This is the story of an Oregon couple who found that you can have your cake and eat it in Cabo San Lucas.
Joe and Wendy Yates, long-time residents of Medford, Oregon, made the move to live full-time in Cabo last September after discovering that they could continue to sell real estate in their hometown and also jump into the real estate business in the always-dynamic Los Cabos market.
“Last year, eXp Realty told us they were going to be opening an office in Cabo much quicker than originally planned,” said Joe Yates. “That changed our plans dramatically. We decided immediately that we had to go with eXp because the company model allows us to do what it is we are doing right now: living in Cabo and still selling properties in Medford. We said, ‘Wow, this is going to be amazing. The stars have lined up for us.’ We decided that in addition to continuing to grow our business in Oregon, we could build a new real estate business in Cabo.”
Yates, 57, explained that eXp is in the process of setting up the infrastructure for its local real estate operations and is going through the final phases of going live on the Los Cabos multiple listing service (MLS).
Yates and his wife Wendy, 44, lived in Medford most of their lives. He was born in San Rafael, California and she in Medford.
“I joined the Marine Corps when I was 20 and then moved to Medford and got into the real estate industry,” he said.
Wendy Yates spent most of her life working in salons in Medford before deciding to attend the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, a non-denominational Christian school of ministry, in Redding, California in 2015. During that time, her husband commuted two-and-a-half hours each way between Redding and his real estate business in Medford.
Joe Yates told me that his “aha” moment when he realized he wanted to live in Cabo San Lucas full-time was the first time he visited Los Cabos in September of 2001, at the time of the September 11 tragedy.
“I was marooned in Cabo for a while but fell in love with everything about it,” he said. “Later, I bought a place, but decided to sell it in 2010 since we were really not using it. But then the opportunity to move here with eXp Realty accelerated our plans to move to Los Cabos and we arrived on September 1, 2020.
The couple still has a fully-furnished home in Medford they use whenever they have real estate business in their old hometown, but they are now leasing a condo located in the hills just above Costco in Cabo San Lucas.
“We live in El Tezal in the Ventanas development in Cabo,” Wendy Yates said. “It has a really gorgeous clubhouse, a yoga room and gym and two pools, as well as 24-hour security. Our two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo has sliding pocket doors with a deck that has a wonderful view of Land’s End. We just love it.”
The Yates pay $1,300 a month for their little slice of paradise, but will be looking for a place to buy before their lease is up. They would like to remain in Cabo San Lucas, which they consider the epicenter of the very hot real estate market in the Los Cabos area. Since they have a three-year-old golden doodle named Romy, having space for a dog is a priority for them.
The area they live in is home to many expats, but also more affluent Mexicans who live and work in Cabo, so knowing some Spanish is a must for them.
“We practice a lot but it takes time,” Wendy Yates told us. “Whether for business, social or just day-to-day living in Mexico, you really need to learn at least enough Spanish to effectively communicate. Nothing makes us feel worse than when we have someone apologize to us for their English. I tell them, ‘No, we are living in Mexico. It is our fault if we are not able to communicate with you in your language. Your English is better than my Spanish!’”
The couple shares a deep love for Cabo, but their reasons vary just a bit.
“I love the weather,” said Joe Yates. “It’s like San Diego down here for 10 months of the year and then Death Valley for about two months! I often say it is kind of like the movie “Avatar,” where they plug you in to an environment. I’ve always said that I would rather sit on the tarmac at the international airport than be anywhere else. When I’m here I feel at peace. There is something magical about being here. I also love the people, who are maybe the best reason to move to Mexico. Finally, I love all of the great restaurants that make Cabo such a fun place to visit or live, places like El Huerto, Flora Farms, Tres Sirenas, and probably our favorite, La Lupita. The food everywhere is just very special.”
His wife had a little different take and what makes her happy about living in Cabo.
“The Mexican people who live here make me very happy,” she said. “They are so kind and polite and warm. I also am in love with the climate here. I am definitely a flip-flops, shorts and tank tops sort of girl. Every morning it’s 70 F degrees, which is heaven for me.”
The Yates said they have no back-up plan because they love living in Cabo San Lucas, especially since the proximity to an international airport allows them to still do business in Medford as they develop new business in Los Cabos.
“We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to work in both places,” said Joe Yates. “About a five-and-a-half-hour flight puts us in Medford when we have to work with real estate customers back home.”
But once their new business is up and running, Medford will become just a sometime place, no real substitute for their new home in Los Cabos.
“I always say you can go somewhere and find a better beach. You can go somewhere and find more nightlife. You can go somewhere and find more amenities. But if you want to go somewhere that has nice beaches, plenty of nightlife, amazing food and the most wonderful people you’ve ever been around, Cabo is the place.”
Well said, Joe.