Vallarta Real Estate: Our Monthly Reminder!

Safety in Mexico

The subject of safety in Mexico comes up often. A media machine in the US is not short on news these days but when shootings happen anywhere, it does garner attention.  Puerto Vallarta is a long way from Cancun, comparable to the distance between Los Angeles and New York, or Vancouver BC and Toronto.  Not to say that Cancun is a violent place; it’s just been in the news a lot the past few days. Reports have been very general and never get into the specifics. A woman was killed and the details are grisly, but this was no schoolmarm. It’s hard for some people to embrace the fact that a woman might be the target of violence when it comes to cartel activity. However, a female leader controls drugs sales in Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Doña Lety, as she is known, was a police officer and with her son, is wanted on multiple drug trafficking charges. These people tend to go after one another and civilians are rarely at any risk.

Our advice is to stay away from areas that are known to be shady and probably dangerous. Where are these places in Puerto Vallarta? There are none. Puerto Vallarta is safe downtown; in the marina; Mismaloya and in the jungle above; Yelapa, Las Animas, Quimixto, reachable only by boat; the back roads that lead to spas, all-you-can-eat shrimp restaurants and golf courses; the beach; dance clubs; cruise ship terminal…we can’t think of anywhere in Puerto Vallarta we would be afraid to venture.

We have always recommended using common sense when traveling in and around Puerto Vallarta and that goes for any city, anywhere across the globe. There are always pockets of unrest that can be sought out if dangerously is really how one wants to spend their vacation. When going to Chicago, we limit our activities to such things as the Art Institute, Millennium Park, the Russian Tea Room, a show at the Chicago Theater and other delightful pastimes. We manage to avoid visiting Riverdale, Fuller or Washington Park areas, where scientific data has determined tourists should steer clear of. Same for Mexico; there are places we would shun, such as Tepito in Mexico City, where thieves will gladly relieve you of your wallet in such a quick manner, you might not know it’s gone until you reach into your pocket to make a purchase.

It’s not rocket science. It’s easy to stay safe when traveling. Don’t try to buy drugs. Our best advice.

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

Vallarta: Drones – Safety and Privacy are Goals That Real Estate Strives to Meet

Some great advice from Robert Freeman in www.speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/


“Real estate professionals understand, perhaps more than most, the importance to a homeowner of having privacy in his or her home and backyard, or to be able to guard against trespassers on private property.”—NAR President Chris Polychron in Sept. 10, 2015, testimony to the House Judiciary Commiteee subcommittee on the courts and intellectual property

NAR President Chris Polychron testified before Congress about the real estate industry’s readiness to use unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, in a safe and responsible way once the federal government clears the way with final rules.

Drone  Test

To get ready, NAR has joined the Federal Aviation Administration’s Know Before You Fly campaign, provided its analyses of safety and privacy issues to the FAA as it writes its rules, and continues to educate its members about the importance of safe drone operations.

NAR’s efforts in this regard put it out front of what will surely be an increasingly important matter as drones become a familiar part of our airspace.

Among the real estate-related questions that are likely to be asked by lawmakers and others as the technology moves forward are these:

  • If you’re working with a drone operator and have the permission of the owner to take aerial photos and video of the owner’s property, what must the drone operator do to ensure the data that’s collected is kept secure?
  • What if a neighbor or someone else is unintentionally photographed or videotaped by the drone?
  • What if the drone causes a safety issue?

For real estate, one of the main uses of drone technology will be aerial photos and videos. But as Polychron made clear in his remarks, the range of possible uses goes far beyond that. The devices can become a safe and cost-effective way to assess property condition and gauge property damage after a storm, among other things.

In short, drones hold a lot of promise for the industry, and in his testimony, Polychron stressed that REALTORS® will make every effort to tap this useful technology while keeping the focus on its safe and responsible use.



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

Vallarta Real Estate: What Lurks Outside Those Walls

Some great advice from MELISSA DITTMANN TRACEY http://ow.ly/Tgtly


 Mature trees towering over a yard may draw house hunters, but failing to inspect the health and location of those trees could prove a costly mistake. The same goes for inspecting a home’s irrigation system, soil and grading, and decks and patios. Prudent home shoppers are looking beyond the aesthetics of a home’s exterior and doing careful preinspections of the landscape in order to stave off buyers’ remorse and better understand maintenance needs.

