A few years ago or so, I was looking for new apartments in Mexico City.
Which, to be fair, often doesn’t mean anything as sometimes I just casually look at apartment offerings online out of curiosity.
It doesn’t necessarily mean I am planning moving but sometimes I just find it interesting to see the market rates in different parts of the city.
Anyhow, for this particular moment, I was interested in moving to another part of Mexico City.
Ultimately, I moved to a part of the city by the metro station known as Cuatro Caminos.
But I didn’t know that I would be moving there in the moment as I was simply weighing my options.
In the time, I was living in a spot between Metro Chapultepec and Metro Juanacatlan.
So during a bright morning sitting at my desk in front of the window…
I was with a girlfriend of mine at the time as I’m going through different apartment offerings I found online.
Most of which I was able to just send a standard copy and paste message to most of the landlords on Whatsapp.
However, sometimes you do find numbers online that aren’t connected to a Whatsapp…
And because I don’t have data on my phone…
Well, I needed someone else to make the calls for me to these specific few numbers I found so I can ask the landlord of each place some questions.
Thankfully, I had my girlfriend at the time with me so she made the call to each place.
One of those places happened to be literally just a few streets down from where we were offering a very small room with its own kitchen and bathroom for 4,000 pesos a month while technically being in Condesa.
Which sounded impressive!
Until we got there and found the room looked like utter garbage.
Anyway, before we checked out that specific spot…
As I said, she was calling different numbers for me.
And there was, funny enough, this older lady who picked up the phone regarding a place she had around Balbuena area.
Given that my girlfriend at the time was talking from the start, the price was 6,000 pesos a month.
But, funny enough, the price increased when the lady found out that the apartment wasn’t for her but instead her “gringo boyfriend.”
All of a sudden, it shot up literally to 8,500 pesos!
Why the price increase?
“Servicios” she said.
Meaning internet, gas, water, electricity, etc
Though, in this case, the lady emphasized that they didn’t actually have internet provided and I would have to get it myself separately with a company.
So 2,500 pesos for services of gas, water and electricity.
Which is an insane amount of money first off for just those 3 services.
It never costs that much for all 3 of those!
When I did move to Cuatro Caminos ultimately, all of the “services” that I paid for amounted to something like 800 pesos total (which included internet).
Plus, as I pointed out to her, the advertisement online of this place said that the services were already included in the price of 6,000 pesos!
She didn’t like that response and got a little bit bitchy afterwards.
Suffice to say, we hung up on her and looked elsewhere.
Reminds me of a similar when looking for an apartment a few years later near Reforma area…
The Reforma Apartment
More recently, I was looking for an apartment around Roma Norte area and surrounding areas to that neighborhood last year.
One place I found was located on Reforma Avenue actually close to the US Embassy.
Anyway, there was a Brazilian guy who had an offer I found online.
And the story with this guy was very similar to that old lady mentioned before.
In which I message him on Whatsapp and we get talking…
I didn’t introduce myself as being a foreigner.
And actually presented myself as “Mateo” because sometimes I do that as, in my experience, some Latinos have difficulty with the name “Matt.”
At least in my experience, you kinda have to emphasize the double “tt” in the word really strongly for folks down here.
So sometimes I just say “fuck it” and go with a Latino sounding name to make it easier on some folks down here.
Regardless, we got talking on Whatsapp and it was all going good so far…
I don’t remember the exact price of this place but I think it was like 4,000 pesos or some shit like that.
Because, at some point, the dude realized “wait a second, your phone number doesn’t look Mexican to me!”
And he asked me where am I from…
I say I’m from the US!
The course of the conversation literally did a 180 from that second onwards.
Very quickly, the motherfucker starts fishing for ways to increase the price.
Giving me warnings how “oh, well, actually, keep in mind we have this extra charge here and this one here.”
One of those “extra charges” was a cleaning fee to pay to the cleaning lady to come in and clean the shared apartment…
But the dude was telling me how it’ll cost me an extra 900 pesos a month to cover one week of “limpieza” on my end.
With the other 3 weeks being covered by others in the apartment.
So I found that odd…
Given I’ve paid for “limpieza” before and it normally costs like 200 pesos a visit and not 900….
Along with also wanting to increase the price of the rent from 4,000 pesos more or less to 5,500 because “if you work from home, that means you use more energy than expected.”
