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Discovering San Miguel de Allende – The #1 City in the World

Discover why this UNESCO World Heritage Site, nestled in the heart of Mexico, is more than just a destination - it's an experience that leaves a lasting impression. Join us as we explore the enchanting charm of San Miguel de Allende.

Discovering San Miguel de Allende- The #1 City in the World

Welcome to our journey through San Miguel de Allende, voted the #1 city in the world by Travel + Leisure! 🌎🏆 In this video, we'll explore the city's stunning architecture, vibrant community, thriving arts scene, and delicious cuisine.

San Miguel de Allende is a city that effortlessly blends history, culture, and modernity. Its charming cobblestone streets and colonial-era buildings are just the beginning of what this city has to offer.

We'll introduce you to Greg Gunter, your gateway to the local real estate market. Whether you're looking for a cozy apartment or a luxurious villa, they can help you find your dream home in this dream city. 🏡

From its exciting festivals to its thriving art scene, there's always something happening in San Miguel de Allende. Come along as we dive into the city's rich calendar of events, and see how art, music, and culture are woven into the fabric of everyday life here.

Finally, we'll give you a taste of the city's culinary scene, where street food vendors and high-end restaurants alike serve up mouthwatering dishes. 🍴

Ready to start your adventure in San Miguel de Allende? Contact Greg Today!

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Discovering San Miguel de Allende- The #1 City in the World

[TRANSCRIPTION]

Maya:

Hello viewers. Welcome back to another video. I am Maya, your interview host for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices here in San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico. Today we're embarking on an exciting journey to discover the real estate wonders of San Miguel de Allende, crowned as the number one city in the world by Travel and Leisure. And who better to guide us than Carolina Echeverria, from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colonial Homes, San Miguel. Welcome, Carolina.

Carolina:

Thank you, Maya. It's a pleasure to be here and share the magic of San Miguel de Allende's real estate scene.

Maya:

It's great having you here with us to talk about San Miguel's real estate market and lifestyle. But why don't we set the stage first, could you give our viewers a brief history of San Miguel de Allende and talk about what makes it such a unique place to invest in real estate?

Carolina:

Of course, absolutely. San Miguel de Allende is a city reaching history and culture, I would say. It was founded in 1542 and played a significant role in Mexico history as a key stop on the trade route between Mexico City and silver mines in Zacatecas. The city's well-preserved colonial architecture with its narrow cobblestone streets and colorful buildings reflects its historical significance. I would say that in the 20th century, San Miguel de Allende became a top destination for artists and expats. The city's historic center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, further emphasizing its architectural and cultural importance.

Maya:

And maybe also share what makes it a particularly unique place for real estate investment?

Carolina:

Sure. I would say it is a blend of the old world charm with modern amenities that the city can offer. Also, I need to emphasize this, that the city has a strict building codes in order to preserve its colonial character. So that makes a visually stunning and culturally rich environment. Additionally, to this I would say the real estate market has been steady growth, attracting investors looking for a mix of historical appeal and a potential returns.

Maya:

So you are talking about expats and how they might want to invest here. What would you say about expats living here long-term versus half of the year, short-term, what's that got to do with investing in a property in San Miguel?

Carolina:

I would say we have both. I don't know if it's clearly like a line or a statistics, I'm sure there are statistics, of course. But what I would say basically is that we have both sizes, people wanting to come and make this as their forever home or people just coming to spend part of the time, like the time that we are just about to get into which is the snowbirds. The Canadians started to come more or less around October, the end of October, and the Americans start coming down around after Thanksgiving mainly. And then they leave around April, May when it is a very hot season. So yeah, there are many people that have made up their minds and decided just to move temporary here and the other ones that have decided to move permanently here. And the ones that maybe are here partial time, they might or not rent out their houses. But I would say we have a very interesting mix of both sizes.

Maya:

Yeah, I guess it's very diverse the reasons why foreigners might decide to move to San Miguel de Allende, wealthy nationals moving from big cities to San Miguel de Allende like your case, which we'll talk about in a little bit. But let's first talk about the types of properties that are available here in San Miguel and why should someone consider investing here, which you already mentioned. It's a very profitable investment regarding maybe seasonal rents. But first let's talk about what properties are available here.

