Monday, April 19, 2010

My Mexican Adventure

Arrived in Puerto Vallarta Mexico with no trouble. Rented a car and got to the condo. Pedro gave us a nice studio suite with a view of the ocean and pool from the balcony. We are three stories up so we can turn the air conditioner off at night and open the balcony window and listen to the waves of the ocean.
The waves are unusually high for this area. The people who live here are a little freaked out about it. We are getting settled in and setting up computer, getting parking tags etc. We joined Golds Gym for the month I am really excited because they have spinning and aerobics, yoga and boxing! For dinner we ventured out to The Romantic zone. This is becoming our favorite area. It has loads of restaurants and shops on the oceanfront. There are some older condos that we plan to check out. We had dinner at Marazuls and Jack stepped out of his comfort zone and had Shrimp Stuffed Pablano peppers. They were very good along with rice and beans. Something he would never ever eat in the States. We are going to try to lose weight while we are here. We stopped in a bar called Nacho Daddy and met some Expats. Want to buy one of those T shirts before we leave. They are always so happy to be here and always encourage the move!! We met a women who had her foot in a cast like boot. She was looking for Tylenol, I looked in my purse but since I changed purses I didn’t have any. We started talking and it turns out that she retired here at age 50 from Texas. She said she has been coming down here since she was eighteen. She downsized all her stuff and put her stuff in storage to make the move. She got a job as a Hotel manager. Then she opened a bar with a group of people and along the way she fell in love. Great story! We also met some other Expats who had too many tomatoes that they had grown and this seemed to be their biggest problem!

Jan 24, 2010
First big day. We planned to go to San Sebastian, this is a small mountain town that has its own homegrown coffee. We started our day by going to Golds Gym and did the tread mill. Because it is Sunday they don’t have any classes scheduled. We had a real hard time getting our act together. I must of gone up and down the 3 flights of stairs 8 times today. Every time we would start out we had to turn around and go back to get what ever it was we forgot. Going to San Sebastian si not easy, now you have to understand the way driving is in Mexico. You go right to turn left. You can only do this at certain left turn lanes. It is very confusing and you have to know where you are going way ahead of time which poses a problem when you don’t know where you are going. So we knew that we will be turning around and over passing our destination a lot. Well we couldn’t find the road to San Sebastian so we ended up in Neuvo Vallarta. Drove around and decided we don’t like Neuvo Vallarta. This is a place you go if you really want to be in Florida. It is very pretty everything perfect and nothing is close for walking to a store or restaurant. Seeing lots of golf carts. We ate at Guidos and had salads. We are trying to lose weight so this is what we are going to eat. Jack is being a sport about it all. So far real estate prices seem to be 200k and up. 200k appears to buy you a one bdrm 800 to 1400 sq ft depending on the view and condition. There doesn’t seem to be any system for a buyer to use to find all the information. Exhausted we went back to the Condo and went to our favorite massage shop. We got 75 minute massages for $25 or 300 pesos. They were great and we were very sore I think from traveling. They gave us a room with two tables and we had a male and a female. The male worked on me and at first I was nervous because he had work boots on and just a white T shirt. It turned out that he was fabulous!! His name is Rapheal and I will be back to see him again! We went to the pool that is on the roof top. It has a beautiful view of the mountains. This pool is quiet without all the vacation activity. We met a women who comes down every year for a few weeks. And we met and older Canadian couple that has been coming here as well for years. They are not timeshare owners but they came for 3 weeks. They didn’t want to go back and plan to spend more time here next year. They said the wind chill factor was 42 below zero at home.Of course that is ceilius not Fahrenheit It occurred to me that Canada doesn’t have a Florida. So this is their Florida. The Mexican government works with the Canadian government to exchange medical care since they are both socialized. After a rest and shower we went back to the Romantic Zone for dinner at Daquari Dicks. Again I watched what we ate I had a Asian salad and Jack broke down and had braised short ribs. We stopped at a bar called Joe Jacks Fish Shack where I met the owner who came from Iowa. He told me to email him if I had any questions or if he could help us in any way. He was in the process of building a condo for 200k one bedroom with a view. He didn’t think I could cut it here in Real Estate. Said everybody is in real estate here. What else is new!

Jan 25 2010 Monday
Started our day at Golds gym. I took a spinning class and it was in Spanish!! They have the best equipment here. The bikes have a heart rate and calorie monitor plus the spin wheel has a numbered adjustment for resistance. I am learning my Spanish numbers real quick this way. Tough class burned 368 mexcian calories which is like 800 american. We decided to go to Sayulita, I call it See U Later. Going through the mountains was a blast see picture above. We missed the exit of course and drove about 10 miles too far. When we pulled into Sayulita it was a cute little town. We were starving so we parked the car and walked around. Everything is kind of hillside leading to the Ocean. We found a fabulous beachfront restaurant called Don Pedros. I had a fabulous seared Tuna salad with a light lemon dressing. Jack had and ate a whole pizza I had some crust. The good thing is he didn’t have any meat on it. So I made him walk all over. We found this really cool cemetery on the way to a special beach see attached pictures below.

