5 SURPRISING HOME BUYER TURNOFFS

Putting your home on the market? consider these common buyer turn-offs and make sure you’re in good graces with potential buyers.

HOME BUYER TURNOFFS

Dirty or crowded homes

It can’t be overstated how important it is to de-clutter and clean. Buyers want to look at your home, not your things.

Irrational seller expectations

Be realistic about where your home sits relative to the market. Overpricing can spell disaster when it comes to selling a home.

New upgrades done to a specific taste

Upgrading your kitchen can be a wise investment before listing your home. Just make sure you do it in a neutral style, as no one whants to rip out something that’s been recently renovated.

Bad listing photos

Hire a professional ohotographer and make sure your online listing photos show your home in the best light and give a true sense of the space. And again, no clutter.

Stalkerish sellers
Being at your own open house or a private showing can make buyers uncomfortable. Trust your agent to communicate the best home features to potential buyers.

Contact an AMPI agent for more information on how to present your home at its best.

 

Why Use AMPI?

AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals that have, since 1956, gathered under laws and codes of ethics and conduct to create a reliable, trustworthy an efficient real estate environment in Mexico.

AMPI consists of separate autonomous sections all throughout the nation, as well as more than 4,000 associates and affiliates.

Each section is independent and has its own board of directors, only surpassed by a national board of directors comprised of twenty associates from all over the republic.

Developed over the years with the input and knowledge of its members, AMPI is much more than just a collection of offices.

AMPI has been a solid and recognized institution in Mexico for the past 27 years. It was originally established in 1956 and was consolidated in 1980.

AMPI is currently represented in all the principle cities and regions of Mexico stretching from Tijuana to Cancun.

The Riviera Nayarita, Vallarta and Compostela chapters of AMPI are dedicated to promote the best practices in real estate by providing its members with education to reinforce the standards of ethics that give our industry the credibility which our clients deserve.

AMPI is committed to giving our membership access to a multiple listing service that forms the platform from which our industry can expand locally and into other markets while giving our members precise and up to date information that is vital to continuous improvement and growth.

Buyers, Know When You Have A Good Home Inspector

Good morning world, today’s topic is Inspectors and how to know a good one from an egomaniac with an agenda. Didn’t know that could happen? It does more than you would think. Inspections are a critical part of any home purchase. When looking for an inspector, you have to first look for a person or a company that is impartial. You don’t want someone with a lot of unsolicited opinions about the home you’ve chosen. Anyone who walks into your potential new property and says “oh my god, look at this place, you’re wasting your money” needs to be kicked by the wayside, and fast. Doom and gloomers should have no place in telling you about your house.

Know When You Have A Good Home Inspector

What you need is a professional, honest person that will tell you all you need to know about a house and it’s systems; good or bad doesn’t work into this scenario. They look at everything: outside – roof, walls, grading, walkways, etc… inside – heating, plumbing, walls, ceilings, floors, etc… and tell you the condition of everything. Now these things could be in working condition or not, and the only opinion the inspector should have is if he or she recommends repair, or if things are in working order. An inspector should not say, “this is horrible” or “you shouldn’t take the house because of this”. An inspector is not God, or a licensed contractor and beware of those Inspectors that are (contractors that is; if they are actually God, you should listen to everything they say). It is a conflict of interest to have your inspector be both and in my opinion, you should be afraid that this person will slant any information to their benefit, in order to get a job out of any potential problem.

I actually had a gentleman come into a home to do an inspection for my clients and his opening line was “I’m the bad news bear, I’m here to tell you all of things wrong with this house and why you shouldn’t take it” ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!?? The worst part, is that he actually did a decent job with the inspection of the house, other than the running commentary of “oh no, look at this” and “What were they thinking”. His approach did not allow me to talk frankly with my clients about the results of the inspection and actually made me have to talk them “down off the bridge”, so to speak. Because of his comments, I wound up dealing with a terrified couple. They were first-time home Buyers so they were already nervous about the whole process, which can be overwhelming in itself, but they had now become convinced that the home was falling down and that they should walk away. This made it difficult to explain to them that there are things that you definitely ask to be fixed when coming back to a listing agent with your reply, and there are things that you sometimes leave as normal wear and tear, which is something you have to deal with when you buy a home.

What was even worse was that this home was perfect for them, they had been looking for such a long time and it fit the bill on every level. Yes, there were things that definitely needed to be fixed, but it was totally salvageable and the Sellers were more than willing to work with them to make things right. This man almost lost these people their dream and that makes me angry. Ego and attempting to “save” someone from something have no business in an inspection. It’s an educated opinion, one which helps you understand your property and how it works. It is also meant to help you understand when you need to bring in a licensed contractor, to let you know exactly how much and what needs to be done. Their opinion is not the end-all-be-all and anyone that acts that way should be removed from the situation.