Carolina:

Oh yeah, I would say it's a blend between the old world and the modern and very contemporary styles. It is a very appealing destination because of that, because we are UNESCO Heritage, for instance, you are not allowed to modify the facades basically in Centro Historico. But inside, you need to have licenses of course because we are talking that there are buildings from the 18th century and some of them a little bit before, maybe one or two. But yeah, you will find jewels either colonial or very contemporary. It's always stunning when you open a door and what you see behind that door in San Miguel de Allende, it opens up beautifully. You won't ever imagine what is behind that door.

So we have a mix of many, many styles here and also exists if you want to just not live in Centro and be all day round in Centro, which not everybody would like to do it. You can go to the outskirts of Centro, which is very interesting. Also, there are very good investments and there are people that prefer to go to the countryside. And in the countryside I've seen at least, that you will see from the very rustic small houses to very sophisticated contemporary houses.

Maya:

Yeah, so there's a little bit of everything so that makes it a very diverse market. And what about the role of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in the local real estate market? Can you talk a little bit about the brand?

Carolina:

Sure. Well, I am very happy and I feel very proud myself of being part of this company, which has around 1500 offices around the world. It is a very known and trustworthy brand all over the planet. And we are very lucky to be the first office open here in Mexico. So yeah, very happy.

Maya:

Thank you for sharing this. Yes, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is the largest real estate company. So the fact that this company decided to open in San Miguel de Allende talks a lot about this city, its relevance and how popular it's becoming in the sense of lifestyle and real estate investment. And I know it's not just about the houses, it's oftentimes more about the community, why people decide to move to San Miguel de Allende. So how would you describe the local atmosphere and the benefits of living here?

Carolina:

Well, the community here is truly special. The locals and expats, they seamlessly blend together, creating a warm and welcoming environment. They have a lot of expats and foreigners. Basically, it used to be a town for retirement. People that are basically coming from the United States and they found out that this was a very nice city just to live the life and for less money, of course. But as they have a lot of time for themselves and to maybe invest for the community, they decided and they create a lot of nonprofit associations. And I can name some of them like Casita Linda, which they do an auction every year. It's like a gala. And some people they put the money to build a whole Casita for the less fortunate too. So that is an event that I really like and I really enjoy, not only because of that part but it's fun. This year we are going all dressed up like the can-can time. And there was this fantastic singer for the show who is Lady [inaudible 00:09:53]. So yeah, we had a great time that night.

But also, there's another one which is very famous, which is we say in Spanish SPA and English SPA. But it is an association where if you would like to adopt your pet, you can go there and they will just give it to you with all their vaccination and ready to just start raising your little puppy or little kitten. So that's another one. There's another for the kids which is called Patronato de los Ninos, another for women. The Red Cross also they do gala every year as well. So it's a very interesting community and we are very united. We like to cooperate. We are a cooperative community, I would say.

Maya:

That's wonderful. Some people might do these activities where they're from, they engage in social activities and when they're moving somewhere else to a new city, that might be one of the things they want to do when starting a new life. And sometimes it might be hard, especially if we don't have a community like the ones you just mentioned where people actively help and actively engage in social activities. So yes, as you were saying, San Miguel de Allende has several nonprofits. I think you didn't mention Feed the Hungry, which is one of the biggest ones here as well. Or Amigos de los Animales, which is also for animals and just protecting their rights.

So yes, if that is something our viewers are maybe thinking that they won't be able to do here, this is a total, yes. San Miguel has a lot of nonprofits where you can engage in social activities and charities. So thank you for bringing that up, Carolina. I think it's very important when talking about our community. And well, what about the art and culture because San Miguel is renowned for this, for its arts and culture. So can you tell us more about the art scene here in San Miguel?

Carolina:

Sure. Art is such an important aspect of San Miguel de Allende. Many homes will showcase local craftsmanship and the city's vibrant art scenes is reflected in the architecture and design of the properties. Living here is not just about having a home, it's really about immersing yourself in a cultural experience. And we have different examples about this. For instance, every month there we have a very nice place which is called Fabrica La Aurora, which used to be an old factory of cotton textiles. And I guess it was one of the most important Latin American during the 18th century. So they gather a lot of different kind of gallery shops and restaurants there. And every month they have an event called The Art Walk. So every gallery opens their door and invite people to come over and see what they are having in exhibition. And they offer you... Some of them, I'm not sure of everyone, but almost everyone offers you a glass of wine. Yeah, that night is very special.

