Real Estate Buyer Confidence Makes Big Leap Forward in Mexico

Real estate buyer confidence makes a big leap forward in Mexico and professionalism takes center stage for many realtors during 2016. This means buyers will be able to become new property owners without hassles or hesitation.

AMPI, the Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals, continues to push for real estate license requirements. The board wants to be sure that everyone selling real estate meets their business standards. Mexico has had almost no regulations on who can act as a real estate agent. Now AMPI is taking their profession to the next level because foreign buyers expect it.

“You have to remain vigilant when dealing with various property agents,” says Edward Padalinski, AMPI officer, “I review all local listings for MLS (Multiple Listing Service) to make sure agents are complying with AMPI rules and regulations.”

Edward serves as part of the MLS Service Committee. He is always evaluating properties and checking to make sure things like tax identification numbers are current and that nothing gets put into MLS without the proper paperwork. “This type of oversight is a great thing for the industry,” says Edward, “It gives buyers assurance in a very competitive market. AMPI also provides training for its members, so there’s a great system of checks and balances.” Edward also teach the computer software, FLEX, classes.

Although the government has been slow to respond with real estate licensing requirements, AMPI has taken a leading role by offering courses and certificates, and even collaborating with government agencies to offer a professional university degree in Mexico real estate. The AMPI board has been pushing for real estate license requirements in all states and may be well on the way to getting at least half the Mexican states to comply during 2016.

Mexico has long been overlooked as a retirement haven, but with proper promotion and integrity many will find that they can retire in luxury without spending a fortune. Over the past decade the number of buyers new to Mexican real estate and Mexico as a retirement destination, has been increasing drastically. There are about one million retirees from the US living in Mexico full or part time.

For real estate buyers, this points to a greater degree of confidence in the Mexico real estate system. By providing international standards of professionalism and service, it means that it will be easier for buyers to find the leading professionals to represent them. Buyers from the USA, Canada and Europe  should look forward to making plans to retire, buy a vacation or a rental property in Mexico safely.


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: Five Ways You Can Contribute to and Enhance the Community

Pick up trash – We aren’t asking you to walk around town with a garbage bag (although that would be extremely appreciated.) Puerto Vallarta once took a lot of pride in being very friendly and clean. Still friendly, the city could use some help with the trash. Puerto Vallarta’s favorite historian, Catalina Montes de Oca de Contreras, wrote of her admiration for the cleanliness of the local people. To this day, you see streets and sidewalks swept and washed daily, but it’s hard to keep up with the human detritus. Please don’t toss out car windows or drop refuse on the streets. There are trash cans everywhere and often you can leave a bag on a street corner and it will be picked up by collectors. When walking the pup, it makes us feel good to pick up more than just her little deposits. We enjoy helping the community, too and pick up what other may have inadvertently dropped.

Be patient – Whether you’re on vacation, seeking a second home while in Puerto Vallarta or just passing through, it’s time to relax. We take relaxation seriously. It is suggested to take a book or magazine when going to the bank or standing in any line. Don’t always expect a have the chance to read though since you may be too distracted by someone who wasn’t able to keep their patience. People who complain loudly are often ignored or stared at and seldom considered worth the bother.

Tip generously – The applicable minimum wage in Puerto Vallarta is approximately 47 pesos a day. Of course, some places pay more, but you should be shocked to realize it doesn’t amount to much. Your food servers, bartenders, maids and others working in the tourist/service industries depend on tips for simple survival. 20% is normal and if you are generous, you will likely be remembered next time you visit an establishment.

Shop – On the beach or streets, in a mall or marina. What can be better than sipping margaritas and watching beautiful people stroll by, while doing your shopping? Please don’t be annoyed with beach vendors. The colorful blankets, tablecloths, puppets, hammocks, wood carvings, clothing, beads and jewelry… are worth the barter. Kiosks on the street with their whimsical pottery, key chains and other flotsam are operated by families who often have children, grandparents as staff. Grocery shopping in Puerto Vallarta is amazing and gentle on the pocketbook. Art in Mexico, from famous galleries to that found on the Malecón, can be easily bundled for shipment home.

