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Become a Half-AS*** Expat in Baja California, Mexico – WE DID!

Paradise at the right price

A Castle and an Escapeartist Dream for $1600 a month…including the gardener.

It was far beyond a dark and stormy night . . . in the US economy…

As a journalist for 30 years, I’ve covered every aspect of life in the US. I’ve written stories ranging from the boom times of the 1980’s to the blood-letting of today’s economic catastrophe.

My husband, William, and I have leased a 3-bedroom, two bath bungalow on the west side of Los Angeles for the past three years and have enjoyed the ideal Southern California bohemian lifestyle as ‘artists.’ William, my husband, is a producer in the entertainment industry and we both live gig-to-gig (as most people do in the media and entertainment industries).

Recently, EscapeArtist asked me to cover a story for EscapeFromAmericaMagazine about a real estate company located 29 kilometers south of the Mexican border in Rosarito Beach, Baja California. William and I decided it would be a great ‘day trip’ for us to get out of Los Angeles and cruise down to the one of our favorite beach communities in Northern Baja to meet EscapeArtist’s new client, David Biondolillo, President of Baja 123. Little did we know this interview would change our lives.

For our introduction and interview, David Biondillio asked us to meet him at one of the properties he represents, La Jolla Del Mar, a world-class condominium development on the beach in Rosarito. Baja 123 was hosting an open house for La Jolla Del Mar and we were invited to tour the magnificent property. As we walked onto the deck, overlooking the breaking waves on the beach, we recognized David immediately; he is an aristocratic Italian gentleman with beautiful white hair and a very wide, friendly smile. He made us feel like we were meeting an old friend again because of his openness and genuine affection for us.

As David told us about the prices and cost of living in the area, I began making notes for this article and I realized that he was offering property values and a cost of living for about 50% of what it costs us to live in Los Angeles. We were stunned and asked to see some other properties offered by Baja 123.

I asked David about the ‘safety factor’ for living in Baja after hearing the stories of drug wars and street shootouts and Obama’s warning about the dangers for living in Mexico. David carefully explained to us how the media had distorted the cartel shootings that occurred in the spring of 2009 in Eastern Tijuana, 25 kilometers north of Rosarito. In fact, living here is actually safer than living in Los Angeles because the Mexican government now provides a tourist police force with a hot line you can call from any phone (by dialing 078) and a tourist police officer will there to assist you within minutes. Mexico encourages tourism for Americans to come back to Mexico and to retire here to improve their economy.

David’s son, Kanoa, is his energetic right-hand man and business partner who is also engaged to be married to a stunning young beauty, Zinnia Quezada, a real estate agent for the company. She graciously offered to show us properties. She was very careful about asking us what we were looking for, our price range, amenities, and location and the next day we began looking at houses located close the beach in Rosartio. We toured enormous homes with 3 and 4 bedrooms in a range of $1,000 to $2,000 per month (in Los Angeles, you can’t rent even a studio apartment in a nice area for $1,000 per month).

The last property she showed us that day was a 4,500 square foot CASTLE for rent located in a high-security gated community, a mere two-minute walk to the beach. We walked in the house overlooking the ocean and it was so overwhelmingly beautiful that I began to cry. It took my breath away. The living room was so large, you could roller skate on its tile floors. The house was designed with arched doorways and windows, REAL STUCCO walls throughout the entire house, 4 bedrooms, 5 baths, 6 car garage, an enormous yard (gardener included), modern kitchen and high beamed 18’ ceilings. Ready for the price? Hold on to your hat: $1,600 per month. Remember, that includes the gardener.

This is only one of the many properties for sale or lease through Baja 123. (Go there NOW to view them, well, wait until you finish reading my article first, there’s a great punch line and you don’t want to miss it.)

On the way back to Los Angeles, we couldn’t stop talking about the properties offered through Baja 123 and how much money we would save by living in Rosarito. William and I have long serious talks about someday living in Central or South America as one of the dreams for our future. Those dreams have become less of a possibility with the deepening downturn in the economy, in fact, (sad to say) it is becoming more difficult for us to support our current lifestyle from month-to-month, much less realizing any of our dreams for the future, let alone, moving to an exotic EscapeArtist paradise.

When we returned to our 1,200 square foot home in Los Angeles that cost us $3,600 per month (no gardener included), we sat down and worked out the numbers for living expenses in both Los Angeles and Rosarito. Here is what we found:

Basic Expenses in Los Angeles Basic Expenses in Rosarito

Basic Expenses in Los AngelesBasic Expenses in Rosarito
Rent/Mortgage: $3,600 per monthRent/Mortgage: $1,600 per month
Car Insurance (price varies according to year, make and model): $878 year – one car = $73 monthCar Insurance: (comparable year, make and model) $514 year – one car = $43 per month
Utilities (gas, water, electric): $325 per monthUtilities (gas, water, electric): $130 per month
Cable: Internet/phone/TV: $210 per monthCable: Internet/phone: $82 per month


TV/Dish: $79 per month

Housekeeper: $120 per day (two ladies cleaning/half day) once a week x 4 weeks = $480 monthHousekeeper: $32 per day x 4 times per month= $128
Food and Dining Out: $600 per monthFood and Dining Out: $400 per month
Gasoline: $3.10 gallon for one car = $100 month averageGasoline: $2.40 per gallon (converted from liters) for one car = $77

After a long and enjoyable conversation, we made our decision. While we are not able to move to Central or South America, we could become half-assed expats and move 29 kilometers south of the border and live in Rosarito (often called San Diego South). We immediately called Zinnia and told her we wanted to lease the CASTLE on the beach in North Rosarito.

If you’re thinking that Baja California is part of a third-world country, think again. Within two miles of our ‘new home’ there is Wal-Mart Super Center, Home Depot, Smart & Final, Auto Zone, Office Depot and a supermarket that rivals any modern grocery store in the US. Plus, there’s also Costco and Sears in Tijuana.

Three weeks later after our first introduction to David and Kanoa Biondillio, Zinnia Quezada and their incredible staff at Baja123:

I sit here watching the waves roll onto the white beach, as I write to you from my 350 square foot office in my EscapeArtist dream house, in Rosartio, thanks to Baja123. William and I can zip across the border when we need to be in the US with our Trusted Traveler Program Pass (instead of sitting in line at the border crossing for a one to two hour wait time). We’ve become close friends with David and Kanoa Biondillio and Zinnia Quezada as they continue to mentor us as new residents of beautiful Rosarito Beach.

If it has ever occurred to you that it’s time for a change in your life, a real change, and you’d like learn more about properties available for sale or lease in Mexico, visit Baja 123website and see for yourself that your dreams are possible.



# Real Estate UK

Monday, August 30, 2010 3:56 AM by jdjeny

Excellent site, keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks


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