Also, we have a lot of public events and very high-end public events, like the one that was just yesterday. And I heard all their rehearsal by the way, because we are hosting the International Jazz Festival here in San Miguel. They were going to have... You can find also different musicians in different restaurants. You have to buy your ticket sometimes in some theaters. But also, what I like about this is that the government decided to make it for everybody. So they installed a huge platform in the main square which we call it El Jardin, in order to listen to the best musicians all over the world, really. I was listening yesterday to a woman, her voice was just outstanding.

So these kinds of events or suddenly maybe you are in a bar and you are sitting next to a Grammy nominee. That happened to me two weeks ago while I was in a birthday party, listened to these women that she and her husband just moved to San Miguel from New Orleans. She's got a great voice. So things like this happen very often in San Miguel. And also there's another very important event, which is the GIFF which is the short film festival. And we every year invite a country and a Mexican state. So they send some representative piece of each of these places with their directors, actors, and actresses. And it's not only going on in San Miguel, they go to Guanajuato and some other city within the state of Guanajuato. But that is another very important event here in San Miguel.

Maya:

What other events come to mind when you share this information with us?

Carolina:

Well, we have what we call the Cámara International Festival as well, where it's more into the classical music. We have also the Opera International. I don't know if it's contest, I should know more about it because I love opera. I just go and listen to it. But the real event, well, what I'm pretty sure about it is that this event also hosts many new singers in order to be launched to the world. So the opera one is very, very famous as well. The Cámara, which is basically chords. What else? I'm sure there's... Oh, the culinary scene. Well, not the culinary scene you know, but I would say we have very important harvest festivals here in San Miguel.

One of the most important, and I would say the first one in its category, there has been vineyards before but not as it is so important as it is today. For instance, the one that I really like to attend is Cuna de Tierra. And there would be maybe another seven more harvest festivals like this. And it's a whole experience. You have great food, of course, the best of the best wines in the region. So it's a lot of fun. And it's another very interesting event going on every, every year here in San Miguel for the last maybe 10 years, I would say.

Maya:

That's amazing. So people often think that since San Miguel is a very small town or considered to be a small town, a lot of people think it might be boring or there is not a lot of things to do. But from what you're saying, there is never a dull moment in this city. So you're talking about the harvest, which in Spanish we call it the Vendemias, they happen around August and September. Vendemias, then international music, international film. So definitely that's not something that should discourage you from moving to San Miguel. It's not a boring little town. It's actually a very vibrant and active place where you can just find something that you might like, art, music, food and cuisine. You were mentioning the food here in San Miguel, I think it's one of the most important aspects of the city, like the culinary scene. So why don't we talk a little bit about this very big part of the lifestyle in San Miguel. What are some of the very famous restaurants or some of the restaurants you might go to very often?

Carolina:

Yeah, well, in San Miguel, we have maybe over 500 restaurants. It's crazy. When I first moved down here, it was 18 years ago but I've been coming here for maybe the last 30 years. Has nothing to do with the culinary scene that we have today. And I'm very proud because I used to sell wine, so I was in the wine business as well. And for me, I made some tastings with friends at some restaurants with the wine that I was selling. And there were a lot of people from many restaurants also participating in this very special night that we used to have. I brought the wine and another vendor of wines as well, maybe, and the owner of the restaurant used to cook. And we used to pair with whatever we have in front that night. And then the next week we have another guest bringing... I don't know, something else different, like smoked trout or I don't know. So it was a lot of fun.

But since then, I would say that that was as I said, maybe 18 years ago. I saw how the restaurant was born and how the restaurant has been growing up, is for me is one of the top restaurants. Well, the chef is Donnie Masterton, who is coming from L.A. He moved down here to San Miguel in 2005, something like that. But he has a very interesting background in the United States with very, very famous chefs and restaurants as well where he has been before. And then he opened in the same spot, The Bar. So I love going there because the cocktails there are amazing. And they have this old way of mixing music with the DJ and the LPs, so it's a lot of fun.