Beach musicians – When minstrels sidle up to your table and politely ask if you would like a song, they will nod and walk away when you tell them you’re not interested. However,  you should be interested. Why not have a little night music. Or day music, perhaps? These are locals who literally sing for their supper and often are surprisingly talented. Many young people learn how to play an instrument passed down from a parent and have spent their lives exposed to the beautiful folk music of Mexico. Sit back, relax, shop and enjoy the culture. And make sure to pick up after yourself.

Que es cómo es.


Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article!

 



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: The Pain of Fixture Feuds

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


Could an entire sale hinge on a bathroom fixture? That’s a question buyer’s agent Valerie Hartman with RE/MAX Action Realty in Maple Glen, Pa., found herself pondering hours before a scheduled closing. After all the terms had been negotiated for a $375,000 home purchase, the sellers ripped out the bidet and the kitchen’s water filtration system. Hartman’s buyers were upset.

Prevent A Showdown

1. Have a talk with your clients. During listing presentations, talk to your sellers about what’s included or excluded from the sale and what they intend to take with them. Buyers’ agents: Talk with your clients about what they consider the most compelling features of the home—the curtains, washer and dryer, hot tub. It should be made clear in the contract if those items will remain in the house.

2. Replace items before listing. If sellers plan to take all the ceiling fans, for example, urge them to swap out the fixtures prior to listing the home for sale to avoid conflicts later. That way, buyers see what they get.

3. Don’t worry about being too detailed. Sales associate Isela DeLeon, with Target Realty in Houston, specifies the serial numbers, make, and model of the appliances included in the sales contract. “Err on the side of being overly inclusive so you’re not in a battle over whether an item is a fixture, and then stuck in a compromise,” says attorney Matt Johnson, legal counsel for the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS®.

4. Consult an attorney. Avoid providing your own legal advice about fixtures; you may be held liable if you’re wrong. Most REALTOR® associations offer a legal hotline to connect members with real estate attorneys on various topics, including contract conflicts. Be aware, though, that these lawyers provide general information, not legal representation.

5. Find a mediator. Check your state or local REALTOR® associations for an ombudsman program—which calls on experienced REALTORS® who are well-versed in the Code of Ethics, state real estate regulations, and current real estate practice—to help resolve disagreements among parties.

Hartman contacted the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®’ free legal hot-line. She learned that because the sellers never excluded the bidet or filtration system in the sales contract and both items are considered fixtures—features that are permanent and attached to the home—they should be part of the sale. Ultimately, the buyers didn’t pursue negotiations for the bidet, but the sellers paid the $1,000 for the filtration system.

While there’s a broad understanding that fixtures are automatically conveyed in a sale, disputes frequently arise over how to define them, says Janet Grayson, an attorney in Portland, Ore., who also serves as counsel to the Oregon Association of REALTORS®. Perceptions can vary about which features are “securely” attached to a home. Clear communication between both sides is necessary to avoid problems. A disagreement over something as small as a bathroom mirror can lead to closing delays, end up in arbitration or court, or even scuttle a deal. One scenario that causes problems: A buyer’s agent may assume an item is a fixture and not bother to include it in the offer. But the seller’s agent may look at the exact same item—say, custom window treatments or a bar in a basement held in by three screws—and consider it the seller’s personal property, says attorney Matt Johnson of Manchester, N.H., who also represents the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS®. “The last thing you want is for a client to ask you why you didn’t include a specific item in the sales contract,” Grayson adds.

Standard residential purchase forms often contain language about fixtures. Typically, there’s a section for buyers to list other items they want to include in the conveyance. Still, even the most careful agent can be caught off guard. Two years ago, a seller uprooted a 15-year-old apple tree and planted a small tree in its place, says buyer’s agent Isela DeLeon, with Target Realty in Houston. The seller also removed an attached front porch swing. DeLeon’s buyers said the tree and the swing were the home’s main attractions; the seller explained the tree held sentimental value—her son’s ashes were buried around it, and she always intended to take it, though she didn’t tell her agent. In the end, the closing was delayed by a week, and the seller agreed to pay $1,200 toward the purchase of a new tree and $150 to replace the swing.