Which, to be fair, makes sense even though literally no other landlord has charged me extra for working from home or increased the price of my electricity bill in the months after I began renting with them…
And almost no other landlord I’ve talked with down here (many of them, I promise you) wanted to add an extra fee for “working from home”
Though, to be fair, a very rare few have and it usually is thrown at me that they’d want to increase the price by maybe an extra 200 pesos a month or so.
But not 1,500!
Anyway, to keep a long story short, it started to feel like the dude immediately felt the need to charge me more because…
“GRINGO….GRINGO!!!! YA VEO UN GRINGO….TENGO DOLARES EN MIS OJOS WEEEEY!!! NO MAMES!!!”
At any rate, it’s not just the pricing that bothers me with landlords in Mexico City…
Because, to be fair, I’ve seen that type of shit in other countries in Latin America like Colombia for example.
Still, there’s a few other things that have annoyed me over the years when it comes to landlords down here.
“Where’s the Fucking Bed?!”
Let’s throw out a simple criticism before we get into the bigger stuff.
One thing that has always surprised me about apartment offerings in Mexico City is how incompetent the landlords are at promoting their apartments on Facebook for example.
Where sometimes they will include photos of the shared apartment BUT NOT THE FUCKING BEDROOM!
“Uhh….you think I’m going to sleep in the bathroom, you dipshit cocksucking motherfucker?
Or how about the kitchen? Think I fancy sleeping on the stove?
NO! I want to see THE BEDROOM!”
So it surprises me that, once in a while, you see a landlord down here have photos of everything in the apartment EXCEPT THE BEDROOM.
Not only that…
But it’s not uncommon either to find landlords throwing down photos of the place that make it look like absolute shit.
Like some dungeon where you’d hold kidnapping victims hostage or some shit.
There was one apartment owner that would put up photos of her place and it would constantly get laughed off the fucking market by everyone.
Then, one day, she learned that “marketing your product” is kinda important.
So she took better photos.
Haven’t seen her advertise the place since so I assume it’s taken.
Either way, this isn’t an unusual criticism of life down here…
Where, seemingly, landlords or people in general seem to have a worse sense of customer service and marketing in general.
But let’s move onto the lies now that annoy me down here.
Some odd months ago, I moved into a place in El Centro Historico.
As you can read here, the place had bedbugs I didn’t know about!
The first time ever in my life that I ran across bedbugs.
Suffice to say, I now always check the bed before renting anywhere.
That was a fucking nightmare.
Regardless, another issue that I had with that place…
Was that even though the landlord promised “hot water” in the place…
I soon learned that was a lie and it rarely had hot water.
Well, more like lukewarm water that would go cold after a few minutes.
So you’d have to jump in and get out in a few minutes if you didn’t want to be swimming with the pinguins in Antarctica.
Suffice to say, I got out of there quick.
“Got a Gym Bro?”
This is a very common thing I see with apartments in Mexico City.
Unless you are going for one of those fancy apartments in Polanco that are in some huge building with a common pool area, common gym area, a movie theatre area, etc…
Whenever someone says that “we got a gym” in the apartment, you need to be careful.
Probably best to assume that they are lying.
The best example of this that I remember is when I moved to that apartment mentioned in the beginning of the article that was located between Metro Chapultepec and Metro Juanacatlan…
Before I moved there, I had a friend of mine named Angie show up to the apartment to check it out for me because I was in the US and needed a place to move to when I got back to Mexico City.
She put me on videocall on Whatsapp and I got to see it live.
I remember very clearly that the landlord advertised his place as “having a gym.”
To be fair, I didn’t give too many fucks if it had a gym or not.
Back then, I didn’t go to a gym ever really.
So it didn’t matter.
But I was curious to see this gym.
They went to the area to show me it.
And it was literally just a treadmill.
A treadmill in a closet sized room that was literally outside the bedroom of this middle aged Venezuelan woman that would bark and bitch at everyone in the building.
Who, from my observations, didn’t seem to work and never leave the building.
More information about her in this article here.
So this is the gym!
A closet with a treadmill where you can jog on it with a window open to the side of you where some overweight Venezuelan woman is shitting her pants, silently judging you all the while watching Spanish dubbed rerun versions of “Pawn Stars.”
So gym it was not.
