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San Felipe Realtors Association

Where will billions of San Felipe real estate dollars end up?

by Jose Perez

In January of this year, the first meeting of the newly forming San Felipe Realtor’s Association took place at the San Felipe Marina and Spa. Uria Amor, AMOR REALTY, took the initiative of contacting an attorney to draft articles of association and organized the first conference. The meeting, from this reporter’s observations, seemed to be a positive experience for all in attendance. The most notable remark was made by Ms. Amor: “Looking around this room, I see gathered a group of future millionaires”.

San Felipe DollarsAs I looked around the room I saw approximately forty five white folks and five or six brown faces. This made me consider: Where will all those millions go? No doubt about it, Uria Amor is right. Billions of dollars worth of real estate will be sold in San Felipe in the next two years. And realtors, especially U.S. realtors in San Felipe, will reap hundreds of millions of dollars in commissions. Will they re-invest in Mexico or will it be deposited in Palm Springs’ bank accounts? That is a question being asked more frequently among Mexican Real Estate professionals and immigration officials.

A veteran of the Cabo San Lucas realty boom and one of the few Mexican sales agents that participated in the Association meeting said to me: “It is Cabo all over again – the Americans dominate the real estate industry and few Mexicans earn lucrative real estate commission income. The immigration requirement (nine Mexicans to every one foreigner in a company) is satisfied with Mexicans filling low end paying construction, landscaping and food service jobs.”

The “numbers game” of satisfying immigration standards, works for developers who have a heavily weighted Mexican construction labor force. But what about the real estate brokers who are not developers and have minimal blue collar needs? Where are they going to find bilingual Mexican real estate professionals in Baja to satisfy immigration ratio requirements? The answer is they are not going to find trained Mexican realtors in sufficient numbers. They will be forced, at some point in time, to train Mexicans in the art of real estate sales and marketing.

The newly forming realtor association in San Felipe might consider, as a high priority, the formation of a real estate school there. By establishing a school for real estate professionals in San Felipe they will help themselves in satisfying an immigration requirement they will be faced with sooner or later. In addition, they can use the same school to educate their Anglo agents in Mexican Real Estate law - which most is sorely deficient in.

Realtors in Mexico, Anglo or Mexican are not licensed or monitored by any governmental body in Mexico. Mexican real estate law does not require full disclosure to the extent we know it in the United States, especially as it pertains to real estate sales representatives. It is pretty much – buyers beware. A safe investment is one that can satisfy U.S. title insurance, available from First American, Stewart or Fidelity Title companies.

Given the climate among the new technocrats in Baja immigration offices, I would say the days of looking the other way on work force ratios are nearly over. Enforcement of Mexican immigration laws are subject to broad interpretation by the local official (“delegado”). The spirit of Mexican immigration law goes beyond a simple ratio of nine to one. The law also states that if a Mexican can satisfy the skills required of a job, that job must be filled by a national and not a foreigner.

Mexicomatters is a consulting firm specializing in real estate transactions and title insurance – agents for Global Title – issuing agent for First American Title.

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