M55 L21 Cerrada del Atun, Cholla Bay, Puerto Penasco

Dazzling views from this amazing lot – see sunsets over the the Sea of Cortez, sunrises over the mountains to the east, Cholla’s wonderful estuary, desert vistas all the way to the Pinacate, and city lights too! Ideally located high on a hill in a cul-de-sac with no thru traffic, but close enough to the ocean to hear the waves on the rocks. Over 7,000 square feet for your dream home, with a stone retaining wall already installed, and a flat space below at street level for parking, or perhaps a garage. Offered with owner financing, this is one of the nicest lots anywhere!

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Another Great Dental Experience in Mexico!

I highly recommend Estrada Family Dentistry in Puerto Penasco, who easily solved my dental problem at a great price!

Yesterday I was re-routed by traffic on my way home from an errand, and was forced to drive by my dentist’s office. I had coincidentally been thinking of my dental dilemma earlier in the day, so I impulsively stopped in to hopefully resolve a problem that I created, then allowed to “mature” for around 3 years!

Yesterday I was re-routed by traffic on my way home from an errand, and was forced to drive by my dentist’s office. I had coincidentally been thinking of my dental dilemma earlier in the day, so I impulsively stopped in to hopefully resolve a problem that I created, then allowed to “mature” for around 3 years!

Please allow me to digress – I had a 3-tooth bridge on lower left jaw that served me extremely well for 10 years or so, until I ate a Sugar Daddy – remember those hard caramel suckers that soften up and disappear with lots of sucking? Well, I can tell you that when you chew that sucker, it will take your bridge right out of your mouth!

My dentist, Dr. Arturo Yamamoto, whom I just love, and who installed the bridge for me, was out of town.  So I went instead to the office of highly-recommended Dr. Abraham Estrada, DDS where Dra. Leslie – female doctors in Mexico are addressed as “Doctora” – fitted me for a new bridge, and I paid $9,000 pesos, around $600 US dollars, for the porcelain-on-metal bridge, which was to be ready in 1 week.

Then I had a heart attack, and my teeth plummeted to the bottom of my list of priorities; I did not even respond when I was notified that the bridge was ready.  More life challenges ensued, including family deaths, a hip replacement, a residential move, the wedding of my grandson – you get it – life did not wait for me to regroup and reorganize, I got used to chewing on the right, and, other than an occasional passing thought, I did not even think about the bridge! Until yesterday.  I thought, “I wonder if, after 3 years…” and I dropped into the office of Estrada Family Dentistry without an appointment at 5:00 p.m.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that even though Dra. Leslie got married and is no longer working, the office has been remodeled and now has 3 dentists and 2 endodontists, plus an anesthesiologist, the receptionist remembered me, knew where my bridge was, and introduced me to Dra. Zaira G Medina, DDS.  Dr. Zaira tried her best to fit the bridge into my mouth, but of course teeth have moved around without a bridge to keep them in place, and she was unable to achieve a good fit. I liked Dr. Zaira and her “touch,” if you know what I mean – a dentist’s touch is very important – which was reassuring, while her demeanor was competent, as well as friendly. She does not speak English, but my Spanish worked well enough, and there are English-speaking people in the office to help, if needed.  The only solution was to start again from scratch.

I was offered 2 options for a new bridge, a temporary that will last 6-12 months, at a cost of $1500 pesos, about $100 US dollars, or a permanent porcelain-over-metal bridge for $5,500 pesos, or about $305.00. I will not have to pay for anything except the lab who makes the bridge this time around, which is lovely of them. I decided on the permanent porcelain bridge, and it will be ready in only 5 days.  Even though I was in the dental chair for an hour, there was no charge, and I will pay for my bridge when I get it on Saturday. What a great result!

For information about Estrada Family Dentistry:  http://estradafamilydentistry.com.  Good news is that Dr. Jesus Cota, DDS now works at Estrada Family Dentistry – about 20 years ago Dr. Cota did 3 root canals in one afternoon for me, and I felt not a shadow of pain, nor did I have any complications. He is who you want to do your root canals!

