Vallarta Real Estate: How To Drive Effectively Here

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

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

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

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

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

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

Que es cómo es.



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

Vallarta Real Estate: North, South and Midland

A Quick Peek at Puerto Vallarta’s Beaches: North, South and Midland

For many, the finest reward of vacation is time spent on the beach. Puerto Vallarta’s beaches cover a whole lot of territory, not all within the confines of the city limits. Choose between bringing your own blanket, beverages and food or getting table service from one of the various restaurants that grace the shoreline. Dine in style; munch nachos; or buy shrimp and fruit off the vendors who wander in and out of the crowds. On several beaches, there are divers who will bring you fresh oysters straight from the sea and provide garnishes.

Along Playa Los Muertos, the main beach of Zona Romantica, there is something for everyone. Loved by tourists and locals alike, the waves are generally calm enough for those lacking in Olympic swimming skills. The south end of the beach hosts beach bars and cafes that cater to the LBGT crowd, but not exclusively, and you are bound to find good music from one end to the other. The pier, the pride of Puerto Vallarta, which was completed and opened in January 2013, is the terminal for smaller boats and water taxis. It’s the perfect place for a romantic stroll at sunset.

From the Los Muertos Pier, day trippers can head south of Puerto Vallarta to beaches at Yelapa, the furthest; Las Animas; and Quimixto, along the way. Stand at the street end of the pier for more than a minute and someone is guaranteed to ask you if you are looking for a water taxi. These are highly recommended trips and during the winter season you are almost certain of seeing whale, dolphin and flying manta ray, en route. Some of these venues offer horse trips and day hikes to their famous waterfalls, and it’s a good place for parasailing, kayaking, jet skiing.

Sayulita, north of Puerto Vallarta in the state of Nayarit, is an hour long road trip over the mountain with loads of surfing schools and surf boards to rent. Once a well kept secret, it’s grown exponentially and can be crowded on weekends. There are other beautiful spots along the coast where you’ll find less boards in the water and fewer bodies lolling in the sand. Las Lanchas, Punta de Burros, El Anclote and Los Veranos, in and around Punta de Mita are best known for their coral reefs for great breaks and waves.

Mismaloya put Puerto Vallarta on the map; famous for “The Night of the Iguana,” the film that caused uproar in Hollywood at the time. This coastline was once the destination for campers and RV’ers, when the backdrop was nothing but a cliff and jungle. South of the river that runs down from the mountains are a string of palapas, in complete juxtaposition of the hotel to the north on this charming beach. Mismaloya is a good place to catch a panga to one of the southern destinations but it’s also one of the oldest settlements in the area, rich with history and colorful characters. Though the actual beach has receded over the years, now lapping the steps of the huge hotel, the locals have stoically shifted their palapas and equipment on to more stable ground. Close to Los Arcos, it’s a perfect day trip from Puerto Vallarta for beach play, snorkeling, fishing, hiking.

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: Local Areas Explained

Within the central part of Puerto Vallarta, there are four well designated sections of the city. They are diverse in character and have individual personalities, some ripe with history, other so new and fresh, they seem to have popped up overnight.

The Hotel Zone is exactly that, and easy to define. It covers the shoreline north of town and starts at the Sheraton. Even though the Hotel Rosita is the oldest hotel in Puerto Vallarta, it is considered a part of Centro. Over the years, eye popping construction has taken place along the old beaches where once bonfires and campsites were standard. Some of Vallarta’s finest restaurants can be found along the highway side of the ocean. The beaches in Mexico are public and you are welcome to walk along the water’s edge but to enter most of the hotels, you must be a guest.

The area of Olas Altas (literally translating to high waves) has been referred to as Zona Romatica for many years and also is called Old Town and Colonia Zapata and sometimes the Amapas Area, though these are incorrect designations. The area of Olas Altas is comprised of properties that extend from the end of the Malecón at the South, to the Cuale River at the North. Once the main tourist area, it has maintained much of its charm and is a major destination for music, jewelry, food, festivals and mid to boutique size hotels. Ex-pats have favored this area and it has long been the central gay destination.

Centro is between these two areas and is where you’ll find the main plaza, the Cathedral (Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe) and many old stores, such as Telas Parisina, the fabric store where seamstresses and tailors have shopped for decades. There are wonderful tours available that wander up stairways, over the hills and back down the colorful streets. Many art galleries have established themselves on the backstreets of Centro over the years and it’s not unusual to find Gala Openings accompanied by wine, food and live music.