In the end, ask your Realtor who they recommend. They probably have someone, or a few someones whom they trust and have used on a regular basis. You should trust your Realtor implicitly, so why not trust them with this as well. After all, they want you to find the right home and be informed, so naturally they would want you to have a good, thorough inspection company.

Author:  

Why Use AMPI?

AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals that have, since 1956, gathered under laws and codes of ethics and conduct to create a reliable, trustworthy an efficient real estate environment in Mexico.

AMPI consists of separate autonomous sections all throughout the nation, as well as more than 4,000 associates and affiliates.

Each section is independent and has its own board of directors, only surpassed by a national board of directors comprised of twenty associates from all over the republic.

Developed over the years with the input and knowledge of its members, AMPI is much more than just a collection of offices.

AMPI has been a solid and recognized institution in Mexico for the past 27 years.

It was originally established in 1956 and was consolidated in 1980. AMPI is currently represented in all the principle cities and regions of Mexico stretching from Tijuana to Cancun.

The Riviera Nayarita, Vallarta and Compostela chapters of AMPI are dedicated to promote the best practices in real estate by providing its members with education to reinforce the standards of ethics that give our industry the credibility which our clients deserve.

AMPI is committed to giving our membership access to a multiple listing service that forms the platform from which our industry can expand locally and into other markets while giving our members precise and up to date information that is vital to continuous improvement and growth.

Paying A Bonus To The Broker

Paying A Bonus To The Broker?

Question: Our home has been listed for sale for several months. Early on our real estate agent hosted an open house for real estate agents and brokers. At this meeting, someone suggested to our agent that we should offer a bonus to the selling agent. Afterward our agent pushed this idea with us stating that “with the bonus our house would go to the top of the list for showing and without a bonus we would get no action”. I considered this blackmail and refused the idea. We have had only one showing since that time. What is your opinion about the ethics of this practice?

Paying A Bonus To The Broker

Answer: Every time I write something critical of real estate agents, I get a large number of complaints that I am not being fair to that industry. So, in fairness, unless your agent has stopped actively marketing your property, I do not blame her. I believe she was merely providing you her opinion of how her industry would respond.

In those markets where the economic recovery has not yet taken effect and where sales are sluggish, many sellers will offer an incentive — a bonus — if their house will sell quickly. Some sellers will agree to pay one or two percent more in commissions, but often with specific time limitations built into this incentive. For example, I recently learned of a couple that have offered to increase the commission by two percent if the house goes under contract within two months, but this will drop to only one percent extra thereafter.

But since sales are slow, I seriously doubt that the absence of a bonus will deter brokers and agents from actively pursuing your house. As one agent told me “a five percent commission is better than no commission at all”.

Clearly, however, a house that will pay 7 or 8 percent will obviously be more attractive to real estate brokers than a commission of 4, 5 or even 6 percent.

Everything in real estate is — or should be — negotiable. If sellers are prepared to offer a bonus — an incentive — to their agent, that is their absolute right. And if real estate agents want to show those “incentivized” houses to their prospective purchasers, that is also their right.

But is it ethical? Is it legal? If an agent only shows his client those houses where a bonus is being offered, I believe this violates both the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Realtors as well as State laws which regulate the conduct of the Real Estate industry.

According to the Code of Ethics, Article 1 states:

When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other client as an agent, Realtors pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their clients. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve Realtors of their obligation to treat all parties honestly.

The applicable law in the District of Columbia (which is similar to laws and regulations throughout the country) states that “a licensee shall exercise fidelity and good faith to a client in all matters within the scope of the licensee’s employment… (DCMR 17-2609.11).

Buyer’s are entitled to be shown all houses on the market that meet their needs — and not just those houses where the agent will get a higher commission. If all such houses are made available for inspection, then I have no objection.

I am not sure that I would agree with your characterization of “blackmail”, but I agree that the practice raises ethical issues. I think you should discuss your concerns with your agent — and her manager. I cannot believe they are not interested in selling your house. Find out what their concerns are? Have you overpriced the house? Is there something you can do to make the house more presentable? If you cannot reach a satisfactory resolution — and get answers to your questions, then I would recommend looking for another agent.

