Reader's Polls / Best Real Estate Agency in Yucatan 2008

Best Real Estate Agency in Yucatan 2008

Best Real Estate Agency in Yucatan 2008

27 May 2008 Reader's Polls 112

If you are living here in Yucatan, chances are one of the first things you did was to buy or rent a home.

While some of us were savvy enough or spoke Spanish well enough to trato directo (deal direct) with the sellers or landlords, many of us spent our initial days here with a helpful real estate agent. So we're pretty sure that almost every reader of Yucatan Living has something to contribute to this poll.

In order for a real estate agency to qualify for this poll, it must list and sell properties in and around the state of Yucatan. And it must also have at least one bilingual employee who can deal competently with English-speaking extranjeros.

Please consider a few other things when voting for the best real estate agency. Naturally, the best agency should hire and employ knowledgeable agents. They should know the territory, the process of buying and selling a house here in the Yucatan and how to get things done in this environment. They should treat customers well, with both patience and respect. They should have integrity (loosely defined as doing what they say they are going to do). They should be pleasant to work with, and after the deal is done, you should feel comfortable recommending them to family and friends.


Some things we feel are not in the real estate agent's control, especially here in the Yucatan. We believe you can’t judge a real estate agent on how long it takes to buy or sell a house, for instance. Or on whether or not the seller or buyer had integrity. Or on how happy or unhappy you are with the house once you move in. Sometimes, forces of nature (or forces of Mexico) create havoc for the best of professionals.

We open this poll with five real estate agencies that work regularly with extranjeros, but this is certainly not an exhaustive list. New agencies appear on the scene all the time, and we are not the best judges... that's why the Poll is here for our readers to make their favorites known. So please vote (one person - one vote, please) and may the best agency win!

The Nominees Are...

Here in alphabetical order are the initial 2008 nominees for Yucatan Living's Readers Choice Award for Best Real Estate Agency in Yucatan:

Buena Vida Realtors – Run by Rupert Millautz, Buena Vida Realtors is a small agency that prides itself on providing good service.

Casa Blanca Real Estate – Probably the oldest agency that works with English-speaking extranjeros, the agency is run by Jorge Caceres with offices on the corner of Calle 55 and Calle 66.

Mexico International – Founded by Mitch Keenan, the first extranjero to set up a real estate agency in Merida. His team of agents is based out of their offices in the Fiesta Americana building next to the Sanborn’s restaurant.

Real Estate Yucatan – The husband and wife team of Gabriela Isaac and Alec Stephens, and Gabriela's brother Isaac Salim, run this agency. Gabriela and Isaac are Yucatecos and Alec hails from Mexico City, but spent many years working and living in the USA.

Tierra Yucatan – This agency is represented by Jennifer Lytle, her socio, David Palomo and a team of agents. Jen has traveled and lived in Mexico for over 30 years after moving here from San Antonio, Texas. Jennifer’s team works out of their renovated colonial office on Calle 66 in Merida’s centro historico.

Nominate Your Favorite

If you know the name of an agency that deserves to be nominated for the 2008 award, please leave a comment with the name of the company, the agent and the website address. We'll add them to the Poll. Nominations will be accepted until September 1st, giving everyone plenty of time to add their favorite agency. Voting will continue under the very end of 2008, and not a minute sooner!

Reader's Nominations:

Mayan Living - Jim Mann has run this very successful real estate firm for as long as we've been in Merida.

Mayan Realty - A local real estate firm owned by Jorge Mazún.

Bookmark Yucatan Living and come back often to see how your favorite agency is doing. Then, come back again in early 2009 to read about the winners of the 2008 Yucatan Living Readers Choice Awards for Best Real Estate Agency in Yucatan.


  • Working Gringos 9 years ago

    As far as we know, they are still in business. The office door looked open when we drove past a week or so ago. But you are right, their web presence seems to have disappeared.

