Expat investor advises patience in dealing with red-tape

A street scene in Mérida. The city is popular with students and as a base for tourists who are visiting the nearby Mayan ruins. (Photo: Getty Images)

Andrew Boundy is an entrepreneur and investor who moved to Merida in 2011 . He spoke recently to TYT for the ongoing “Expat Avenue” series of interviews with prominent expatriates in Merida. 

  1. How long have you lived in Merida? –

Four and a half years — arrived in winter 2011.

  1. What attracted you to move here? –

We are Canadian but  lived in the Caribbean for 4 years prior to coming to Mexico. We wanted the sun and were interested in affordable real estate and a relaxed (away from the “rat-race”) lifestyle.

We saw Merida featured on a TV show and it looked nice and was close to our location. We came on holiday and liked the city, people and ambiance. We especially liked to see the families in the park, not huddles around a TV/video-game.

We purchased a small holiday home in Centro about one year before moving here, renovated it (remotely) and loved the result. When our time in the Caribbean was done, we had a choice of locations and we chose our Merida house for a while. We’ve not left yet. We’ve since moved just outside the city to accommodate our five dogs and give us more room.

  1. From where did you relocate?

The Caribbean, previously Canada and the UK.

  1. How does Merida compare to other places you’ve lived regarding issues like security, services, medical facilities, air connectivity etc?

– I have lived in UK, Canada, Caribbean and Mexico plus traveled fairly extensively and I consider Merida as safe or safer than almost all other areas.

– Medical facilities are excellent (we have used them) but I suggest people get insurance as it’s not as inexpensive as some may think – especially if you go private. Insurance is not too bad compared to US or even Canadian private insurance rates.

– Electricity is very expensive but this is offset by very low taxes and other costs of real estate ownership including water, gas etc.

– Roads are OK in Centro but get worse as you get our of the city – in some places they are very poor.

– Shopping and availability of items we’re used to is excellent – large stores carry what we need and the few we can not get, we do without happily.

– Government services are fine but may require much more time and many more visits than people are used to elsewhere. There is a huge amount of red-tape in Mexico and problem-solving takes a back seat to rigid process.

– The Yucatecans are lovely people in all respects until you put them behind the steering-wheel of a car – whereupon they morph instantly into maniacs bent on vehicular destruction and pedestrian mayhem 😉

  1. Have you noticed improvements in any important areas during the time you’ve lived here?

Some roads are better in Centro – Santiago especially.

Internet is far more stable and widespread with 3-down/0.5-up being pretty normal.

There are more cars, faster driving and congestion in last 4 years.

There is possibly wider range of available items in stores.

Andrew Boundy (Photo: Linkedin)
Andrew Boundy (Photo: Linkedin)
  1. Would you recommend Merida as a place of residence to friends and relatives?

Absolutely, with the proviso :  “if you want to change the place into your home town, don’t bother because Merida is older than your town and is happy as-is. You need to fit into Merida – not attempt to make Merida fit into you.

  1. How hard has it been to open the market in Yucatán, and what is the difference between Yucatecans and expats as target markets?

-I prefer to keep this personal and not business-related.

  1. Have you found Mexico as an attractive destination for investment? Why?

Our investment is in the real estate we have purchased. The main location-incentive for this area is the very low fixed cost-to-carry — meaning even a high personal or rental vacancy rate will not incur heavy fixed costs. Other areas have high taxes, HOA’s and other costs which make them very costly to own even if not used — not so in Merida.


Interview by Alejandro Azcárate for TYT

The opinions expressed in this interview reflect those of the interviewee and not necessarily The Yucatan Times.