The husband and wife team of John Stull and Connie Freeman had never been to Los Cabos until May of 2018, but for the dynamic duo who fell in love with Los Cabos in less than a week, life could not be better.
“We came for a one-week vacation and had no plans other than just lying around the beach and relaxing and getting away from work,” said Stull. “On day three or four we really didn’t have much to do so we decided to go look at some real estate and found this place. A couple of days later, we decided to buy it and eventually retire down here. Literally, we didn’t know anything about Mexico when we packed our bags and moved here last March.”
Freeman had been to Mexico City on business over a decade ago and visited Mérida for a week on vacation, but admitted that Mexico was never on their radar.
“We had watched “House Hunters International” on HGTV and saw some segments on Cabo,” Stull said, “and then one day Connie said, ‘Let’s go to Cabo and check it out. Seems like a nice place.’”
The couple reflects a growing trend evidenced in the Expats In Mexico Survey 2019: American baby boomers increasingly are choosing Mexico as a place to retire, and some to work. Stull called it quits when he moved to Los Cabos after decades in the construction industry, mainly in U.S. Southeast. Freeman is still doing a bit of consulting work, her vocation for years.
Freeman, 62, was born just outside of Frankfurt, Germany but moved to the U.S. when she was 13. She lived in Canada for a while before returning to the U.S. to attend Southern Illinois University for her bachelor’s degree in psychology and communication before moving on to the University of Illinois for a master’s degree in communication. She also attended the State University of New York, Buffalo where she worked on a PhD in organizational behavior before starting her career with mainly consulting companies.
Her 66-year-old husband got started in the construction industry shortly after leaving high school in his hometown of Chicago.
“I supervised construction projects,” Stull told us, “large commercial projects like high-rise office buildings, condos, apartment buildings and sports structures. I also worked 260-feet under the Chicago River for a few years building sewage tunnels and also supervised the construction of the Chicago White Sox’s baseball stadium, as well as the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and football stadiums for the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Auburn.”
But just a taste of Cabo was enough for the couple to pack their bags and head south to the tip of the Baja Peninsula. They loved the confluence of mountains, water and sunshine that Los Cabos offers expats and visitors.
“We looked at each other and said we had better figure out what the hell Los Cabos is all about if we are going to live here full-time,” Stull said. “We started doing a lot of research and talking with people who lived in Cabo. We felt at home the week we were here on vacation. The people were so friendly and we could easily communicate with people because so many spoke English.”
As a construction professional, Stull stayed very involved in the building of their new condo.
“I got the construction superintendent to walk me around each of the buildings so I could see the construction means and methods,” he said. “In Mexico, it’s pretty much concrete and masonry and plaster, which are all strong, solid materials, if they are installed correctly.”
They had a few modifications done to their 1,600 sq. ft. three-bedroom, three-bathroom place before construction was finished. The unit also includes a 350 sq. ft. terrace overlooking the Sea of Cortez,
“We’re right in the middle of the corridor that runs between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo,” Stull said, “about 300 feet up the hillside directly across from the Grand Velas resort, which we have access to as part of the purchase.”
The couple paid US$470,00 for their new home, not including the extras they added.
“We have gorgeous views of the Sea of Cortez and San José del Cabo and the mountains,” Freeman said. “The neighborhood we live in is called El Tule, which includes expats and many Mexican doctors, lawyers and other professionals.”
Local area shopping is, in their words, phenomenal. It includes a new high-end supermarket called Fresco, which carries a wide variety of merchandise, the more upscale Mexican supermarket, La Comer, and a California Fresh Market specialty grocer. All primarily geared toward the tourist trade, expats and well-heeled Mexicans.
“Down the road in Cabo, which is about 12 miles from us, are Costco, Home Depot, Auto Zone, Office Max, Office Depot and other well-known big box stores from the U.S.,” Stull said.
Since they had purchased all new furniture when they moved from Charlotte, North Carolina to Nashville, Tennessee, the couple decided to ship most of their furniture to Mexico, using an international moving company.
“It took them about two weeks to move our things here,” Freeman said. “It cost us US$22,000 to move, but we claimed about US$5,000 in minor damages to our furniture, which is not bad for shipping household goods from a three-bedroom house.”
They are both working hard to learn Spanish, but the ubiquity of spoken English in their international resort location has actually made it more difficult.
“I am doing Duo Lingo and trying to use the language,” Freeman said, “but it’s harder because we can get by with English here. It makes it more difficult to be motivated to learn.”
They have no problem getting around Los Cabos. They shipped Freeman’s Audi A7 and drove Stull’s Chevy Colorado truck from the U.S. Since the Audi is coming off a lease and has to be returned to the U.S., they also recently purchased a new car locally.
Considering they came, fell in love and purchased a home in Los Cabos after visiting for just one week, the magic of Baja continues for the couple.
“For me, it’s definitely the people and just what it feels like to live here,” Freeman said. “I love our place. I love being home. I love sitting on our terrace and looking at the sea. I love going to the resort, and that was one of the big selling points for us, and especially for me. I use the fitness center there. We’re down there almost every week. Life could not be better for us.”