House Hunters International – Merida, Part II

07 Feb Mexico | 18 comments
House Hunters International – Merida, Part II

I’ve been inspired to finish what I started by the brand new episode (filmed this past October) of House Hunters International in Merida that’s airing tonight!   It has actually aired once before, but I missed it!  We’re going to be at a Super Bowl party tonight, but no worries this time, I’ve got the DVR set!  Here’s the description…

“Three years working in Japan and living in a boxed-sized apartment has Rob and Erich burned out. But all for not. They’ve saved every penny and are now back at Erich’s mom’s house in Toronto, Canada plotting their next move. Wanting a slower pace of life in a tropical locale, they’ve decided to start anew by buying a renovated home in historic Merida, Mexico. But their first attempt at buying a home there imploded and that disaster, and lost down payment, could have been avoided if they hired a professional realtor. Enter their new licensed agent Eric Partney. With years of experience, aka “Agent Eric” will make sure the house hunt is done right this time around. It won’t be long before Erich and Rob are out of mom’s place and living it up in the Yucatan.”

Okay, I’ve already spilled the beans that we’ve closed on our house. But, I never finished posting about the rest of the houses that we looked at during our search.  Theresa left a comment inquiring which one we picked and two other people e-mailed to ask me the same, so this entry is dedicated to answering just that…well, almost.   First things first! 

Way back when, I offered up a little game of House Hunters International.  So, I’m going to make good and finish listing the rest of the houses we looked at during our search.  This part is NOT exactly the way they do it on the real House Hunters International– I’m listing way too many houses.  But for my own purposes, I’m documenting the entire process.  Then, I’m going to narrow it down to our final three picks – you know, just like they do on HHI, and let you guess which one we decided on!  Here goes…


Pretty in Pepto Pink – Mejorada – C61
This property is listed at $60K. The entire property is only 2500 sq ft, which is way smaller than we were looking for:


Mediterranean Memories – Near the Zoo – C61
Asking price is $85K.  This one is has really nice curb appeal.  That shade of blue against the whitewashed walls reminds me of Santorini.  But just like the one above, it doesn’t have off street parking, and that is a dealbreaker for us.  While we were there, the mooing motorcycle went by – so cute! 


 Well Wishes  - Near Paseo Montejo  
Asking price is $85K.  The location is fantastic, just steps away from Paseo Montejo.  It’s been used as an office, and there are some funky things going on with the interior, including the sheetrock wall (seriously, sheetrock in Merida!) erected to partition off the rooms.   Nice sized yard with fruit trees, and most importantly, off-street parking!


Hip to be Square – In the Heart of Santa Ana
Asking price is $90K.  The location is fantastic; it’s located directly behind Santa Ana church – on the very street facing Santa Ana Square.  But, I think it may actually be too close to the action for us.  The interior, hands down was the nicest example of Colonial architecture of all the houses we looked at.  The floors were and windows are gorgeous.  On the downside, there is barely any yard to speak of, and there is only off street parking for one car – plus, I bet people would block you in all the time!


Double Your Pleasure  - Mejorada – C32x61
The main property on the right is listed at $45K, and the man who owns the one on the left is asking $18K for his little 4 sq meter x 29 sq meter sliver.  Knowing that we want parking, our realtor thought we could turn the left side into our off-streeet parking area.  If we knock down the wall in between the two properties, we’d have a bigger yard too.



Lush Backyard Garden – Santiago (Barely) – C78x53
Asking price is $78K.  This duplex is on the outskirts of Santiago.  I fell in love with the backyard, but the exterior leaves a lot to be desired. We’d remove the exterior stairs and put a garage on the left hand side.  The interior has nice high ceilings and some classical colonial touches.  The yard seals the deal, especially that huge, producing avocado tree!

