Playa Del Carmen Villas and 7-Shades of Blue Ocean–How it All Started!
After spending what my family told me was too much time in University at both the University of South Carolina and the University of Copenhagen studying International Business, I honestly never thought that life would lead me down a path to become a Realtor in Mexico. But that is exactly what happened…
Coming to Cancun on Spring-Break for the first time, I visited Playa del Carmen for a grand total of 1 day. As many before me can attest, even one day was enough to “Get the bug”. The beauty of the area, the cenotes, the Caribbean Sea, the gorgeous Playa Del Carmen villas, the endless supply of lobster dinners, and a truly idealic lifestyle are all draws, as well as the cosmopolitan mix of cultures (Mexican, Caribbean, European, North and South American meet here unlike anywhere else) are special, but what really stood out to me was the opportunity.
As a student of Economics, it was not hard to see that Mexico had many things in its favor. A friend of mine describes it as “The United States in the 1950’s”, a time and a place ready for a sustained economic boom. From a personal standpoint, it was amazing to see how people (myself included) were drawn to this area in a way that cannot be described by mere words.
My first foray into the Real Estate world in Mexico came because a friend of mine was looking for a condo for his parents. We quickly met Manuel, a local guy who told us he was a Realtor. The next thing we knew we were looking at a marina front Playa Del Carmen Villas condo for $40,000. It sounded too good to be true. It turned out it was.
We were very lucky. My friend at the time was actually spending his parents money and they had a family friend who is from Mexico originally had worked in Real Estate. She knew the questions to ask and some of the things we needed to guard against. Even though Manuel urged us to just go through with the transaction without the need to spend “needless” money, and reminded us it was such a good deal we will probably can lose it if we didn’t do very very fast, we were not the ones actually making the decision.
In the end, more steady heads prevailed (my friends family) and we took that extra step to ask for help mostly because my friends parents demanded it. It turned out the condo was real but the title that Manuel was showing us was not. Such was my introduction to real estate in Mexico.
Now, years later, I have an appreciation for how lucky we really work. I’ve seen many people do things wrong and lose money in transactions on Playa del Carmen villas, condos and houses. What I’ve never seen though is a client of ours was cent.
It was not long after that I got my first job in Real Estate in the Mexican Market. There certainly was a lot to learn, the customs and ways of doing business here are much different than I was used to back in South Carolina. But what I quickly learned was Mexico is a land of laws and those laws are very clear once you understand them. There are many safeguards in place if you know how to use them, and others we needed to develop to make the market a little more familiar (for example, there is actually no translation for the word “escrow” in Spanish, but we still use one on every transaction). One thing was made abundantly clear to me from that transaction going forward.: Undertaking a real estate transaction without proper representation is unthinkable.
When I started my career as a Realtor with 4 Rules. Later, when founding American Development Company, these 4 rules became the basis for how we did business, and are what every new member of our team must adhere to. They are:
- Treat people honestly and fairly. If we can do it say so. But if we cannot do it be honest and also say so.
- Keep our word. If we say we’re going to do something then do it.
- Follow through. Like most things the secret to doing a good job in Real Estate is paying attention to details. There are a lot of details.
- Do not rest on our laurels. We believe if we’re not moving forward we are moving backwards. We judge our success on our last satisfied client.
These have served us well. Since that first transaction that did not go through with my friend and his parents, we have succeeded in helping hundreds of people realize their dream or start a business in Mexico. We have grown into a multifaceted organization with legal and fiscal areas, added a top notch staff of international agents, and branched out. In addition to the Realty side of things we are now full fledged Developers with a Construction company as well. Our presence in each of these industries gives us access to information and perspectives that others simply do not have. This allows us to do our job better, every day, with every transaction–and all of our Playa Del Carmen villas and listings.
On a personal note, it turns out that the business we do is very international in scope. Those courses in college were in fact so relevant, that I ended up going back and completing a 3 year program at Harvard Business School relating to doing business internationally that has been extremely valuable.
And my friend that came down with me all those years ago? Well he (and his parents as partners) now are owners of a beautiful beach front condo…. WITH a title!