 

Coming of Age In Puerto Vallarta

In Puerto Vallarta, there are some traditions that take our breath away with beauty and tradition. We have been invited to quinceañeras over the years and regardless of the economic level of the families, they have all been remarkable events. When a girl turns fifteen in Mexican culture, she is celebrated with a party, equal to a coming out ball for debutantes, which signifies her passage to womanhood, as well as gives thanks to God for having blessed her family, and presents her to the community.

The misa de acción de gracias is a mass at the girls’ local parish. In a loving ceremony, thanks are given for the completion of her childhood. She wears a frock, which has most likely been purchased with much forethought and deliberation. It is traditionally pink or white and rivals the style and elaborate design of any wedding dress. Everyone is clothed in their very best garb and the parents and godparents (padrinos) play important roles throughout the entire day. The young woman being honored, la festejada, is given special gifts, jewelry and bestowed with bouquets, while surrounded by her damas (maids of honor) and chambelanes (escorts). These are cousins, siblings and schoolmates and they attend to la festejada throughout the day.

Following the mass at the church, which introduces the young woman to adulthood, she leaves flowers at the altar for the Virgen de Gualdalupe and the party commences.

Similar to a conventional wedding, there is a large, beautifully decorated cake (the bigger, the better); gifts for the guests, distributed by the damas; and more generous gifts for la festejada. Though DJ’s have become popular, the favored music is a live band that can play cumbia, banda, salsa, ballads and traditional songs. Everyone is expected to dance as a waltz with la festejada and her father begins moving people onto the dance floor.

Dinner is served and a brindis (toast) gives everyone a chance to share memories about the girl and wish her the best in adulthood, as well as impart words of wisdom.

The quinceañera is an old ceremonial tradition that dates back beyond the time of the conquerors. There are shreds of evidence that indigenous people celebrated a young girl’s coming of age. Combined with Catholic and Spanish heritage, what Puerto Vallarta has come to know as the modern day quinceañera is a splendid, culturally rich event that is cherished by all.

Que es cómo es.

 


Insights from a seasoned broker

Hearing first hand from what OTHER brokers are doing to grow their business, more market share, and a team of trusted agents, is exactly the kind of thing most brokers and recruiters want more of. That’s why we are serving it up interview style with some of the best brokers in the business. This time, we connected with seasoned broker Mark Strosnider — here’s what he had to share with ‘the class’:

INSIGHTS FROM A SEASONED BROKER

Q: Thanks Mark for taking some time with us to share your experience! Can you first tell us a little about you and your business?

A: I started in real estate in 1993, and got in to Management and Recruiting in 2006. I started working with my partners at RE/MAX Town Center in 2011 when a second location was being opened. We have grown by a little over 100 agents since October of 2011

Q: That’s awesome! Brokers today have a hefty to-do list – what is your top priority in terms of dedicated time when growing your business?

A: My focus is pretty simple. GROWTH. I work to grow the company size by recruiting and working with the agents on their business models to help them grow their businesses. Having great partners allows me to stay focused on what I do best

Q: Mark, you know Judy is a huge fan of putting systems in place to build and keep momentum. What systems do you put in place to make sure that you are recruiting at the level you need to build the business you want?

A: We maintain written goals with daily, weekly and monthly proactive activities to reach those goals. We share calendars and divide responsibilities so each of us can remain focused on reaching the goals. We time-block and prioritize our activities and meet consistently to review our strategies and measure our results

Q: Sounds like a solid plan! What’s your best tip or piece of advice for new recruiters?

A: Stay focused on relationships, pursue high quality people and be proactive. Don’t wait for it to just happen.

Q: Any favorite strategies you’ve learned from Judy that have really made an impact?

A: Judy really makes it clear and helps get your mind set and expectations in order. Thinking about a recruit as a buyer and not as a listing helped me stay focused on the proper interview process.

Agents move based on pain and rationalize their decision based on opportunity. Be open to opportunity. Recruiting takes patience and when an experienced agent takes the time to sit down with you, you need to be prepared that making a move today is an option for them. Don’t be too patient!

Author: Julie Escobar

Why Use AMPI?

AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals that have, since 1956, gathered under laws and codes of ethics and conduct to create a reliable, trustworthy an efficient real estate environment in Mexico.

AMPI consists of separate autonomous sections all throughout the nation, as well as more than 4,000 associates and affiliates. Each section is independent and has its own board of directors, only surpassed by a national board of directors comprised of twenty associates from all over the republic.

Developed over the years with the input and knowledge of its members, AMPI is much more than just a collection of offices. AMPI has been a solid and recognized institution in Mexico for the past 27 years. It was originally established in 1956 and was consolidated in 1980. AMPI is currently represented in all the principle cities and regions of Mexico stretching from Tijuana to Cancun.