The fourth section is basically Everything Else and mainly denotes residential areas, which are East of the Hotel Zone. It is well worth your while to check out neighborhoods like Barrio Santa Maria, Agua Azul and the larger El Pitillal for charming shopping, mouth watering food and a glimpse of customary culture. Older settlements like Las Gaviotas, Versalles are where older elegant Mexican homes are located, many hidden by walls and latticed casements, hiding splendid gardens and terraces.

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

Mexico Real Estate FAQs

Puerto Vallarta Real Estate FAQ’S

 

What is a Fideicomiso or Trust?

During the early 1970’s, the Mexican government recognized that it was crucial to make foreign investment in Mexico safer and easier for non-Mexican citizens. Because the Mexican Constitution prohibits foreigners from purchasing or owning real estate within 62 miles of the U.S. international border, or within 31 miles of the Mexican coast, an innovative and secure method of holding title was created. This method allows foreign ownership through a Mexican property trust called a Fideicomiso.

In order to obtain the rights of ownership, the Department of Foreign Affairs in Mexico City issues a permit to the Mexican bank of the Purchaser’s choice, allowing the bank to act as Trustee of the property. Essentially, the bank acts as the “Trustee/Purchaser” for the trust and the Purchaser is the “Beneficiary” of the trust. The trust is never considered an asset of the bank.

The Beneficiary has the right to use, occupy, lease and possess the property, including the right to build on it or otherwise improve it. The Beneficiary may also sell the property by instructing the Trustee to transfer the rights to another qualified Purchaser, or bequeath the property to an Inheritor. The initial term of the trust is 50 years, however the trust can be renewed.

The Beneficiary / Purchaser has the rights to enjoy, sell, rent, improve, or encumber (use as collateral) etc. This is not to be confused with a land lease – the Purchaser is not a lessee. The property is held in trust by the Trustee (The Bank), for the benefit of the Beneficiary / Purchaser.  In the event of a sale, any equity gained throughout the ownership of the property in trust, goes directly to the Beneficiary/ Purchaser.

Is A Trust Like A Lease?

No, a Fideicomiso or Bank Trust is not a lease.  The lease only provides you with a certain period of time to use and you are not the owner of the rights to the property.

The trust is the only vehicle that allows you to own the TRUST RIGHTS by which in practical terms, that allows you to freely, use, enjoy, rent, inherit, encumber, and otherwise dispose of the property as you may see fit.

How Long Does it Take to Establish a Trust?
Real property transactions in Mexico are handled by a Notary Public (Notario Publico) but in Mexico a Notary Public is much different than a Notary Public in the U.S.

In Mexico, Notaries are specialized attorneys who act on behalf of the state and federal government in relation to any transaction; they are comparable to a U.S. Clerk of Courts.

On average, a Notary Public can obtain your Bank Trust within 60-90 days. Your AMPI agent can oversee the entire process and make certain you understand each and every step involved in your purchase.

Can I Will My Property to Someone in Case of Death?

If you have purchased your real property in a Bank Trust will be asked for your list of Secondary Beneficiaries to your trust. You can assign your beneficiaries percentages of ownership as Tenants in Common or you may assign your beneficiaries as Joint Tenants with full rights of survivorship.

If you are purchasing your property without a Bank Trust (outside of the restricted zone) you will need to create a Will with a Mexican Notary Public outlining your desires.

How do I Pay for my Property Purchase?

The Purchaser should only release funds when the Purchaser is assured of receiving clear title. By utilizing a U.S. or Mexican third party escrow service provider, your money is held in an individually numbered escrow account until your trust is complete and the property rights have been transferred to you, the Beneficiary / Purchaser.

Is Title Insurance Available?

When you purchase real estate in Mexico you may want to consider Title Insurance for your property purchase. Title Insurance is available for properties in Mexico purchased by foreign and Mexican citizens through several Title Insurance companies (check your AMPI real estate professional).

How Do I make sure that I have legal right of ownership?
In the trust document the foreign Beneficiary / Purchaser must name and appoint the Beneficiary of the property. The Beneficiary Purchaser can be an individual, multiple partners, a foreign corporation, an estate trust, or another entity. The Trustee (the Mexican bank) will take direction from whomever you appoint as the Beneficiary / Purchaser.  You can appoint a U.S. corporation as the Primary Beneficiary of the trust. This is perfectly legal.

