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Our Story

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A Méxican Heart Lady...

A Méxican Lady, who listens to her heart (Mina), and a German top-heavy guy (me, Tobias). An excellent mix for a deeply relaxed partnership. Of course not. But an exciting mix anyway. Mina grew up in México City and moved to Germany at the age of 25. We met there, are now married, have three crazy children, two hyper-active dogs, two greedy rabbits and live in Germany, in the greater area of Stuttgart.

A Méxican Lady, who listens to her heart (Mina), and a German top-heavy guy (me, Tobias). An excellent mix for a deeply relaxed partnership. Of course not. But an exciting mix anyway. Mina grew up in México City and moved to Germany at the age of 25. We met there, are now married, have three crazy great children, two hyper-active dogs, two greedy rabbits and live in Germany, in the greater area of Stuttgart.

Heart, Mérida, Mexico

In 2020 - after a summer vacation with friends in Cancun - Mina had the idea to buy a vacation home there. However, Cancun has become pretty expensive in recent years and Mérida struck us as more interesting and with more potential. Little by little I was able to get used to the idea.

Couple, Mérida, Mexico

But also because we already have a vacation home in México, my focus was on an investment, no "money grave". Well, that's how the idea of Casa Loltún was born. Now heart and head met directly and while I was still juggling numbers in Excel to find out whether it was worth it, Mina was already intensively looking for a property and talking to realtors.


Real estate websites in conjunction with Google Earth and a large city map ("where is Calle 43?") were the means of choice. Finally we made a pre-selection, appointments with the agents and Mina flew to Mérida to visit the properties on site. And I quickly realized, buying a property in Mexico can be an adventure, but read on for yourself...

Have fun, Tobias

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The Search for a Property

House Spoting in Mérida


Despite the approximately one million inhabitants, Mérida looks more like a big village than a big city. This also means that central Mérida is best explored on foot (or even by bike). The traffic in Mérida isn't that heavy, so a car does also a good job to get a first overview.

We will take you on a short taxi ride and you will see the typical colorful houses of Mérida in the historic center. We start at the corner Calle 55 and 72. You will see during the drive how old run-down houses alternate with beautifully renovated houses in the historic city (audio in English).

Our first Attempt...

Our first Attempt...


"The light blue house" was the synonym for our preferred object. A great location, a good size and the price was right, too. Our architect, Xavier, accompanied Mina on the visit and gave the nod. Well, sometimes it can just go fast, why not - at least that's what we thought.


During the viewing, Xavier noticed that the property appeared to be a bit shorter than what was advertised. When asked, the owner said that his neighbor wanted to expand his house in the past. And since he ran out of space, he simply continued to build on the adjacent property.



The blue house was not inhabited, so no one noticed at first. And if nobody complains about it in a reasonable amount of time, "that's the way it is". In fact, there are even companies in Mérida that specialize in offering “problem properties” - with unclear property lines, unclear ownership or any other imaginable problem.


This meant that the entries in the land register did not match reality. And the owner showed no ambition to solve the problem (let alone get upset about it). So we withdrew and continued with the next object.

A new Attempt...


A well-preserved colonial house at Parque Santiago, a little further away from the city center, also fitted and we made an offer. The seller took some time to think about it and finally made us a counter offer.

However, his counter offer was higher than the original price. You're expecting an explanation now? Unfortunately, I don't know either. Finally we agreed to the original price and the notarial process could start. At least that's what we thought...

...with better luck?


We had previously discussed the possible reconstruction with Xavier. An additional floor should be built, a pool and another building in the back of the property. Here is a short video about it (audio in German).


As in other countries, the usual way of buying a house in México is through a notary with a trust account - to protect buyer and seller. However, our seller now had the idea of ​​receiving the purchase price directly into his bank account. Even the intervention of broker and notary did not help. So we withdrew here as well.

Back to Start...


Meanwhile, the real estate agent of the blue house was not happy either, because his commission, which he believed to be safe, was lost and the house became very difficult to sell. He therefore spoke to the seller several times with the result that the owner had the data corrected in the land registry.


And while we were thinking about a possible third property, the agent of the blue house contacted us again to ask if we were still interested - the existing problems were now solved. This time nothing was in the way of the sale and we finally bought the "light blue house" (which is now light yellow though).

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Planning and Construction

Planning phase (and rising costs)


Spoiler: We ended up with triple the cost of what I had budgeted. Of course, this was not due to increased costs caused by Covid (and a fall of the euro), but because we decided to increase the main house by one floor and build another apartment house at the end of the lot.


Due to its location in the historic center, the existing house is a landmarked building and any modification must be approved by México's Institue of Archaeology and History, the INAH (Instituto Nacional de Antropología E Historia). Of course, our plan was initially rejected.

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Demolition and Renewal


The monument protection only refers to the front part of a house, i.e. to the house facade and the front rooms. A part of the rear main building had already been demolished and also a part of the structure could no longer be saved. And after some further discussions with INAH, the planned changes were finally approved (any later sale is not possible without valid INAH documents).


Heavy equipment is usually not used for such work, but strong upper arms and thick hammers are. While load-bearing walls had to be removed, buttressing piers were used to support the ceilings.

Building the Main House

Building the Main House


The main house was restored and got a second floor. Due to the monument protection, the second floor had to be moved back a little. The original pasta floor was partially removed and re-laid after the work.


The front door was moved to the right. This created an foyer from where you can continue to the apartments or go into the main house. A special feature is the long panoramic window in the master bedroom. The windowsill is laid out with cushions as a seating area.

...and the Apartments

...and the Apartments


The apartment house has been newly built Properties in Mérida are typically narrow and deep. I've seen houses 3m wide on a lot 40m long. Therefore, we decided to build the apartment house at the back end of the property and to create a garden and pool area in between.


Each apartment has a queen sized bed, a seating area, a kitchenette and a bathroom with shower. A nice feature: The showers have a narrow window with a protected view to the outside. All floors were equipped with pasta tiles.

Garden & Pool Area

Garden & Pool Area


What is the most important thing in a tropical setting? You can't go wrong with air conditioning, but a pool is also part of it. The pool was dug out old-school with shovel and pickaxe. Right next to it we built a sun deck with a large roof.


The garden should be green, with many plants, but at the same time as easy to care for as possible. Therefore, the ground is covered with gravel and we installed an automatic irrigation system. This is necessary, with temperatures exceeding 100°F (38°C) in summer.

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Interior Design

Choosing Furnitures


While searching for furniture, we looked at online sites (e.g. mercadolibre), furniture stores in Mérida and carpenters. Among other things, furniture stores especially for hotels. Some were really expensive, even by European standards.


Finally, we ended up at Roots Muebleria y Arte Útil, a small family-run furniture factory in Mérida, managed by third-generation women. Roots mainly uses old wood, e.g. naturally fallen trees and they work a lot with Méxican Tzalam wood. Tzalam is also referred to as Mayan Walnut due to the similarity to American Black Walnut.

Break Out: Visit Roots on Facebook

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Room Design


So every piece of furniture is handmade by artisans from Mérida, often from old Mexican wood like Tzalam (Mayan walnut) or Parota (burl wood). The decorative elements are also typical of Mérida, for example the knotted wall curtains. 

A typical feature of the old colonial houses are the high ceilings, (typically 5 or 6 meters) with ceiling beams. Here we have used many ceiling fans and selected large lamps. In the outdoor area there are comfortable rocking chairs and sun loungers with small tables.

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