The journey thus far has been nothing short of exciting. Full of obstacles and barriers, the learning curve has been challenging and arduous. That being said, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Vallarta is home to locals and a far ever growing capacity of expats from the USA and Canada. Of course we see all walks of life from all parts of the world show up; some stay, most go. Vallarta does have a way of instilling a little piece of itself into everyone that visits. Sometimes it instills just enough to make you wonder and yearn to make the jump to become a resident. I’ve boasted far and wide about what the City of Vallarta and its people have to offer and I’m sure I’ve made myself clear. Today I am going to talk about what “WE” need to offer it.
I have always been a sales oriented individual. I get along well with mostly everyone and helping steer someone in the right direction seems to be a natural knack of mine. Sometimes people just need a friendly push in the right direction to help them with indecision. My approach is to give facts and be helpful and subtly give my opinion. This approach to sales I find keeps one out of trouble and at the same time flows towards the means to an end. When I got into real estate here in Mexico I knew these types of sales were going to be different but I wasn’t sure to what degree. I’ve never looked at Real Estate as being a purely sales driven experience. When one is helping another with one of the biggest, if not THE biggest purchase of ones life, one must have the capacity to put oneself into another’s shoes and practice genuine empathy. The purchase or sale of a home is not something to be taken lightly and needs to be coddled with great care and consideration. Done wrongly, great consequences can take part. All of this is left into “your” realtors hands. Much like when you choose to hand over your legal defence to a lawyer when you have broken some sort of law, or perhaps a divorce lawyer when assets need to be assessed and directed. Do you choose just anyone? Do you meet them on the street and think ok, let’s do this! Would you hire your legal defence off the back of a business card you found in a strip club? The point is, all these actions and choices have consequences.
I am going to say this boldly. I do not feel the position of a professional realtor is like being a salesman. In fact, I treat it as the direct opposite. I realize my approach can be counter productive in the short term for putting dollar bills in to my bank account. I also feel that in the long term this will pay great dividends by demonstrating to clients how objective I am when it comes to finding or listing for sale, the right property. The old time share approach for me just isn’t the way I do things. I’m not looking for sales, I’m looking for relationships, and I’ll tell you why. Relationships are ever lasting; decisions about what to buy or where to live are not. A lasting relationship and service based on integrity, knowledge, heart and know how, offers far more value to a client than an aggressive push into a buying position that could lead to future resentment. I will obtain your business because the client knows I’m honest and wouldn’t advise them to do something I wouldn’t do to make a quick couple of bucks (pesos). This leads to something I’ve coined as “Realtor Respect”; and this is the end goal. When the client respects me and appreciates the fact that this is all I do, it helps me to do an even better job. Essentially the ball is in my court and I’ve always been great at shooting hoops. Housing decisions and circumstances change all the time. The client either refers the Professional or comes back when they need the service. Not only because the professional did a great job, which could easily be the case in the United States or Canada, but because the situation is different here in Vallarta. Serious rapport has been established through service. It needs to be more than doing a good job with the transaction. The professional needs to help the client do basically everything in the area. Let’s get behind this for a second.
Why is this service of being a professional realtor any different than being a professional realtor in the United States or Canada? In the United States or Canada, a professional realtor can have a great career and essentially not be friends with anyone. They are good at their job, they list, they sell, push transactions through and budda boom, done and done, money in the bank. A difference here is that things just can’t move quite that smoothly for the purchaser…why? Because they just don’t live here and they haven’t the slightest clue as to where to go for Escrow, Lawyers, Notaries, services, furniture, phone bills, trust fees, HOA fees, dentists, hospitals, insurance, grocery stores, restaurants and the list goes on and on. We aren’t only realtors. We are Ambassadors for this great area. We really have no choice but to help the client with all of these incurring formalities. There really isn’t any way around this. If the professional isn’t willing to take the time to realize and practice putting the clients needs completely ahead of their own…well then I’m sorry, you just aren’t going to be very successful in our business. You cannot be a “No man”, the professional needs to be a “Yes man”. “I’ll call here for you, follow up wth that, check the urgency of this and perhaps go pay xxxx for you”. This is the service, and it’s because it needs to be done this way; plain and simple. What happens after all this follow up, advice and servicing? Well you guessed it: Repeat clients, referrals, testimonials, word around town and a solid foundation for your small ever-growing business.
At our last AMPI meeting for our local chapter of realtors in the Bay area we discussed this. We discussed that having the foresight and realizing that we have a great responsibility to clients and to residents around the bay, is mandatory. This job is unique and never ending. Much like the Notary position being a position of authority and responsibility here in Mexico, our position of professional realtors holds so much of the same qualities responsibilities. 99% of the real estate deals done in the bay area are done in CASH. We are doing business with hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars of clients money. Done the wrong way, something overlooked or forgotten can very realistically end in defunct transactions. There are 150 steps to a successful closing of a real estate transaction here; 150! Which of those steps would you like the professional to skip when you ask them to cut their commission? Which step can you afford to lose and expect everything will run smoothly? And now Im going to say a very realtor thing to say….And which of these steps are you going to accidentally miss when YOU are trying to sell your home without the help of a professional, especially here in Mexico? I don’t want to point any fingers, but all you FSBO’s (for sale by owners)…. All I can do is urge and recommend to YOU buyers to please get a professional to help you dealing with an FSBO. The owner of a property doesn’t always know all the assessments attached to their home/second home. Very easily an owner of property here could dupe one or even accidentally over look something through no fault of their own…Only lack of being well versed with the business. I’ve heard of friends selling condos to other friends…only to realize after the purchase that none of the HOA fees were paid for the last 20 years….resulting in another $80-100,000 in tardy fees to an administration. These are the kinds of things that professionals are looking for. Inconsistencies, leans, back taxes, capital gains, etc. Even Notaries, if they aren’t probed to question these things, they really don’t need too. This is also why we use closing companies (lawyers) that work closely with the Notary to sign off on these deals. Without these crucial steps followed…you are buying in the land of wolves….and if you aren’t a wolf…then forget it. The good news is, is that you don’t need to be a wolf, you just need a good Professional Realtor.
The message here is that we take pride in what we do as Professional Realtors here in the Vallarta area. I’m almost positive that most have different ways of servicing clients. I think the first step for clients is to at least go the way of finding a certified AMPI Realtor. We work with the MLS and have fairly strict guidelines and regulations of how we are able to conduct business. Piece of mind goes a long way, and leaving the work to a professional is a prudent decision.
Aforementioned: “One of the largest transactions in ones lifetime”. Don’t toss your money to the Wolves.
The Johnson & Bassett Team
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