Featured in Vallarta Lifestyles Magazine, Fall/Winter 2007 issue.

The time has come. Whether after one brief trip or following years of visiting Costa Vallarta, you have decided that you want to purchase your very own piece of paradise on the beach.

Back home, choosing a real estate professional to help in the process is fairly straightforward. You probably have someone you have already worked with or, at the very least, friends and family can make recommendations. But how to get started here, without the benefit of that local knowledge and experience?

There is an easy way. Much like an ISO designation for industrial processes or the USDA tattoo that you see on a nice cut of beef in the States, the Mexican real estate industry has its very own seal of quality – the Mexican Real Estate Professional’s Association, known as AMPI for its initials in Spanish.

“Mercantile law does not cover the range of fiduciary and ethical standards for the real estate category of work. AMPI has established its owns standards in these subjects for its members,” said Harriet Murray with Cochran Real Estate.

AMPI is a private organization that is working to fill that gap. AMPI has published ethical and fiduciary standards that its members are required to maintain. Those standards provide some assurance that the often complex process of a real estate transaction is less likely to go awry through a lack of due diligence on the part of the real estate professionals.

In addition, AMPI standards require that their associates be involved in the community they are servicing. Among the requirements for membership in AMPI, there is a need for 100 hours of continuing education and testing, and foreigners working in real estate must be approved to do so by immigration. In a real estate market as active as the Puerto Vallarta area, it is important to know that your realty agent will still be around the day after the ink has dried on the sales agreement.

Another key advantage that AMPI brokers have over their non-AMPI colleagues in this market is access to the Multi-List Vallarta service. This multiple listing service was developed and is managed by the Vallarta Lifestyles Publishing Group, (as well as being the company that publishes this website). With more than 650 qualified properties currently in the database, it is the most advanced multiple listing service in the country. Through the MLS, area brokers have access to a much wider range of properties than would otherwise be the case.

AMPI brokers are listed on www.mlsvallarta.com, the online version of the Multiple Listing Service.

Real Estate Licensing One Step Closer
Unlike in the United States or Canada, real estate professionals in Mexico are not officially licensed or accredited by the government.

But that may be about to change soon.
Mexico’s professional testing agency, the Center for the Assessment of Higher Education (know as CENEVAL for its initials in Spanish), is currently developing a standardized test for real estate professionals.

“Those who have met the requirements established by the Ministry of Education will be eligible to take this test,” said Tere Kimball with Prudential, president of AMPI Riviera Nayarita. “This test will be the equivalent to the degree or certificate that any professional (doctor, architect, lawyer, engineer) would receive from their college studies.”

When the test becomes available (expected for the first quarter of 2008), AMPI intends to make the test a requirement for membership in their organization.