S&M Hell Hole – La Ermita
Asking price is $73K.  This was the most disgusting place you could ever imagine.  My gag reflex is still going into overdrive just thinking about it.   STAY AWAY!!!  In every room, there were some sort of S&M toys/magazines/bondage paraphernalia on display.  And just when we thought we’d seen enough, we walked through the kitchen to the main courtyard.  There was a cocker spaniel being held on a coat hanger collar by his owner.  His coat was mangled and matted beyond belief.  It was heartbreaking.  The entire courtyard was covered in old, dried dog feces.  We had to walk on a sea of crunchy poo to get to the shed, which offered a view of the rest of the yard.  I was in tears when I saw that there was another dog in the small shed.  It made the other dog’s living conditions seem like the Ritz in comparison.  The shed dog appeared to be living in about 5 years worth of its own feces and piss.  It was ankle deep in crap without a clean spot anywhere.  I wanted to take a coat hanger and put it around the necks of the owners, and let them try to sleep/eat while living in 5 years worth of their own feces to see how they like it.   I hope they saw the daggers I was sending them.  I’m still so disturbed by what I saw, and I really wish that we had done more to help those poor animals.  I feel so guilty for leaving and not trying to do more.  Is there a Mexican version of the SPCA or is that just a pipedream?

Let’s not forget about the original two properties that I posted.  Here’s the link:

All together, we viewed 13 properties.  The seven above, plus the two from the original link, and four more that I don’t have pictures for.  However, my notes reminded me that one was in San Sebastian and the other in Santa A na.  Neither of them had parking, but there was possibly the potential to add some by buying the adjacent properties.

  1. Fran

    Hello Susan! I found your blog when I was looking for info on Merida this evening. I have been thinking about Merida since the original airing of the episode that replayed tonight, but this is the first time I stumbled upon your site.

    I just read through it in its entirety. My eyes are feeling a little fuzzy and worn out, but it was a pleasure to read.

    I look forward to reading more as you continue on your Merida life.

  2. Susan

    Hi Fran – I’m so glad you popped in. Sometimes, I feel like I’m talking to myself, so I LOVE IT when people leave comments – Thank you! Hope you check back in from time to time.

    I will warn you though, once you make a trip to Merida, you’ll be a goner for sure. Merida has a way of putting a spell on you! We can’t wait to get back…

  3. Debbie

    Congratulations on taking possession of you new home Susan! It’s funny to see several properties here that I also looked at in Oct. – fortunately the awful dog abusers’ place wasn’t one of them. Love the new look of your blog!

  4. Theresa in Mérida
    Theresa in Mérida02-08-10

    I liked the zoo house! It looked like you were standing at an open gate in the last shot. The Santa Ana one never loaded for some reason.
    The one with the next door lot available was pretty cool My friends bought a house two down from theirs and turned it into an awesome four car garage/workshop with upstairs apartment potential. They wanted the abandoned tear down next door but the owners have decided that the “gringos” really want it and will pay twice what it’s worth. Their plan is to sell the current house eventually and have a pied-a-tiere in town and live at their beach house most of the year.
    Either way, that is always an option.I’m sorry that I didn’t think of telling before.

  5. Susan

    Debbie – Thanks do much for the well wishes and your kind encouragement along the way! Glad you like the new look, it was a result of a last-ditch attempt to get my blog working again. Turned out the template wasn’t the issue, but the updated look is here to stay…now, if I could only figure out how to change the photo at the top…

    Theresa – We liked the zoo house, too. It was a very nice remodel, but it was pretty small – only 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom. Since there wasn’t any parking, it didn’t make our shortlist. But the other day, I did notice that it has been sold!

    PS – I mentioned your friend’s garage to TJ, and he started drooling! That’s his idea of heaven!

  6. Malcolm

    Wow, the S&M house was a trip. It takes all kinds, I guess.

  7. Susan

    Yeah, the S&M crap I can handle. I’m just surprised they would “show” their house with it all in plain view. The dog part was inexcusable.

  8. julie kluge
    julie kluge02-27-11

    I stumbled across your site while doing some research….we currently live in Tucson, and we are seriously considering moving permanently to Mexico, Merida in particular next year. We are doing a scouting trip in May….. any suggestions, thoughts, warnings, eetc?

  9. Nickie

    I was wondering what it costs to rennovate fully a house in these conditions?

  10. Susan

    Hi Julie – I think it’s good that your first trip is on May. Ours was in July. If you can handle the heat during the hotter months, then, in my opinion, you can handle almost anything in Mérida that comes your way. Being from hot summer climates, you and I are used to high temps already. But the difference is the extreme humidity and that we have access to AC everywhere. I’ve found that with each trip it becomes a bit faster to adjust. I would also suggest renting a house for awhile before purchasing. We really like our house, but the more time we spend in Itzima and Garcia Gineres, the more I think, “Wow! I didn’t even explore those areas.” Now that I know Merida better, I would have included those neighborhoods in our house hunt for sure. Be careful! Merida has a way of casting a spell on you. I’m still enchanted.

