Real Estate FYI / 8 Tips for Selling Your Yucatan House

8 Tips for Selling Your Yucatan House

8 Tips for Selling Your Yucatan House

12 November 2016 Real Estate FYI 21

Editors Note: We Working Gringos have both bought and sold houses in Merida over the years. And we aren't the only ones! If you are a regular reader of our website, you probably know that the Merida and Yucatan real estate markets are steadily growing. The following article by one of our friends, Mitch Keenan, the owner of Mexico International, points out some tips for those of you who are selling your homes here. Mitch has been selling homes here for longer than we have been living here, so you can be sure he speaks from experience.


Yucatan Real Estate Market

In Yucatan, homes have been steadily selling since we started this business over twenty years ago. Even during the slower months home continue to sell. If your home is not selling there is a reason.

Aspects that affect the sale of your home include location, floor plan, quality of construction, architecture, neighbors, traffic, available inventory and demand in the marketplace. Many of these aspects are difficult or expensive to change. The good news is that there are many ways you can improve the odds for a quick sale. So if you want to improve your chances, here are my 8 Tips For Selling Your Yucatan Property and they all revolve around one concept: Eliminate the Negatives!

Househunting Strategies

Typically buyers look at six or more homes a day. They are often on a quick trip just for the purpose of house hunting. Buyers will heartlessly toss the negative houses off their buy list. Sometimes they don’t even remember what impacted them negatively about the property. For that reason, it is important to eliminate as many negatives as possible!

Imagine that your buyers have returned to their hotel. They have seen fifteen houses over the last three days. They have a drink and discuss the homes that are still in the running. They have seen a lot homes and they may not remember everything they saw. Possibly, they liked your home but there was just some nagging little negative. So they toss your house from the list and continue with the decision making process.


It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are eight things you can do to make your house one that they will fondly remember.

Eight Steps To Selling Your Home in the Yucatan

1. Price

Overpricing your home is a deadly sin! That is so important, I am going to write it again. Overpricing your home is a deadly sin!

It is okay to test the market. But if you’re going to test the market it is important to listen to what the market tells you and then make the proper adjustments. If you are overpriced, you will probably know it pretty quickly (check in with your gut – what does it say?)

For the sake of this conversation, those who DO overprice their homes are your friends! They will effectively help you sell your home if your home is priced right.

2. Clean It Up

Would you buy a dirty beat-up used car that looked like it lacked general maintenance and was so full of stuff that you could not get a good look at the interior? You probably would not. Your home is an investment many times the value of a used car. It is important to market it properly and show it in its best light. Clean it up and make it shine!

Start by painting it. Yes, both inside and out. In Yucatan, paint exteriors weather within a few years. Use good quality paint. Use fun colors. You’re in Mexico! Give it some personality. You are selling your house, but you may have to live in it for a while, so while you are at it, paint it in colors you enjoy.

Re-grout, repair and buff those floors! Keep them clean. You want every person who walks into your home to feel like they can eat off the floors. We want them to see their reflections in them. We want them to say, “Wow, Love Those Floors!”

Check to see if your house is odiferous. If you’re a smoker, go outside to smoke. The smell of a smoker (tobacco or other) is often a big turn off to non-smokers and smokers alike. Because you might not be able to smell your own smoke, invite a non-smoker friend over and ask them to tell you the truth.

You love your pets. You live with them and you may not be able to smell them either. But the person seeing your house might. Cats, dogs, birds, monkeys, or whatever beasts reside in your home, they just may be stinky. If you have animals in your house, ask that friend if the pets are stinking the place up. If so, deodorize the cat box, give your pets a good bath. Take that doggie bed to the cleaners or burn it. And please clean the hair off that blanket, couch, chair, and your bed!

Nice, well-behaved, clean smelling beasts can be a plus. Everyone loves cute and contented pets. They are a statement about you. Do all you can to keep them from being a “negative” to your prospective buyers.

And in Yucatan there's another breeder of stink: mold & mildew. In the rainy season, mildew is ubiquitous. You can keep it to a minimum by putting de-humidifying containers in the closets. Bleach the bathrooms and all the drains. Bleach the kitchen. Keep the ceiling fans turning. Your buyers would rather smell cleansers than mildew. Especially in the kitchen and bathrooms!

And while we are on the subject, what is that in the refrigerator... a science project? Throw it out. Eeek! What is that under the refrigerator?

You get the idea.