If your plan is to use a US or Mexican Corporation to own the rights of the property your are purchasing in our area, please consult with your AMPI real estate professional to get the appropriate advise from other professionals in this   field.

What Are My Closing Costs?

Closing Costs are charges involved in the transfer of the rights in property purchased in Mexico. The total cost can vary depending upon the circumstances. It is generally prudent for the Purchaser to plan on approximately 4% to 8% of the purchase price to cover these costs.  It is always best to request an estimate from the Notary Public who will be performing the closing of the transaction.  It is customary for buyers to cover all closing costs.  The seller will pay capital gains tax if applicable, cancelation of Trust and real estate fees.

Capital Gains Tax.
This tax known n Mexico as ISR (Impuesto Sobre la Renta) is paid depending on your fiscal residence and also on the requirements of the tax department Secretaria de Hacienda.  This is an individual situation and every transaction is different.  Please consult with your AMPI real estate professional, so that you can receive the appropriate recommendation to a fiscal expert.

 

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

Agents, Do You Know The Power of These Three Little Words?

Keep It Simple.

Three words can make all the difference in the world don’t you think? Phrases like “I love you” and “I appreciate you” come to mind – but so does “Keep it Simple.” Boy we make things complicated sometimes – don’t we?

We spin things up, create drama, get ourselves tied in a knot, create things that are larger than life… but what does that get us REALLY? If we’re honest – not very far.

keep it simple

As we head into the new year, I’m reminded that some of the best successes, the happiest moments and the greatest achievement are born from some of the simplest things.

Things like…

Solid practice.
Fewer, well-chosen words.
Easy-to-follow directions or presentations.
Listening more than talking.
Having a sounding board.
Following a plan.
Not re-inventing the wheel.
Thinking before speaking.
Continuous learning.

I could go on and on – but you get the picture I know. We have a brand new year ahead filled with opportunities, possibilities activity – just keep a mental note to yourself not to go too overboard. Not to make things harder than they have to be. Keep it simple. I’d love to hear how simplifying things has helped you in your life and career. Share them with us on Facebook so everyone can learn!

Written by Floyd Wickman – RealtyTimes.com

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.

What Will a Government Shutdown Do to Real Estate?

Once again, we find ourselves at the precipice of a government shutdown. Unless Congress comes to an agreement with the President to pass at least a continuing resolution, all nonessential federal government functions will grind to a halt come October 1. Federal employees will be furloughed – possibly never to make up the wages lost.

The U.S. government is facing a shutdown - how will real estate be affected?

This also means that key bureaucracies in the IRS, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the bodies that regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will have to take some involuntary time off.

So what does that mean for the individual real estate investor or hometown agent?

I’m not anticipating weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Yes, if a temporary shutdown lasted long enough, it could send some families living from paycheck to paycheck over the edge, and force a few defaults on mortgages.

But the key sources of credit for the real estate market writ large will not be directly affected. The Federal Reserve, for example, is actually a private entity, and does not rely on Congress for funding. In turn, the Federal Reserve will be able to keep the discount window open, to provide banks with emergency overnight liquidity to stay open and keep lending.

However, some market disruption could occur downstream. If lenders have trouble getting their VA and FHA loans processed, for example, we may see a temporary dry-up in these loans if the shutdown proves to be lengthy. That said, much of the system is electronic, and so I expect federal employees to leave the computers up and running when they (don’t) report for work on October 1.

In some cases, lenders may go ahead and fund any loans pending hiccups from the federal agencies. Other lenders may opt not to close until they receive a formal notification from the VA or FHA that the federal guarantee is in place.

If the 2011 shutdown is any guide, don’t count on the U.S. Department of Agriculture clearing their loans through the shutdown, but VA and FHA business should still mostly go through, because these aren’t federally funded. They are, however, federally guaranteed. The funding itself won’t be interrupted directly by the shutdown. But some lenders may not want to lend without a guarantee already in place. To minimize chances of disruption, go with a larger lender that is in a better position to fund these loans even absent a guarantee. During the 2011 fiscal battle, the Navy Federal Credit Union, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, for example, each indicated they intended to go ahead and close on and fund FHA and VA loans during a brief shutdown, even without a priori government approval for the guarantee.