Landscape Inspection Checklist

  • Trees, plants, and grass
  • Retaining walls
  • Patios and deck
  • Irrigation system
  • Fence condition
  • Outdoor kitchens or fireplaces
  • Water features
  • Soil composition and grading
  • Drainage and erosion
  • Pools

Relying solely on a home inspector’s advice may not suffice for outdoor issues. “A lot of home inspectors don’t focus on the landscape, yet it can have a big adverse impact on a home,” says Jeremy Johnson, president of CRI Home Inspections in Riverside, Calif. “Landscapes are a huge issue both financially for a home owner and structurally for the house.” Johnson began offering a landscape inspection as part of his standard home inspection after seeing a need for a more inclusive look at a home’s exterior. He’s discovered a number of problems that can lurk: oversaturation of soil; tree branches hanging over a home that can damage roofs and allow pests access; broken or misaligned sprinklers that can lead to dry rot or termites; inefficient rain gutters that cause drainage problems; and lawn slopes that drain toward the house rather than away, setting the scene for flooding issues.

Buyers should ask the home inspector what components of the landscape are included in the inspection and try to find a home inspector who is knowledgeable and who routinely includes an outdoor review in an inspection package. That may be the best approach for obtaining an unbiased overview of conditions outside the house. But in some cases, landscape specialists are needed for a more thorough investigation, such as irrigation companies to evaluate the sprinkler system; geological inspectors for slope, drainage, and soil concerns; and arborists for issues with trees and plants. The costs vary, but typical ranges are $75 to $120 for a termite or pest report; $150 to $350 for an arborist review; and $350 to $450 for a septic system inspection, according to Costhelper.com. Some specialists may offer a free analysis, hoping that buyers will step up to pay for recommended services. Consumers generally should be wary of “free” assessments. On the other hand, buyers may benefit from learning upfront that the removal of a single large tree could run upwards of $1,500.

“Smart buyers will have a landscape inspection done before they buy,” says arborist Jim Houston, vice president of Midwest operations at Davey Tree Expert Co., a national tree service and landscape care company. “A true professional should give you a fair, unbiased assessment, even if it means you don’t need any extra services.”

When to Call in the Experts

Here are some potential red flags that may call for a closer look.

Trees

Large trees, particularly ones near the home or utility lines, can be troublesome. New-home construction can also disrupt root systems without anyone realizing it. It can take seven to 10 years for some trees to show signs of decay. Signs of trouble
Cracks within the tree, peeling bark, ground heaving up around the tree, fungi, and dead branches or limbs.

Pest infestation

Wood-loving termites thrive in warm, southern climates, but can be found chewing up the interiors of homes anywhere. One often-undetected intruder growing more problematic is the emerald ash borer, which eats away the insides of ash trees. Diagnosing pest problems is best left to arborists or pest inspection services. Signs of trouble
Outside, rust-colored lawn, uprooted grass, or soft patches can be an indicator of pest damage; inside, sagging floors and walls, and ceilings that appear water-damaged can signal termite damage.

Irrigation system

A broken sprinkler head may cost just $20 to replace—but left unattended, it could cost thousands in exterior finish or mold damage and may attract termites to water-softened wood, CRI Home Inspections’ Jeremy Johnson says. Signs of trouble
Oversaturated yard, fence staining, and fungus growth on irrigation valves (which could indicate a slow leak).

Drainage

Investigate the slope of the home and whether drains are too high to function properly. A yard with a grade the same elevation as the home’s interior could pose a flooding hazard. Signs of trouble
Cracks in concrete, pooped-up paving stones, puddles in the yard, eroded gullies, and soil slumps. Foundation cracks larger than 1/8-inch wide could also indicate poor drainage.


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

Hiking To Las Animas In Puerto Vallarta

Hiking to Las Animas

Las Animas is a coastal village that’s lively during the day when tourists swarm the beaches, and quiet at night when residents breathe a sigh of relief until the next morning when they open their welcome arms to people who keep the commerce going.

