Choosing the right real estate agent to help with your Mexico property purchase is VERY important! It may come as a surprise to you when I say that all real estate agents are NOT created equally! There are good agents and lesser ones, some have lots of experience and some have little, most are honest, but a few are downright crooks. There are 65 or so real estate agents in the Puerto Peñasco Association of Real Estate Professionals (AMPI), and even more in town who do not belong to the association. How do you sort the honest, experienced talent from the others? Interview them! The agent receives pay as a result of your patronage, and your potential patronage gives you every right to politely ask questions toward the goal of choosing the right real estate agent for your needs.
While agents in the state of Sonora, Mexico, are required to have real estate licenses, many agents have apparently not gotten the word, and are operating without licenses. Besides that, the state provides nearly no oversight of licensed agents, or unlicensed agents, for that matter; if you have a problem with a licensed agent, your only recourse is to complain to the state of Sonora Department of Economy, and wait and hope for results.
AMPI, the Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals, has a chapter in Puerto Peñasco. Real estate agent members at the associate level, including all real estate brokers and many of the agents, are, through their membership in AMPI, also members of the National Association of Realtors in the USA, a sister organization to AMPI. AMPI helps members to build experience and professionalism through education and mentoring, and ethical cooperation through use of the Multiple Listing Service, which displays all AMPI agent exclusive listings to all members, and provides verifiable data that can assist agents to guide their clients in vital decision making regarding properties. An agent who is not a member of AMPI may NOT use the Multiple Listing Service.
Real estate agent members of AMPI receive regular continuing education, and are held to minimum standards of practice. They are required to use uniform, legally-approved forms, and are guided by a code of ethics. If you have a problem with an AMPI member real estate agent, you can file an ethics complaint with the local chapter, and it will be researched and ruled upon by the chapter’s Honor and Justice Commission. In other words, with an AMPI agent, you have local recourse if you have a bona fide problem with an agent. It is strongly recommended that you ask your potential agent if he or she is licensed, if your agent is a current AMPI member, and if your agent has had any ethics complaints filed against him. You can verify the real estate license and AMPI membership status of any real estate agent by going to http://www.rockypointampi.com. Under the tab “AMPI Puerto Peñasco” click on members to see the names of all members of the Puerto Peñasco chapter, listed alphabetically by first name. On the members page you will also find a link to the Mexico State Registry of Real Estate Agents – click on that to see the status of the real estate license of any real estate agent in the state of Sonora.
Does your agent have experience in THIS real estate market, and in the kind of real estate you are seeking? Many experienced real estate agents come to Mexico thinking that selling here will be a snap, due to their experience in the USA, and are surprised at just how different working in this market can be. A USA real estate agent’s hardest job may be helping you to physically locate the properties, while mortgage providers and title companies take on the heavy lifting. Not so in Mexico! An agent with 30 years’ experience selling real estate in the USA, primarily in Texas and California, and who spoke fluent Spanish, told me that he had no idea how complicated selling in the state of Sonora could be, and that without an experienced mentor in Puerto Peñasco, he would never have figured out how to get a transaction closed!
An agent with experience selling homes and condominiums may not be the right agent to help you find a large parcel of land for a manufacturing operation. Your prospective agent needs to know the local market, and the many areas of Puerto Peñasco and the surrounding area. He or she should have experience selling the type of property you want to buy, and needs to have been involved in the closing of several transactions. Ask your potential agent how long he or she has been selling real estate in the Puerto Peñasco market, in what type real estate he or she specializes, and how many of his or her transactions have actually closed. This would be a great time to ask for references – get the names and contact information of several clients whose transactions have closed, and then actually contact them! Other considerations are whether the agent(s) you interview lives in Rocky Point, or is he a sometimes resident? Is he a full-time real estate agent, or does he have another job, and real estate helps to fill the holes in his wallet?
You can interview as many agents as you like, and it would be fair to tell them what you are doing when you make an appointment with them. Be sure to set up the appointment in your prospective agent’s office, where you will be able to see how the office operates, whether it appears organized and businesslike, and how your prospective agent interacts with co-workers. You might want to pass if the agent suggests meeting in a bar or restaurant – an interview is not a social event, but rather is a business function – and by all means move on if the agent tells you he or she does not have time for an interview! When you find the person with the qualifications you like, consider signing a buyer-agent agreement with him or her. After all, the agent you select will be working hard for you, and deserves your loyalty in return.
Remember that you want a great agent with lots of talent and experience, well-recommended with a good reputation, who is organized and businesslike; if he is gorgeous and funny too, that is great, but not necessary. This sounds like a tall order, but the agent described here is available many times over in Puerto Peñasco, so you won’t have to settle for less. Once you have found the right agent, your property search becomes ever so much easier!