The Riviera Nayarita, Vallarta and Compostela chapters of AMPI are dedicated to promote the best practices in real estate by providing its members with education to reinforce the standards of ethics that give our industry the credibility which our clients deserve.

AMPI is committed to giving our membership access to a multiple listing service that forms the platform from which our industry can expand locally and into other markets while giving our members precise and up to date information that is vital to continuous improvement and growth.

Agents: Your Marketing Minutes

Marketing your sellers home is a big part of the services you provide. Doesn’t marketing yourself factor in to whether or not people do business with you? Being educated in all facets of marketing can surely be helpful.
Marketing your seller's home
Here are some marketing terms and tips that might get your creative juices flowing next time you are tasked with marketing either yourself or your listings.

#1 – Target. It’s important that you know who your targets are. With regard to listings keep in mind where you think the buyer might come from. While it’s never easy to tell, there are some general audiences you need to keep in mind depending on the type of home it is.

For instance, if you have a nice starter home you may want to target newly engaged couples within a 10-20 mile radius. If it is a luxury home, you might want to target a more affluent demographic, or people in starter homes in the town the listing is located. You don’t want to forget to consider those who might want to move-up in their existing town.

When you think about marketing yourself, the target should be much easier. You should be heavily marketing to people in the towns you serve. It’s no more complicated than that.

#2 – Medium. What kinds of medium should you use to market? Everyone knows that internet marketing is the way to go, but it’s also the most competitive space. Have you truly used all of the tools available on mediums like social media to market both yourself and your listings? How about direct mail?

If the target is correct, this can be a very effective way to reach your audience. How about magazines? Did you know that magazines are the #1 driver of online traffic? If the magazine targets the right audience then it absolutely makes sense to be there.

Using the right medium is crucial for your marketing success.

#3 – Message. You may have identified your targets, gotten to them in using the most cost efficient medium but then completely lost your impact if your message isn’t spot on. Your message should always speak to your targets directly. You don’t ever want to be too general, as specificity in message is crucial to success. Making sure your message gets people to take action is another important factor in effective marketing.

By using these three key points every time you start a marketing campaign, you should be able to create high impact, high results ad campaigns that give you a great return on investment.

Source: Realty Times

Why Use AMPI?

AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals that have, since 1956, gathered under laws and codes of ethics and conduct to create a reliable, trustworthy an efficient real estate environment in Mexico.

AMPI consists of separate autonomous sections all throughout the nation, as well as more than 4,000 associates and affiliates. Each section is independent and has its own board of directors, only surpassed by a national board of directors comprised of twenty associates from all over the republic.

Developed over the years with the input and knowledge of its members, AMPI is much more than just a collection of offices. AMPI has been a solid and recognized institution in Mexico for the past 27 years. It was originally established in 1956 and was consolidated in 1980. AMPI is currently represented in all the principle cities and regions of Mexico stretching from Tijuana to Cancun.

The Riviera Nayarita, Vallarta and Compostela chapters of AMPI are dedicated to promote the best practices in real estate by providing its members with education to reinforce the standards of ethics that give our industry the credibility which our clients deserve.

AMPI is committed to giving our membership access to a multiple listing service that forms the platform from which our industry can expand locally and into other markets while giving our members precise and up to date information that is vital to continuous improvement and growth.

AGENTS: ARE YOU SENDING MIXED MESSAGES?

Ways to Mix Your Message Mediums to Attract More Business

While coaches, experts, trainers, top agents, and our own marketing team will all tell you that consistency in your message is key to staying top of mind and a consistent pipeline of referrals — most will also share that is not only fine to mix up the mediums — it’s a smart strategy for success. Why? Because let’s face it — we’re all DIFFERENT. (Which is a good thing! Makes life WAY less boring — don’t you think?)

mixed messages

So because we’re all different — the way we view, absorb and react to marketing messages is different too. Using email, direct mail, social media, video, audio, visuals, phone calls, personal visits and everything in between will help you reach the folks in your sphere or farm in the ways that make the most sense for them.

First let’s start with the obvious — NAR tells us that more than 90% of home buyers and sellers START their search for their new home or REALTOR online, which is great news for you if you’re busily building an online presence…right? There’s just a little hitch — according to a study of Broker Website Effectiveness conducted by the WAV Group 69% of visitors to broker websites type the address directly into the browser, 20% use search engine — but with keywords such as agent or brokerage name, which means that more than 85% of all traffic to the brokers’ websites were coming from people who ALREADY knew them. This is good in terms of retention of customers — but not so good news in terms of driving NEW eyes to your website, blog or social media channels.