But there are not only that, I can talk about some other rooftops which they are very desirable here in this town, Cuna Quince. We have another very nice rooftop, which is Azotea and very traditional because not only the locals meet there, but I mean the foreigners and our guests and visitors, they know about this place. So it's a lot of fun going to La Azotea and also [inaudible 00:21:51], and if you want a little piece of Greece, maybe you can go to Bocaciega. This is a very charm and nice and sweet restaurant is not outdoors. It's indoors, but so nicely done. And the food is... I just love it.

There is of course some others, not that fancy maybe but a lot of fun. And they're mainly for the locals. But as we locals recommend to everybody, it has become, for instance, El Manantial which is a cantina, one of the first cantinas in town. We get together there on Wednesdays, so we call it Miércoles de Manantial. And there's a DJ friend of ours playing every Wednesday night, and it's a lot of fun. She just look a little bit about the audience that night and she starts playing the music that she thinks the people will enjoy that night. So just to mention some because there is another one, Chamonix which I really love. There is La Unica, which have also restaurants in Mexico City, Madrid, in Colombia. It's Mexican, a little bit more sophisticated than the regular tacos that you might find in the street. But we have Italian restaurants, countryside restaurants, every, every single day of the week.

Maya:

Yeah, I was going to say that. Over 500 restaurants, that means that even if you go out to eat every day, you would not know them all. So it's impressive. And from what you say, we have the whole range of restaurants from very, very high-end and fancy rooftops and dining to maybe the more... Which is also great and people love this, the street food and tacos. And that goes for maybe more low-key cantinas, the one you mentioned, El Manantial which sounds like so much fun. Getting together with your friends and being friends with the owner and the DJ and just having a blast. It seems like a very, very fun thing to do. And I guess that's part of why people love San Miguel so much. It's got a great community and people here just hang out. They have fun.

Carolina:

We hang out. Sure, we do.

Maya:

Thank you so much for talking about this. This is great.

Carolina:

Sure.

Maya:

So why don't we start wrapping it up. I would like to maybe hear from the clients. So I don't know, may I share some success stories or maybe testimonials from individuals who have found their dream home through Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices?

Carolina:

Please do. Yeah, sure.

Maya:

Thank you. So well, I'll read a testimonial which is great from Greg Huntley. He's the broker and co-owner. He's got a review or a testimonial from Don and Carol Blivas that says, and I'm quoting, "I see why Warren Buffett's team chose Greg for the flagship Mexico office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Greg sold my Centro home the first week for full price in the middle of the pandemic. We love the service so well we hired him again for our second home sale, which he successfully sold. If you need the best realtor to buy a home or sell a home, do like Mr. Buffett and call Greg." So that's the broker of Berkshire Hathaway here in San Miguel, and he's the co-owner with Alma Cecilia Ramirez. She's also a broker of the first in flagship office.

And we've got another great, great review that says, "Decisions are highly driven by how trustworthy we feel our counterpart is. If I had to summarize our relationship with Alma and her team, I would say they are trustworthy. Every other compliment we could give them around their service, efficiency and effectiveness derives us from feeling that we were in good hands. Thank you for making the process so flawless and enjoyable." So Alma has been a real estate agent over 25 years. Am I right?

Carolina:

I think you're right. Yeah, I love her. She's just absolutely professional. I love her way.

Maya:

Yeah, she's one of the pioneers here in San Miguel, so it's great that Berkshire decided also to pair up with her because she's got so much knowledge about the city, just because of all her experience and trajectory. So let me read one of your testimonials, Carolina. We were talking before getting on the video about how people might be afraid of purchasing a home here in San Miguel because they're not physically here. And you just had a client a couple of years ago, you were telling me about this, who bought a home long distance with you and it was all through videos and emails. So I will read their testimonial first and then maybe you can tell us a little bit about this experience. Okay?

Carolina:

Okay.

Maya:

So these review is from Kurtis King and Karmini Kapur, and it says, "My wife and I first started working with Carolina around December of 2019. We were at once enchanted by her pleasant demeanor. She was always prompting her responses. She always opens her emails or her phone conversations with something personal before moving on to business, which helps to put you at ease. When she does talk about business, she always has her ducks in a row and supplies the information we wanted in a straightforward way, easy to understand manner. She showed us a few houses before we found the one we really wanted. We were working long distance at this point and dealing with the difficulties that that brings. But Carolina was the consummate professional and held the deal together when our bank made mistakes, and we almost lost the deal. That is the true test for an agent, when things get out of their control and things go wrong in my humble opinion. So nearly any agent can put together a deal when all the pieces fall into place.