The best thing about hiking from Puerto Vallarta to Las Animas is what you’ll discover at the end.  Beach restaurants, up and down the shoreline, offer Mexican dishes at slightly higher prices than what one would expect to find in Puerto Vallarta. All food and supplies are brought to Las Animas by boat, adding a premium to purchases.

There are two ways to get to Las Animas from Puerto Vallarta and we prefer the hike, which has become very popular over the past five or six years. Once was a time when you could walk the entire trail and not see a soul; these days there’s an abundance of travelers along the path, giving an air of camaraderie and liveliness. The water taxi from Boca de Tomatlan begins runs at 8 am, costs $50 pesos and takes about twenty minutes. If you take the bus to Boca, get off at the top of the highway; it’s the last stop. Parking is mostly free, but we never mind paying the $50 pesos to park in a family owned lot just steps away from the beach. There are also water taxis leaving from the pier in Puerto Vallarta where you can purchase round-trip tickets. If choosing this route, we always suggest arranging these the day before to beat the crowds in the morning.

Wear sneakers. This is not a journey for flip flops or sandals. Be aware of your step and mindful that there will be slippery spots, especially following a rainfall.  Steps are carved out of the hillside is some places and it’s prone to be loose and unstable. Be careful to stay away from ledges that can give way, and stick to the inside of the path. Wal-Mart and Costco in Puerto Vallarta have been known to sell walking sticks and we highly recommend them as they add steadiness and a little extra bit of confidence. Handrails exist in some areas but we don’t depend on them.

For those seeking more adventure, it’s 90 minutes further to Quimixto, where waterfalls and fresh water swimming await. Simply stay on the path along the seaway and it will take you there.

In both villages there are locals with large snakes, iguanas and parrots who wander through café tables, willing to allow photos to be taken with their pets. Please give them at least $50 pesos for this photo op and remember this is the jungle. If you’re afraid of these animals, keep your distance and wits about you. This is their natural setting.

Unless you’ve decided to hike on your return to Boca, don’t miss the boat back! Make sure you keep an eye on the time; the last boat usually leaves at 6 pm and there are few places to board for the night.

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

Have You Been To Our Botanical Gardens?

Our Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens of Puerto Vallarta belongs to all of us, even though the curator Robert Price is the founder, developer, property owner and magician of this amazing venue south of town. Beginning with a magnificent yet simple lodge in 2004, Bob and his mother, Betty, who has since left us for heavenly gardens, lived on site when we originally visited. Their quarters were modest and humble, yet splendid and regal, with beds on the upper floor, open to the jungle and a traditional Mexican kitchen lay below in early stages of construction. This building is now called Hacienda de Oro and is the site of a grand restaurant on two levels. Tiles commemorating events, anniversaries, memorials, pets, family, and friends are made to order and have supported some of the Gardens many causes along with adding magnificent color and a treasure of memories.

Weddings are commonplace at the Botanical Gardens of Puerto Vallarta along with a host of lively events such as annual Thanksgiving and Valentine’s dinners, Anniversary commemorations, the Bugambilia Festival, and Member Appreciation Day. There are singular events that include special guest speakers and entertainment, well chosen from local and regional attractions, both professional and amateur.

Recently the Botanical Gardens of Puerto Vallarta won 4th Place in the Ten Best Botanical Gardens of North America, competing with famous gardens such as Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum of St. Louis.

Forty-six hectares of hiking trails wind in and out of the native jungle/forest above the incredible Holstein Orchid and Vanilla House, Divine Chapel and many other delightful attractions, new and original.

Vallarta Botanical Gardens has developed educational programs for local studies and participates in public environment awareness programs. The Gardens is a haven for bird watchers; both amateur and professional botanists will be delighted by the gathering of exotic plants from around the world. The conservation and propagation of orchids is at the heart of the garden’s mission.

Take the El Tuito bus, available and easily marked at the corner of Aguacate and Carranza in the Romantic Zone; there’s one every thirty minutes. The Vallarta Botanical Gardens is closed on Mondays from April to November but open every other day of the year from 10 am to 6 pm; admission is 100 pesos and school groups can visit at no cost if they have advance reservations. Little ones under four years of age get in for free.