“I’ve seen sellers replace appliances for cheaper ones. I now photograph and write serial numbers of appliances and double-check at the final walk-through that there have been no swaps. I don’t assume anything anymore.”



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: Best Tacos Around

One’s first clue when looking for delicious tacos in Puerto Vallarta would be how many Mexicans are standing in line. Following the locals is the best bet for finding good food; regardless of what city or country one is sampling the fare.

Taco stands often serve other food, such as gorditas and sopas, but the taco is the most simple and easy way to eat on the go and few will argue with this fact. It’s economical, tasty and tacos are, indeed, available everywhere.

Taco stands are often family run businesses and to find a fastidious clean one, you’ll note one person handling money, dirty dishes, hand-washing facilities and garbage; other employees are making the food. Plates are covered with disposable plastic and reused, a very hygienic solution to control waste. Hygiene facilities are usually present, such as a stationary or portable sink.

The results of a poll listed countless taco stands in Puerto Vallarta and surrounding area but we’ve selected five of the most popular.

Pancho’s Takos was above and beyond the top choice, even though many people refer to it as being too touristy. However, overlooking the fact that it seems to get a lot of PR on sites such as Trip Advisor, it’s also a spot-on favorite with Mexicans. You’ll find Pancho’s on Basilio Badillo, next to the famous Café de Olla, at the most crowded area on the street.

Tacos Revolucion is a restaurant on Olas Altas, a long time establishment, just up the street from Francisca Rodriquez, the street that leads to the pier. It has indoor seating, lots of tables and a varied menu.

Tacos Memo’s Grill, on the corner of Basilio Badillo and Aquacate is a favorite late night stop for many, opening at 8 pm and making sure everyone is well fed until 2 am. We’ve seen throngs ordering at midnight.

Mariscos Mismaloya is the place to go for ceviche, and fish tacos of all kinds, including shrimp, plus soups and salads. Open 10 am until 5 pm, located on Aquiles Serdan between Constitución and Insurgentes.

Mar Y Tierra is on the main highway, Blvd Francisco Medina Ascencio, across from the Coppel and next to the HSBC. Favored by locals and tourists alike for many years, they specialize in both seafood and meat, as their name implies.

Listed as More-Than-Honorable-Mention is Taco de Marlin, often the last stop for those leaving the country. Located across the highway from the airport and accessible using the sky bridge, Marlin is known for quick service, making sure travelers in need of one final flavor of Puerto Vallarta don’t miss their flight.

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: 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: 7 Pieces of Advice For Sellers

Some great advice from http://www.bankrate.com/


Memo to first-time home sellers: This is not your father’s housing market.Today’s buyers are pickier and have more tools in their tool belts. Consequently, sellers may have to spend more time and cash making their homes camera-ready.

For first-time sellers who have never been through the process before, it’s a different world. One where the value of the house isn’t measured solely by the profit made on the sale, but in part by the enjoyment the owners had from living in the home.

Here are seven things experienced sellers would tell you, if they could.


“Your largest number of showings will occur in the first two to three weeks,” says Mark Ramsey, broker with the Ramsey Group/Keller Williams Realty in Charlotte, North Carolina. One reason: “The (multiple listing service) systems and the Internet tend to drive the majority of showings,” he says. Many buyers are plugged in electronically. So the minute something new pops up that meets their criteria, they want to see it.

Take advantage of that sweet spot by pricing the house competitively right out of the gate, he says.

When first-time sellers James and Emily Foltz put their Oklahoma City home on the market last summer, their agent gave them a comprehensive list of the initial asking prices of nearby homes like theirs, along with the final selling prices. “Some varied by $30,000,” according to James Foltz.

It gave them insight into setting their own home’s list price.