What Did You Say You Want for Christmas? Storage of Your Mexican Documents

If you own a property in Mexico, you may have well been dazzled by the quantity of paper involved with the closing, the number of times you signed your name, sometimes multiple times within the same document, and the number of times you were asked for seemingly silly items such as the electric bill for your property “up north.”  When you finally get your copy of the bank trust, it can be underwhelming – you have waited all this time for this?  It is legal size, written in Spanish, with no translation, and has many pages – surely this is not the deed, right? Well, it must be important because you had to sign that you received it, so you’ll keep it, but where?  Under the seat of the car, just until you get home, because it is so large; later you will find a place for it “at home.”

When I purchased a property in Paradise over 20 years ago, my HOA president suggested a system of paperwork organization for Mexico that has worked wonderfully for me. All your Mexico paperwork will fit nicely in one of those portable plastic file boxes, available many places for $10 or so.  That box should be with you, regardless of whether you are in the USA or here in Mexico.  In other words, it should make every single trip back and forth, because, trust me on this, in the future you will need what seem like strange documents at the oddest times, and if your file box is religiously updated and with you, you will have what you need when you need it. The box should contain several separate files, as follows:

Personal: 2 COLOR copies of your passport (NOT your actual passport) photo page – be sure you have signed the passport before copying; 2 COLOR copies of your driver license, which shows your CURRENT residential address; 2 COLOR copies of your Mexican resident card – both sides.

  • Personal: 2 COLOR copies of your passport (NOT your actual passport) photo page – be sure you have signed the passport before copying; 2 COLOR copies of your driver license, which shows your CURRENT residential address; 2 COLOR copies of your Mexican resident card – both sides.
  • Vehicle registration: 2 copies for every vehicle that goes to Mexico, including trailers or anything else requiring registration such as boats, ATV’s, etc.
  • Car insurance policy (Mexican): Make 2 copies, and leave them in your car. The original policy should be in your traveling file box.
  • Residential electric bill: 2 copies of the most recent electric bill for your home in USA. The address of service must show, and must be the same address as on your driver license. Be sure to update these copies in your file every time you receive a new bill.
  • Mexico electric receipt: save every single electric bill, with the payment receipt stapled to the back of the bill, for your Mexico property, and file with the most recent bill in the front of the file. NEVER discard these, regardless of their age!
  • Property tax receipt: save every single property tax bill, stamped paid, for your Mexico property, and file with the most recent in the front of the file. NEVER discard these either, regardless of their age!  This includes receipts for federal zone payments for those lucky enough to have waterfront property.
  • Bank trust: Take your original bank trust to a copy place such as Office Max and ask them to make 2 copies which have been reduced to 8 ½ x 11” size.  Keep the 2 copies in your traveling file, and store the original in a SAFE place that you will remember many months or years in the future –  a bank safe deposit box comes to mind.  My friends stored their bank trust in a fairly substantial safe that was fireproof and secure. But when their home was broken into, the thieves took the entire safe!  Do NOT leave your bank trust under the seat of the car – if left there, it may just go with the car when it is sold…or towed…or…

When you arrive at your destination, your traveling file box should be put inside your home, and not left in your car.  Be sure to take it home with you when you leave.   If you adopt this system, you will never have to tell anyone to wait until you arrive in Mexico “next trip” for an important document that is needed to help you and is stored in your Mexico house, and you will have handy documents that are helpful to you, in case you need service from the electric company or want to pay your taxes.

One last thought:  even if you are not a property owner, traveling with a folder that contains the first 4 items on the list above may prove very useful to you!  If you are involved in a fender bender, being able to hand over copies to a policeman and/or insurance adjuster will help to resolve a situation more quickly, and if you are one of the fortunate visitors who is ready to buy property, being able to hand those documents to your real estate agent when you make the offer will help to make the process just a bit easier.

So now Santa knows what to leave under the tree for you – a traveling file box!  Merry Christmas!