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

Vallarta Are You Looking for Good Real Estate Marketing Ideas?

Some great advice from Travis Balinas at Outbound Engine: http://ow.ly/Tgs6H


Are you a real estate agent looking for marketing ideas in 2015?

My primary piece of advice is that you need to put your customers’ needs first. While all forms of marketing should encourage your audience to eventually do business with you, your approach needs to be subtle and less self-serving. In 2015, your marketing strategy should focus on humanizing your business and automating things when you can.

I recently put together an infographic that outlines how agents spend their marketing dollars and compared it to where they’re getting their leads from. As I researched this topic, two things became very apparent:

  1. 75 percent of a real estate agent’s business comes referrals and word of mouth.
  2. But agents are still spending way too much money on new lead sources, rather than investing in their existing clients.

Simply put, if most of your business is coming from your past clients and it costs you six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one, then you should focus your efforts on marketing to your past clients.

The post I wrote last year titled “7 Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents in 2014” quickly became the most viewed post on our site (over 20,000 unique viewers). So for 2015, I came up with 10 marketing ideas that agents can use to really help grow their businesses.

1) Be Mobile and Responsive

In 2014, I stressed that going mobile was important in terms of you posting to your social networks while on the go. This is still true today, but this year, I want to stress the importance of being mobile accessible.

You cannot avoid it anymore. Your website and emails need to be designed for all devices and screen sizes and be responsive. Sixty-six percent of emails are opened on a phone or tablet. Facebook has more than 650 million daily active users on mobile devices. And mobile traffic to websites now accounts for almost 30 percent of visits. In short, there are plenty of reasons why you need to be sure that your business is mobile ready.

How It Helps: Being mobile-friendly ensures whoever reads your emails or visits your website has a good experience and that this experience creates a positive perception of your business.

2) Use GIFs in Email

You’ve all seen GIFs before; they’re those soundless graphics that automatically play on a loop. They’re great for getting a quick laugh, but these days, they’re more often used to caption a situation and convey human emotion without using words. For example…if it’s Monday morning, and I’m having a tough time getting motivated, I might text or email this GIF to my friends:

Marketing ideas - GIF use in email

Did you know that you can use GIFs in email too? Our friends at Litmus have put together an awesome guide to using GIFs in emails. While you shouldn’t use them in everything you send, they do add a comical element you just can’t get from static images.

Even though GIFs have been around since the late ‘80s, they’ve had a resurgence in popularity. GIFs are a fun way to help show off the human side of your business.

How It Helps: GIFs can be used to give your business a touch of character and personality, and they may actually increase your click rate.

3) Automate Your Content Marketing and Sourcing

When crafting the perfect email newsletter and sharing content with your social networks, coming up with topics to write about and things to share can be challenging. You want to send your email subscribers informative/entertaining content with the purpose of helping them, not selling to them, and you want your social feeds to be filled with the same. However, getting this accomplished is no small task.

For email newsletter content, there are companies like Scripted and Contently that will connect you with freelance writers to do the writing for you. However, if you want to have the emails written, designed and sent for you automatically, we’re the only company that can do that for you.

To find content to share on social media, there are two tools I use: Zite and Flipboard. Both are news and blog aggregators that are topic based. Just plug in what you want to read about, and they’ll display an up-to-date visual collection of articles. Buffer has agreat list of newsletters to sign up for and tools to use for content sourcing too.

How It Helps: Automating some (or all) of your content marketing and sourcing can help free up your time to focus on more important things.

4) Experiment with Hyperlapse

Hyperlapse is a new app that Instagram launched this year. Using time-lapse photography technology and impressive image stabilization software, it essentially puts a few thousand dollars worth of video editing software and expertise in a single app on your phone…for free.

Hyperlapse’s biggest claim to fame is the image stabilization power it has. Take a look at this quick video that shows the difference:

I see Hyperlapse as a unique way for agents to liven up the content they share to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and also as a way to (almost) literally liven up their listings.

