Purchasing furniture for a new home in Mexico can be very stressful and costly. The goal of this column and particularly this three-part article is to help you avoid some of the errors others have made.
To recap, over the past two weeks I wrote about these common mistakes:
- Not allowing enough time — one week is not enough.
- Not setting a realistic budget – the average amount spent on furnishing a two-bedroom with the most preferred style and quality is in the US$20,000 to $25,000 range.
- Buying for looks instead of buying for quality — make sure the materials will last in this climate.
- Buying furniture you won’t use. Many people buy too many pieces or items not required or rarely used such as dining room sets and spare bedroom sets.
- Not measuring doors and elevators to make sure the furniture you purchased will fit.
Here are three more common mistakes to avoid:
Having unrealistic expectations about shipping and delivery time frames. Ask everyone who has ever furnished a home in Mexico, and they will tell you their story of how whatever they ordered came weeks or months late, or how they waited around their house for days on end for something to be delivered. Logistics in Mexico are not as advanced as in the U.S. and Canada. Trucks do not have GPS for tracking delivery status. There is little point of asking for an item to be delivered a specific week, day or time. In Mexico, it’s best to accept that the item will get there when it gets there.
Expecting a carpenter to build furniture for a lower price. Remember that no matter where you go, you get what you pay for. Furniture created by a carpenter rather than mass manufactured is considered custom. Handmade custom furniture that is made correctly with the right materials and by qualified craftspeople are always more expensive than furniture produced in a manufacturing plant. If you are quoted a low price, be wary. This could mean the materials are sub-par resulting in your furniture warping, cracking or falling apart. Since most carpenters do not offer warranties, you could end up unhappy with your purchase. In Mexico, from what I have heard from people who have gone the route of custom carpentry is 50/50. If you are lucky, it works out. If you are not lucky, you end up losing your money and starting all over again.
Going to Guadalajara to buy everything in one or two days. Guadalajara is very spread out geographically so most of your time will be taken up driving and figuring out how to get around. Salespeople mostly talk Spanish in furniture stores. Most of the stores cater to styles preferred by Mexicans and are not necessarily the comfort level you prefer.
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