3. Throw It Out

If it is not attractive, functional or the right size for the room, then get rid of it. Sell it, store it or give it away. If you are not sure what to keep or what to toss or how to organize the room, you probably have friends that can help. It always helps to bring in someone who does not live in the home and get a fresh perspective.

4. Fix It Up

Remember that used car you’re NOT going to buy? That would be the one with the air conditioning that didn’t quite get cool, the window that didn’t quite go up completely. What else was about to go wrong? Obviously, it had not been well maintained. You do not want buyers to think you do NOT maintain your home.

So... put new handles on the drawers, a new float in the toilet, and while you are at it, treat the sarro (hard water scale) that has built up on the faucets, sinks and showers. Replace that broken sink, soap holder, mirror or tiles. If you can’t find a replacement tile, do something fun. Be creative. By all means, do replace that broken, cracked or missing window.

And also, grease the hinges, WD-40 the squeaks, touch up the scratches, and replace the deteriorated screens. Wash the windows, oil the furniture and clean the cobwebs away. Replace the burned out bulbs. Fix the switch to the fan. Clean and paint those rusty fan blades. Patch that hole.

Anything that is broken or looks old or poorly maintained is going to be a negative in a buyer's eye.

5. Decorate

If you like leisure suits, wear dark socks over your calves in sandals with shorts, have an affection for t-shirts that don’t quite cover your belly button or if you don’t know the difference between a fir and a spruce, call your gay friends and get some help.

Decorating does not have to be expensive. If you are creative, you can do a lot of decorating for little money. Put up mirrors, which make any space look larger. Cut some fun pictures or photos out of an old book or magazines and stick an old frame on them. Hang some old interesting stuff on the walls... there is plenty of that in Merida. Enlarge some of your cool photos and display them. Stencil a wall. Put up an old frame with nothing in it. Build a bookshelf out of some old wood planks or bricks. Paint one wall in the room a rich color. Change some light fixtures. Throw some throw rugs. Yucatan is a land of color... experiment with it. Decorating does not have to be expensive. In fact, it is probably better if you did not spend a fortune. Just make your house look bright, inviting and clean.

6. Tidiness Counts

Speaking of clean, it is also important to be tidy. Now that you have things in place, keep them that way. Keep your house picked up and neat until everyone signs the closing documents. A clean, organized, aesthetically stimulating, warm and comfortable home that smells good invites people to stay. Give your potential buyers a desire to stay.

7. Lawn, Garden and Pool

Yucatan is the Garden of Eden! The colors, textures, varieties and fragrances of the tropical garden are myriad and it does not take much to grow wonderful plants. But it does take work to keep that garden maintained, pruned and manageable. No one wants to take over a jungle. Everyone loves a well-lit, maintained and charming garden. And Please. Please. Please. No empty pools!

8. No Empty Houses Either

No empty houses. No empty houses. No empty houses.

Buying a home is an emotional purchase. Empty homes feel empty. They look empty. They are empty. Put something in them. Anything! A mirror. A painting. A plant. A table. A mat. A lamp. Make the home you are trying to sell feel like it is anything but empty.

Follow these suggestions and you’ll improve the odds of selling your home.

If it still is not selling, revisit # 1.


Do you have a favorite tip or trick for selling a home? Do you bake chocolate cookies before the buyers come to visit? Or put on inviting music? Of course, you turn on all the lights to show the house in its best light, but do you spray essential oil mist in the bedrooms?

We would love to hear your ideas... just leave a comment!


  • jose rivera 14 years ago

    what are the price range for house's around calle 31, colonia francisco y madero
    merida , yucatan mexico if you could get back to me as soon as possible i would appreciate it very much
    jose website

  • Cynthia 15 years ago

    Our home is currently for sale in Texas and we are at the point where all we have to do is keep it maintained! This is a great article.

  • Maria A. Alvarado-Gomez 15 years ago

    You're right on the money!-no pun intended! An open, airy, clean, "ready to move in" feeling is essential. Though a little personality helps, too much of your "life" on display is absolutely distracting. a no-no. Plants, candles, "aromas", flowers in a vase, maybe even soothing regional music (trovadores, trios, seranades) all ad to an ambience--"ambiente bonito". If you have ceiling fans, turn them on low to medium. If you have a pool, water should be pristine. If you have a creative kitchen, show the best-hook-up ready, good sinks, water available--ps. hot water tanks help during unpredictable extreme weather...I was there this past Christmas and nearly froze to death!----and I live in Pennsylvania! Painted surfaces should not be blistered. No chunks of plaster or cement on tiles or other repairs. No creepy vines-unkempt -on patio walls. Freshly painted iron gates, windows, etc-NO RUST! Advice from someone who has moved over 20 times- most due to ex-husband's job transfers/promotions througout the USA. Show your best-I always think, "How would I want to find this place? Can I see myself in it? How easily could I transform this house into my own heaven?" Best of luck selling!