Carolina was working against a strong headwind, including our bank's internal mistakes, the difficulties brought on by the pandemic and completely unexpected weather that locked things down in our part of the world for over a week. She stayed the course, weathered the storm, and brought the boat into the harbor safe and sound. We have since worked with her on another deal long distance, and again, she showed her mental, completed the transaction with little effort on our part." Yeah, that's a great, great review. It says, "She found what we were looking for and sent us information we needed to make a decision in a short order. We are currently working with her on our third transaction together. Things are going smoothly, if there's any criticism is that she is an agent in demand and that leaves little time for socializing." That's a great review, Carolina, what can you tell us about this deal?

Carolina:

Well, these two people are so special to me. And yes, they're totally right, we started working during pandemic. They wanted just to move down but they weren't ready yet, but they were starting to look online. And well, what I did was my job. I answered them and just keep going back and forth with emails. And I went to do a video, and in that moment, they decided that they want to submit an offer. So we did it, but there was another offer somewhere over there from another agent. So at the end we could have the house, and it was for the next year that they couldn't move down here. So I was also in a way taking care of their house and whatever. But we have become very good friends. I deal with this beautiful couple that are coming from a little, little place in Texas and they have moved permanently here to San Miguel. This is one of the examples that I just mentioned. And they have bought from me that one and two more properties already.

And once in a while, we see each other and have fun. And either that I go to their place because they have guests and I'm part of their community now because they have their own as well. Or we just go out to a new restaurant they liked and we just have fun. These people are so, so special to me. But that year, I remember it wasn't the only house that I sold long distance. There was another one with another American, very nice woman as well. So yeah, I'm grateful, very grateful for the trust people have deposited on me. And at the end, I think our relationship, of course, if they need something I'm here for them. But it goes beyond that business only relationship. So yeah, I feel very happy and very grateful for having them in my life.

Maya:

That's beautiful.

Carolina:

Very nice to hear.

Maya:

Yeah, that's beautiful, Carolina. And I think repeat customers are the best testament to good service. So if somebody bought a home from you and then they want to buy another home from you or sell a home, and they're doing it with their same agent, that speaks a lot about your professionalism. And so congratulations there. Well, thank you. Thank you for taking us on this virtual tour of San Miguel de Allendes' real estate and lifestyle landscape. Before we wrap it up, any final thoughts or advice for viewers considering making this beautiful city their home?

Carolina:

Move down here, you'll have a lot of fun and it is I guess a great place to invest. So I'll wait for you. Salute.

Maya:

Cheers. And also from reading this last review, don't hesitate in contacting Carolina or Greg or Alma or any other Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices agents. They're here to help you. And even if you're a long distance, we just saw how Carolina sold two homes purely long distance through email, through video. And they bought the home and these people now live here. So don't make that become an obstacle when searching for your dream home here in San Miguel.

Carolina:

Okay, yeah, thank you. Thank you so much, Maya, for this. It was very nice sharing with you all my experiences. I don't know if you have something else to add or me to say?

Maya:

That would be it with us, Carolina. Thank you so much for your words, for this very thorough explanation how San Miguel works. I guess our viewers will be very, very happy to hear all of your advice and know that they can move to San Miguel de Allende without the hassle. I encourage our viewers obviously, to seek professional advice when buying property in Mexico. Go to a trusted realtor, that's the first thing you need to do when trying to find a home elsewhere, not only in San Miguel but in the world in general. And contact Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colonial Homes, San Miguel for more information or to just start your property search.

And well, if you liked this video, please hit the like button, share it if you think someone might find this information useful. And just please subscribe for more real estate related content. We release videos like this on a weekly basis, so if that's something you're interested in, please hit the subscribe button. And well, that's it for today's video. Thank you so much, Carolina. Hope we see each other soon.

Carolina:

I hope so too, Maya. Thank you so much.

Maya:

Take care. Bye-bye.

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