Options abound when it comes to finding your new home—perhaps the home of your golden years!—in San Miguel de Allende. The new-home buyer can opt for Centro abodes—coveted, and priced accordingly—or from one of about 20 surrounding neighborhoods, ranging from walk-to-Centro close or suburb-style living.
What’s right for you?
There’s no question that buying an older home—history intact among the walls—has its allure for many, among them the unique qualities of a mixed neighborhood that has evolved organically, perhaps over a couple of centuries. Residents are more likely to be full-time—whether Mexican or expat—and far more diverse than found elsewhere. In fact, staunch opponents of a class hierarchy argue that neighborhood living within the city gives expats in particular an unbiased and unfiltered perspective of the real Mexico.
Other San Miguel buyers—about half of whom hail from other large cities across Mexico—find a comfort in the orderliness and aesthetic of a new, enclosed community, not to mention the security and comfort afforded by a limited-access neighborhood. Although the news-making crime issues daunting other parts of Mexico have yet to infiltrate San Miguel, Mexican nationals with the income available for a new home in San Miguel de Allende still put a high value on security.
What about the expat buyer? They’ll quickly recognize gated communities in San Miguel often mimic those stateside: security entrances, common-area amenities—from swimming pools and clubhouses, to running tracks, amphitheaters and coffee houses—and design guidelines. What they may not realize are the unspoken—or un-marketed—amenities gated communities offer relative to city living in a Mexican community.
For instance, zoning remains lax in San Miguel. In the city, your neighbor may very well open a rooster ranch on their roof (my friend lives adjacent to one!) or repair autos in his home and remain within his legal rights. Not so within a gated community. And utilities in old San Miguel are very seldom underground—it’s simply too expensive, and electrical lines often mar million-dollar views. In a gated community, views are premier; utilities are always underground.
Particularly in San Miguel, where the 450-year-old streets were meant only to accommodate horse carriages, parking and vehicular access can become problematic. Not so in gated communities, where garages are almost de rigueur and streets are designed to modern guidelines. Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&R’s) are also in place within gated communities: you’ll see no cars on blocks, no bright pink doors, and no dog kennels.
Perhaps the most important consideration for the expat buyer in Mexico is the language barrier. If your Spanish is poor, gated communities often—but not always, so be sure to ask—offer bilingual staff or programs to facilitate simple tasks that become arduous in a foreign language, like home maintenance or transportation services. The smartest developers of gated communities offer bilingual concierge programs for expats and Mexican national residents alike that go well beyond exterior maintenance, from dry cleaning services and flower delivery, to party catering and restaurant reservations. Ask what services are offered and what the corresponding Home Owner’s Association (HOA) fees cost.
Ready to investigate a gated community? There are over two dozen in the San Miguel area alone! Watch this blog category for future postings on specific communities, or just come in for a chat—we’ll compare your needs and steer you in the right direction!