So if NEW traffic’s your goal, then you’ve got to find some ways to get consumers in YOUR MARKET who are looking for information about buying or selling a house and they start to type something into that search bar….They know YOUR NAME & Company name!

1. Make direct mail your friend. Don’t start yelling at me and saying direct mail is dead — before you consider a few facts. According to a survey conducted by the Direct Marketing Association nearly 70% of consumers prefer to receive announcements and information from companies they are familiar with via conventional mail, versus less than 20% who prefer e-mail pitches.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of email marketing, but I have agents asking me week after week — “How do I get email addresses?” And that’s where I believe direct mail postcards can really compliment an agent’s marketing plan. They’re affordable, fast, don’t have to be opened first, quick to make an impression and done right — a great way to brand yourself, get your name TOP OF MIND for area consumers and drive people looking for real estate answers or information — Straight to your website!

We even developed a great line of postcards to help you develop a social media following! Sowhether you’re posting, pinning, blogging, tweeting, linking, or a combo platter — we’ve got you covered — they’re called our

On-the-Web postcards and they’re really helping drive traffic to your social media sites.

Need help finding addresses to mail to? Check out  MapMyMail feature. It allows you to identify addresses in the geo farms where you’re looking to brand yourself.

And now with the addition of Every Door Direct Mail — you can send larger pieces like newsletters and flyers for a fraction of the cost (and make sure you are literally getting in EVERY door.) This is great news — especially if you’re marketing luxury homes and you want to saturate a high end market with larger Just Listed/Just Sold brochures.

And one of the BEST things you can do in today’s market is to share your STATS. Let people know what you are listing and selling.

2. Next, add QR codes to all of your printed materials. Postcards, business cards, flyers — even sign riders! Point those QR (Quick Response) codes to your Facebook Fanpage, your lead capture forms on your website, your single property websites or just about anywhere on the web you want to drive new customer attention. I’ve even seen them on car magnets!

Here are a couple of QR Code Generators for you to try:

If you don’t like either of those just Google “QR Code Generator” and you’ll find a bunch! I’d look for ones that have analytics attached so that you can track your results.

3. Add your social media addresses to everything just like your QR codes! Your business cards, email signatures, newsletters, printed materials, websites, blogs, the works. Make sure everything has got all the myriad of ways people can find you (and create some great backlinks for your different sites at the same time!) And please don’t make the mistake that I see many businesses make where they simply say “follow us on Facebook” — you have to go the extra step. Tell them HOW! For example — Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/ampi.vallartanayarit. (A shameless plug — but a good example!) I see business signs, cards, brochures etc. that just have the icons for social media and blogs but not the actual address. Make it EASY for folks to find you!

4. Join the online conversation. Don’t expect immediate results, but also don’t discount the power of the internet to help establish and fuel new relationships. I was just on a webinar with an agent who is terrifically engaged in social media and can attribute THIRTY SIX referrals in the last year to her online networking. 36! With a commission value of over $1 million. Talk about what’s going on in your market, but don’t make your social media posts all about you or all about real estate. If you’ve got a niche your passionate about-talk, post or tweet about that! Let your personality shine. Connect with agents from all over the world. ENGAGE them honestly with the VISION you have for your life and your business. Like attracts like. Ask questions. Invite the neighbors in your farm area to join a neighborhood fan page where you’ll help to keep them posted on all things that pertain to their area. Like to work with seniors? Blog or post about the things that interest them. First time home buyers your gig? Make sure you include information on how to save for a down payment, how to protect their interests, etc. School events coming up? Neighborhood changes? Thank agents for referrals in big ways. You’ll be surprised at the connections you can make.

Another great strategy is to interview area business owners. If you’re tweeting or facebooking about them, there’s a good chance they’ll do the same for you! Ask an area roofer how what are the signs of a roof that needs to be replaced. Ask a plumber about winter pipe maintenance. Ask a local restaurateur about new menu items and promotions they might be having. Start conversing and connecting! Ask a local pediatrician about school vaccinations or seasonal allergies. Ask a new shop owner what brings them to the area. (You get the idea!)

5. Offer items of value on your website or blog. A great way to capture email addresses is to offer free reports and value items to your website in exchange for email addresses. People are information hungry these days and if you can satisfy that hunger with the right collateral pieces- they’ll share their contact information and their loyalty!

