How On-Line Tools Enable You to Live in Two Countries - Two
Updated July 2017
Traveling back and forth and creating homes in both Mexico and the U.S. will force you to get comfortable with technology and social media if you haven't already.
While I admit, it's often accompanied by a great deal of swearing and gnashing of teeth, living in Mexico has increased my motivation to bear down and get on with it. The result has been more entertainment options, unusual news sources and less anxiety that the world is leaving me behind.
Renting out your place - Among the most important are those tools that enable you to rent your stateside place out for extended periods.
The first advice to is use your network, particularly Facebook and socials sites. Renting to someone you know personally or are friends or relatives of people you know well are good protection should something go awry.
Things can still go wrong, but social pressure is a powerful tool and even the most wayward of tenant tends to respond to your calling his father. Never turn down parents as a reference. Check that reference. It will tell you a great deal about your prospective tenant if you just listen between the lines and keep your questions indirect.
One time, I found out a renter's dad was a Colonel in the Air Force, I knew my worries were over. Indeed, when the tenant began to play fast and loose with the rent deadline, one call to dad and a check was in the mail. I'd like to say my tenants were all kids in their early twenties. They weren't and calls from dad work just as well when your tenant is 30.
Even the dinosaur Craigslist remains a viable source for prospects if you, and they, are up for the interviewing, screening, reference checking and on-going communication necessary to a mutually satisfying arrangement. Don't cut corners here. Your peace of mind 2,000 miles away depends on slow, deliberate, patient screening.
With some forward planning and the ability to wait out for the perfect renter, your place can be ready for you for whatever periods you desire to be home.
Having a few friends with a good sense of humor helps too, in the case of having a few dates not falling together perfectly. Staying a few days on your way out especially is good. There's almost always something you didn't quite get to.
Banking is an area where on-line tools make it entirely more stress free than ever, especially at first when actually going into banks and communicating in your Spanish or their English is more intimidating.
Going completely on-line in your banking is absolutely necessary. The simplicity of transferring money from account to account and between banks has done away with those former expat fears of suddenly not being able to see your account and access your money while in a foreign country (or while in West Virginia, which I have found out over my years of having a place there is almost the same thing).
Internet Calling: I have switched to totally internet-based calling through Magic Jack and WhatsApp. For about $50 you can port your current number to Magic Jack, download the app. and with a little help from their excellent customer service chat line, be up and running making calls to the U.S and Canada free where ever you have internet.
No, it's not perfect. The internet is not yet perfect. But an occasional broken-up conversation still beats the heck out of wondering how the major carriers are going to rip me off each month while I'm in Mexico. At least I'm not paying for the dropped calls and bad connections like I did with Verizon and AT&T. That makes them a lot easier to bear. Think about making the break now.
You are in Mexico. There are not too many calls that can't wait a few hours, or even the next day if the signal is poor. Your life will go on.
Some people come to Mexico because they want to flee technology and social media. For others like me, expat life has provided the motivation that was missing to sit down, study and play with all the on line tools that can make your life better no matter where you are.
Now hang with me on this. This Magic Jack tutorial on how to use Magic Jack without a computer. In other words, how it works by plugging it directly into your modem. From there, once you have your number ported from your major carrier to Magic Jack, you sign up with Magic Jack, pay the $35 or so fee, and then call their chat line and work out the kinks. This means that as long as you have internet, you can make calls for free.
"Never Miss a Show" - How your favorite television shows are delivered to you in Mexico.
Most recent: "How Online Tools Help You.." Part 1
Next up: Banking in Mexico is not just about the mechanics, it's about mindset, especially when you are alone and just arrived.
Would love to hear your technology you use to make travel or living abroad? Contact us.
Hola - I am a partner with Ventanas Mexico, which assists people in exploring part or full-time living in Mexico. I am author of the "Interactive Guide to Learning Spanish Free Online," linking you to the best of the web (with lesson plans!)
Recently released "If Only I Had a Place" on renting luxuriously as an aspiring expat.