Sunday, December 02, 2007

True Community Spirit Among Friends and Neighbors

Loreto saw three days of rain this week which was highly unusual. Many of my staff brought their children to work on Friday morning. The kids are always welcome because I know how difficult daycare is in Loreto. I asked why the schools and nurseries were closed. Was this another children’s holiday that I should be aware of? It was a Rain Day!! Are you kidding me?? I could not help laughing in astonishment as it was only a sprinkling of rain in the morning, with little wind … and they had a Rain Day!! Only in Loreto!

However, it did not dampen the spirits of the visiting Loreto Bay homeowners who were happy to see the progress in Founders Neighborhood and hear from the new management team of Replay Inc. who have taken over Loreto Bay’s day to day operations and development. These executives were formerly of Canadian based Intrawest Corp. which owns and develops ski resorts in Canada and the USA.

There were over a hundred people in attendance on Thursday night to hear Michael Coyle, Partner, RePlay Inc. talk about the changes, their past experience, and some strategies for the future of Loreto Bay. The mood was positive and the general comments among the homeowners were that they were hopeful and looked forward to the upcoming changes. Most important to all was that there was now a focus to finish Founders Neighborhood as soon as possible. This represents approximately 550 units and sales over the last 4 years, so it is about time that the early supporters received some priority for their patience.

There was a strolling cocktail party among the courtyards and homes of the FN300 series. It was enchanting to see the trees lit with soft lighting and the immaculate homes open for display. The flagstone walkways were completed and there was green grass beneath our feet and flowers in permanent planters. The rest of us look forward to one day when we will have the same, which is now possibly the not so distant future.

On the Rain Day, I was surprised that the San Francisco Group of Loreto Bay Home Owners met at Nellie’s Place Bar to celebrate my last night of operations. The wind and rain had stopped and they declared that they were a hardy group and it would take more than a little inclement weather to stay away.

It was great to see people meeting old friends and making new acquaintances so easily. It was the talk around the INN that people were convening at Nellie’s Place that night, and many others joined the party to gather on the deck under the stars. This may be the last night that I “run” the bar for a while, but it certainly will not be the last time we have a party at Nellie’s Place.

You can still often find me at my office at all hours of the day and night, so drop by anytime for coffee and say hello! It is always great to see my friends and neighbors. Unfortunately, Santa Lucia Bakery next door is now closed and there is a For Rent sign in their window. It was the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast and lunch and oh so convenient for my hotel guests. We will all miss them and their wonderful baked goods.

The Home Owners Town Meeting on Saturday morning was standing room only. Mike Ravenhill explained some of the focus, ideas, changes and decisions, that the management team were exploring, and held the meeting open for an extra hour to answer the many questions. The meeting was positive and friendly and there was an optimistic acceptance of the new management team. Change is not easy and takes time, but the general theme was that we need to allow RePlay Inc. time to do what it needs to do, and not get bogged down in the weeds that have little purpose with the task of building homes and moving forward on the development side of the entire project.

Ravenhill confirmed management’s commitment to the Loreto Bay Foundation and local charities. There was a discussion for the need of having a shelter and/or adoption program for all the dogs that were running around Loreto. Bob Toubman advised that the Hospital was completed, but the biggest hurdle to it being open was getting qualified staff to move to Loreto and run it. It is too bad that foreign doctors, nurses and technicians, can not come and do a locum … I think there would be a line up to live in Loreto even for a while.

Homeowners are encouraged to visit the www.myloretobay.com website to obtain more information as it happens on the many different aspects of this developing resort. This is a private site where information is given to homeowners that sometimes should not be made public. Please respect the security of the site as information can be taken out of context and used to create a negative impact by the few who are always looking to complain about others. This is a password protected site and you can create your ID from the home page, or email info@myloretobay.com for more information.

There is a new site for Loreto Bay that is public site at: http://loretobay.ning.com/ which is a social network where members can have discussions, post photos, and create groups. It is a very positive and informative site, and a place where all people with homes in this area can join and contribute their good ideas and tips. I hope that the membership will have the ability to vote down and terminate any members who want to trash all development projects, complain about progress, and generally be obnoxious. There are plenty of other sites those people can go and have their audience.

Bill and Mia of FN311 are helping Hector Torres Ybanez get started with his new furniture business in downtown Loreto. It is called Galeria “La Media Luna” and located at Callejon El Puebito e/ Independencia y Zapata, Local #6, behind Pachamama Restaurant. Hector speaks good English and you can reach him at 613 135 0533 or send email requests to meluna@prodigy.net.mx.

Hector can custom order furniture, artwork, pots and patio furniture, as well as having a nice showroom in town. There are now a number of different options locally for furniture, blinds, artwork, and outdoor pots. I can only imagine that it will become better as time goes on, and it will be interesting to see what people do with their homes to make them authentically unique.

Even though the weather did not cooperate, I feel everyone had a great time and it renewed their faith and reasons for buying in Loreto in the first place. There was a very nice cocktail party and dinner at the INN on Saturday night and you could tell from the laughter and conversation in the air that people were anxious for their homes to be finished so they could spend more time creating community.

I had a ton of questions on the need for an FM3, which is a Residency Visa for Mexico. If you do not have an FM3 Residency Visa then you have Tourist Status. The best way I can explain the difference is that it is similar to me being a Canadian in the USA. I can own a home and live in the USA for up to 179 days a year without too many problems. However, without a “visa” I am an Illegal Alien. If I applied for a simple residency visa then I would become a Legal Alien which gives me rights and benefits as a USA resident when I go to sell my home, get bank loans, or open utility and service accounts. Things are not so different in Mexico.

A residential FM3 can cost anywhere from $50 USD to $500 USD per person depending on where you make your application. I recommend that unless you are in Loreto for a month or more, you contact your local Mexican Consulate and make the application there. There are many things you must do to have your FM3 validated if it is obtained outside of Mexico, so please ask your Consulate what these are.

If you are living in Mexico for more than a month, you can apply yourself at the local Immigration Office. The Loreto Office is between Bridgestone Tire and the University on the main road going out towards the highway.

To save time, frustration and anxiety, BajaBOSS will assist you with your FM3 in Loreto. We must charge $250 USD per person for our fees because it is very time consuming. Just ask anyone who has done it on their own because they are our best referral service!

It is not something you need until your home is near completion because you are not truly a “resident” until you have a home. However, there is a tax benefit if you have your FM3 for a certain period of years and you sell your “principal residence” in Mexico. This could save you 28% of the net proceeds, which is substantial and I believe a good enough reason to get your FM3 and become a Legal Resident. It does not matter if you only spend one week per year here, it still is your principal residence in Mexico and you still have legal residency status. It is a little confusing but there is a lot of information on the web and from tax experts regarding this topic.

The sun is shinning, the sky is blue, and it is a good day in Loreto! Have a great week!

1 comment:

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