6. Event marketing. People are thirsty for information — invite them to learn what you know by hosting workshops in your market on popular topics such as First Time Home Buying, Real Estate Investing, Real Estate and Today’s Seniors, What You Need to Know About Short Sales and Foreclosures. PTAs and PTSA’s are always on the look out for local professionals that can speak for 15-20 minutes or more at their meetings to draw more attendance, libraries are another great place to host meetings, or talk to some of the HOAs in your area about community meetings that you can take part in. All great ways to reach out to folks in your area.

7. eMail is still viable: eMail is tough in a lot of ways — spam blockers and just a saturation of inbox items can make it hard to get seen from the rest — but it is a good way to just touch base with your sphere — especially if there is something new in the market to talk about. Stay in tuned with what’s going on in your area so that you have little sound bites to share with people for that kind of hyper-local touch that’s so important. Things like school events, neighborhood block parties, community garage sales, new business openings, special offers and items of interest that people are happy to learn about and grateful to have a resource to remind them!

8. Stop being camera shy. Awesome GoPro and iPhone videos are becoming more and more a powerful marketing tool for agents who are stepping in front of the camera to share everything from market information tidbits to house tours to great news sound bites and featuring local businesses. They spotlight community attributes, share valuable content, are a great way to get seen, heard AND build SEO-friendly websites! Be sure to have links to all of them on your website, drive people to your YouTube account and break out your inner movie star! (Go ahead — it’s fun!)

So start mixing and matching and building both your email database as well as your book of business database so that you can whether whatever market storm comes your way.

Author:  Julie Escobar 

Why Use AMPI?

AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals that have, since 1956, gathered under laws and codes of ethics and conduct to create a reliable, trustworthy an efficient real estate environment in Mexico.

AMPI consists of separate autonomous sections all throughout the nation, as well as more than 4,000 associates and affiliates. Each section is independent and has its own board of directors, only surpassed by a national board of directors comprised of twenty associates from all over the republic.

Developed over the years with the input and knowledge of its members, AMPI is much more than just a collection of offices. AMPI has been a solid and recognized institution in Mexico for the past 27 years. It was originally established in 1956 and was consolidated in 1980. AMPI is currently represented in all the principle cities and regions of Mexico stretching from Tijuana to Cancun.

The Riviera Nayarita, Vallarta and Compostela chapters of AMPI are dedicated to promote the best practices in real estate by providing its members with education to reinforce the standards of ethics that give our industry the credibility which our clients deserve.

AMPI is committed to giving our membership access to a multiple listing service that forms the platform from which our industry can expand locally and into other markets while giving our members precise and up to date information that is vital to continuous improvement and growth.

Vallarta Real Estate: How To Drive Effectively Here

Whether driving your own car or rental, there are pointers to be shared about the joys and hazards of getting around.

Drive Defensively: We highly recommend you be a defensive driver in Puerto Vallarta and make use of the mirrors in your vehicle. It’s good to know what’s behind you. Being polite is not always the best advice, which you soon discover when relying on turn indicators and speedy traffic lights. If you are making an attempt to change lanes or merge, it never hurts to make eye contact.

Buying Gas: You’ll soon grow familiar with the ubiquitous PEMEX stations, which are plentiful and convenient, even in remote areas. We do not, however, recommend setting out on a long trip without filling up first. Many PEMEX stations are closed, under construction or haven’t opened yet. PEMEX (Petroleos Mexicanos) stations are the color of the Mexican flag, predominately green and use a red eagle as a logo. The price of fuel is the same at every station so don’t drive around looking for a better price as you might in the Northern regions. Fuel costs in 2015 will be in flux, depending on what goes in the international market.  Gas can be found cheaper in Border States but will be the same in Puerto Vallarta as most places in Mexico. We always tip the gas station attendants, several of whom are female now, a rare sight until just a handful of years ago.

Topes: Defensive driving also applies to Mexican speed bumps. They are not always well marked and have potential of major harm if you hit them at any velocity. You will encounter either a series or perhaps one large tope and they are truly meant to slow you down, not kidding. If you are driving a rental automobile keep within speed limits because, upon your return, they will inspect the underside with a mirror. In rural areas, you will also encounter vados, which are the opposite of topes, dips in the road, which usually indicate some sort of water crossing. Trolls live there.

Animals: Yesterday we watched an exceptionally intelligent dog cross a very busy intersection. While we cringed and prayed for her safe passage, we were quite aware that she is the exception to the rule. Be extremely cautious of animals in all sizes and species (chickens, dogs and cats; cows and burros). This is the main rationale for not driving at night; they are a lot harder to see in the dark.