You can use Hyperlapse for quick home walk-throughs to show off a lot of space in a short amount of time. Maybe use it to do a quick drive through the neighborhood, giving your listing’s viewers an even more in-depth view of the area. Or my personal favorite, if a house you’re selling has a killer sunset or sunrise, take 10 minutes to film it and include it as part of the listing. Here is an example of what this could look like:

How It Helps: Hyperlapse gives your business and listings a little flair and edge that not everyone else is offering…yet.

5) Avoid Zillow/Trulia

Zillow’s acquisition of Trulia aside, paying for leads from these websites is expensive and not that effective. On average, agents spend $320 per month on leads from Zillow, and it’s estimated that leads from these websites convert to new business only one to four percent of the time. Not the greatest use of your marketing dollars.

Zillow and Trulia provide a service that many casual home shoppers want: a consolidated list of available homes for sale in a centralized location. However, most agents (with good reason) don’t like the idea of their listings being submitted to these services only to then have to pay to be featured as the listing agent. There are some multiple listing services that are now sending limited data to these services to attempt to remedy this problem for their agents too.

How It Helps: Spending your money on new leads isn’t as cost-effective as investing in your referral business through your existing clients.

6) Boost Your Facebook Posts

Facebook has made a lot of changes this past year and the big one was the reduction of organic posts from business pages in the News Feed. (I’ve written about why this isn’t a bad thing for businesses here.) The upside is that they’ve made it very easy to spend a little bit of money to get guaranteed exposure.

A few times each month, go to your Facebook Business Page and find a blog post you’ve written, a video you’ve posted or something that is worth making sure plenty of people read or see. For example, our real estate customers might boost their posts that link to their email newsletters. All you have to do is click “Boost Post” and enter your parameters. That’s it!

Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents in 2015 - Boost Facebook Posts

Start experimenting with $5-$10 boosted posts to your existing Facebook fans. This is a low-cost way to get high traffic from your posts.

How It Helps: When people like or click boosted posts, it tells Facebook that they’re interested in your brand and posts from your company will appear more often in their News Feed.

7) Utilize Browser Plugins

There are some awesome plugins out there that you can use for your business to help automate some of your marketing activities. I touched a little bit on this in my post last year, but I cannot stress enough just how much time these little tools can save.

Being on the go a lot, real estate agents can really benefit from using browser plugins to help automate some of their social media. To save you time when looking for things to post to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, here’s what I would do.

Use apps on your phone or tablet like Zite and Flipboard. When you find an article you like, save it to Pocket. From your computer browser, you can open all the posts you bookmarked and then schedule them through Buffer. In less than 10 minutes, you can have a week’s worth of social media posts scheduled and ready to go!

How It Helps: Being able to find content while playing on your phone/tablet at night or on the go and then having it ready to post from your desktop browser is a huge time saver.

8) Revamp Your Email Strategy

In my post last year, I mentioned that you should stay in touch with your past clients through email. This has not changed a bit and should be a foundational element of your marketing strategy.

You need to make sure that the content that you’re sending is both personal and something that the recipient wants to read. Good content marketing is meant to help, not sell to, your clients. Send consistently timed emails with compelling content to your audience to brand you as an industry expert and increase your sphere of influence.

Earlier this year, I wrote two posts that are worth checking out to help you fully understand how email marketing working and how to make the most of it:

  • Building Inbox Credibility: How to Get into Inboxes (and Stay There)
  • What Is Email Automation and Why Can’t You Do Without It?

How It Helps: Email is the best way to stay in front of your past clients and is a smart investment because they’re your best source for new business leads.

9) Grow Your Email List

Sending emails to your past clients is a must. But you can also use those same email newsletters to keep your name in front of potential clients as well. That’s why you should always try to snag email addresses in any situation.

The easiest way is to have your lead capture form front and center on your website. Here’s an example from sites we create for our real estate clients:

Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents in 2015

We’ve covered a wide range of ideas on how to grow your email list before. The two big takeaways are: never be afraid to ask for an email address and always work on growing your list, no matter the situation.

How It Helps: You never know where your next sale will come from, but if you’re continually in front of a large audience, your chances of landing a new client are much greater.

Wrap-up

Your time is valuable and limited; embrace marketing automation tools that help offset the amount of work that you have to do. As you make your 2015 plans, remember these three important things.