Problem Areas

Now, the FHA system is mostly digital. If the lender can get a case number from the FHA, you should be OK even through a shutdown. A lot depends on whether the Department of Housing and Urban Development shut down their computers on the way out the door on September 30. There are mixed signals about whether they will or not.

Loan approvals could be disrupted, because current guidelines require lenders to verify at least one tax return via a 4506 Transcript with the IRS. If the IRS office shuts down, they won’t be able to do this.

If, however, we do have some delays, that could cause preapproved loans to expire, and force some borrowers to pay a higher interest rate. Of course, some deals could fall apart, as a result of the delays.

The budget battle to avoid a government shutdown is just the first of the hurdles Congress faces this season. Within a few weeks, Congress will bump up against the statutory limit on borrowing. This would put the federal government on a cash and carry basis, and by some estimates would force a reduction in federal spending of 40 percent. I don’t think Congress can abide that for long, however, and predict that we will shortly have an agreement that allows the borrowing to continue, for good or for ill.

HUD Scraps Dual Agency Rule

In other Washington news, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has nixed a new regulation that would have prevented agents representing the buyer and the seller on the same pre-foreclosure deal from coming from the same agency. HUD was concerned that there was an opportunity for fraud.

The National Association of Realtors® opposed the rule, however, stating it created just another hoop for sellers to jump through, and they may be forced into foreclosure if they aren’t able to find an agent well-versed in the pre-foreclosure process. “Some real estate brokers have hundreds of agents across multiple offices. If one of those offices chooses to list a short sale, under HUD’s new policy, none of the other agents can bring a buyer to that property.” Wrote NAR President Gary Thomas.

With a million members, the NAR carried the day – and the rule was absurd, in that it simply didn’t take into account the realities of how real estate transactions are handled day-to-day. It was also a needless restriction on liquidity and a source of market distortion, and I’m glad to see it go.

Author: – RealEstate.com

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.

Marketing: A Blog About Analytics, Marketing and Testing

Realtors have a long term relationship with online marketing and as such must stay on top of the latest trends.  Here is a helpful article about measuring your on line success….from Kissmetrics.

There are over 1,000,000 Twitter tools to choose from. Here are the 4 I use.

There are a LOT of Twitter tools out there – so many that it can become quite confusing to figure out which ones you really need and which ones you can live without. Sure, they might just be a few bucks a month. But a few bucks can add up quickly if you’re using a lot of different premium tools regularly.

In today’s post, we’re going to look at a few highly useful Twitter tools – both premium (paid subscriptions only) and freemium (paid and free subscriptions) – to see:

  • Which ones you absolutely need.
  • Whether they violate Twitter terms of service.
  • Popular alternatives.
  • Other ways you can get around using them without paying full price.

1. HootSuite

HootSuite is a well-known Twitter management tool that allows you to manage multiple social media accounts in one service including Facebook, LinkedIn, and possibly even Google+ in the future. Some great things you can do with HootSuite include the following.

  • Follow important Twitter streams in columns. Instead of flipping back and forth on Twitter, you could create columns for mentions, direct messages, important lists, keyword searches, and so on. This makes managing multiple accounts and keeping up with everything much simpler.
  • Schedule your tweets. Want to plan your Twitter day? You can by scheduling tweets through the dashboard (tweets have to be scheduled at least five minutes apart) or using the CVS scheduler to upload a lot of scheduled tweets at a time.
  • Allow team members to manage one account. Want multiple employees to manage a corporate account, including assign tasks and create restrictions to who can read messages vs. who can post messages? HootSuite allows you to add team members (at $15 per member, per month).
  • Add RSS feeds to automatically posts to your account. If you want to bypass manually tweeting updates from your own blog or blogs in your industry, you can use the RSS feature to automatically update your Twitter account with a latest post. Free accounts can have two RSS feeds – Pro users can have unlimited feeds.
  • Use custom URL parameters and connect to Google Analytics. Want more than the social analytics provided by HootSuite (based on URL’s shortened with ow.ly)? Pro users can add custom data variables to be measured in Google Analytics and see Google Analytics within the HootSuite dashboard.
  • Archive your tweets. Have some special tweets you don’t want to forget? Pro users can archive up to 100 tweets with the option to buy more.

HootSuite is a freemium tool – you can use it for free for up to five social profiles. Pro accounts are only $5.99 per month. You can visit the Pro plan page to see a comparison chart of additional features and optional upgrades.

