For those of you who have loved vacationing in Cabo and are ready to make the big move to life in Mexico, you may be asking yourself, “Should I rent or buy when I move to Los Cabos?”
If this sounds like you, you will soon face other questions as well: “Should I sell everything and just go for it?” “Should I start looking for a new home or condo to buy? “Should I rent out my current home and find a place in Los Cabos to rent for six months or a year?”
You will hear a lot of people say that you should definitely not rush to purchase in Los Cabos, but rent first. Why is this?
I believe one reason many expats here suggest finding a place to rent as a first step is because there are so many different communities to choose from in Los Cabos. Will you really know what will make you happy if you don’t experience it first?
You could think you want to be on the beach, but soon realize that there will be more home maintenance required with beachfront living. Or think that having a place with a roof-top deck is perfect, but after living there for a few months find that you hate trekking up to the deck every night carrying drinks and appetizers. Or you have fallen in love with San José del Cabo every time you’ve vacationed here, but discover that you don’t like how long it takes to drive to Costco and Home Depot, about a 20-minute drive.
All of this is really good learning. Renting first can help you zero in on what’s important to you and help you identify the right area to live in. But there also are potential downsides to renting. Emotionally, you may not feel as vested if you are renting, and consequently live like you are half here. Will you make the same effort to get to know people or learn about the culture or the community? Maybe, maybe not.
Rental properties in Cabo come in all shapes and sizes. You can find everything from a studio to homes with six or more bedrooms to rent for a month, two months, six months or a year. But not every community allows renting. If the property is part of a Homeowner’s Association, renting must be allowed per the bylaws. Also, most condo associations do not allow renters to have pets. This can be a real issue if you have a family dog or cat. And if you are on a budget, you need to consider that monthly rents tend to go up during our high season, November through May. You may want to look for a rental agent to help you as sites like Airbnb and VRBO usually only offer vacation rentals.
Here’s another thing to consider: Many people who rent their homes or condos do so on a regular basis. And with this kind of rental activity, the property often shows wear and tear. I would not recommend renting a home without seeing it first. Good photos can cover a lot of sins!
If you are planning to rent out your home back in Canada or the U.S. while you are in Los Cabos, you may also experience the pain of being a landlord or the wear that happens to your home while you are away.
My husband and I didn’t listen to the advice that we should rent first. We jumped in headfirst and bought in Cabo San Lucas and moved here permanently. We are not seasonal visitors, but permanent residents of Los Cabos. And while we don’t regret it one bit, I can understand the value of “trying it on” before you commit to buying a place.
Why did we decide not to rent first? To be honest, we never even considered renting. Call us crazy, but we wanted to move into a place that was ours from the beginning. We are nesters and didn’t like being in someone else’s house, even for six months. Also, after several days of touring with our agent, we found a home that we loved.
Our story is not right for everyone thinking about a move to this paradise. The point is you have options to consider. The key is deciding what’s best for you and your family.