee, the bank acceptance fee, and the 10% IVA tax. Annual trust fees vary from bank to bank so your licensed representative should shop the market. A foreign buyer also pays the usual closing costs associated with a purchase. This includes the title search, appraisal fees, tax certificate, notary fees for the deed, filing fees, transfer taxes (2% of the purchase price), and recording fees. Fideicomiso and closing costs for a moderately priced property should run about $4,500 USA, excluding the 2% transfer tax and any expense for engineering reports, title insurance, or survey costs.

IMMIGRATION: You will need to change your immigration status from the basic FMT tourist visa to the FM3 residential visa. Contact Mario at Office of Immigration in Loreto on Salvatoria Strret across from soccor field when coming into Loreto. Your residential status in Mexico is essential in order to avoid being deported. If you lose FM3 you must file a report with the PROCADURIA GENERAL de JUSTICA del ESTADO. Then take a copy of that report to Immigration so you can obtain a replacement. Do it immediately. UTILITES: Vacant lots in an established area, you need to file for new utility contracts when you initiate construction. You will be required to pay installation costs that include the cost of a water meter and hookup to your property. Electric installations vary depending on how far your lot is from the nearest pole. Phone lines can be installed and high speed internet is available.
TITLE INSURANCE: Fidelity Title Insurance in New York and Stewart Title both offer full coverage. Title reports cost $500.00 USA. The Mexican constitution prohibits foreigners from land ownership within 60 miles of the border and within 30 miles of the coast. Therefore, 50 year land trusts are essential to protect your investment.

ARCHITECT: Jesus Cortes Larrinaga MEXICO PH/FAX 613-135-0281 EMAIL: A written agreement includes spelling out that the contractor is responsible for paying the workers portion of the Seguro Social. This protects you from possible future disputes. FIRST BUILD: FENCE then an enclosed BODEGA (storage unit) that will house your bicyle, tools, BBQ, water heater, CYSTA propane, water pump) Build out of cement block, line the walls with at least two inches of styrofoam insulation in walls (malla plana) and six inches in the ceiling to keep it cool. ASK FOR TYPE L copper pipe. Wiring is easy to install inside styrofoam. Ben and Jill's casa was built with rebar, slabs of foam (malla plana) with cinder block stuccoed with concrete. Hurricane proofed to sustain 70mph winds with all headers 2x12, and doubled. The entire perimeters of roofline and headers above all doors and windows are double 2x12's. WHEN contracting builders, pay extra for a builder that pays the social security of the workers. When building is complete, get a copy of social security paid for your records. Site the house with opposing windows for maximum cross ventilation. Wall mounted air conditioner with ceiling fans to circulate air. Ceiling fan on the patio too. Dont put copper pipe in concrete, concrete is alkaline and it will eat holes in the copper. PLUMBING: Pipes to vent the sewer smell are not common in Mexico, not included in the construction. Shower, toilet, washer. No plumbing for dishwasher or garbage disposals in Mexico, bring your own supplies. ELECTRICAL: Bring your Fridge, stove, washer and dryer and all the outlets and installation materials.

DUTY-FREE IMPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS: You have the right to import all your household goods without paying duty within 6 mnths of getting your FM3. This is a one time deal. This applies only to used items. Value of $1,000 or $10,000 does not matter. Make a detailed list of all the things that you wish to import to Mexican consulate and file for permission. Process your papers at San Diego consulate. Keep three copies of the list handy. CANNOT IMPORT: guns; food; liquor; or suntan lotions, anything on skin. LIST TYPED single spaced. Upper LEFT corner: Name and address you are moving from. Upper RIGHT corner: Name and address you are moving to. List 1) box of kitchen utensils 2) box pots and pans 3)dressing table 4) four kitchen chairs 5) washer 6) dryer 7) refrigerator 8) computer 9) printer 10) linens. Label each box with serial numbers for electronics.

PALAPA: Memo built Ben's palapa for $2,500. A part of the building price is the portico-style roof cover over walkways and terrace to keep direct sun off walls and windows. Cemented landscaping with an outside built in BBQ bar to be part of the total construction price. Use potted plants instead of gardens next to house to prevent damage.

MEXICAN DRIVERS LICENSE: Tramites (paperwork) keep your passport with you always, a copy of FM3, and apply for drivers license. Bien educado means be prepared for delays and frustrations. Dress properly to go to government office. Carry a COMPROBANTE (paid water bill, electric or phone bill) with your name on it when applying for drivers license. Departamento de Transito will issue a Mexican drivers license without a test to those who maintain current USA license. NEED: Original USA drivers license; picture page of FM3; a copy of water bill with your name on it. NEED: "infantil" size photo in black and white or color for application form. NEED: Blood test from local LABORATORIO at a cost of $5.00 USA. You will receive your license the same day with a photo, your thubprint, blood type at a cost of $45.00. The license is good for 3 years. If you let your license lapse, you must take a SPANISH WRITTEN test.

