By: Thomas Lloyd | The Yucatan Times
Finding the right real estate agent in Mexico can be a daunting experience, almost like finding a partner in life. However, it can be easier if you know what to look for!
Buying a property in Mexico can be an exciting adventure, regardless of the kind of place you are looking for: a holiday home, a retirement haven in the Caribbean, or even an investment property. The thrill of finding that ideal home can be addictive, and going through every step of the process successfully, is even better!
Owning real estate in Mexico as a foreigner can be a little bit more complex than buying back in our home countries, but it is completely legal and doable. Many people believe that owning property in Mexico is impossible, and it was for a period of time, until banks and the government worked a way to do it: a Bank Trust called Fideicomiso.
The best way to ensure that your real estate agent is knowledgeable, goes beyond finding their website or a property listed on the internet. Most of Mexico’s states lack regulations on Real Estate companies, so virtually anyone can sell you property.
Having the mindset of finding a partner in life can help you to raise your standards, to use some time to know your realtor, and learn more about him or her. Most of us have a wish list or a certain type when it comes to dating, so we can also make a list of characteristics that our agent MUST have.
Sitting down and writing a list of characteristics we are looking for in a real estate agent, will allow us to filter the good and the bad more efficiently. Obviously, this list is not set in stone; if you find a Realtor that just ‘works’ for you, go for it!
When looking for a Realtor in Mexico, these are some of the ideal characteristics to look for:
Until recently there was not a professional degree for real estate agents, so most agents had to learn on the go. In 2008, the federal government created an Associate’s degree in Real Estate, as a way to offer a specialization option for Realtors in Mexico. Not having this degree shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, but a professional broker should have evidence of completed training or courses.
Ideally a real estate agent should also be affiliated to their local branch of AMPI, the National Association of Real Estate Professionals. The following states in Mexico also have a registry of state certified professionals:
- Baja California (Registro de Agentes Profesionales Inmobiliarios)
- Coahuila (Registro de Agentes Inmobiliarios de Coahuila)
- Colima (Ley de Operaciones Inmobiliarias de Colima)
- Distrito Federal
- Estado de Mexico
- Quintana Roo
- San Luis Potosi (Registro de Agentes Inmobiliarios de San Luis Potosi)
- Sinaloa (Registro de Profesionales Inmobiliarios de Sinaloa)
- Sonora (Registro Estatal de Agentes Inmobiliarios de Sonora)
It is easy to post a couple of nice photos and a great description of a property on the internet, but this might not be enough when looking for the right professional. You need a Real Estate Agent that has proven experience helping foreigners buy properties in Mexico, this might save you thousands of dollars and a lot of headaches.
Finding an experienced agent might be easier that you think, look for testimonials on their website or ask for opinions in forums on the internet. Asking local expats about a good real estate agent might also be useful, as they are probably familiar with the process or know someone that has gone through it.
An ideal real estate a gent is familiar with the area, or preferably a resident themself. Your agent’s local insight will allow you to see beyond the building or property itself; but also learn characteristics of the neighborhood, future plans of development, prices for similar properties in the area, etc.
Working with a local agent will also ease the purchasing process, as they will be able to be there for every step of the way. If some documents, copies or anything are needed, it can be done in a matter of hours, so the closing process can be done in a swift way.
A real office & a team of professionals
It is important that once you have found the right agent, you pay a visit to their office and meet the rest of the team, if there is any. If something goes wrong, you will know where to find the agent, or any other team member to help you.
There are many agents out there working on their own, just with their computer. If something goes wrong, your chances of finding them are slim, and this might cost you time and money.
Finding your ideal real estate agent can lead you to form an ideal lifelong partnership, a professional that ‘gets’ you and your real estate needs. There are plenty of great brokers out there, just make sure to ask the right questions and follow your instincts, you will find the right one for you!