  • Lynn 9 years ago

    Is Casa Blanca still in business? I find a few web pages for them that dead in, but no phone or email contact. I realize this article is old, but thought I'd ask anyway. Thanks if anyone can help.

  • David Christian 13 years ago

    As the proud owner of 3 Merida properties, I'd like to just take a moment to give a heart-felt thanks to Gabriella & Lucia at Casa Yucatan. Really too much to go into here, but suffice to say, they've both been more than just "realtors" to me. A personal tragedy hit me right in the middle of my last negotiation, and not only did they convince the seller to have patience and delay the closing for 4 months, but they were both so kind as to continuously email me and find out how I was doing and offer any assistance they could to make things easier for me. I will always be thankful not only for their professionalism in real estate, but for their genuine concern and personal interest in what I've been going through on a personal & emotional level. I know I can count them as true friends, and should I need anything in the future, whether it be real estate related, or just someone to talk to...they will both be there for me. Thank you Gabriella Cornelio & Lucia Pantoja. You are both quite special to me.

  • Naomi & Danny Murphy 13 years ago

    I would like to nominate Casa Yucatan Real Estate. Gabriela Cornelio, owner and architect is a first rate professional! My husband and I have been looking for a place to retire permanently and were interested in the Yucatan Peninsula because it seemed to offer everything we were looking for. We chose Gabriela because of the many testimonials from satisfied customers. We were not disappointed! She teams up with her equally talented husband/builder to offer a full service agency. Not only did we find our dream home but she hooked us up with a wonderful attorney and finance person. It was the most pleasant and relatively easiest transaction we've ever executed! I would highly recommend her services. She not only has many diverse listings all over the Yucatan but she & her husband design and build beautiful villas on the beach in Telchac Puerto. The workmanship is exquisite!

  • Stanley Urban 13 years ago

    Looking for a real estate agent in Meridia.. Rent first. Buy after.

  • Isaac Salim 14 years ago

    Hello Everyboboy again, since i read some articles about closing tips on the YucatanLiving.Com website , i wanted to share an extra 3 tips for closing sales that a very good friend of ours Mr. John Palumbo toghether with Laura Lorber from the Wall Street Journal sent us:
    Three Tips for Closing a Sale
    Some sales people seem to roll along the sales track until they get to the close – and then abruptly fall off.

    Losing nearly-done deals may occur more often at small companies, which typically don't have the same focus on sales or the resources of larger competitors.

    Business owners frequently expect the sales team to operate with little guidance, says John Palumbo, chief executive of the Sales DNA Institute, a sales-and-marketing management firm in Jacksonville, Fla. Their attitude, he says, often is: "They should know how to do all this."
    We asked Mr. Palumbo, who helps companies, including family-run firms, revamp their sales strategies, about ways small companies can ramp up their closing rates. Here is some of the advice that he shared.

    1. Confidence is your No. 1 asset.
    Many sales people at small businesses often have charisma, the gift of gab and presentation skills, but they falter when it comes to asking for the money. They may not believe enough in the product or its value. Or they may worry that people will say no and they'll take it personally.

    Gaining a deep understanding of the customer and the product or service they're selling can help build confidence, Mr. Palumbo says.

    "Sales people want to go out there and work for a company that will teach them what to do. They are begging for help. Most owners don't understand that," he says.

    2. Integrate the word 'only' into presentations.
    Having only one of something often creates urgency in a customer's mind. Why? When supply is abundant, customers may see no need to hurry to buy. But for a one-of-a-kind item, often the reverse is true.

    "The word 'only' is probably one of the most powerful selling agents when it gets to the close," he says. "Good sales people can create a one-of-a-kind use on every product they've got."

    Auto dealerships do this when they have only one kind of car on the lot that you want – for example, a white model with leather seats and satellite radio. Customers often will close sales themselves, he says.

