This is the second part of our moving to Merida, Mexico house hunting tips! Please see part 1 here for the first five steps that you need to follow!
You've found the perfect home, now what? Here are the next 5 steps you should take to ensure a successful home/apartment rental.
6. Verify. Verify. Verify. Everything in the home, the neighborhood and what you want vs what you will now get. Look at all future possibilities for the home and please do not accept the first home that you see, take your time viewing multiple homes. Question all the possible issues from a structural to every day living and working conditions. Ask about the internet provider in the area. Ask to see the past electric bills, the cost of gas for the home. Test the water pressure, flush the toilets.
7. Now it's time for the contract. Most things should be negotiable and here is where your realtor should do the work for and with you. Understand that in Mexico once you rent the home, most things in the home are now your responsibility to include regular maintenance and repair. By that I mean if the toilet breaks, it's your responsibility.
Ensure that in your contract everything that is your responsibility and what is the homeowners responsibility is outlined in clear and direct language. Remember deposits are rarely to never given back here. Also verify things like how/who pays utilities, if you can have pets, the number of people living in the home or even subleasing if you plan on leaving for months but want to rent the home out during that time.
Pro Tip - Get the contract agreed amount in Pesos not USD.
8. Money! Don't hand over a penny until you have the final contract signed and keys either in hand or on the table in view as you sign the contract. Do not put a deposit down on a home based on changes asked for before the final contract is signed. Do not put a deposit down on a home to "hold it" so no one else can get it. The contract between you and the landlord should be mutually beneficial with vetting on both sides and if the are dangling the possibility of others taking it away from you, let them. Get a copy of everything signed in paper and snap a picture with your cell phone.
9. Additions. Most unfurnished homes do not contain the basics that Americans are use to such as appliances or even toilets, kitchen sink and shower heads. Anything that you put in the home, leaves with you when you leave. If you do structural repair to suit you and your needs, you generally will not be reimbursed. See 7 and verify with the landlord that it can be done.
10. Move IN! After everything above is done and you have set up your services such as: electric, cable, internet, gas, trash, pool, garden and possibly maid service. Also of note the electric is generally in the landlord/homeowners name but you should be able to see the bill either online or the paper version when it is issued every two months.
Pro Tip: Don't be afraid to walk away even after the contract has been signed and money exchanged. Take it as life lesson learned that you hopefully won't repeat!
I hope all the information shared helps when you make the move to Merida, Mexico! Please let me know of any useful tips you would add to this list.