Hello and Welcome to
Collins Real Estate's website on Lake Chapala, Ajijic, Mexico
I'm glad you have taken the time to visit my website. By way of introduction, my name is Kevin Collins. I am a Canadian. I have lived in the Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico area since 1994. If experience counts for anything I have sold more real estate in the Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico area than anyone over the last 15 years.
My wife and I brought our children up here. They were 10 and 12 when they arrived and to date everyone agrees we made the right move. This is our home.
I left the advertising business in Toronto. At the end I was a "head hunter" for creative types. I often say it helped that I was morally bankrupt before getting into the real estate business but the truth is finding people a new job and finding them a new house are similar in that you are playing around with some very heavy personal issues and I take that responsibility seriously.
Rather than a list a bunch of references I would prefer you to contact someone (anyone) in the
Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico area (who have lived here for a few years) and ask them about me and my reputation.
Sounds a bit cheeky but I am confident the response will be favorable.
I doubt this is the first website you have
visited regarding living in the Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico area but it's to fill in any information blanks you might have
about retirement, rentals, or real estate. Having visited many of the sites myself, I have found a lot of good information intermingled with some things that could be considered (I'm being kind here) misleading.
The tricky part is that there are very few definitive answers to any questions here. Mexico is different. It is not for everyone. If you have never lived any place but the U.S. or Canada you are going to have to adjust your attitude about many things
including how to rent a house in Mexico, Retiring to Mexico, Lodging in Mexico. This statement would appear to fall under the category of super obvious but even though people hear it, they quite often don't "get it". Patience and a sense of humor help a great deal.
There don't seem to be many people who are wishy-washy about this area. You either think you've found paradise on earth or you leave scratching your head as to what those "Gringos" see in the place. As you walk around and talk to people who live here the response is almost always "we love it here". Keep in mind the people who didn't like it here left ... you won't meet them.
There are several key advantages to living here over other retirement communities. They are as follows:
1. Weather. I won't beat this to death but it's one of the few things they don't "over sell". It really is remarkable. I don't have stats to back this up but I think it's safe to say we enjoy 300 plus days a year between 70 and 85 degrees. Now, if you are just a "snow bird", the beach might have more appeal because the winter temps are cool here by comparison. If you want year round livable temps this place is hard to beat. It does get hotter and dustier after Easter to mid-June but still very few people find the need for an air conditioner. It's the time of year most residents here choose to travel or go "home" for a visit.
2. Location. Half hour to the international airport. One hour to the second largest city in Mexico and all it's amenities. Half
a days drive to 8 colonial cities that are all very different and all worth repeat visits. 3 and a half hours to the beach. (Manzanillo)(5 hours to Puerto Vallarta).
3. Other "Gringos". We have a very large ex-pat community. There is no real hard number on how many (difficult to define who lives here and who just comes and goes on a regular basis) but around 6-7,000 depending on the time of year I have seen numbers much higher than that but I can assure you everyone is just guessing.
While we're on the subject, there are some idiots that live here That isn't unusual, no place is idiot free. However, I would say that vast majority of the "Gringo" population are very aware that we are guests in this country and almost everyone tries to put something back into the community. There are many ways to do that. Everyone has their own preferences but I'm proud of things I've seen accomplished here that benefit the Mexican Nationals. They deserve it for putting up with the idiots and being so gracious in the process. I have been to other, more touristy places where you get the sense the locals really don't want you there. I couldn't live like that. This area isn't the least bit attractive to tourists It is something we are all grateful for. Nice place to live, not much of a place to visit.
Bottom line great weather, excellent location, extremely nice people.
There is a lot to cover when it comes to making such a dramatic move. It took me 10 years to talk my wife into making the jump so I understand it isn't something one does and hopes for the best. I won't try to address everyone's needs, questions and trepidations all at one time. What I will be doing is posting questions I receive and my answers. The answers will most likely be seen as smart-assed and irreverent but if you look hard enough a truthful answer will be in there somewhere.
So. Let me know how I can help. My commitment to you is to provide an honest, quick response to any question you might have. If I've learned anything in the last 16 years it's that you can't trick people into living here. Sadly, "high pressure sales pitches" don't work. Please don't feel your questions have to be real estate related. Finding a nice place is probably the easiest and most fun part of the process.
I will be adding specific listings to this
site. However while we continue to build a listings page, please feel free to
browse the MLS page. I know most of the homes there and will be glad to give you my candid opinion on any of them.
Let me prove to you that not all agents are created equal.