Meet 5 expats who successfully started fresh in Yucatán

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for our weekly newsletters, so our best stories will appear in your inbox every Monday.

Helpful new friends and neighbors, modern technology and a good lawyer were key to expats who took a chance on Yucatán and found contentment.

The five foreigners — one from Canada, two from the United States and another pair from the United Kingdom, shared their stories in a video put together by Easy Legal Mexico with help from Yucatán Expat Life.

The eight-minute, 35-second video gets right to the point, immediately addressing the anxiety that often keeps people from retiring abroad.

Ron Allanach had a mural painted on his Centro home in Mérida. Photo: Courtesy

“When you look to come to a foreign country to buy real estate, you’re going to need an attorney, and that is probably one of the most nerve-racking kind of experiences that you can have,” says Ron Allanach, whose background as a police office makes him particularly wary.

“It becomes overwhelming … all the expats, everybody’s an expert, everybody’s going to come and tell you their guy’s the best,” says Ron. “And I tell you, your doubts increase, you become even more hesitant about buying, about who you should have for an attorney, it’s a very frightening experience.”

Ron and his partner, Ben Lorgeranon, bought a home just outside the Centro, which is rented through a property management company when they’re in Coquitlam, British Columbia or traveling elsewhere.

From Bournemouth, England, Chris Dale and Gale “Breezy B” planned to retire in Europe, but that was sidelined by Brexit. Then they happened to meet a Canadian couple in Las Vegas who steered them to another choice: Yucatán.

Gale and Chris moved to Yucatán from the southern coast of England. Photo: Courtesy

“When we first started thinking about Mexico, obviously bad press, lots of violence, very scary,” says Chris, who luckily soon learned that Mérida and the Yucatán are very safe and secure.

Not knowing anyone, and not knowing Spanish, were two concerns, but the pair has had no trouble finding helpful people with good advice after settling in Puerto Progreso.

“They will help you if you ask, and even if you don’t ask,” says Gale.

What an attorney can’t fix, modern technology can.

“And obviously homesickness is another big issue, it’s a long way from England,” says Gale, who uses technology like Skype and Facebook to video chat with friends and family abroad.

Tanya and Steve chose San Crisanto, Yucatán over the Jersey Shore for retirement. Photo: Courtesy

Tanya Sagadraca and Steve Iozzi retired in San Crisanto, on the Gulf Coast, after selling their house in New Jersey.

“The difference is the beautiful weather, no more snow, which is a plus right there. We could live on a beach, which we couldn’t afford in New Jersey and we love the sense of community that San Crisanto has brought us,” says Tanya.

Not just expats, but also the locals have been very welcoming.

“We just can’t say enough about how great the people are here,” says Steve.

Four years after the move, “we don’t miss anything about our other way of life,” says Steve.

It helps that their family appears eager to visit, even after four years.

“My grandson was just down, my son was down for three weeks,” Tanya says. “They can’t come down here enough. It’s a free vacation for them.”

All the people in the video praised their lawyers at Easy Legal Mexico, which commissioned the video. The project is not meant to be a commercial for their services — it is intended to educate the public with personal stories from real-life expats who are glad they took a chance on Yucatán.

Easy Legal Mexico, which is run by native Yucatecans, handled not only the real estate transaction but also immigration paperwork and even general inquiries for their clients. Their website is a free resource to the general public, with guidance on navigating bureaucracy and keeping in legal compliance while living or doing business in Mexico.

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