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Alicia Gomez of Collins Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Alicia Gomez (center) at a meet and greet in Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMost of the time people who come to Mexico have no idea what it’s like when they grab a magazine or when they see a sign that says, “I sold twenty houses during the day. I could be your real estate agent and help sell your property soon.” These people do not realize that when some real estate agents say they sold twenty houses, they didn’t. They listed twenty. If they had sold twenty, they would be millionaires.
 
So just because a real estate agent says they sold twenty houses and you should go with her, you have to do some investigation and ask around. Ask what’s the best way to buy a property in Mexico. Ask two or three agents and they will tell you their protocol. They will give you different ideas and then you can pick the best one for you. 
 
If you are going to sell your property, obviously you want to sell it fast. I would recommend you to go to a reputable real estate agent. I won’t ask you to go with me. I want people to pick me not because I am telling you things but because I am your best option. Tell the real estate agent the value of your house and ask how much their offer is and then you can decide.
 
 
I used to work in a notary public for 8 years and that is my edge among the other real estate agents because I could help my clients a bit more. I would help you avoid paying capital gains and I would help you get the best way to close and I would check all your papers to check everything is okay because I have that knowledge and the skills. I don’t stop there. I can keep helping you to find another property or to help you make the right choice. I am not just a realtor. I could also be an advisor because of the experience that I have.  
 
(Picture: Alicia Gomez (center) at a meet and greet in Ajijic, Mexico.)
Chris Gruenwald of Biencom Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Chris Gruenwald, broker and real estate office owner, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn getting a real estate agent in Mexico, it is best to find someone who has experience. I would recommend someone who knows both languages - whatever language you are comfortable in and the local language, which in Mexico is Spanish.
 
You have to choose a real estate agent that you are comfortable with and someone who you feel is telling you the truth and is listening to you. When you tell someone what you are looking for and they do not get it, you need to look for someone else. Being comfortable is the most important. You should be comfortable that they are telling you the truth and they are not just into making the sale because no matter how much you think you know it all, you don’t when you are moving into another country, so probably someone that is local and who has been in the business will know a lot more than you.
 
Choosing a real estate agent in Mexico is different than choosing a real estate agent in San Diego, where I am from. First of all, a lot of people in the US just go with the listing agent of whatever property is available. In Mexico, I would recommend that you get a buyer’s agent that is looking out for your interest. Find one that you trust and have them show you his listing, and other people’s listings, even for sale by owners. There are agents that do that in San Diego and that is a good way to probably do that anywhere in the world but more importantly in a place like Mexico where if you are not careful, you would always run into some architect or developer or a real estate agent that would try to pull a fast one on you. There is no disclosure law here so they are not required by law to disclose anything. 
 
In Chapala and Ajijic you need to be licensed as a realtor. There is a local real estate association that oversees the licensing and there is an MLS. Most touristy destinations at this point should have some sort of licensing and some form of MLS. There is a national license that you can get but it is not a requirement. And, there is no national MLS. It is not run by the states either, such as when California has a California MLS and the California Licensing Board. Jalisco has at least three real estate associations in Guadalajara and another three outside of Guadalajara. Each of them has different rules to licensing and each has their own MLS. They all have their own website that works like MLS. Ours is probably the most advanced Multiple Listing System. Puerto Vallarta has one that is just as advanced or pretty similar. However, the ones in Guadalajara leave a lot to be desired. 
 
In Lake Chapala and Ajijic, it works just like in the US. Everyone is on a MLS. It is usually 50/50 commission split between the listing brokerage and the selling brokerage, while here, just like in the US, an agent makes more money if he sells his own listing, which is worldwide. After that, he will show you everyone else’s property because the commissions are shared. That varies from one spot to another in Mexico, but that is how it works in Chapala and Ajijic.  
 
(Chris Gruenwald, broker and real estate office owner, Ajijic, Mexico,pictured.)
Ivan Castillo of Secure Title  Riviera Maya – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Logo for the Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe most common way to look for a realtor is through the Internet, and if you’re visiting the area, there are some real estate magazines to check.
 
I would advise that you try to find two or three different realtors so that you can cross-reference information. Through Internet as well you will be able to find out if the realtor has a good reputation, and if the realtor is part of the real estate association we have here in Mexico similar to the National Association of Realtors in the US, called AMPI (“Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios”).
 
(Logo for the Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios, Mexico, pictured.)
Carmella Peters Romero of Peters & Romero – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Polanco, Mexico City, Mexico, skyline – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIt is important to understand that the real estate industry in Mexico is not regulated in the same way as it is in the United States or Canada.  There is no system for licensing agents, and pretty much anyone can call themselves a real estate agent.  There are a few professional organizations for agents, but membership does not mean that they are "certified," and the organizations themselves are not regulatory bodies.  This means that you need to be very careful about choosing an agent to help you - especially if you don´t speak Spanish.  
 
Of course, it is important to do your research in order to identify a suitable agent.  While research on social media and websites is a good start, you should always try to get references for any agent you are considering working with.  Many agents specialize in working with expat communities, and this is something you might want to look for.  Not only do these agents speak English, but they will be familiar with the areas in which expats tend to buy or rent and also with the sorts of issues and challenges faced by non-Mexican buyers or renters.  Join expat associations or Facebook pages in the areas that you are considering, and ask people for their advice!  Many agents will self-identify on those sites which can be very helpful, but you should also pay attention to the recommendations that people will make about agents that they worked with themselves.  
 
Above all, go with your good instincts - meet any agents that you are considering working with, ask about their experience and their practices.  Ask for English-speaking references.  Be wary of anyone who wants money up front, who insists that you sign a contract with them right away,  or who doesn´t have any listings or clients.  There are lots of agents out there, and it is important that you find the right one for you!
 
(Pictured: skyline of Polanco, Mexico City, Mexico.)
Jason Waller of Playa del Carmen Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Jason Waller with cast and crew of House Hunters International in Playa del Carmen, Yucatan, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWhen choosing a real estate gent in Mexico, you have to be careful. There are a lot of very good realtors out here and there are some really bad ones out here. You can get the people who will do anything to make a sale and you can get the people who are kind of part-time realtors who just want to make a couple of sales a year that they can live off that and they’re good to go.
 
Typically, you don’t want to meet your realtors when you’re sitting at the bar, when you’re having a margarita and then a guy says, “Hey, yeah, I do real estate, too. C’mon, I’ll show you”. It’s a very common thing out here. You want to research in advance. You don’t want to come out here not knowing who you’re going to meet with. You want to research in advance. 
 
The biggest thing is to go online and do research and if a website’s ranking high in the search rankings, typically, that’s going to mean that’s been operational for quite a while.  Also, punch in the person’s name on Google search and see what comes up, because if there’s good and bad things, it will come up.  
 
(Jason Waller [in coral shirt] with cast and crew of House Hunters International in Playa del Carmen, Yucatan, Mexico, pictured.)

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