VEHICLE PLATES: If your plates do disappear, go to the MINISTERIO PUBLICO to file a complaint. Ministerio gives you a copy of the complaint, which you then take to the traffic police (Transito). The officials will check to see if you have any tickets (infracciones). You pay any outstanding tickets, then you get your plate back. If it was stolen, transito will give you a temporary circulation permit good for one month. You must get in touch with state DMV to get new plates. You can do this on the internet.

PROPERTY TAXES: PAY BEFORE March 15 each year. You are not sent a notice when due. Property taxes (impuestos prediales) are paid at your local Modulo de Servicios Municpales. If you pay in December of January you get a 20% discount. TAKE YOUR LAST YEAR receipt with you to speed things up.

MEXICAN MARRIAGES: Get a good attorney. Attorney draws up contract called "convenio". If you marry a Mexican, you will lose your property to the Mexican in the event of a divorce. Make sure your personal real estate property is covered by a fideicomiso and that it is listed in your marriage contract as yours. Final document must be signed by both parties and notarized and entered into records. Then you can have the ceremony. Chuch marriage is not legal in Mexico due to the separation of church and state. Legal marriages are conducted by a judge. You cannot get divorced in Mexico unless you were married in Mexico.

MEXICAN CITIZENSHIP: Legal resident of Mexico for five years, FM3 to prove it; speak spanish, you are eligible to become citizen. You do not have to give up American citizenship. The office of the Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores in your state capitol city issues passports as well as letters of naturalization.

ODD JOBS AFTER CONSTRUCTION: Sand, gravel and stone are sold by the viaje (trip), which is to say a full load. Ask how much QUANTO? metros cuadrados (roughly a square yard) are in the viaje (trip). Truck sizes vary. Worker gets $250 pesos or $25.00 USA for a days work must charge you ($30.00) for a single trip to the dump.
LOT PLANS: Build high for the ocean breeze, incorporate air circulation when planning where your front door, bedroom, patio will be located. Sound travels uphill, if you are a light sleeper, plan to have bedroom located in the back of the home, away from noise, but with a breeze circulating. Inquire about water pressure from your neighbors.


Great news is always a GOOD way to begin the day! Kristina Morgan picked me up on Christmas Day 2009 and allowed me to share this glorious day with her family. Her stunning mother, and both talented musical brothers all eventually migrated from Colorado to live in Lake Chapala to ENJOY paradise. Needless to say my first Impression was mucho GRANDE! My decision to purchase Mi Casa was mui bueno wise! Copy & paste:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Drive to Chapala

