I was clearing out some old files and came across a reporter’s notebook that I had brought with me during our early Mérida house hunts. We were touring some properties that weren’t yet listed on the mainstream real estate sites, working through the “widow’s network,” as our source called it. There were some gems, but it was still too early for us to make a decision. We needed to see more, more, more!
I had to take lots of notes because there was nothing in writing. No printouts from an online listing, no handouts, nothing. How big is the property? Our guide would recite a guestimated number. How much? “Hmmmm, it’s (insert number here).” Very imprecise. So I did my best to scribble down the basics, and then take photos that would hopefully match up with my notes. Reviewing them now takes me back to that heady time, being driven around in a comfy SUV, with a team of key men just ahead to get us access to the properties.
I ended up using the notebook on subsequent trips, too, including the time when a real estate agent showed us the property that would eventually be ours. My notes were sparse. Just the address, and “crazy man.” The owner’s son occupied the place, and kept sidetracking us with his rambling, odd monologues. He loved to chat, and chat, and chat, and show off his English. Our real estate agent was more patient with him than a lot of others would have been; sweet really. When we left, I said that I loved the property but I would never want to do business with such a character.
Paging through the notes is almost like going through my teenage diary. All the old emotions come back. A house I crushed on fell through, although we had booked a 10-day trip to make the purchase and get an architect. We arrived in town heartsick. A blue art deco house on 51 was my rebound. A decent house, and a really fabulous street, and I was certain I could learn to love again. Paul was skeptical, but was humoring me while I reconciled the low ceilings and cramped courtyard that I felt was “just big enough, but I wouldn’t want it any smaller.” Really, I was just getting tired of the hunt.
A La Ermita home was 60 whole meters deep and 10 wide, only $70,000. I wrote “3 children” in my notes for some reason, but I’m sure there were other reasons we passed on the property.
I noted “huevos motuleños” at 55 off 68. Did I mean the La 68 community center? I wonder why I wrote that. Later on I wrote “knowledge of techniques to work with the conditions” … “garden design + garage approval” … “arches + columns” … “interested in limestone and tiles” … “INAH” … “cross ventilation” …
I don’t remember when or why I wrote these things down, but those were good points to absorb at a time when I was trying to soak in every little bit of Mérida househunter wisdom.