  • Your marketing needs to be less about you and more about your clients.
  • You need to humanize your brand and make it accessible through mobile.
  • And whenever possible, look to marketing automation as a way to help save you time while increasing the effectiveness of your efforts.



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

Vallarta Real Estate: See What Web Design And Home Staging Have in Common

Some great advice from http://www.mucho.com.au/


The first time our real estate agent took us to visit the house we refused to get out of the car. The dated pink paint, the brown window frames and wildly overgrown garden said it all. This house was in need of a major renovation and, with our second baby due soon, we just weren’t interested.

Three months later, still desperate to find a bigger home we agreed to look round. Much to our surprise, and despite the terrible first impression, this house checked all the boxes.

It had a private, sunny position, ocean views, a big flat lawn for the kids to play on plus plenty of space to raise a family and work from home.

Those things are hard to find on Waiheke Island in New Zealand where we lived unless you have more than a million dollars to spend – which we didn’t.

So we bought that dated, unloved house, spent six months renovating it and lived there happily for five years.

Although the house looked like a lemon it had that all important great location and, because it was the worst house in the best street, it turned out to be a great investment that turned into a tidy profit when we sold it.

So how can my real estate experiences help you improve your web or blog design?

1. FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT

blog-design-mary-beth-bond

First impressions are made in the blink of an eye but once made they’re hard to change. It’s true in real life and online.

If you were meeting a prospective client you’d put on smart clothes, brush your hair and look lively. But in a web-wise world many people won’t meet you in person, they will meet you and your brand online at your website or blog.

There they’ll assess how trustworthy, competent and reliable you are based solely on the first impression they get from your website.

To create a winning first impression online make sure your website has immediate appeal. It’s common sense but it’s the reason many small business owners never find out how blogging can help grow business and why their web marketing fails.

When I design a new website for someone or update an existing blog most clients report an immediate up turn in business because the new site makes them look professional, appeals to their target audience and persuades people to buy now or get in touch.

If you’re not getting new business online your website or blog design is probably letting you down. Can you honestly say your website makes you proud? Or does it look cheap? Thrown together? Unfinished? A badly designed blog or website will be costing you in lost business.

If your blog or website looks amateur, confusing or cheap people won’t even get out of the car and give you a chance.

Which is why good web design is worth paying for because, in time, you’ll get an excellent return on that investment in your business and online marketing.

Check out the blog update we did for author and spokesperson Marybeth Bond at the Gutsy Traveler.

2. GIVE YOUR READERS WHAT THEY WANT FAST

blog-design-seana-smith

Just like you, your clients and website or blog readers are busy. So busy that most of them will only spend five seconds looking at your blog before deciding whether to read on or click away.

If you pass the first impressions test above next they’ll be looking to see if you’re the right person to help them with their problem. Are you an accountant who helps people with end of year taxes? Are you a personal trainer who can help women get fit in record time?

Blog readers and your target audience have problems that need to be solved and they’re hoping you can help.

The question you need to answer fast is: What do you do and how will you help your readers and clients?

Make sure you tell people who you are, how you can help them and why they should give you their time using as few words as possible. Here are a few suggestions:

  • A photo of you with a slogan should do the trick.
  • Add a one sentence testimonial or your unique selling point if you wish.
  • Consider creating three to eight topics for your blog to emphasise the type of things you blog about and can help with.

Maybe that real estate agent could have asked me what I was looking for and mentioned that doer upper was the only house that checked all our boxes within our budget. I’d have bought it a lot quicker and paid more too.

By giving your readers the information they want fast you’ll be helping them make a quick decision that you’re the best person for them to work with.

Check out the blog design we created for Sydney author Seana Smith.

3. USE YOUR MOST VALUABLE BLOG REAL ESTATE WISELY

The term above the fold applies to newspapers and the content which people can see before they pick the newspaper up. That’s the lead content which makes them want to buy the newspaper and read on.

On your website or blog the most important real estate is the content readers can see as soon as they get to your site without scrolling down.