HootSuite Alternatives

Don’t want to pay $72 a year on Twitter management? Then you can always try TweetDeck. TweetDeck is a free Twitter management tool, now owned by Twitter itself. Some similarities and differences in functionality between TweetDeck and HootSuite include the following.

  • You will have multiple columns, but no tabs. If you’re managing just one account, this might not be an issue. HootSuite allows you to create tabs with up to 10 columns per tab. TweetDeck, on the other hand, allows you to create lots of columns for your mentions, direct messages, lists, keyword searches, and so on, but they are not on tabs, so you have to continue scrolling horizontally to get to everything.
  • You can schedule tweets. One of the downsides to TweetDeck previously was the inability to schedule tweets. Now you can, but only through their dashboard – there’s no convenient CVS form to upload bulk tweets to schedule.
  • You can only manage Twitter and Facebook accounts. No integration with LinkedIn or other platforms, and no plans to work with Google+.
  • No RSS feeds for automatic updates. The free alternative to this is Twitterfeed which allows you to update your Twitter and Facebook accounts with any RSS feed.
  • No analytics. If you’re not a statistics junkie, it’s probably not something you will miss anyway.

Bottom Line: If you don’t use a Twitter management tool, you are making Twitter a lot harder on yourself than it should be. Take advantage of the ability to organize the most important areas of Twitter for you in columns using TweetDeck or HootSuite.

2. Buffer

Next on the list is a simple yet effective tool for making scheduling tweets even simpler – Buffer. Buffer allows you to create a time schedule for particular days of the week. Then you can start adding tweets to your Buffer to be sent out at the next time slot on your schedule.

http://blog.kissmetrics.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/bufferapp-schedule.png

To add posts to your Buffer, you can use their bookmarklet, Chrome extension, iPhone app, or Android app. Whenever you click on the bookmarklet or use the app on a page you are viewing, Buffer will grab the title and URL of the post. You can even highlight a particular section of text on the page to be used in the tweet.

Want to know if your tweet schedule is successful? Use Buffer’s analytics to find out by getting stats on the number of clicks, potential reach, retweets, mentions, and favorites for each tweet sent through their app.

Buffer is another freemium tool. You can have one Twitter account, one Facebook account, and one LinkedIn account with up to 10 posts in your Buffer for free. If you need more spaces in your Buffer or social accounts, you can choose from the $10 per month Pro plan (50 posts, 6 social accounts, advanced scheduling) or the $99 per month Premium plan (unlimited posts and social accounts).

Buffer Alternatives

So what’s the alternative to using Buffer to schedule your posts? Of course, there’s HootSuite or TweetDeck which both allow you to schedule tweets. But you have to schedule each tweet’s date and time individually which can be time consuming whereas Buffer allows you to add tweets to your Buffer quickly and sends them based on a schedule you have set.

Timely is Buffer’s main competition in the free tools department. Unfortunately, you can’t get specific with your scheduling with Timely – you can only choose to tweet 1, 3, 5, or 9 posts per day. Timely analyzes your tweets to see when is the best time to schedule your tweets, which means things won’t be sent when you want them to be. Manual time scheduling is not permitted. If you’re not particular about setting your own schedule, you can use this app to make the schedule for your tweets as well as your Facebook account.

Bottom Line: Buffer and Timely make scheduling tweets and keeping your account up to date much more simpler. The easier you can make tweeting, the more time you can set aside for other engagement strategies.

3. SocialOomph

SocialOomph offers a lot of similar features for Twitter management compared to HootSuite, TweetDeck, Buffer, or Timely. But they also offer their Professional account holders additional features such as direct message spam filters based on keywords, finding new Twitter users to follow based on keywords, purge your direct message box, or even purge your tweets.

For an additional fee, you also have the option to automatically follow those who follow you and send automated direct messages to new followers. While this may sound really appealing, note that Twitter has rules and best practices in regards to automation. SocialOomph, surprisingly, does not break the automation rules. Automated following after another users follows you is OK. Automated direct messaging isn’t necessarily recommended, but it is not against the rules since users have the choice to unfollow you if they do not like your DM.