Police: If you are pulled over in Puerto Vallarta, make sure you have all documents (registration, driver’s license and insurance) at hand. Be polite, apologetic and SMILE. Do NOT offer a bribe. The mordida, as it is known, once the easiest way to avoid a ticket, could be the surest introduction to a Mexican jail. And don’t drink and drive. Checkpoints are often set up to nab offenders and you’ll be arrested if you can’t pass the test.

Que es cómo es.



Mexico is moving in the right direction, working to raise the real estate standards to protect buyer and seller interests. AMPI (our National Real Estate Association) plays a key role in the real estate industry in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, working closely with local, state and national governments. Our local AMPI Association is leading the country in developing and implementing real estate standards.  To become members of our local AMPI Association Real Estate professionals sign our Bylaws that require our members to follow our Ethical Code of Conduct;  to use our contract forms which have been legally vetted to protect buyers and sellers; to participate in and comply with our MLS Rules and Regulation along with using the shared database. Our Bylaws, Code of Ethics, MLS Systems, Contracts and our other systems are constantly improved on through the expertise and experience of our members.  Find a Committed AMPI Professional Here

The Real Cost Of Not Staying In Touch Is More Than Just Money!

We frequently share the benefits of building and maintaining a saleable book of business or sphere-of-influence such as knowing where your next commission is going to come from, developing long-term friendships and relationships, solid referrals you can count on, etc. What we don’t usually talk about is the flip side of that coin. What is it COSTING you when you DON’T stay in touch and follow up with your sphere or farm?

keep in touch

What if ONE prospective seller or buyer fails to call you when they are ready to sell or buy because they ‘forgot’ you were in real estate since you didn’t stay top of mind? Because you didn’t follow up when you said you would? Because you stayed in stealth mode, waiting for the phone to ring? Because you didn’t create a database to manage your lists, so they simply slipped through the lack of system?

We know that on average, top agents get more 66% of their business (or more) from their sphere. (People who know you, like you, trust you, and you’re top of mind with.) We also know that 1 in 12 will deliver a transaction or referral per year on average. So let’s run SIMPLE numbers using our SOI calculator.

If I wanted to make $200,000 per year in real estate and my average commission was $6,000 that would mean I would need AT LEAST 33 transactions in a year (plus whatever your fall-through rate is) to reach that goal. If 66% of that is coming from my sphere — that means I can count on 22 of those transactions coming from the people I am staying in touch with. If 1 in 12 are sending me that business, then I’ll need at least 264 in my sphere to hit the numbers.

The reverse of that is this…22 commissions LOST. That’s $132,000. But it’s even more than that-right? Because let’s face it, if good news travels fast, bad news travels faster-doesn’t it? So, for every broken promise, lack of follow up, or poor customer experience you provide, that can mean a loss of not just a customer, but every referral they might send your way. Add social media in the mix, “don’t use Agent X because they don’t follow through” — and you’ve got a slippery slope that’s tough to recover from.

1. Commission loss per seller or buyer? _____________ (Average commission)

2. Loss of referral? ______________ (Average commission x let’s just say 2 referrals)

3. Loss of re-list and future sale? _____________ (Average commission x average homeowner moves — lists, sells, and buys new — every 9 years)

4. Loss of marketing dollars spent on those sellers and buyers not recaptured? ________________

Lastly, loss of reputation as a turn-to, stand-up, get-the-job-done agent. That’s really too much to calculate, isn’t it? And that’s not YOU anyway! You’re the stand-up agent-right? Besides, staying top-of-mind is an easy, and affordable investment. Remember that SEND-CALL-SEE + NETWORK approach I’ve shared in the past.

Start with how many you need in your sphere by heading over to our Sphere of Influence Calculator.

SEND – let’s take our example from above — if I needed to stay in touch with my sphere of 264 customers every 30 days to stay visible, (and help earn that $132,000) – and I wanted to send a standard sized postcard first class, that would be 60¢ per card or $158.40 per month. Or you could choose jumbo cards, or newsletters, our Dominator, or even handwritten cards — or better still a combination of all of the above. See what your budget allows and start somewhere, but be consistent every 30-45 days.

CALL – you should call your customers every three months. If you break down that 264 number over 12 weeks — that means you just have to call 22 per week to reach everyone. Easy peasy!

SEE – you should see your customers at least two times a year. Many agents host open houses, holiday events, or even neighborhood block parties (with sponsors for each) which gives them a chance to see many customers at once. Take that top 20% of your list — the ones who consistently send you business — and be sure to spend some one on one time with them. Take them to lunch. Drop by a gift. Deliver tickets to the movies for their family. Our Master Marketing Schedule has some terrific ways to creatively connect each month.