That’s because they may never see what lies below and, if they don’t see what they’re looking for immediately, they’ll probably just click away – that’s the Internet equivalent of driving by without getting out of the car.

blog-design-tips

The most valuable real estate on my travel blog Get In the Hot Spot includes a professional logo, a slogan to tell readers what the blog’s about, a photo of me to personalise it and a subscription box to encourage people to become regular readers. Every color, font and image has been chosen to emphasize the fun content and reader experience readers can expect on the site.

The size of that prime real estate will vary depending on what computer your readers are using and if people are reading your blog on their mobile or iPad you need a good responsive website design.

Your blog designer will be able to advise you on best practice but if you’re working alone do some research to find out what percentage of Internet users are viewing on the various different screen sizes and mobile devices so you can choose the right size for your audience.

Blog Design Dos and Don’ts for your prime online real estate – the content that users can see without scrolling down:

  • Do make sure your site is professional with a clean design and clear navigation structure. 
  • Do include a photo of you;
  • Do have a meaningful slogan;
  • Do tell your reader who you are, what you do and how you can help them in as few words as possible;
  • Do make sure you’ve got an email subscribe box so people can subscribe in one click;
  • Do make sure people can see your latest (or greatest) blog posts immediately;
  • Do include social proof such as how many readers or subscribers you have (as long as it’s 1,000+), an “as seen on” box or a punchy testimonial.
  • Do learn about user-friendly website design or find a web designer who understands it.
  • Don’t give your valuable blog real estate away to other brands, for example with banner ads or by immediately giving people the option to click away to your Facebook page or other social media outposts.

We took a risk but ended up reaping the benefits of investing in prime location real estate. Our second baby boy was born in that house. Three years later I gave birth there again, this time to a baby girl with a beautiful home water-birth.Remember that ugly old house I ended up buying? We fixed it up to create a great first impression and renovated it fast so we could enjoy living there – I loved that kitchen you see in the photo up top.

Then five years later we sold the house by private sale for a chunky profit.

As with real estate when you invest in blog or website design that does your business justice you’ll see the return on that investment. A great blog design will:

  • create an online presence to be proud of;
  • make people want to hang out with you;
  • build trust so they’ll want work with you.

If your website’s uniform and uninspiring then it’s letting you and your business down. Bad website design will lose you money.

The time for dabbling with Internet marketing is over. It’s not enough for people to find your site through good search engine optimisation, you need to win them over once they get there.

So now’s the time to sort out your website and design a site that you and your clients will love.

Just like buying an old house and doing it up good web design takes time and money but it’s the only way to get exactly what you want.


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

Vallarta Real Estate: Wild Seniors

Many retirees come to Puerto Vallarta with no interest in the culture whatsoever. They are looking for sunshine, good medical and dental care, an active social life and affordable prices. Most of these people are educated, retiring with a nice nest egg and somewhat business savvy. They know what they’re looking for and they usually find a lot of contemporaries.

Coffee shops, restaurants, bars at Hora de Feliz (Happy Hour), card tables, golf courses and swimming pools are testament to this and there are people willing to line and up and tell you how happy they are about their decision to relocate in Puerto Vallarta. YouTube is full of them! According to the U.S. Department of State, one million American citizens of all ages live in Mexico and it’s estimated about 35,000 of those live in Jalisco. Snowbirds are those who come in the fall, stay for six months and leave when the weather gets too hot but the amount who stay year round continues to grow for good reasons.

It’s not a requirement to learn Spanish to live in Puerto Vallarta, although many take classes with ulterior motives of meeting like-minded seniors. Doctors, dentists, bartenders, waiters and most other significant contacts speak English.

Stores like Costco, Home Depot and the North American aisles of major grocery stores appeal to US and Canadian citizens who find there is little lack of the products they are accustomed to. Medications are far cheaper, too.

The US and Canadian dollar will give retirees a lot more bang for their buck, whether they rent or own and Mexico continues to change constitutional law to make foreign ownership palatable and secure.

Best of all, the lifestyle makes all the difference in the world. Without ever intending to, one learns patience and how to relax, coming from a fast paced business and/or social life. Amenities that were once unaffordable become routine, such as having a gardener, who understands the plant life and isn’t bothered by working in intense heat. Having a maid keeps the local economy going and gives one more beach or golf course time. These people will also give one a chance to practice the language and give us a glimpse into Mexican homesteads.