Then we found the most incredible Hotel see pictures with insane views!!. I have to say I really liked Sayulita. I wouldn’t want to live there but a couple nights would be great. On our way back to the car I saw a man standing outside an office with a manila envelope. I asked him if he was a Realtor and he said yes! He practiced real estate in Canada then 5 years ago made them move there. He loves it gave me his card and was happy to set up an appointment just to talk. He said we could use his phone and office if we needed too. Really nice guy I liked him right away. Hopefully we can do some sort of business together. Possibly referral!

This is the view from over the pool shot and this picture of Jack is the path to get to the hotel. Prices from $110 a night to $950 a night for a 3 bdrm house . We asked for a brochure they gave us a piece of paper with the rates. A grounds keeper told us to talk to Giavonni at the blue hut on the beach. Giavonni was no where to be found. He’s the property manager. I know that I could do a better job marketing this place!!! We left Suyalita exhausted from all the walking and went back to the condo. We were really beat so we took a short rest and shower before we met with Keith. He owns a Guest house here in Puerto Vallarta in an area that is either the Romantic Zone or Rio Cuale . This is a very Gay friendly area. Keith also owns a real estate company in Cleveland. I like to think of his company as a kind of brother company to mine. We met at a Favorite restaurant called the River CafĂ©. It is a beautiful outdoor restaurant with a view of the River and there are Iguanas in the trees all around. The food here is fabulous and it is considered expensive. We are buying Keith dinner to get as much info from him as we can. He would do this for free because we are friends but I felt better in starting this way. He talked about all sorts of important stuff. Like if you get pulled over by the police they will hand you a folded paper you have to be humble and treat them will absolute respect. Put about 250 pesos in then folded paper and give it back apologizing to him for the inconvenience. Another neat thing is Mexico has socialized medical. They have low taxes and support most of the government off oil. No one is really hungry here anymore and they have lowered their teen pregnancy rate by 7% . Their childbirth rate has gone down and so has the birth deaths. They are also lower than USA. To get anything done here takes a whole day. So if we decide to apply for a permit of any sort plan on a whole day. Be patient! I guess that will be Jacks job! Keith doesn’t feel real positive about me doing Real Estate down here. He thought I should open a sauerkraut store instead. He said it is hard to get into the mls here and getting paid for a transaction could be difficult. I told him my plan but he preferred the sauerkraut idea. See in Puerto Vallarta there are shortages of certain things. Keith likes to have a Rueben party on New Years day and finding sauerkraut is a big challenge. The point he was making is find what is missing and fill it. Real Estate has too many hurdles. He also thought we should invest in a multi family property in his area. Not bad advise . Keith is an Urban Planner so this is where most of his insight comes from. He took us to some local bars where Jack was eye candy to the patrons. I had a blast!!! Jack is a really good sport.

Friday, April 16, 2010

14 days left to get in on the Tax incentives to purchase a home

Today is April 16, 2010. There are only 14 days left to take advantage of the tax credit for purchasing a home. There is no talk about extending this credit at this time! You don't have to be a first time home buyer to take advantage of this!!! You can get a $6500.00 tax credit by purchasing a home and $8000.00 credit for a first time home buyer. You must be under contract by the end of April and close before June 30 2010. You don't have to have your present home sold to qualify for this. If you are thinking about selling your home, GET IT ON THE MARKET NOW!! We don't know how the market will act, when this incentive ends. Overall the market is moving. The low end is showing a lot of movement. Prices are not starting to go up yet. We are starting to see more movement in the upper price ranges over $300,000.00. Forbes recently printed an article about Bay Village having a 32% increase in value. Unfortunately while I'd like to believe this to be true, I have to dispute the math here. I live in Bay Village so I really would like this to be true. Forbes magazine used median price ranges to compare averages. Well Bay Village has Lakefronts. A few of those Lakefronts sold. Lakefronts in Bay Village sell anywhere from the very low end of $400,000.00 to 3 million. Forbes states that the average priced home in Bay Village is $250,000.00. You can see why a few sales on the Lakefront can have a dramatic affect on the median price range.So the increase is not 32%. If it was, I would be selling my house today! If you are looking for real facts in the Cleveland Real Estate market call me I will not mislead you!