NETWORK – In today’s hyper-connected world, networking has to be part of the equation. From social media to joining local groups, to developing a mastermind of like-minded people to share with — networking is a key source of knowledge AND referral business.

Don’t lose any more dollars, branding, or reputation to lack of connectivity. You are your business. The connection you have with each and every one in your sphere will determine whether they stay a client (and a referral source) or whether you take a loss.

Author:  Julie Escobar

Why Use AMPI?

AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals that have, since 1956, gathered under laws and codes of ethics and conduct to create a reliable, trustworthy an efficient real estate environment in Mexico.

AMPI consists of separate autonomous sections all throughout the nation, as well as more than 4,000 associates and affiliates.

Each section is independent and has its own board of directors, only surpassed by a national board of directors comprised of twenty associates from all over the republic.

Developed over the years with the input and knowledge of its members, AMPI is much more than just a collection of offices.

AMPI has been a solid and recognized institution in Mexico for the past 27 years. It was originally established in 1956 and was consolidated in 1980.

AMPI is currently represented in all the principle cities and regions of Mexico stretching from Tijuana to Cancun.

The Riviera Nayarita, Vallarta and Compostela chapters of AMPI are dedicated to promote the best practices in real estate by providing its members with education to reinforce the standards of ethics that give our industry the credibility which our clients deserve.

AMPI is committed to giving our membership access to a multiple listing service that forms the platform from which our industry can expand locally and into other markets while giving our members precise and up to date information that is vital to continuous improvement and growth.

Hey Vallarta..Why Talavera?

Talavera is normally three times more costly than other types of ceramic crafted in Mexico. What makes it so valuable is something we set out to discover when our friends visiting Puerto Vallarta inquired about this pricier pottery.

Though Talavera was originally brought to Mexico from Spain by several key potters, chiefly among them Diego Gaytán, the design and form were highly affected by other influences. From earlier styles by the Moors, introduction in Spain of Islamic pottery and Italian art forms and later the addition of pre-Hispanic traditional ceramics, a unique blueprint developed. Cathedrals and monasteries were in high demand for tiles during the early colonial period. It was only a matter of time before local artisans were recruited to produce what today is known as Talavera Poblana, which distinguishes it from the Spanish original.

Though these ceramics are available in Puerto Vallarta, the heart of Talavera in Mexico remains in the city of Puebla and surrounding communities of Atlixco, Cholula, and Tecali. Due to their high quality of natural clay, it has long been accepted that Puebla has the corner on the market, though other Mexican states, such as Guanajuato in 1997, have petitioned and been denied the privilege and are reduced to the designation of Maiolica, which is in part the process of making Talavera. The Denominación de Origen de la Talavera, the law established in the early 20th Century, protects authenticity. Certification is issued by the Consejo Regulador de la Talavera, a rigid government authority. The nine official workshops of Talavera are Uriate, La Reyna, Armando, Celia, Santa Catarina, de la Nueva España, de la Luz, de las Americas, and Virglio Perez. Before one buys, it’s vital to assure the purchase bears one of these names. To guarantee dishes are safe for daily use of serving food, production must submit to and pass inspections twice a year. Sixteen laboratory tests with internationally certified labs are performed, as well as a test by the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Puebla.

The thin white base glaze is what sets Talavera apart from other ceramics. The natural glazes contain tin and lead but they do not affect the utilization of dinnerware. They must never be cleaned in a dishwasher or used in a microwave. Blue, yellow, black, green, orange and mauve are the official colors of Talavera and none others are permitted. The base of every piece is left exposed and unglazed, exposing the natural terra cotta. To identify a true piece of Talavera, one must find an inscription on the bottom of the manufacturer’s logo, the initials of the artist and the location of the workshop in the Puebla area. Handcrafting takes at least three months, involving a precarious procedure, which risks the piece breaking at any point of the process.

We highly recommend a keepsake of Talavera, a Mexican art that goes back over 400 years. Shops in Puerto Vallarta will be willing to ship or wrap for traveling.

Que es cómo es.


 

 

 Thanks to our Guest Blogger Adam Garcia for this great article!


Harriet Cochran Murray, Director of Cochran Real Estate, is a seasoned Real Estate professional both here in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and in the United States. Harriet has served in many capacities as a board member and President for the local Real Estate Association AMPI (AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals). She is also a member of FIABCI and NAR in the United States. Harriet’s expertise and experience in the Real Estate and especially in the Mexican market makes her Viewpoint blog articles both informational and intriguing. Harriet is a Buyer’s Agent who specializes in getting the best deal on the right property for her clients.