Good health is an added benefit. Fresh fish, fruits and vegetables make for an improved way of life and many find, to their pleasure, not all Mexican foods are spicy.

Even those who had no intention of partaking in cultural events find themselves delighting in the many festivals, markets and benefits that are the social life of the high season in Puerto Vallarta.

We suggest a good shakedown cruise, by land or by sea, spending a few weeks, before uprooting but at the end of the day, Puerto Vallarta is our best recommendation.

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

Vallarta Real Estate: Five Bumpiest Roads in Vallarta

Bumpy roads don’t necessarily sneak up on you in Puerto Vallarta but there are those that catch you by surprise and threaten to rearrange your kidneys. Our driving experts have reported the top well known axle-busters:

The area of Buenos Aires/Paso Ancho has been under steady redevelopment for decades, and oversized vehicles have all but destroyed the road surface for anything less than a slalom course. If your mode of transport is a two-wheeler, you can probably navigate without needing your teeth checked after a ride, but you’ll take a real rattling otherwise. I always watch with great envy when passing equestrians smoothly steer around potholes, some the size of which a horse might easily disappear.

Heading out of Puerto Vallarta, southbound, by way of the Small Tunnel on Highway 200 are gullies and gorges that aren’t so easy to spot, traversing from bright sun to shadow. Pockmarked like a meteorite landed in the highway at some point in the summer, they are impossible to avoid, since they are bunched together like inverted Cheerios. Puerto Vallarta’s chiropractors are especially fond of this route. Not for themselves, of course.

There’s a back way to Pitillal, which is a small town within the town of Puerto Vallarta, often referred to as PTL. This course should get you to Pitillal quicker when rush hour clogs Francisco Villa: passing through the colonia of Las Gaviotas, you could zip down Paseo del Marlin, which turns into Paseo de Las Torres. If you could only zip… Every rainy season, the ruts repaired over the winter reappear like a checkerboard in heat and those living in Las Sauces and Gaviotas live with the ubiquitous rumblings.

Roma is a street in Puerto Vallarta that takes you from Fluvial to Versalles and should be a speedy route. There are, however, canyons and valleys to be navigated and if you think of going this way in the dark, you can double your carnival-like thrills. There is no Right or Left in this navigation; not a Middle either. It’s a perilous dust rut!

Topping the list is Destination Cornerstone Hospital – You’re being transported by ambulance in an obvious emergency, accompanied by intense pain. Or… you could just be looking for a free parking spot outside the Soriana pay parking lot. Either way, washboard is an apt description of this street and it doesn’t ease up from beginning to end. If you are unlucky enough to be rolling over this ladder-like pavement, hold on to your dentures and be glad it’s not a lengthy journey. When you head out, it’s a good test of your post trauma pain meds.

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

Brokerage Allows Sellers to Pre-Test Prices

A real estate brokerage has launched a new service called the “price whisperer” that allows home owners to get feedback on a price for their home before actually listing it for sale. Redfin’s new “price whisperer” tool allows potential sellers to gauge the pricing of their home from potential buyers while giving buyers a “sneak peek” at homes not yet on the market.

redfin

“The most important decision when selling a home is what price to charge,” says Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. “The traditional process often amounts to a high-stakes guessing game with tens of thousands of dollars at stake for the owner.”

Home owners provide the price they want for their home, while also getting advice from an agent. An agent then takes photos of the property and e-mails up to 250 active buyers with a question whether they would pay that price for this home. The address is not disclosed. Buyers are also asked if they’d like to tour the home.

Redfin says the service is not intended to generate pocket listings. If there is interest in the property, the agent will recommend that the home owner list the property on the Multiple Listing Service before selling.

“Selling directly to a buyer without listing the home on the MLS is called a ‘pocket listing,’ and generally does not benefit the seller,” according to a release from Redfin.

The service is being launched in Boston; Chicago; the Los Angeles area; New York; Portland, Ore.; San Diego; San Francisco Bay area; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.

Source: Redfin

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.