  • Khaki 15 years ago

    Re: suggestion that real estate slow down in U.S. affecting real estate sales in Mexico.

    Here are two examples I know of that are happening right now… A friend in California just e-mailed me - he has watched his home lose over $250K in value in 1 year, and condos on lakes and golf courses in a gated community in Arkansas have lost almost half their value in 1 year. Both the home in California and the condos on Arkansas lakes continue to drop in value. Many people in both of those areas are Snowbirds who planned to fund homes in Mexico with the proceeds of selling their homes in the U.S. That dream is gone.

    So Steve is right. The ordinary person who planned to fund real estate in Mexico with the proceeds from individual real estate profits in the U.S. is probably not going to be able to do that now. Anyone who still can, needs to grab the money and run for the border today… but don’t leave common sense at the border when you pass through it. Its Mexico. Why would you pay more for a fixer-upper in Mexico than you would for a new house in the States?

    …and here’s where I want to kick myself… 12 years ago, I turned down buying a 15 hectare quinta (just outside of Merida) with a house and 2 wells on it for $15,000 USD – because I wasn’t really “sure” I wanted to live in Yucatan forever. Somebody ought to lock me up for being that dense!

  • Chris Z 15 years ago

    GREAT advice Mitch! Everything in this article is EXACTLY what I did to sell my condo in Chicago and it WORKED! I sold within a month of being on the market (and I had a lot of competition.) Pricing right is VERY important. I installed a new kitchen, repainted the whole place, made it spotless, updated lighting fixtures and cleared out everything that didn't need to be there for showings.

  • Grace Cameron 15 years ago

    I've been a real estate agent for the past 23 years.... I've read a few of Mitch Keenan's articles. He's consistently shown a clear vision and the ability to convey it. He's right on (again) with this article on selling in Mexico. A lot of what he says can be used no matter where you live... common sense is common sense.

  • Steve 15 years ago

    I think Mitch is dead on in his suggestions to enhance the probability of a sale. I think he (or they) are are dead wrong on the current state of the Merida/Yucatan real estate market. Homes may be selling but certainly not at the rate they were even a year or two ago. I've had several agents tell me (as a buyer) that their businesses were substantially slower in 2007 than in the recent past. Certainly, if real estate websites are any indication, there are a lot of properties that have been on the market for a very long time. If I am true, I suspect that it is due to two factors: a) Mitch's first factor... prices are too high for the value most properties provide (let's remember, it's Mexico still and although beautiful and wonderful, country economic factors should bring some logic to property prices), and b) The real estate market problems in the USA are hurting, rather than helping, the Mexico market... I suspect a lot of Americans who would be otherwise interested, feel general uncertainty as a result, and a lot of people have recently become reluctant to sell or re-finance their USA properties to invest in another market. Of course, I may not be right... but I think I am! Feel free to disagree - those of you who are actually on the ground and selling (or trying to sell) there!

  • Brooks 15 years ago

    I agree about the decorating as it has worked for me. Actually, I once had a family ask about buying everything in my for-sale house they liked the art & antiques so much. So I sold the house for the asking price and let the furnishings go for a premium and started over again with a load of cash.

  • Lynn Ortega 15 years ago

    As a person looking forward to buying a house I am just as intrested in day.
    This artical is probably just as important as information on buying a house in the Yucatan.
    In the area that I live , Seattle WA . houses take days to sell not months.
    In Ajijic it took my friend 6 months to sell his beautiful house .
    He realized a profit of $15 K in 6 years or about 2% a year .
    My friend was one of many who tried to "off set" expenses by offering a B and B .
    He was not sucessful in this business , lost interest , his wife eventually moved back to the US , he followed 2 years later.
    This is the oldest story in the book.
    He said , he had a wonderful time , make some money and lasting friendships . So the adventure was worth while.

  • Peregrina 15 years ago

    I am a Realtor in Southern California too and I have to tell you Mitch knows what he is talking about, listen to him. Great article.

  • Ray 15 years ago

    Great advice that applies everywhere. Thanks Mitch and the WG's.

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