“Got a Kitchen Bro?”
Next, we have the lie about the kitchen.
You’ll find some landlords here will tell you that they have a kitchen…
And they don’t.
The best example I could remember of this…
Is when, one time, I visited some building near Jamaica Metro Station in Mexico City.
When I got there, it was some single, one-bedroom apartment for 6,000 pesos.
Now I was told that it had a kitchen…
No, it did not.
First, it needs to be said that I have never been to an apartment in Mexico City that has a washing machine for dishes.
I’m sure they exist – I’ve never seen it!
So if you expect a washing machine, keep your eyes open.
Second, it had no stove or oven.
Just a hotplate.
Third, it had no fridge.
Fourth, it had no sink.
But, and I shit you not, the landlord literally told me that “you can use the sink in the bathroom to wash any dishes.”
Suffice to say, the “kitchen” seemed to be lacking basic kitchen things.
At least it had a hotplate!
That’s one step above just giving me sticks to start a campfire with outside to cook my food.
At that point, why the fuck not?
Forget the hotplate and tell me that “sticks for a campfire” is the same as a stove!
Just like a kitchen!
And during that same apartment search….
I came across another apartment for about 8,000 pesos near Metro Portales area.
In the photos, they had a stove!
The son of the family who owned the place told me “well, we took the stove out but we can buy a hotplate if you give us the money for it!”
Though, to be fair, this place did have a sink!
Even though water would literally just dribble out very slowly…
So not the most effective sink to clean dishes with either.
They did have a fridge!
A mini one that wouldn’t hold much food but a little fridge nonetheless.
And the whole “a hotplate is a stove” thing is not too uncommon from what I’ve seen here.
“Are You Blind?!?”
Finally, we have a common complaint that I would throw at apartment owners in the rest of Latin America also…
And maybe the whole world…
Where they claim that the “apartment is only 5 minutes away from x place!”
Now, in most of the world, you can usually add another 5 to 10 minutes to the estimated time that they give you.
Or they might be telling the truth but it’s only true if you have a car so keep that in mind…
Either way, I find that apartment owners in Mexico City tend to be a little more liberal with location.
Where, in a lot of the apartment offerings I’ve seen on sites like Roomgo…
An apartment owner might say in the description that “we are in x neighborhood!”
Then you check the map at the bottom of the advertisement…
And they are nowhere fucking close to that neighborhood.
There was one funny example I can think of some years ago where this apartment owner claimed to be “in the heart of Condesa” and “only a 5 minute walk from Reforma Avenue.”
So I looked at the map.
The motherfucker was literally located by Metro San Antonio.
So not Condesa.
Not even close.
And, to be fair to the guy, I assumed that maybe there was a mistake with the website…
So I got his Whatsapp into my phone and asked for the location since the apartment did look good…
And nope – Metro San Antonio it was!
“Why did you say it is in Condesa then?” I asked.
“Well, it’s close enough. A car ride away!”
“Interesante…” I replied.
And that was it.
In short, this reminds me a bit of this article I wrote here…
Where, in my experience, you have the rare, once-in-a-blue-moon Latino down here who will lie to you about the price of something even though it is written down in front of you.
Similar, I suppose, to lying about the location.
At some point, I question myself if Mexico has an overabundance of blind people that the landlords and bullshitters genuinely believe that there is a real possibility that we can’t use our eyes!
Like looking at the fucking map on your apartment advertisement that contradicts the description!
My only last thought on all of this is that it again is a good example of how short sighted the locals seem down here.
Where you lie about something so blatantly…
And obviously said potential clients came to you expecting something….
And they find out you lied…
You really think you are going to keep their interest?
That’d be like if I wanted to sell a car and someone came by to see it and I said “No, sorry but I got some chocolate I want to sell!”
Spongebob Chocolate Remix
Suffice to say, I doubt that I am selling the chocolate and likely I just wasted both of our time.
All the while pissing someone off.
Again, it’s a great example of how short-sighted some folks can be down here.
And I emphasize some folks and not everyone.
On top of that, in my experience, I’ve seen some of these issues with renting in other countries.
Not just Mexico.
Though some of them, like lying about kitchens and gyms, really seem to be popular here.
Along with being more creative about locations than the average landlord elsewhere.
Regardless, that’s all I got to say.
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Thanks for reading.