 

HEALTH CARE & EMERGENCY CARE IN PUERTO PEÑASCO

 

México is full of surprises and contradictions, among them is the fact that Mexican doctors are as well-trained, and in some cases, more highly trained, than doctors in the USA, and in nearly every case the services those doctors provide are ever so much more affordable. Broadly speaking, there are three levels of care available in México, including in Puerto Peñasco.

One Christmas day I took myself to the Hospital General, which can be thought of as the local “county hospital.” The building is basic, the doors are open 24/7, and they take care of everyone who walks through the door, charging very modest fees for their services. One recent Christmas day I already knew I had my annual case of bronchitis, but when breathing became more difficult, and my medication seemed to be failing, after reaching my doctor and learning he was out of town, I took myself to the general hospital. I hardly had time to sit in the waiting room before being seen by first a triage nurse, then a doctor, and soon learned that in addition to difficulty breathing, my blood pressure was dangerously high. I was tucked into a bed, given medication, both oral and IV, stabilized, and in the morning released with prescriptions and advice to see my own doctor for follow-up.  Cost?  Roughly $50 in US dollars – crazy low!

Many people, including foreigners who choose to live in México with a Permanent Resident visa from Mexican immigration, purchase IMSS (National Social Security Institute) health insurance from the Mexican Government.  The cost is quite reasonable – $6,150mx, or about $365 for my age group last year – for an annual policy. After some qualifiers during the first year, the insurance covers most policy holders for “usual” wellness care, as well as for sick and emergency care. IMMS is México’s most popular health program, so the clinics and hospitals tend to be crowded, and wait times can be long, but most people agree that the care is excellent. Necessary surgeries are covered by the insurance, as are necessary medical devices, and services such as physical therapy, as prescribed by your doctor. There are no co-pays. Prescription medications are not covered. The IMSS clinics in Puerto Peñasco are located within the hospital. They see patients by appointment, but one usually must go to the clinic to get an appointment. The hospital is open 24/7, and is where patients with IMSS health insurance go in case of emergency. IMSS has many specialty hospitals and clinics located all over México, so a person who needs a particular type of care may be referred to a facility in another town, or sometimes another state, or even another country, for the best of care.

Private health care may be paid by any of a palette of health insurance policies sold in the marketplace, or may be paid out of pocket. I recently underwent a hip replacement, for which my IMSS insurance would have sent me to Ciudad Obregon, about a 10-hour drive, for surgery by a doctor of their choice, much as a PPO in the USA works.  Because I wanted the freedom to pick my own surgeon, and wanted the surgery to be performed closer to home, I opted to have my hip replaced in a private hospital by a very talented, highly-recommended orthopedic surgeon with a fine reputation. The results were excellent, and the surgery cost under $10,000 – about the same amount, or a bit less, as a year of health insurance premiums, plus my co-pays and deductibles, in the USA would have cost.  Many people prefer private care because of shorter wait times than at the IMSS hospitals, and more options for service.  The truth is that many of the doctors who provide private care are also on the work schedule at either the Hospital General or the IMSS hospital, or both, and the level of care provided is the same, regardless of the facility.

Medical tourism, currently in its infancy in Puerto Peñasco, is a rapidly growing industry that is aimed at tourists who want elective medical procedures such as cosmetic surgery, and other non-essential procedures at lower prices than they will pay at home.  The patients expect, and get, excellent medical care in state-of-the-art facilities, at excellent prices. Recovery here in Paradise is a bonus.

