Guanajuato City Real Estate

One of the challenges that we’ve faced in selling Guanajuato City real estate is the lack of good real estate agents in the city right now. We’ve listed a number of properties over the years to sell or for rent, but over the past few years since the COVID pandemic, real estate agents have become scarce and unresponsive. Often, they don’t show up for appointments and even if they do show up, they sometimes forget to put up the Guanajuato City real estate listings online. Obviously, because we’re trying to find renters or buyers for our Guanajuato Capital real estate, this has been a challenge for us.

Real Estate in Mexico vs. Real Estate in the U.S.

Real estate in Mexico is a very different industry than real estate in the United States. Here in Mexico, real estate agents are not required to take a class or have any knowledge of real estate prior to beginning their job. While in the United States, uninhabited properties often have a box with a key inside of it hanging from an exterior doorknob, but here in Mexico, real estate showings require that the owner of the property or a substitute for the owner be on site at the showing. This gums up the process of showing homes, of course. It also gums up the process of seeing homes when shopping around as a potential real estate buyer in Mexico.

Guanajuato City real estate can be challenging to access because real estate agents are not trained and they don’t necessarily know how to sell property. They’re not required to be honest or self-disclosing during a sale, for example. There is no one policing or regulating real estate transactions before they end up in a notary’s office to complete the sale. We learned about these problems the hard way when we first began to shop for real estate in Guanajuato City. But buying real estate paled in comparison to the rough ride that we experienced while building a property in Guanajuato City, a topic that I expand on in greater detail at this link. 

Mexico Relocation / Moving within Mexico

If you decide to move within Mexico, you’ll find that relocation is quite a bit different here than in the states. Relocation is not as common within Mexico as it is in the U.S. as a result there aren’t a lot of moving trucks for rent and there are no moving companies for hire. It’s virtually impossible to rent a moving truck in Mexico and practically unheard of to hire a moving company in Mexico. Like the process of buying real estate in Guanajuato City, moving companies would be unregulated and unpoliced which, of course, could lead to some major losses. 

When we first moved to Guanajuato City in 2016, we rented an AirBnb for a few months, then we moved into a long-term rental in Pozuelos for a year. While we were in Loma de Pozuelos, we began the arduous process of shopping for Guanajuato City real estate. We learned a lot about the city from this endeavor. We went into many, many houses all over the city. We looked at land. We looked at Guanajuato businesses for sale. We knew little about which parts of the city were good and which parts were bad at this time. The whole affair was dizzying in that we looked at so many properties day-after-day and each property involved a different real estate agent. 

At the end of our time living in Pozuelos for a year, we found the Casa en Pueblito and we relocated to a rental in Marfil for another year while we were doing construction on the Pueblito de Rocha property. The property was a mess when we bought it. It was in obra negra with only barren cement walls up to the 2nd floor. A police officer, his wife, and her mother lived on the bottom level which was very basic but with a massive philodendron plant that had grown over and across the walls in the living room. The whole place had to be gutted and then reconstructed. There was a stairwell that went between a second floor and a third floor that didn’t exist. This stairwell dropped off abruptly into the patio on 1st floor which originally had no walls. It would be a massive project and John and I knew it, but we could see the potential in this building especially given its relatively close (but not too close) location to the centro and its location as a property near Tepetapa, the Mummy Museum, and Encino Park.

For the most part, what we learned is that it’s good to be close to the centro, but not right in the middle of it. Outlying areas of Guanajuato are less safe, for the most part, than more interior neighborhoods. Though the centro is policed more thoroughly than areas like Pueblito de Rocha, the centro is also more dangerous because of the narrow, dark alleys and underground tunnels that give criminals plenty of places to hide. 

By the time we had purchased the property in Guanajuato Capital, we knew that though Lomas de Pozuelos was somewhat close to La Comer that La Comer was not the kind of place you go to without a car because as a big grocery and department store, you often leave with more than you can carry. Taxis are typically available right outside La Comer, but after we’d had some practice living in a rental in Guanajuato City, we began to appreciate the simplicity (and affordability) of going to the fruterías on foot instead. In Loma de Pozuelos, there were no fruterías within walking distance, only La Comer. Indeed, nothing was really within walking distance including the centro. Though we would sometimes walk through a tunnel to go to the centro from Pozuelos in Guanajuato City, it was not convenient nor was it safe for our then teenage daughter. The tunnels are novel when you first arrive in Guanajuato Capital, but they’re not that much fun as a way to travel on foot through the city on a day-to-day basis.

Our move to Marfil taught us a bit more about living in Guanajuato City. We lived in a house that was, again, some distance away from the nearest fruterías and shops where we would buy toiletries and basic items for daily living. This house was much closer to these amenities, but it was still quite a few blocks away. When we found this Guanajuato City property rental in Marfil, we thought it would be quiet because it was located in a semi-community of houses that faced each other with a courtyard in the middle. Unfortunately though, there were construction workers renting one of the properties and on Sunday afternoons, they would play heavy metal music at full-blast into the courtyard. Thus Sundays were never relaxing for us when we lived in Marfil. Also, it took at least 20 minutes to get to the centro by bus or by taxi from Marfil, not counting the wait time for the bus. 

Our experience living in Guanajuato City taught us that we wanted a property that was within walking distance to the centro, yet not too close because the centro is really noisy at certain times of the year like during Cervantino. Also, we wanted to be able to walk just a few steps outside of the front door to get food and toiletries. We wanted to be able to park our car on the street and use a taxi to get home. It was a tall order and it took us nearly a year to track down a property that met our specs.

After we’d purchased the property, we found out that the Guanajuato City real estate agent was actually somebody’s cousin or a relative of the police officer. He refused to negotiate with us at all on the price and because our Spanish-speaking skills were not very well-developed at that time, we had to grab the property or risk losing it. At that time, when Peña Nieto was president, properties were selling like hot-cakes. These days (2024), the average amount of time it takes to sell a Mexican property is about 5 years. 

That being said, the climate in Guanajuato is good unlike the climate in Colorado and Nebrask where we’ve owned houses in the states. Leaving a building like the Casa en Pueblito for long periods of time is, at least, less likely to end with broken pipes and flooding. And the fact that this property is high in the mountains and not located near the ocean bodes well for it too as a structure that we can leave behind vacant without having to worry that it will disintegrate due to exposure to salt water in the air. Guanajuato Capital is not a city with a lot of earthquakes, landslides, or other natural disasters. So while it’s upsetting that real estate in Mexico is not selling as quickly as it did back in 2017, I’m at least grateful that we can wait patiently for the right person to buy. 

Summary: Real Estate in Guanajuato City

If you’re a new expat or if you’re just recently decided to permanently settle in Guanajuato, be aware that real estate in Guanajuato City is very different from real estate in the U.S. When you go to complete the sale of a property in Guanajuato, you’ll need a notary to do the title. Notaries vary in terms of their care and responsiveness so seek out someone who has a good reputation with the expats. We recommend using the notary located in Loma de Pozuelos.


  1. […] We got close to buying it, but someone else made an offer on it before we had the opportunity. As I mentioned in another article, back in 2017 when we were shopping for Guanajuato City real estate, houses were selling so fast it […]

Leave a Comment