It takes 14 hours to drive from Manteca, Calif to Nogales, Az. This great map shows the route through Phoenix. Perhaps a short visit with my sister Mary in Carefree, then onto Chapala. An expat suggested this border crossing. CHECK LIST: Passport, Mexico car insurance, and a Garmin with a Mexico chip. See TRAVEL link on right for fantastic hotels along this sumptuous path.
View Larger Map Drag mouse hand over map and follow coastal towns down to Guadalajara. With an overnight in Nogales, Az - it is another 20 hours to arrive in Guadalajara. Checking into a hotel in Navojoa, or Los Mochis, has been advised by an expat who drives this route several times a year. One more day of driving the toll roads to enjoy lunch in Mazatlan. Bypass the town of Cullacan! The worst part of the drive (most is very good) is between Mazatlan and Tepic. A winding and not a divided highway - where you must drive safely among big trucks. Be sure to fill up a LOT because there is a stretch on the other side of Mazatlan where there is almost NO Pemex gas stations! Expats advise to get off at El Rosario and go into the pueblito to fill up if necessary! Be sure to get the chip for the GARMIN GPS which has perfect directions to the state of Jalisco, City of Guadalajara, within the country of Mexico. SEE links of AWE on right, click Garmin. My casa at Santa Paula entrance gate at 69 Estacion, Chapala. My auto trip to Chapala in May 2011 will be another grand adventure. My Subaru most affectionately named "Earl" will be loaded with artwork, flowers, clothes, shoes and cocina utensils to partially decorate and bless my personal Shangri-la! Perhaps at that time, the model furnishings will become another blessing for a special price.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Have you witnessed the moon rise above a shimmering lake? Did time stop when you were up close whilst hearing a Canadian goose nibble the moss? A quenched murmuring of certain graditude for the bounty. Did your flesh prickle in the breeze of twillight? Has your face been broiled rosy by a campfire? Heart warmed by the laughter? Soul satisfied by the sounds of life in the thicket? Is it time to surrender to the whimsy of meadows brimming wild bold flowers?
I think so! Stretching my boundary a few miles away from what is known --- with a purpose to drown my senses with a spectacular canvas of color yet to be named among a thriving metropolis of ground hogs. Witness the tiny heads pop up in the midst of lavendar and orange. Agree with a "YES" inside knowing that this is what inspired cowboys to saunter on horseback to a place called THUNDER MOUNTAIN. At Plasse's Resort tiny white necked birds worbel, chipmunks scurry, and geese feast in this bit of Sierra Heaven! Hmmmm, why wait until summertime to hear the bird symphony? An afternoon rightly perched at the Pirates Lair for a run along the river would do me good. Maybe a quick stride round Lodi Lake? Perhaps a slow saunter to the West on Highway 12? ALAS, a true tale of pirates found just 25 miles from home flying the way of the crow. Once crowned as the Poetess of Korth, is it time to leisure once again with a good book? With body cradled in a Aiderondack, my soul stirs to the gentle lapping of the Delta. Why not drive a bit west and take a rest? It tis Spring and time to renew~KAYAKS-TO-GO - A two hour drive going EAST on Highway 12 onto HWY 88 towards TAHOE. Not to far from Jackson is BEAR LAKE RESORT. Just 25 miles down from Silverlake; Cables Lake; Red Lake; Blue Lake - a kayakers morning choice of 18 manicured greens surrounded by lakes! Paddling across quiet clear waters, without green fees, snyc a whole in one view of Sierra Pines standing tall all around. Take plenty of time to draw each breath, and greet the wild that blossoms in the spring. Bucket list items to be checked off - Enjoy long weekends exploring the Alpine lakes nearby. DOING IT NOW as opposed to waiting just seems like the right thing to do! The last weekend of July each year is a TRADITION at Silverlake Family Camp. The photo of my ANNUAL cabin for a luxury weekend in silence with a grand PUT IN SPOT at Silverlake. Yeah - kinda hard to top this BLISS! The signs reminding: SLOW DOWN - watch your DUST. Whoa- slowed down, walk a path up through the tall people, the vertical towers of strength that vibrate elation simply for the air! Not making a sound, not disturbing the peace of dust, treading gently, smiling softly. Same time next year, sittin royal round a circle of friends. Driving the Delta Loop on a Sunday in July coming home from a weekend in Santa Rosa, visiting with Momma Mia - Daydreaming and wondering about Korth's Pirates Lair. Rode the thin road that hugs the Delta, the water was standing up to catch the Delta Breeze.....the view of Mt. Diablo crystal clear. A writers paradise, Korth is only 24 miles from my front door. The address is Isleton just 48 miles east of Napa Valley's elegant DOMAINE CARNEROS. Bay area folks escape their concrete landscape to mix among the Valley of the Moon residents. Toasting beauty with a goblet of wine listening to JAZZ with a long vista of vineyards. Like manicured avenues stretching with a design to please, a garden for all sensory, a must see. Create a fantasy weekend with a westward drive along highway 12 towards Sonoma to breakfast at The Boon Fly. A red barn structure the entrance that disguises a sprawling acrerage of country French styled units. Great service, food and atmosphere! Narrow streets that take you on a curve! Could not have imagined what I saw. A cottage dining room - no walls between the outdoor fireplace and a private spa. Masterful suites featuring alfresco bathing. Wonder about showering outside in the rain? Open air, heated teak boards for your feet, and blue skies make for a marvel anytime. Sparkle in the sun inside fantastic intended detail to enhance comfort while experiencing joy at full blossom and marvel at God's decadent extravagance! Take in all the sights, breathe the rich aroma of grapes, tiny cafes, sudden stands of giant Eucalyptus, farmers, a variety of charm, the connectedness of each discovery. All splurges made possible with trust that the best is yet to come. Each destination a short drive from the Valley of San Joaquin.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ocotlan, Jalsico

Ocotlán was founded in 1530. Two main cathedrals line the plaza. One is the church named La Purisima ("The Most Pure"), which is one of the oldest buildings in Jalisco. The altar is dipped in gold. The other cathedral, more recent than La Purisima, was built in the late 1800s and dedicated to Nuestro Señor de Misericordia (Our Merciful Lord), which honors a vision of the crucifix on October 2, 1847. After a large and powerful earthquake destroyed most of the city, including the original church, the following day, a Sunday, when the faithful were attending a Mass outside of the destroyed church, a vision of the crucifix was claimed to have been seen. Ocotlán borders Poncitlán and Tototlán and is only fifty minutes east-southeast from the city of Guadalajara. It is located on the northeast end of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest lake. Greenville, South Carolina is a sister city to Ocotlan. As of 2005 the city of Ocotlán had a population of 81,165. The new Library and Media Center Fernando del Paso recently opened to the public and is operated by the Universidad de Guadalajara. This modern building is inspired by the lineal constructions of the university center. With an impressive lobby of multiple heights in which the main elements of the visual composition of the space are the books themselves. The building was designed by the young architecture firm LeAP, based in Guadalajara.