What do you do if you are visiting Paradise for the weekend or a vacation, and someone in your party gets sick?  You will take your ailing vacationer to a medical clinic – more on that below.  What if someone in your party has a heart attack, or breaks a leg or sustains an injury that requires emergency medical attention?  Call 911! Get an ambulance! The Red Cross will respond with an ambulance staffed by a driver and at least one paramedic. They will ask where you want your loved one to be taken. Unless you have IMSS insurance, your choices for treatment are either the Hospital General or one of a number of private medical facilities. There are several good ones, some of which I have used over the 16 years that I have lived here.  My preference is Clinica San José, located on Blvd. Benito Juarez in the heart of the city, with a 2nd location on Sandy Beach open weekends.  They are open 24 hours, always with a doctor on duty, and usually someone on duty speaks English. I have moved my routine medical care to Clinica San José, where I found a doctor I am crazy about. I have actually referred friends who live in the USA without health insurance, to Dra. Yolanda Edith Venegas Valdez, and they really like her too. And we love Nurse Manuela Valenzuela, who is the best at starting IV’s in difficult veins! Through personal experience, I found that Clinica San José is well-equipped to manage serious emergencies, with radiology, EKGs, even a fully-equipped surgical suite and hospital beds, onsite. Clinica San José operates its own ambulance fleet with dedicated paramedics, and can take patients to the border for transfer to a US ambulance for transport for treatment in the USA. They can also arrange the airlift of critical patients to other locations for treatment. Clinica San José accepts cash in pesos or in dollars, and MasterCard and VISA cards, so you can avoid multiple trips to the ATM machine in order to pay in cash.  Again, charges are much more economical than for similar services in the USA; my emergency surgery, performed in the clinic, cost less than $1,500.

You might want to program the phone number for Clinica San José into your phone; the Mexican number is 638-383-5121, from a USA phone 011-52-638-383-5121. If you need an ambulance, you may want to call Clinica San José instead of calling 911, because the Clinica San José ambulances usually have an English-speaking attendant onboard, and they will take you directly to the clinic. As well, you may want to program the number of Dra. Venegas into your phone.  You can call her any time of the day or night at 011-52-1-638-107-2368 from a USA phone, or 638-107-2368 from a local cell phone, and she will meet you at the clinic.

While it is fervently hoped that you will not need emergency medical care while vacationing in Rocky Point, hopefully this overview of medical services increases your level of comfort for your visits.  Remember that Mexican medical providers are extremely well-trained, highly skilled medical professionals, and they are available to take care of the medical needs of you and your family while you are here in Puerto Peñasco.  You may find that, like my friend, you’re seduced by excellent care, provided by a consummate professional, after a very short wait, for a very reasonable price, and decide to get all your medical care here in Paradise!

An Overview of the Property Buying Process in Mexico

The following inquiry came to me through my website:  “Hi, i was hoping i could get more info on the buying process in mexico.”  I had to think about how to answer – when compared to the property buying process in Arizona (and every state has similarities and differences), there are many similarities and a few significant differences.

In the Puerto Peñasco real estate market, you will select your real estate agent and property much as you would anywhere (you might want to see my other posts about selecting agents and property). Two significant differences from buying in Arizona are how closing costs and earnest money are handled.

Even though the approved Offer to Purchase form has an area to show closing costs, rarely does a real estate agent try to estimate those costs! Only a Mexican notario publico (not to be confused with a notary public in the USA) can give a reliable estimate of closing costs to be assessed to both seller and buyer for this exact transaction. Usually the offer includes a statement that seller and buyer will receive and approve closing costs after the deposit of the earnest money.

Earnest money is typically paid when the offer is written and signed by the buyer, who expects to submit the earnest money with the offer. This aspect of the purchase works differently here.  Once the offer is accepted by the seller, that is, buyer and seller have come to a signed agreement in which the price and terms of the transaction are defined and agreed upon, THEN the buyer must deposit money into an escrow account. If no earnest money is deposited, the deal is dead.

The amount of the earnest money, the escrow agency, and who pays for the escrow service are among the details in the offer that have been agreed upon by seller and buyer.  The escrow account is opened by the buyer, using instructions from the buyer’s real estate agent.  Once the escrow account has been opened with the earnest money deposit, then the seller and buyer agents will deliver all necessary paperwork required from seller and buyer to the transaction coordinator.  Earnest money secures the property for the buyer, and triggers the first and subsequent steps of the process that lead to closing the transaction.

