by Sarah Kannberg
We moved to Merida from Los Angeles 2 years ago. Within the 3 years that my family lived in LA (2013-16), home prices in particular, increased so much that we were priced out of the market. As a Real Estate agent in LA, pretty much every home in a good neighborhood (and good school district) was receiving 15-25 offers pushing up the home price to sometimes $US 100,000 above asking. It was ridiculous. Rents were out of control and we realized that in the 3 years we spent renting in LA, we were too late to the party for being home owners.
It was clear that a change was needed. I had lived in 5 countries so for me moving to Mexico was no big deal. My husband is a musician who has travelled the world so he was up for it too. Our then 5 year old daughter Roxy also came along for the ride.
My first priority was finding a good school for Roxy. Since she was going into Kindergarten for the 2016-17 school year, I first headed online and to Facebook groups looking for suggestions. I spent hours upon hours researching. I settled on a small local, private school, Kinder Destrezas, that a Mexican friend recommended as her daughter also attended that school. Roxy had a really enjoyable year there. Even though the school was 100% Spanish speaking and Roxy did not speak a word of Spanish, she settled in really well. As with almost all Mexican schools, uniforms were a must and grooming and presentation were important.
Finding a suitable Elementary school was easier than I expected. There are so many schools in Merida that it can be a daunting task to find a suitable school. We live in Garcia Gineres and after a year of battling it out in Merida 1pm traffic, I was for sure going to find a school closer by. Luckily for us, we are very close to an amazing school Ibero (Av. Colon). Ibero is totally bilingual. The kids start off with English class every morning and after lunch break they head to Spanish class. What I love about the school is its “family style” approach. It’s a fairly small school (Roxy has 18 kids in her class) and there are many events for the kids and parents to get together. It’s a real community.
Roxy does Ballet twice a week at R Dance studio in Centro (Calle 76). She is really enjoying it. Ibero also has after school sports so for the first 6 months of the school year, she played Tennis. Sports Clubs are very popular here. Many families have memberships and take their kids often to use the pool or play sports. I suppose if we had multiple children it would be more appealing. I know a few families who are members of Centro Deportivo Bancario. The club is well maintained and offers a wide range of sports and activities for the whole family.
The majority of the private schools are located in Merida North. We are happy living in Garcia Gineres so the commute to the north everyday was not an option. Many families moving to Merida choose to live in the north closer to the schools and after school activities, but for us, we wanted to live closer to Centro and the history of Merida. Luckily we were able to find a great school within 5 minutes.
I am continuing on with my real estate career and now work for Merida Living Real Estate. I decided to work with Carlos Betancourt because buying real estate in a foreign country, especially Mexico, can be worrisome. Since Carlos is a local to Merida, he is an expert on negotiating with locals and fully knowledgeable on taxes, permits and any other paperwork concerns. It is essential that buyers and sellers receive the correct information and advice and I believe Merida Living is the best in Merida at that.
Moving to Merida was never going to be a lifelong move for us. We ideally want to move back to Australia (my home country) at some point in the future. Meanwhile, we are taking advantage of being close to our families (ironically both sides either live here in Merida or in the USA), enjoying a highly reduced cost of living and traveling to new places.
Merida Living Real Estate
Tel: +52 999 1177216