    3. Don't wait to hear the word 'yes.'
    Many sales employees wait for the customer to say, "Yes, I'll take it." But many people don't say it. So a good sales person says, "Do you have any other questions before I start writing this up?"

    When the answer is no, the sales representative begins filling out the contract.

    "The word 'no' becomes a positive," he says.

    Again, Merry Chistmas and Happy New year

    From the RealEstateYucatan.Com Team!

  • Jim 14 years ago

    From all the staff at Mayan Living Real Estate, we would like to wish all our clients a wonderful holiday season. We here at Mayan Living try to help our special clients celebrate not only at this time of year, but everyday. To each of you above, may the New Year be full of joy and happiness. Our gift to you is a helping hand all year long, not just when you sign a contract. We are here long after the ink drys....
    Thanks to each and everyone of you for a wonderful year.

  • Isaac Salim 14 years ago

    Hello Everybody, i want to thank Yucatan Living and its people for being so helpfull, also i want to congratulate all the Real Estate brokers for working hard all this year 2008, i think everyone is trying to do their best on this wonderful job. Merry christmas and happy new year to all of you that have colaborated with comments and intesting articles.
    Isaac Salim

  • Anny 14 years ago

    Thanks CasiYucateco!

    That's almost exactly the letter I was formulating in my head after I read the comment from J.D. and Steve. I'm with Casa Blanca (soon to be Casa Montejo), and my boss, a Yucatecan, won't let us charge, because he's proud to show his region off. But I try to qualify, especially if it means a long trip out to the beaches.

    My favorites are the people who want you to pick them up at their hotel, and then show up with luggage. After seeing a few beach houses, they then ask to be taken to their hotel or rented house on the coast. So besides being a tour guide, I ended up providing free taxi service!

    Add to that the fact that, when I get home tired and hungry, not only do I have to clean up the sand and the burrs inadvertently trailed all over the floors and seats of my car, but often my guests have left any potato chip bags and empty bottles that they didn't feel like taking back to their hotel to throw away.

    But as they say here, "gajes del oficio," (occupational hazards or drawbacks): we almost all have them in our various jobs, and we just have to learn to work with them.

  • Working Gringos 14 years ago

    Thanks, CasiYucateco. As usual, you said it even better than we could have!

  • CasiYucateco 14 years ago

    The practice of charging began because quite a number of "buyers" turned out to be people on vacation who wanted free tours of Yucatan's haciendas and colonial homes. I was personally present when one couple expressed interest, asked to see several unrestored haciendas scattered across the countryside, rode along as the "showings" took place, and it became obvious that they were actually just tourists.

    I once saw another couple do the same thing - except they simply wanted to see the beach areas ("We're interested in really nice beach homes."). After a round-trip of nearly 200 miles, they revealed that they may be interested "in a few years but not now."

    People who are actually looking tend to ask a bazillion questions about legalities, title, escrow, fees, attorneys, fidiecomisos, maintenance, etc. People on a tour tend to comment "how beautiful," "wouldn't it be expensive to live here?" "wow, what a money pit, we're better off in our Toronto apartment." It becomes very obvious after a while.

    No one can stay in business under those conditions. Who can spend day after day with sightseers, paying nearly $4.00 for gasoline, driving dozens of miles? The fees sort out buyers from the tourists.

    Also, in the USA, there are qualifying interviews where income is asked (and should be checked), etc. So, the agent knows for a fact that you are qualified to buy a home. That doesn't take place in Mexico. Agents just have to take your word for it.

    Some charge and some don't. Those who don't tend not to show houses far from Centro, so they don't have much travel. Those more in demand tend to charge, because they've got to use their time with actual prospective buyers, not tourists. And anyway, many wave the fees once they determine someone is truly interested in buying.

    So, rather than "one of those Mexican things," it is something that (abusive) tourists have made necessary.

    (Full Disclosure: I am not a real estate agent, not employed by any real estate firm, and do not have property for sale. In other words, I don't have any hidden agenda.)

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