    Hi Nickie – Of course, it really depends on the size of the project and the finishes selected. The rough prices I’ve been quoted range from about $300 USD per sq meter for basic construction all the way to $850 USD per sq meter for some of the more expensive projects/architects. The first thing you’ll need to factor in are the plans and renderings, which run anywhere from $1800 to $6000 USD.

  11. Nickie

    Thanks so much. Your estimate is much more realistic than that of the realtor who quoted around US$60 per sq meter! I’m also wondering what it costs for some of those small to medium size above ground pools to be put in as many of the homes in better condition don’t have a pool out back.

  12. Susan

    Of course, it depends on the size of the pool and how much limestone they have to dig out if you want an in-ground pool. We have a friends who had a nice, simple pool done for $9K two years ago. Here’s a link to Nancy & Barry’s pool costs, which includes a salt water system, solar pool heater, and other associated expenses:

  13. Nickie

    Wow thanks so much. An above ground is probably what I’d do, more of a plunge pool not a big one.

  14. Rebecca

    Were you able to make any contacts in regards to assisting the two abused/neglected dogs? Perhaps asking your realtor would be a first step?

  15. Rebecca

    Here’s a link to a well known animal shelter in or near Merida that might be helpful in rescuing the dogs you mentioned: or

  16. Susan

    We’ve had company staying with us, so I’m behind in posting/answering comments. When I failed to update the comments, Rebecca emailed, and here was my response:

    I can certainly understand how you would want to help. We sure did, too. I couldn’t get those dogs out of my head either. We were basically asked, “Do they have Water?” Yes. “Do they look malnourished?” No. But I quickly interjected to exclaim that they were filthy and being held in deplorable conditions. I was basically told that they had it better than many, because they had shelter with food & water.
    We went to that house for the first time over a year and half ago in September 2009. When we returned to Merida again in October 2009, less than three weeks later, my husband and I took a cab to the house to check on the dogs. We knocked, but there was no answer. In an effort to try and get the dogs to bark and find out if they were still inside the house, we made a lot of ruckus banging on the windows and doors. We didn’t hear anything, but we were so loud that the next door neighbor came out to see what was going on. I asked him about the dogs, and if he could hear them in his yard or house. He said that they were gone, and he thought they had been taken to country where the owners moved. He wasn’t exactly sure where they moved, but said it took about 2 hours to get there from Merida. Basically, we got nowhere.
    On the bright side, I’m happy to note that in just a short amount of time, organizations in Merida have sprouted up help abused, abandoned/homeless dogs & cats in Merida. They are also making great strides towards helping change public perception and create awareness against the mistreatment and abuse of animals. Last May, there was a march held at the monument to the flag that went down Paseo Montejo. And resources like, AFAD and other shelters like Evolucion are around as well. Check out the march info &pictures here:
    Please know that I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and desire to help. If you do end up in Merida, I’m confident you’ll be able help make a difference by increasing awareness and volunteering with one of the many wonderful animal assistance organizations. Until we move to Merida, and can volunteer in person, we have started donating to Planned Pethood in Mérida with dedicated funding going towards their spay and neuter clinics.
    I’m glad you reached out. It’s good for people to know that there are now more options and organizations are available to help.

  17. Michael Nicola
    Michael Nicola07-07-11

    WOW, didn’t expect to find this great site after googling JUST your first names and Merida. I just watched the show twice and it was really wonderful. Being a gay man myself, I can say “you two are really adorable”. My partner of 31 years and I have been living in Santa Fe for almost 20 years, moving to Monterey/Carmel area this Fall. We’re in real estate and one of our clients just closed on a place in Merida, so it was fun to see what she was shouting about. Anyway, blahblahblah. Congratulations to you both and thanks for sharing your experiences!!!

  18. Susan

    Hi Michael! While we’ll take a compliment anyway we can get one, I think you may be mistaken in thinking that we are the two guys from the second HHI episode, Erich and Rob. Here’s a link to their site:

    Good luck on your move! I really love that part of California!

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