Expats looking for accommodation in Mexico will have a varied selection. New arrivals should be able to find a home that is comfortable, spacious and well-suited to their needs.

Still, finding accommodation in Mexico can sometimes be tricky, and expats should acquaint themselves with the property market before diving into the search.

Types of accommodation in Mexico

Apartments in Mexico by Raul Juarez from Pexels

Mexico is one of the world's largest countries. It has a wide array of accommodation options, varying wildly in style, size, quality and price, to match its diverse climate, landscapes and terrains. Urban housing in Mexico is considerably pricier than that in rural areas. This price difference does not always translate into better quality accommodation, so expats should assess all factors before committing to a property.

If expats do their research, they can find older colonial-style buildings, perhaps shared by a few other people, and larger multifamily homes for a bargain. Those looking to live outside the city limits where rent is considerably lower might even be able to rent a room in a ranch house (hacienda) during their stay in the country.

Many expats choose to live in an urban apartment block, and some may splurge on a brand-new condominium, kitted out with all modern conveniences. Expats from high-income countries such as the US and UK find that their money goes much further in Mexico than it would back home. Still, beachfront condos with swimming pools are pricey, often enjoyed by retired expats, and may not fit everyone's budget or lifestyle.

Don't be fooled when moving to Mexico that all accommodation is affordable – rentals have been increasing in typical expat areas, and luxurious living may not be for everyone. Luckily, there are low- and middle-income budget options too. Many young and single expats decide to rent a room in a house or flat, which is a great way to meet new people and not feel so alone in a new country.

Furnished vs unfurnished

Both furnished and unfurnished accommodation can be found, and while expats staying short-term may want a fully equipped space, affordable furniture is easy to buy in Mexico. When looking at accommodation listings, it's vital to find out exactly how unfurnished any 'unfurnished' accommodation is, as it could be nothing more than a shell requiring much work. This could give tenants more freedom when it comes to design and decoration, but could be costly. 

Those moving for a long period, whether to work or retire, may want a feel of home and may consider shipping their furniture from their home country to Mexico.

Short lets

Short-term accommodation in Mexico has become popular over the years as more tourists and digital nomads enter and stay for months at a time. For expats, short-term accommodation can be an opportunity to get to know the neighbourhood of their choice before fully committing to a long-term lease. Short lets are often more affordable than hotels and offer similar amenities, with utilities included in the price. 

Finding accommodation in Mexico

Searching for accommodation by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

Twherehe internet is a great resource for finding rental accommodation. Expats can find plenty of online listings by entering 'bienes raices en' followed by the area where they intend to live.

Word-of-mouth is also a highly effective means of finding accommodation in Mexico – informal lease agreements can be organised with minimum fuss.

Another option is to enlist the help of a real estate agent or go through a relocation company, as these professionals will have local advice and experience. Real estate agents in Mexico are frequently paid by the landlord, so expats will not have to pay anything for their services. 

When house hunting, especially in Mexico City, expats should ensure their prospective home is close to their place of employment. Traffic can be a nightmare, easily adding a couple of hours to one’s regular workday.

Landlords will usually try to take advantage of expats who don’t speak Spanish. Thorough market research should be conducted to get a feel for prices in the desired area, and each property should be inspected carefully; for example, expats should turn on the taps, switch on the lights, flush the toilets and check for damp walls and ceilings.

Useful links

Renting accommodation in Mexico

More people rent than buy property in Mexico, so the rental market is consistently excellent, with various options available. Expats who don’t speak Spanish may find it difficult to use the services of some estate agents, which could make the process considerably more complicated and expensive. 

To secure a rental agreement, expats must submit proof of identity, residency and employment. Some landlords or bigger rental agencies will also require recent tax records, a credit check or reference letters from previous landlords. 


Both fixed-term and open-ended leases are available. Expats will probably sign their lease agreement on an annual basis, but alternative arrangements can be made. Month-to-month rentals are quite popular in Mexico, especially in the more touristy areas. With open-ended leases, though, tenants should confirm the notice period for ending the contract to ensure that both parties have enough time to make arrangements when leaving.


Expats will typically be required to pay the first month's rent upfront and a further month's rent as a deposit. Some landlords may ask for rent and deposits to be paid in cash, but bank transfers are often preferable as they keep an accurate record of payments.


Tenants may find that proof of employment and letters of reference are not always needed, but landlords frequently demand that a guarantor (aval, in Spanish) can co-sign the rental agreement. Landlords might insist that the aval is a Mexican citizen and must agree to cover any damage or fees that the tenant cannot.

If expats don't have a guarantor, they can negotiate with the landlord by paying a higher deposit.

Termination of the lease

The notice period for a lease agreement in Mexico will depend on the length of the lease. Generally, both tenants and landlords will be required to give the other party at least two months' notice before terminating a lease. For some open-ended contracts, the notice period can be as short as 15 days, so expats must ensure their lease clearly states termination terms. 

We advise that expats insist on an inventory of the home to protect themselves from being unfairly evicted or short-changed. It's also important to check the rental contract in both English and Spanish, or get a Spanish-speaking friend or translator to ensure the contracts say the same thing.


Expats will almost certainly be liable for their water, electricity, phone and internet bills while in Mexico. These should be paid on time, as Mexican landlords are hesitant to rent to expats and don't need further reason to doubt their worthiness as tenants.

Utility bills are sent monthly or bi-monthly and can be paid online or at banks and convenience stores.

Moving checklist

Electricity and gas

The state-owned Federal Electricity Commission (Comisión Federal de Electricidad or CFE) controls the electricity supply in Mexico.

To get connected, tenants can contact a CFE customer centre telephonically, online or in person at least two days before their move-in date. They must supply their full name, address and the signed rental contract. Sometimes, a bill from the previous tenant or the landlord may also be required. Expats will need to pay a connection deposit. 

Mains gas is uncommon in Mexico, so most residents use bottled gas. Residents can call their local gas company to have their gas refilled. Otherwise, some gas companies will roam around city centres, often ringing a bell or playing a tune to announce their presence to refill gas cylinders. 


Mexico's drinking water comes from aquifers, and the supply is managed by regional companies. Tap water is not considered safe to drink in Mexico, so most residents buy bottled water. Water is supplied by Sistema de Aguas de la Ciudad de México (Sacmex) in Mexico City. 

Expats can connect to the water supply by providing Sacmex with proof of identity and address. New arrivals to Mexico are encouraged to contact Sacmex at least a week before their intended moving-in date to ensure they have water when they arrive at their new homes. Water shortages and service interruptions are common in Mexico City, so expats should frequently check Sacmex's website for information. 

Bins and recycling

Waste collection is managed by local municipalities in Mexico. Private companies and informal waste collectors are also integral to Mexico's waste management system. Informal workers typically sort recyclable waste and sell it to private companies. 

Formal recycling is still a developing area in Mexico, so most of the recycling falls in the hands of informal waste collectors. Mexico City also has recycling plants, where citizens or informal waste collectors can drop off their separated waste. 


Mexico offers many modern connectivity options and internet use is widespread nationwide. Most providers have all-inclusive offers that bundle internet, television and mobile services. These are often more affordable than standalone services. Mexico's most popular internet service providers include AT&T, Telmex and Axtel. 

Useful links


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