And how you style the price is important. The Foltzes first marketed their home for $155,000. But lowering it to $150,000 meant the listing appeared within the computer search parameters that buyers commonly used in that price range, Foltz says.

The result: A few weeks after the price change, they had a winning offer.


Want to sit with a house that won’t move? Be the first-time seller who insists you can get the appraised value, the tax assessor’s estimate or whatever you paid a few years ago.

“It seems like there’s no relationship between your assessed value, taxable value and the actual market value of our house,” says Pat Vredevoogd Combs, past president of the National Association of Realtors and vice president of Coldwell Banker AJS Schmidt in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “There doesn’t seem to be any correlation.”

The truth is that your house is worth what buyers are willing to pay. No more. “This is a true market that Adam Smith would have loved — totally based on supply and demand,” Combs says.

Beware the agent who promises big profits, Combs says. That person may just be after your business. “Don’t go with anyone who doesn’t use comps,” she says. And study sales prices, not asking prices, for real estate.


One question to ask yourself and pose as you interview agents: How will you reach the home’s target market?

“You have to consider who your most likely buyers are for what you’re selling and cater to that group of people,” Ramsey says.

Don’t neglect the modern version of curb appeal: using lots of photos on real estate listings’ websites. However you market your house, you need a good number of clear, well-lit, professional-quality pictures that show your house at its best.

The typical starter home can also appeal to downsizing empty nesters, says Ramsey. To serve their needs, you might also want to have a phone number that instantly reaches someone who can provide details and answer questions, he says.


When the Foltzes were getting ready to move, they knew that they probably wouldn’t be able to take their top-of-the-line gas clothes dryer. “It’s not a typical thing in a lot of houses,” says Foltz.

So they offered to sell the washer/dryer set, as well as a few other items that would be difficult to move, like the two wall-mounted, flat-screen TVs.

While the couple hoped these perks would bring a little extra money to the table, it didn’t work out that way. But it did sweeten the pot for the buyer, who agreed to buy at full price if the Foltzes included those items.

Since taking them would have netted them additional headaches, their “extras” became a good selling point.


 

Keeping your house clean is important in every sale. But first-timers are likely selling smaller houses, and clutter can mean the difference between cozy and cramped.

Clearing the clutter is “something we spent two to three weeks doing before we brought anyone in,” says Foltz. While they believed their home would show better furnished, they also wanted to pare down all the nonessential pieces. And they stored the “leftovers” in the garage.

Before they put it on the market, the Foltzes asked their agent’s opinion. “We told him: We’re willing to do whatever you want,” Foltz says. The agent’s recommendation: Get rid of the bedroom dresser to make the room feel more spacious.

Kitchen and bathroom countertops are another hot spot that many sellers forget to clear. The same chaos that represents your normal routine makes your house seem messy, disorganized and uninviting to buyers.


Most buyers are lazy.

The last thing a new homeowner wants is another to-do list, Ramsey says. So get the home move-in ready before it hits the market so the buyer can start fresh easily.

That means making all the repairs and replacements that you would demand if you were buying the house today. If you have to walk single file up the walkway, trim the bushes. If the garage door is dented, have that fixed or replaced, Ramsey says. “If you go into a room and say, ‘Hmm, I wonder if this carpet is dirty enough to replace?’ You have your answer,” he says.

First-time sellers are likely selling smaller, starter homes which are popular with first-time buyers and empty nesters, Ramsey says. Neither group is likely to want to spend weekends tackling the jobs that you avoided.

“From a presentation standpoint, you want them to feel it’s turnkey — ready to go,” Ramsey

If you’re looking to spend some money to make your house memorable, ask someone who knows what will improve the market value, says Combs.

She remembers one $90,000 starter home that the owners wanted to stand out from the pack. They did a very expensive kitchen upgrade with lots of high-dollar extras. Unfortunately, it was an older home “in a market that was never going to be above $90,000,” Combs says. “So the money they put in, they lost.”

Conversely, the Foltzes followed their agent’s recommendation to paint their stylish blue kitchen tan — to match the walls of the adjacent open living room and attract more buyers.

