I have stumbled on a vacation-rental listing for a house that we saw when it was unfinished and on the market. Looks like some smart cookie ended up buying and renovating the house, already bringing in steady income and positive online reviews. Their website indicates they’re booked up through April.
We saw this property on our very first full day visiting Mérida in late 2010. We hadn’t even seen the city in daylight before, and had never seen structures anything like these. We hit the ground running with the house hunt. According to the real estate agent’s printed agenda which I’ve kept, this particular place was No. 6 on the list, and I remember that we were glazing over by the time we saw it. But I remember that it was
the first one that had the kind of layout we were looking for, with a courtyard in the center of the house, and a pool out back surrounded on two sides by a terrace with columns. That indoor-outdoor-thing.
Construction had been roughed out, but there was still some work to be done. I think it was explained that the couple working on the house had broken up. It could also have been the work of a flipper who didn’t want to finish the property. The space was a little tight, but finally we were seeing something that sparked a conversation about air flow, security and function. After a half-day of uninspired properties, we finally started to get excited about tropical colonial homes. The seller seemed motivated. It was offered at $149k, reduced from $165k, which was reduced from I-don’t-know-what. But we passed on the house and moved on, traveling to Mérida three more times before we finally found the right house.
Back to the house that woke us up from our house-hunting stupor. We see new photos of it now, shrubs ripped out and replaced by potted plants, modestly furnished and appointed, and otherwise spruced up quite sensibly, and I appreciate the savvy of someone who found a bargain and turned it into an income property. If I could have a second property in Mérida, it would be like this one.
I examine my notes and scribblings. On the back of our agenda, there’s my sketch that I drew for Paul when I was wrapping my head around how we could fit a garage into a 8.5-meter-wide house further west that I was starting to feel attached to. On another sheet of paper, I had written out the calculation for converting meters to feet. Other notes included “make offer,” “loud street,” or “30k to finish?” That last note was the agent’s estimate regarding the house that became an apparently successful income property.
Most of the houses we’ve seen will remain a mystery. We’ll never know if they sold, for how much, and what was done with them. But if you’re the new owner of a house on Calle 80 and wondering how to fit in a garage, I have a sketch for you.
I run hot and cold when it comes to sentiment.
In the attic are clipping of my old cartoons and newspaper articles and bundles of drawings that I’ve kept from childhood. I never go near them. Also in the heap is my teen-years diary, which I can’t bring myself to throw out, but refuse to read. The same goes for the 2,452 digitally archived photos that document our construction in Mérida. So messy, so chaotic. I really don’t care to relive it.
But you know where I somehow enjoy looking back? I like looking back to our initial visits to Mérida, those heady days when we were guided around the Centro while our imaginations ran wild.