Some great ways to use automated direct messaging includes:

  • Asking a question. Automated DM’s without a link are less likely to be viewed as spam. By asking your new follower a question in your auto DM, they might consider it genuine. You could use the question to develop new content ideas, get feedback about your tweets, or any other information you would like to garner from new followers.
  • Highlight new content. While people might look at this as self-promotional, pushing a link to your latest blog post is better than asking for someone to download or buy something.
  • Simply say thank you for following. This is really what automated DM’s started as – a way to thank people for following you.

SocialOomph is a freemium tool, but the best features are saved for those who go Pro at $17.97 bi-weekly. Automation of following and direct messaging is an additional $3.97 bi-weekly.

Bottom Line: If you want a lot of features that other Twitter management tools doesn’t offer, then SocialOomph might have some useful features for you to try. Just note that the pricing is bi-weekly which makes it relatively expensive compared to previously mentioned Twitter tools.

SocialOomph Alternatives

There are a lot of individual tools that will do things like purge your Twitter direct message inbox. Of course, when working with unknown Twitter tools, you always run the risk of authorizing something to your account that will post things against your wishes.

The favorite features on SocialOomph are, of course, the automated following and direct messages. The alternative to having these activities automated through SocialOomph is doing them manually yourself. Is reviewing your new followers to see if you want to follow them back and send them a DM time consuming? Absolutely! But by doing these things manually, you will ensure that, in the long run, you are only following people you are interested in. And by manually sending direct messages, you can add some customization to them (like the user’s first name) so they know the message is not automated. This can go a long way to building a truly engaged following.

4. Refollow

Refollow is a tool that allows you to follow and unfollow groups of Twitter users at a time based on specific criteria. Then you can unfollow that selection of Twitter users, 100 at a time. You can also enter a particular Twitter user, load their followers, filter them by a particular keyword in their bio, and then start following them, 100 at a time.

This is a great tool to use if you realize you are following too many people or would like to follow more people. You can use it to quickly do the following tasks (and much more).

  • Filter people you are following who haven’t tweeted in 90 days. This will purge your following count of Twitter users who haven’t been active in three months or longer. Chances are, they won’t miss you and you won’t miss them unless their account is set to automatically unfollow those that unfollow them. But then again, why would you want inactive followers?
  • Filter people without pictures. One thing that is a great indicator of a spam or inactive account is the missing profile picture. Sort the people you are following to see which ones are missing a photo.
  • Filter people you are following that are not following you. If you want following to be reciprocal, be sure to check out the number of people who aren’t following you. Unless you like the one way relationship, they might be worth axing.
  • Filter a user’s followers by location. Want to hone in on another user’s followers? Enter that user’s Twitter handle, load their followers, and then use the Search For option to filter a particular location in the location field so you can follow them.
  • Filter people by following, friend, and tweet count. If you’re looking for people who have a certain number of users following them or people who are more or less active, you can click on the More Filters dropdown to get the option to filter by these criteria.

The filter options are endless. You can apply these filters to your own followers, people you follow, people following other users, people other users follow, people who are in a specific Twitter list, and people in your own Twitter lists.

Just keep in mind that this tool does violate Twitter’s following and un-following in mass rules, so you might be risking your account by using it. That said, lots of people do use it and get away with it, probably by using it in moderation (i.e., not unfollowing 1,000 people in a day). Also, don’t forget that in terms of following people, Twitter does have a follow limit and discourages aggressive following.

Refollow is a freemium tool – you can load Twitter users into their system to see the accounts that match your criteria for free. If you want Refollow to manage the following and unfollowing, plans start at $5 per month for 40 follow & 40 unfollows in a day. The Advanced plan is $10 per month and allows you 150 follow and 150 unfollows in a day. The Pro plan offers unlimited follows & unfollows in one day, although this will be limited if your Twitter account hits a follow limit or over accessing the Twitter API. You can also use the Business plan for $50 per month that allows unlimited follows & unfollows in one day for up to five accounts or the Enterprise plan for $150 per month that allows unlimited follows & unfollows in one day for up to 20 accounts.

Bottom Line: Do you need it? Maybe. If you just want to purge your account of months or years of automated following, then pay for an unlimited plan for a month. Use it daily to whittle down the number of people you are following. Also use it to follow people you might be interested in. Then cancel your subscription before the next month’s payment comes out.

