On May 14, 30 members and guests of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® attended “Doing Business with Mexico” and celebrated Cinco de Mayo afterwards with Mexican delicacies. With Global Business Council (GBC) Chair Mark Wong and GBC member Sara Spang both moderating, panelists shared valuable information about both inbound and outbound transactions with clients from Mexico.

Panelists included Nancy MacLeod, a real estate broker/owner of Homes2Buy.com, who owns a villa in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where she also represents buyers from the U.S.; Alicia Sandoval, a REALTOR® with Keller Williams Realty in Palo Alto and a native of Mexico; Amber Neil, a REALTOR® with No Borders Realty in San Jose, who has dual U.S. and Mexican citizenship and has been doing business in Mexico and California since 2006. Another panelist, Sal Covarrubias, sales manager for First American Title Company, discussed title vesting concerns, proper identification needs for sellers, and the differences in holding title between the U.S. and Mexico.

The REALTORS® said the best way to tap into the Mexican market is to join AMPI (Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios), the largest real estate association in Mexico. Join the organization as an affiliate and attend their conventions and events.

AMPI has ties with the National Association of REALTORS® and is strongly advocating for the licensing of real estate agents in Mexico, because right now, anyone can be a real estate agent there. Travel and networking is key to learning more about the real estate business there and AMPI would be a good source, they said.

Covarrubias said issues regarding Mexicans buying property in the U.S. are similar to that of other foreign buyers. “Timing is important and whether the foreign buyer will be personally present at closing. Also, agents need to verify their client’s legal name. It may not matter much when the client buys the house, but it will matter when it is time for that client to sell the property,” said Covarrubias.

Transactions can take months to conclude in Mexico so Mexicans who buy property here get culture shock when the process is quick, and they can close as soon as three or seven days. Also, there is no disclosure when buying property in Mexico, so REALTORS® need to take time to explain to their Mexican clients the transaction process in the U.S. “Mexicans are very social and want to get to know you personally first before deciding to do business with you. They value social graces, mannerisms and respect,” said Neil. “And they are not keen on email or text. They want one-on-one, eye-to-eye conversations with you, and many meetings.”

Like any country, there are places that are dangerous, but MacLeod said, “Mexico is still very safe, especially the tourist areas and places like San Miguel de Allende.”

Sandoval said while payoffs were prevalent in the past, business there is now done in a more professional way.

Lastly, don’t believe you have to sign a 99-year lease and can’t own property in Mexico. “I’m not sure where that myth came from,” chuckled Neil.
VIEW PHOTOS HERE

Advertisements