Depending upon the agreed terms of the offer, the transaction coordinator will order an appraisal (for tax purposes, NOT for market value) of the property, usually at buyer expense, then will obtain from a notario publico the closing costs for the transaction, to which both parties generally agree before the transaction moves forward. Next may be a survey of the lot, paid by the buyer, and approved by buyer before the next step to closing.

Subsequent steps depend upon many variables, such as whether the purchase is cash or seller financing, whether the buyer is a foreigner to Mexico or a Mexican citizen, whether the buyer will take title to the property, or will own through a Mexican corporation or an LLC in the USA.  Other variables that affect the closing is which bank holds the bank trust (if there is one) – some banks are more efficient and easier to work with than others, whether the seller had all his documents in order when the property was listed, and even the time of year!  The transaction coordinator works with many different offices in Puerto Peñasco, and most of those offices go on vacation for 2 weeks in July, and about 3 weeks over the Christmas-New Year holidays.

For the actual closing, sellers and buyers will need to obtain visas, on the Mexican side of the border in order to verify that they are actually in Mexico to sign documents. If any parties are unable to be in Mexico for the signing, remote signing can be arranged, but must be planned for well before the closing date.  Delivery of the deed to the seller comes weeks, or sometimes months, after the closing, depending upon how long the bank takes to do its work, and the public registry takes to register the deed.

I want to emphasize that this is a brief summary of “the buying process in Mexico,” and that every transaction is different in some way from every other one.  I also want to emphasize that your choice of real estate agent is terribly important! I have been helping sellers sell and buyers buy Rocky Point real estate for nearly 14 years, and I am still surprised by never-seen wrinkles in transactions. The good news is that after all this time and all my experience, I have contacts who can guide us through nearly any situation.  My first priority is to see that my clients, both buyers and sellers, are absolutely protected, and that should be the priority of every real estate agent. I hope this helps!

 

Help Your Agent to Help You Find the Right Property in Paradise

Now that you have made the decision to purchase property in Paradise, you have decided what area of Puerto Peñasco / Rocky Point is the right one, you have found the right real estate agent to help you with your purchase, and you have determined the price you can pay for your property, help your agent to help you!

Let your agent know your “must haves,” so she can begin to find properties for your consideration that will actually work for you.  As important as the “must haves” are the “not only no, but never in a million years!” features.  You love natural light, but you hate skylights?  Be sure your agent knows this!

Let your agent know your purpose for the property;  will you actually use the property, or is it strictly an investment, with the goal of making money?  Is the property for the exclusive use of your family and friends, or if it is to be a corporate retreat for your employees.  Will you put it in the rental pool, or will it stand empty when you or your friends or employees are not using it?  Will the property regularly host children, or will the users be mainly adults?  Do you plan to move to Puerto Peñasco to live here full-time (I have NEVER regretted doing that!), will this always be a vacation home, or do you plan to vacation now, retire in your home later?  If moving here, do you have school-age children?

Are you willing to maintain a home, or do you prefer the convenience of a condominium? Do you mind noisy weekend renters, or do you prefer peace and tranquility?  Can you climb stairs, and are you willing to do so?

Armed with the answers to all these questions, your agent will be able to use the Multiple Listing Service to match your criteria with available properties, then arrange for you to tour those properties.  The right home or condo is here for you, and if you help your agent to help you, the search will be enjoyable.  Happy shopping!

 

How Much Home in Paradise Can I Afford?

You have made the decision that a home near the Sea of Cortez is right for you, and now the question is how to pay for it.  If you are one of the lucky ones with expendable cash, you are in the best position to purchase the property you want, and, to the limit of your expendable cash, the Taj Mahal or something like it is yours. On the other hand, if you need financing, have a down payment, and are long on the ability to make monthly payments, you may be able to purchase with a loan, given the right circumstances.

Bank loans for property are not readily available to foreigners to Mexico, but often seller and buyer can work together on a transaction that involves owner financing.  In this scenario, the seller becomes the lender, usually to the benefit of both seller and buyer.