“The cheapest thing you can do for a house with the biggest bang for the buck is to paint and replace carpet,” says Ramsey. His recommendation: soft neutrals, which are easy on the eyes and have mass appeal.

Fresh carpet and that new-paint smell are also buyer-bait.

“I have never, ever seen a buyer get emotionally attached to a carpet-allowance sign,” says Ramsey. “What they fall in love with is the new carpet in the house.”



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: Home Design Top Trends to Watch Out for in 2016

Salone Internazionale del Mobile – 2013 Milan Design Week more big

MILAN, ITALY – APRIL 11: Creations are displayed at Fiera Milano Rho during 2013 Milan

Home decorating and design is about to get more exciting this coming 2016 as the emerging trends for the upcoming year are revealed by local designers and experts.

The design industry will welcome natural materials, warm dramatic colors and clean linen this coming new year, as revealed by expert interior designers on Suffolk Times. Metal will be back in the spotlight together with wood and accent colors this 2016. Floral designs and carved figurines are also back on trend as 2015 bids goodbye.

Sophisticated lines are in this 2016 in home design, even with traditional home stylists, shares Debbie Gildersleeve, owner of Renee’s in Mattituck. Ornate furniture that showcases intricate and grand details will be back in business.

A mix of materials and finishes will also be entering the home design market this new year, with wood, leather and metal as leading choices. Neutral shades such as beige, cream and gray will also be in demand this coming year when it comes to home styles and furnishing.

Maria Killam also agrees that the home decorating industry will be leaning into colors, accents and bold furnishings this 2016. Faux fur will be one of the favorite textures injected inside homes and living areas as well as natural fiber, specifically in rugs and room accents. Floral chairs in big and bold sizes are going to dominate stylish living rooms this coming year.

Gorgeous and dramatic colors will also be part of the trend. Gold and silver will be a favorite, in parallel to the latest home accents that will be available in touches of metal and wood. Pink and blue will still be favorites but will be on the back end as more dramatic colors take the spotlight.

The year 2016 in home decorating is all about color, texture and natural materials. The latest trends in design and décor will definitely make the new year an interesting and exciting year when it comes to home design and decorating.

 



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 About Summer You Ask?

Summer in Puerto Vallarta

Spring is upon us, visitors to Puerto Vallarta have hardly dwindled and more people are finding it a place to not only visit, but live during the summer months, which are just around the calendar corner. Puerto Vallarta is a great place to be from May through October for so many reasons. There are definitely less people here but that’s not a caveat. We love not having to wait in lines at theaters, making reservations at restaurants and oh, boy…the traffic. Fewer people translates to a smaller amount of cars on the roads and in town. Less buses and taxis too, which means less noise.

The rain in Puerto Vallarta is a part of jungle living and it creates the lush, effervescent environment that makes this such a gorgeous place. If you’re into hiking, this is the time to observe the vegetation really taking a stand. The waterfalls are vibrant and full, scents are delicious and the beauty is unparalleled. Oceans temps are balmy and the Bay of Banderas is a safe place for swimming, snorkeling and diving. Rains usually occur at night so pool time isn’t interrupted but if you’re caught in a deluge, don’t fret; it will soon pass. Don’t forget your camera because the light show Mother Nature puts on with lightning is something to behold and capture on film.

Summertime is a great time for fishermen, with tuna and marlin challenges in July. There will be plenty of competition, but package rates for hotels and flights will be cheaper, with lots of great choices. We recommend either a large chartered boat or one of the smaller pangas (large open skiffs) for a real adventure. Tournaments are fun for landlubbers, too; watching the results come in with weighing and awards is exciting. Puerto Vallarta’s Botanical Gardens are open 9 am – 6 pm but closed on Mondays from April through November. There’s so much to see, with more new additions completed this year. It’s a perfect family outing and their restaurant has a menu with selections suitable for all appetites and diets. Bring your swimsuit; the river is a short hike down the hill with marvelous crystal water and a shallow pool to dip in and swirl around. We make this an all-day-trip. This is also a wonderful time to try a zipline. We recall the construction of the first zipline in Puerto Vallarta and now there are nearly a dozen, from south of Mismaloya to north of Sayulita. They will certainly be less crowded plus normal congestion on highways will be lighter to get to various locations. Terrain will be blossoming and verdant. Low season also means lower rates for many attractions.

