What are the top factors to keep in mind when searching for a place to live in your city?
When searching for a place to live, some important factors to consider are safety, location preference and individual needs. Depending on your preferences, you might want to find a place close to a school, church, transportation, shops, medical facilities or work, and most importantly, in an area that is secure and safe. A good thing to keep in mind is that traffic is often bumper-to-bumper, making distances seem longer than they really are. Make sure your home is in close proximity to things you do most often, such as work, school, shopping and health clubs. Choosing the right place to live is essential to having a pleasant and safe stay in Mexico City.
What are the most popular neighborhoods in your city for expats?
There are certain neighborhoods in the city that have less congestion and more parks. Geographically, the city is divided into 16 delegaciones and further into colonias. These areas all have obvious socioeconomic differences, ranging from extreme poverty to immeasurable wealth.
Below, find brief descriptions on the following areas: Ciudad Satelite, Tecamachalco, Interlomas and
La Herradura, Bosques de las Lomas, Lomas de Chapultepec, Santa Fe, Polanco, Condesa, San Angel and Coyoacan.
Neighborhoods in this area are typically middle-class. Although there is a lot of commercial activity along Periferico Norte and Via Gustavo Baz, the residential areas are suburban.
One place in this area is the Club de Golf Hacienda, which is more exclusive and has a typical golf club atmosphere. You can find just about anything you want or need in Ciudad Satelite without leaving - but most offices, cultural and social activities are much further south.
This area is considered more or less upper-middle-class and contains a relatively large Jewish community. The feel in this area is described as "concrete suburban," which is suburban without the gardens and green spaces associated with American Suburbia.
Tecamachalco is a nice place to live and is far removed from the cultural activities of town.
There are plenty of stores and restaurants for basic needs, but if you want more of a variety,
Tecamachalco is close to both Interlomas and Polanco, which will take you to other neighborhoods that have more to choose from. Also, keep in mind that access to public transportation is limited in this area.
Interlomas and La Herradura:
Like Tecamachalco, this area is considered middle to upper-class, although Interlomas is a lot newer. Interlomas has a large array of shopping centers, restaurants and fitness facilities, which makes for easy suburban living. Mexico City's most modern hospital, the Angeles Interlomas, is based here.
La Herradura is a smaller neighborhood than Interlomas and has much more greenery with beautiful views and parks. Getting to La Herradura can be a bit bothersome because you have to go through Tecamachalco to get there from the center of town. Similar issues regarding access to cultural venues and hot spots affect this area as they do Tecamachalco. The Anahuac, a small, private university for the wealthy, is also located here. And, like Tecamachalco, public transportation access is very limited.
Lomas de Chapultepec:
Originally "Chapultepec Heights," the American developer's plan was for this area to be the ultimate suburban development. This is where Mexico City's most expensive housing is located. Accessibility to the area is among the best because it is near the north, south and center of Mexico City.
Bosques de las Lomas:
In order to capitalize on the success of Lomas de Chapultepec, the newer developments in this area also have their share of office buildings, exclusive shopping malls and many restaurants. Its access, via Reforma, is a little easier than Tecamachalco, Interlomas and Lomas de la Herradura.
Santa Fe is Mexico City's newest addition to its massive urban sprawl and was built on a huge landfill. It is located next to some of the best office space in the city, with the head offices of GE, EDS, IBM, Daimler-Chrysler, Televisa and other big companies. Santa Fe also has the Universidad Iberoamericana, a Jesuit university with a good reputation among the elites, as well as what is considered the largest shopping mall in Latin America.
A number of very good restaurants have established themselves along the main street, including a great Indian restaurant. Also, the Sheraton Suites hotel is located conveniently in town for visitors to the area.
Upscale and a bit pricey, Polanco is a mixture of commercial and residential areas with a lot of offices, boutiques and department stores. Affluent shopping malls and three of Mexico City's best hotels (housed in skyscrapers that line the zone's southern edge) are thrown in for good measure.
It is centrally located with respect to the center, west and northern parts of the city and it also has good access to Mexico City's largest green area, Chapultepec Park. Besides excellent shopping and restaurants, Polanco also has a great cultural scene, being the home of both the Museo
Rufino Tamayo and the Anthropological Museum. It also has a theatre, many cinemas and two of the most important musical venues in the city: the National Auditorium and the Hard Rock Live.
Despite all this activity, Polanco is still fairly residential.
Currently in the hippest part of town, a number of restaurants, bars and cafés are opening up in the Condesa area. This area has some pretty nifty buildings because it was built up during the heyday of the Porfirio Diaz regime, which was known for its francophilia.
The Roma is also the place to find several important galleries and the Casa Lamm, a beautiful mansion where many interesting art, history and literature classes are currently given. The crime rate for this area is a little higher than in Polanco and it still hasn't been completely "gentrified," which means that many buildings are not in the best condition. However, since this area has become very popular, prices have risen dramatically.
San Angel and Coyoacan:
Surrounded by the Megalopolis, many of this area’s plazas and cobblestone streets retain much of their charm. In fact, in a bit of an eerie way, it can seem that you are far away from the surrounding urban sprawl. Considered the intellectual heart of the city, this part of what is known as "the South" has more than its fair share of bookstores and cafés. Some trendy restaurants have set up shop as well and there are all sorts of galleries to be found.
Do expats tend to buy or rent their homes?
Most expats rent a home or an apartment. It is rare that an expat would buy a house and if they do, it is typically in a more touristy area such as Puerto Vallarta or Playa del Carmen.
Typically, will I be required to pay additional money up front (such as a deposit) before moving into leased housing? If so, how much is common?
Most landlords require a deposit equivalent to one month’s rent for an unfurnished house or apartment, and two months’ for a furnished one.
A lease contract for a house or an apartment is usually signed by a person (or company) as the guarantor. However, sometimes a guarantor cannot be involved, in which case a guarantee fee
(fianza) is required. A fianza can be as low as 40 per cent of the first month’s rent, and as high as 120 per cent. The fianza can be bought in most local banks or through companies called Afianzadoras that are dedicated to this type of business.
Are utilities generally included in the price of rent, or are they extra?
Typically, utilities are not included in the price of rent, but some landlords offer utilities such as cable, water or building maintenance fees. In Mexico City, anything can be negotiated, so be prepared to negotiate price, because you might be able to secure a price lower than advertised.
Are there special security concerns I should be aware of in regards to my home or choice of neighborhood?
Before deciding where to live, make sure that the house or apartment has door and window protection and a reliable alarm system. Change all locks on doors and replace with brand new ones. Make sure that the home has good lighting around the house, and if possible have a remote controlled garage gate.
Also, it is recommended that you check out local police reports before deciding on an area to live.
These reports provide factual information on types of crimes and how often they occur. This will most likely be a determining factor on whether you choose to live in a certain neighborhood or not.
I’m not sure if I should bring my appliances. What is the electric current, Hz and plug shape in your city?
The electric current for Mexico is 120 to 127 volts and the electrical Hertz (Hz) is 50 to 60. The shape of the plug is either Type A flat blade or Type B flat blade with a round grounding pin and are like those used in Japan and the United States.
Do you have any other accommodation information that might help me?
Please contact the Crown Relocations office in Mexico City for further information and recommendations.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.