Currently (July 2016) interest rates for owner financing of Puerto Peñasco properties hover around 6% APR.  Americans think that is crazy high, since loan rates for homes in the USA are quite low – usually 4% or less.  However, those loans are from large institutions, rather than private individuals.  Conversely, Mexicans think the rate is crazy low, because they cannot get a property loan from a bank for much less than 10%.  In any case, we are not in the USA, and while we might negotiate a lower interest rate, 6% is the prevailing rate, at least for now.

The figures below shows what a buyer should expect to afford, assuming a 10-year loan at 6% APR.

BALANCE FINANCED MONTHLY PAYMENT
$65,000 $721.63
$75,000 $832.65
$85,000 $943.67

The chart below shows the price of the property you can afford, based upon different loan amounts.  Please note that this addresses ONLY the cost of the property, and does NOT include closing costs,  which will add to your initial out-of-pocket expenses.

DOWN PAYMENT BALANCE FINANCED PRICE THAT CAN BE PAID FOR PROPERTY
$30,000 $65,000 $95,000
$30,000 $75,000 $105,000
$30,000 $85,000 $115,000

Your real estate agent can help you to calculate the numbers for your property purchase.  If one backs into the transaction, assuming an annual interest rate (APR) of 6%, and starting with the cash on hand for a down payment, then deciding the monthly payment that the buyer can affordably and reliably pay, and the length of time buyer will pay, usually 3-10 years, but the shorter the better, the agent and the buyer can together decide the approximate cost of the property that can be afforded by the buyer.

If the buyer has decided on the area in which he wants to purchase, the real estate agent, armed with a realistic price range, can find all the properties that fit the criteria of the buyer on the Multiple Listing Service.  MUCH time and effort looking at properties that are not affordable to the buyer will be saved.  Nothing is more frustrating than to have the perfectly-priced perfect home get away while you are looking at homes that you simply cannot afford to buy. As well, buyers have more fun looking at properties they can actually afford – looking and wishing for what they cannot hope to have usually causes frustration, and it certainly misleads the real estate agent, who really does want to help the buyer find the right property. Honesty and trust between the buyer and his real estate agent will help the agent to help the buyer to realize his goals, and maybe even his dreams.

 

Choosing the Right Mexico Real Estate Agent

Choosing the right real estate agent to help with your Mexico property purchase is VERY important!  It may come as a surprise to you when I say that all real estate agents are NOT created equally!  There are good agents and lesser ones, some have lots of experience and some have little, most are honest, but a few are downright crooks.  There are 65 or so real estate agents in the Puerto Peñasco Association of Real Estate Professionals (AMPI), and even more in town who do not belong to the association. How do you sort the honest, experienced talent from the others?  Interview them!  The agent receives pay as a result of your patronage, and your potential patronage gives you every right to politely ask questions toward the goal of choosing the right real estate agent for your needs.

While agents in the state of Sonora, Mexico, are required to have real estate licenses, many agents have apparently not gotten the word, and are operating without licenses. Besides that, the state provides nearly no oversight of licensed agents, or unlicensed agents, for that matter;  if you have a problem with a licensed agent, your only recourse is to complain to the state of Sonora Department of Economy, and wait and hope for results.

AMPI, the Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals, has a chapter in Puerto Peñasco.  Real estate agent members at the associate level, including all real estate brokers and many of the agents, are, through their membership in AMPI, also members of the National Association of Realtors in the USA, a sister organization to AMPI.  AMPI helps members to build experience and professionalism through education and mentoring, and ethical cooperation through use of the Multiple Listing Service, which displays all AMPI agent exclusive listings to all members, and provides verifiable data that can assist agents to guide their clients in vital decision making regarding properties.  An agent who is not a member of AMPI may NOT use the Multiple Listing Service.