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

D.A.N.G.E.R. Report Outlines Threats To The Real Estate Industry

D.A.N.G.E.R. Report Outlines Threats To The Real Estate Industry

“The real estate industry is saddled with a large number of part-time, untrained, unethical, and/or incompetent agents. This knowledge gap threatens the credibility of the industry.”

“The delta between great real estate service and poor real estate service has simply become too large, due to the unacceptably low entry requirements to become a real estate agent. Professional, hardworking agents increasingly understand that the ‘not so good’ agents bringing the entire industry down.”

D.A.N.G.E.R. Report Outlines Threats To The Real Estate Industry

No, that’s not me talking. (Though I might agree.) I’m quoting. As a matter of fact, I’m quoting from a recently-released report that was commissioned by, of all people, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). The report is the D.A.N.G.E.R. Report. (D.A.N.G.E.R. from “definitive analysis of negative game changers emerging in real estate”. To be sure, a bit of a stretch just to create an acronym.) The report can be downloaded by anyone, for free, at dangerreport.com.

One might wonder: why would NAR commission a report that says things like that? Consider this explanation from NAR’s Strategic Thinking Advisory Committee. “…effectively planning for the future requires a thorough understanding of the threats and challenges that the real estate industry faces today and during the next few years… To help move the discussion forward…[the committee], along with Stefan Swanepoel, has created a report that seeks to describe as many of the threats and dangers as possible that may affect the real estate industry.”

Stefan Swanepoel is without a doubt one of the leading (perhaps the leading) consultant to the residential real estate industry in the United States. NAR commissioned him and his T3 group to “uncover, research, and index the potential threats facing the industry.” The goal was to “provide Organized Real Estate, as well as its members, a comprehensive report identifying the most significant threats, risks, and black swans facing the real estate industry without judging or discarding them, without placing blame or picking sides, and without attempting to solve them.”

Swanepoel’s group did this by researching over 200 reports, surveying more than 7,500 brokers and agents, and interviewing (by Swanepoel) 70 CEOs and other senior executives from the largest franchisors, the largest real estate brokerage companies, national, state and local REALTOR®Associations, and various MLS organizations. All the opinions hexpressed and comments made are given without attribution.

The research, survey, and interview results were categorized into 5 major sections of the industry: agents, brokers, NAR, State & Local Associations, and MLS organizations. Five dangers are listed for each category. Mr. Swanepoel adds his personal perspective to each danger. The danger’s “threat level” is then ranked according to a three-dimension index.

The dimensions are:

  1. The probability of the danger occurring;
  2. Timing (e.g. within 1 year, 2-3, years, etc.); and
  3. Impact (e.g. a Game Changer, Major Impact, Moderate Impact).

This then results in a composite score called the Danger Index (e.g. Critical, Severe, High). The authors clearly state that the index is not scientific, but is a combined and weighted representation of the research, surveys and interviews that took place.

An example of this ranking is the danger that “Masses of Marginal Agents Destroy [Industry] Reputation”, as represented by the comments we quoted at the beginning of this discussion. That had a Danger Index of 100 (Critical). Its probability was the highest at 5.0 (100% chance). The timing factor was 4.0 (within 1 to 3 years), and the Impact 5.0 (Game Changer).

Among the other dangers that the report found to be facing agents; Commissions Spiral Downwards (Danger Index 87.5) and that the IRS will force the end of Independent Contractor status (Danger Index 63).

Next week we will look more closely at dangers said by the report to be facing agents and to be facing brokers. Meanwhile, readers are encouraged to download the report at dangerreport.com. It could keep you up at night.