Refollow Alternative

If you want to keep your account safe from aggressively following & unfollowing using a third party tool (and want to save on the monthly fee), then use Refollow to identify the Twitter accounts you might want to follow or unfollow. When you hover over the Twitter user’s image, you will get a popup with a link to their Twitter profile. Click on this link and then perform the following or unfollowing on Twitter. Although it is time consuming, it should keep you at a slow enough pace that you shouldn’t trigger too many Twitter TOS violations. Don’t be surprised if you get bumped off of using Twitter for an hour for too many actions in a short time period though.

Do you use these Twitter tools or similar ones? What other suggestions would you have in alternatives or other ways to get similar results for less?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the VP of Marketing of KISSmetrics and blogs at Quick Sprout.

 

 

Vallarta Real Estate: Where To Shop

There are so many choices when it comes to shopping in Puerto Vallarta! Some prefer the convenience of a large box-type store, whereas others like to visit small markets and fill their bags with nature’s best.

Soriana and Walmart are the chief competitor in town, both Big Box stores, selling everything from buckets to bananas, bug repellent to bicycle pumps. When in the mood for the large shopping experience, we have a favorite: the smaller Soriana on the highway, a store snuggled in close to some of the older timeshares, a short jaunt from the beach, next to the Parisina on the main highway. Why do we like this store, opposed to the BIGGER Sorianas or Walmarts? We can find what we are looking for, without needing a Sherpa! If going in pairs to the larger stores, remember to bring cell phones to communicate with your shopping partner since it can be like getting lost at the county fair. There is also a better selection of foreign foods, like dill pickles and salted butter that can be difficult to find other places.

Costco and Sam’s are a lovely experience compared to their associates in the US and Canada, where one needs a map and a compass, just to find one’s way around the parking lot. It is wise, however, to wear decent walking shoes.

For a more local experience, we highly recommend the daily markets. In the central area, Emiliano Zapata Municipal is your market for fresh produce, spices, meat and fish. The small shops scattered around the perimeter have anything you would seek in the huge grocery stores to which one must travel out to the hotel zone. A small tienda there sells non-toxic ant repellant; it’s chalk that comes in a small box, imported from China and when you draw on the floor with it, the ants follow it into oblivion.

Carnicería Colin, the butcher shop on Venustiano Carranza, is a big favorite among the non-vegetarians, with custom cuts of meat and a wide selection.

The road that leads from the cruise ship terminal, out past Sam’s Club, is your north end experience at the Mercado Palmar de Aramara, on Priciliano Sanchez. You will find a robust selection of ideal produce, fish, meat, plus stores offering everything from plastics to ceramics. And you didn’t hear it here but we are told some great piracy goes on in the manner of DVD and CD selections at a very visible store that can’t be missed.

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: When Not to Press ‘Send’ on That Real Estate E-mail

Some great advice from: “4 Times You Should Absolutely Not Send That E-mail,” Forbes.com


There’s a time to e-mail, and a time to call. Sometimes in the rush to be responsive you’ll instantly send an e-mail, but doing so may backfire.

When should you e-mail and when should you maybe wait to respond until you can call or even talk in-person? Forbes.com recently highlighted times when you absolutely should not send that e-mail. Some of their biggest e-mail no-no’s:

Sending a long response.

“If you could write what you’re thinking in one sentence and your e-mail is still three paragraphs long, you’re in trouble,” the article notes. For example, maybe you’re correcting a client’s confusion over a transaction. You may end up dedicating one section of your e-mail to how you understand why the person might be confused and then another section to what you think should be done, and a third section honing in on how your plan is really the better route to go. The longer the e-mail, though, the more lines the other person could potentially misread.

Instead, be succinct with your message. If you disagree with someone, just write “I’m not sure we’re on the same page” or “I had a different read on it” – is more efficient – and nicer than going on and on, the article notes.

Too much punctuation.

If your e-mail has too much emphasis, you may want to second-guess sending it. For example, if you’ve made every other word italicized, bold, or in all caps and punctuated everywhere – the other person will perceive you as being extreme. “If your sentiments aren’t positive, the other person could easily think you’re trying to convey anger – as opposed to say, simple confusion,” the article notes. Limit yourself to one punctuation mark and no italics.

Your response is confusing.

You’ve had a long, busy day and you keep re-reading the e-mail you’re crafting over and over again to make sure it makes sense. You may be better off waiting to press send until you’re more alert. If it’s absolutely urgent, send a response with a short message that promises to send more details later. That way you’ve confirmed you received the other person’s message and have let her know you’ll be in touch with more information soon. This provides you more time to compose your response and more time to focus on making it succinct.



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