Real estate agent members of AMPI receive regular continuing education, and are held to minimum standards of practice.  They are required to use uniform, legally-approved forms, and are guided by a code of ethics. If you have a problem with an AMPI member real estate agent, you can file an ethics complaint with the local chapter, and it will be researched and ruled upon by the chapter’s Honor and Justice Commission. In other words, with an AMPI agent, you have local recourse if you have a bona fide problem with an agent.  It is strongly recommended that you ask your potential agent if he or she is licensed, if your agent is a current AMPI member, and if your agent has had any ethics complaints filed against him.  You can verify the real estate license and AMPI membership status of any real estate agent by going to www.rockypointampi.com. Under the tab “AMPI Puerto Peñasco” click on members to see the names of all members of the Puerto Peñasco chapter, listed alphabetically by first name.  On the members page you will also find a link to the Mexico State Registry of Real Estate Agents – click on that to see the status of the real estate license of any real estate agent in the state of Sonora.

Does your agent have experience in THIS real estate market, and in the kind of real estate you are seeking? Many experienced real estate agents come to Mexico thinking that selling here will be a snap, due to their experience in the USA, and are surprised at just how different working in this market can be.  A USA real estate agent’s hardest job may be helping you to physically locate the properties, while mortgage providers and title companies take on the heavy lifting.  Not so in Mexico!  An agent with 30 years’ experience selling real estate in the USA, primarily in Texas and California, and who spoke fluent Spanish, told me that he had no idea how complicated selling in the state of Sonora could be, and that without an experienced mentor in Puerto Peñasco, he would never have figured out how to get a transaction closed!

An agent with experience selling homes and condominiums may not be the right agent to help you find a large parcel of land for a manufacturing operation. Your prospective agent needs to know the local market, and the many areas of Puerto Peñasco and the surrounding area. He or she should have experience selling the type of property you want to buy, and needs to have been involved in the closing of several transactions.  Ask your potential agent how long he or she has been selling real estate in the Puerto Peñasco market, in what type real estate he or she specializes, and how many of his or her transactions have actually closed.  This would be a great time to ask for references – get the names and contact information of several clients whose transactions have closed, and then actually contact them! Other considerations are whether the agent(s) you interview lives in Rocky Point, or is he a sometimes resident?  Is he a full-time real estate agent, or does he have another job, and real estate helps to fill the holes in his wallet?

You can interview as many agents as you like, and it would be fair to tell them what you are doing when you make an appointment with them.  Be sure to set up the appointment in your prospective agent’s office, where you will be able to see how the office operates, whether it appears organized and businesslike, and how your prospective agent interacts with co-workers.  You might want to pass if the agent suggests meeting in a bar or restaurant – an interview is not a social event, but rather is a business function – and by all means move on if the agent tells you he or she does not have time for an interview!  When you find the person with the qualifications you like, consider signing a buyer-agent agreement with him or her.  After all, the agent you select will be working hard for you, and deserves your loyalty in return.

Remember that you want a great agent with lots of talent and experience, well-recommended with a good reputation, who is organized and businesslike;  if he is gorgeous and funny too, that is great, but not necessary.  This sounds like a tall order, but the agent described here is available many times over in Puerto Peñasco, so you won’t have to settle for less.  Once you have found the right agent, your property search becomes ever so much easier!

Thinking of buying property in Mexico? Some things to consider…

Falling in love with a place as alluring as Puerto Peñasco / Rocky Point is so easy!  Do you remember being in love and your beloved could do no wrong?  Then, after a while, reality set in, and your beloved turned out to be less perfect than you originally thought.  A good idea is to visit several, or even many, times to be sure it is love and not infatuation that will fade and die.  So the first order of business is to be SURE that a property purchase in Puerto Peñasco / Rocky Point, or even some other place in Mexico, is right for you.

Buying property can be the same way.  What you thought was the perfect, private, serene, secluded beach house ends up being a L-O-N-G distance from the nearest bottle of wine or chocolate bar, or trip to the movies, that you are used to finding a few minutes away.  That can get old.

