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House Hunting

As soon as we decided to move to San Miguel we started searching on-line for houses, lusting after ones that are available for long-term lease. The homes are beautiful and ridiculously inexpensive, but are they in convenient, good neighborhoods? There was no way we could tell. So I called an agent listed with the realty company we had decided on and we had a nice chat. But she never called back or returned my email messages. Screw that, I thought, and emailed a second agent with fewer listings on the website, but a warm and welcoming smile in her profile photo. After a few email exchanges with her I was feeling confident that she’d help us find a really good house. And then the agent announced that she was sorry, but she and her family would be moving back to Canada soon. She did, however, have the good grace to connect me with someone else who works in her office. Tim, agent #3, answered my question, describing different colonias, or neighborhoods, where we might want to live. We focused on a few that souned interesting, ones that are safe, close to el Centro where the action is, with a mixture of ex-pat and local residents.

I was smitten with one Mexican-style house built in the 1800’s. It had some charm, but mostly I was entranced because of the tile plaque on one of the outside walls that said the house was the birthplace of Tehua, a famous Mexican singer. I didn’t know Tehua, but looked her up and listenend to some old recordings and began to fantasize about having our own guitar concerts on our patio, inviting the neighbors over for a drink.

“It’s a nice house, but it’s not exciting,”Jack said. “And the showers are in the bathtubs. But o.k., if you want it…” So we signed a contract and sent it back to Tim. The next morning Tim said he was sorry but the deal was off. The owner had rented the house to a relative next summer and hadn’t notified the agency that it wouldn’t be available for the rest of 2021.

So there we were back to square one, looking for a house. Tim pointed one out that had come available and looked fantastic, smaller but more beautiful than our first choice. The price was right, the location off a quiet tree-lined street, a ten minute walk from the center of town where all the action is. I held my breath as we signed the contract and waited to see if this one too would fall through, particularly when a wire transfer in U.S. dollars for our first month’s rent couldn’t be sent by Bank of America to the Canadian bank where the owner does her banking because of new U.S. regulations. Now, if UPS actually delivers the Cashier’s check we sent to her bank, we’re all set. No plaque on the house marking it as the residence of a famous singer, but the shower looks great, Jack says.

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