If you are considering a property purchase in Mexico, go slowly and THINK about how you want to vacation, and perhaps live, in the future.  If you allow yourself to fall in love with a property before you have a clear idea of the kind of property you actually need, really want, and can afford, your infatuation complicates the job of looking objectively at the property.  Love conquers all – even when buying property – until it doesn’t, and then you are stuck with a property that does not work for you and your family, and you don’t even like the property any more!  Ugh!

The first order of business is to get thoroughly familiar with the entire area.  Spend some time driving around and looking at different neighborhoods. You will hone in on the types of places that appeal to you as you look at the different areas.  The Puerto Peñasco real estate market encompasses many miles, from El Golfo de California to the northwest, all the way to Desemboque to the the southeast, and along the highway to Sonoyta all the way to the county line about 25 miles north of Peñasco. There are private homes on secluded beaches, homes in the heart of town, rural ranches – practical homes, mansions, shacks, boat houses with apartments above, and on and on.  You might want to tap the talents of a local realtor to help you learn about the different areas in the market, but do not expect a tour – plan to tour on your own, slowly and purposefully.  Try to visit with people in areas you think you might like, even rent a house or condo for a few days, and get a real picture of the neighborhood.

Figure out where you and your family will best fit, and you have thoughtfully taken a very important first step to ownership of property in Paradise.

Lunch at FreshCo in Puerto Peñasco

FreshCo is one of my “staple” restaurants;  more American than Mexican, they serve homemade cream of broccoli and tortilla soup, fresh tossed salads with LOTS of things to put in them, and several styles of sandwiches with creative and delicious fillings, made on specialty breads baked in the restaurant kitchen.  Chef Franco Padilla has a way with sandwiches;  he bakes all the bread, seasons and slow roasts the beef for the roast beef panini, features several combinations that you would never think of putting in a sandwich, but ohmygoodness they are good!

Usually I go to FreshCo weekly, and purchase a large tossed salad, which is HUGE.  There is a plethora of ingredients to add to the greens – meats, cheeses, julienned and diced vegetables, fruit, seeds, pasta, olives and on and on, and the staff are very generous with the portions they add as you select what you want;   there is no extra charge for the toppings.  You finish by selecting your salad dressing, then they toss the entire salad in a huge bowl, from which you eat if you are eating in the restaurant, or they somehow fit it all back into the plastic container that held the greens, and you are ready to take it home.  I have mine prepared a bit differently.  Since I prefer to use as little one-use plastic as possible, I take my own large (plastic – what can I say? At least I use it over and over!) bowl with me, so that FreshCo can re-use the plastic greens container.  I skip the meat and cheese, but have them load up my salad with julienne beets and carrots, garbanzo and black beans, olives, onions, dried cranberries, mushrooms – anything that does not have a high water content, such as tomatoes.  They toss the salad in my bowl, cover it, and I have salad at home for 4 or 5 days.  It lasts beautifully, as long as I avoid things with lots of natural water.  This is SO much easier than making a salad every day, and I am eating veggies that I would never prepare at home…I am just not going to julienne beets after working all day!   And I have stopped throwing away unused ingredients – sometimes you just cannot eat the quantities you must purchase at the market before they deteriorate – and therefore money.

Today we had a cup of cream of broccoli soup with a chicken salad sandwich.  You only thought you knew chicken salad!  Between 2 slices of homemade bread were apples, cucumbers, almonds, onion, dried cranberries, lettuce,  and, of course, cooked diced chicken, all held together with a nicely-seasoned sauce that was definitely not mayonnaise – yogurt perhaps?  SO good!  The soup was good too, but that sandwich was excellent.  We drank a tall glass of the house specialty drink, which is an icy pineapple and cucumber drink – it is very refreshing and just tastes healthy…

Located on the east side of Boulevard Benito Juárez,  just a block or two north of Calle Constitución (the street on which Super Ley is located), FreshCo is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily except Sunday.  They have delivery service – you can call 638-383-3737 to order anything on the menu – soup and salad for one, or a salad for your dinner party – and have it delivered to your home or office.  So next time you are thinking no more enchiladas, no more shrimp, no more burgers, give FreshCo a try – it is at the top of my restaurant list.