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  • Writer's pictureMandy

Do I Need A Real Estate Agent To Buy Property In Mexico?

Updated: Jun 22

Woman trying to buy property without an agent

There’s been a lot of talk about real estate agent commissions in U.S. news lately and some really misguided advice circulating in these groups about purchasing property without representation. Let's clarify something, as real estate agents we do what we do because we enjoy helping people but there is a huge misconception regarding what it is that we do exactly and how we get paid.

If you know a realtor or agent, you know this profession goes way beyond a 9-5 job but most people have no idea the hours worked, the amount of people you talk to, the connections that have to be made, the follow up, amount of communication and costs/fees involved.

To clarify payment structure, both buyer’s agent and listing agent fees are paid by the seller. This usually occurs via the listing agent but in Mexico agents can “double end” meaning they can act as both seller and buyer’s agent and earn the full commission. In this case, the agent needs to work very neutrally as they will be made privy to information regarding the bottom line for both parties, deal breakers etc. This is a great example of a reason to work with someone you trust to represent your interests fairly. Double ending aside, both agents will ultimately get paid regardless of who buys which property so the main misconception I’d like to clear up is that it’s not necessary to use an agent to buy a home. 

Although there is truth in that statement, it is horrible advice. As a buyer, the service is completely free to you and can potentially save you a lot of legwork in finding suitable options, weeding out bad developers in the case of presales, matching you with the best developers based on your buyer profile, helping you decide whether you better fit into the presale or resale buyer category, checking contracts and advising on lawyers, notaries, residency options and tax strategies to name a few. An agent can also correct any embellishment or inaccurate information that might be given by the sellers or their agents regarding the area, local processes or rental operating costs. It's a lot easier to do it right the first time than to fix it after. I get a lot of buyers coming to me after a bad experience looking for help. Please don't be that person, take your time, do a bit of research and work with a competent professional.

goat tangled in rope like property buyers who don't use an agent

One complaint I see being brought up in some of these threads is a situation where an agent recommends one property over another for self serving reasons or suppresses information on properties that may potentially be a good fit because it would not benefit the agent as much financially. I just have to say if this is happening to you then you did not do your due diligence in selecting a good agent. The correct formula is interview potential candidates once, do your due diligence once and let that professional do all the legwork and due diligence going forward. If you suspect any foul play, have a discussion with your agent immediately. Foul play is grounds for immediate dismissal in any job, this is no different. Mutual trust is crucial to a successful client-realtor relationship. 

Let’s move on to the next misconception, earnings. This is a U.S. stat but the average FULL TIME REALTOR’s earnings last year was $31,900 @ 40+ hours a week which is well below a living wage. 

We don't have those stats available for Mexico but the point is as real estate agents we do not get paid an hourly wage or salary and we only get paid if we sell a home and it closes. As an agent you could work with someone days, weeks, months, or years with no guarantee of a sale ever.

Essentially we wake up each day unemployed going on job interviews and deal with constant rejection. We dedicate time away from family, use our time, gas, take clients out to lunch, pay for babysitters, miss dinners and weekends and rarely take vacations. We work 24/7 and have to constantly be on call or risk missing an opportunity. Once we do close a home, half often goes to the other party's agent and our own brokerage/agency if one is involved.

As with any business, there are many upfront expenses that must be paid out but for real estate professionals the costs can be significant:

Agency Splits

Referral fees

Office rent and utilities

Professional Association Fees

State Licensing Fees

Advertising/Marketing costs (business cards/flyers/info packets/yard signs/MLS and other platform listing fees)

Website Fees

Assistant's Salaries

Showing partners (30% of the commission is standard)

Transaction coordinator



Office Supplies

Continued RE Education

Closing related fees (translator services, housewarming gifts etc.)


Income taxes @ approx 30%

Health insurance, taxes etc. for employees 

realtor shaking hands with clients

Now let’s review what listing agents do for their commissions. There’s a lot of work that goes into selling a home:

1. Prepare listing presentation for sellers

2. Explain to seller all documents and property info required to list

3. Research comparable sold properties for sellers

4. Tour the home

5. Advise on repairs and/or upgrades

6. Provide seller to-do checklist

7. Explain current market conditions

8. Discuss seller’s goals

9. Share your value proposition

10. Discuss exclusivity and decide if it’s right for this listing

11. Present your marketing options

12. Explain buyer & seller agency relationships

13. Describe the buyer pre-screening process

14. Create internal file for transaction

15. Get listing agreement signed

16. Verify interior room sizes

17. Obtain any current mortgage loan or property lien info

18. Confirm lot size from tax records

19. Investigate any unrecorded property easements

20. Establish showing instructions for buyers

21. Agree on showing times with sellers

22. Discuss different types of buyer financing and determine what, if any the seller will accept

23. Explain appraisal process

24. Verify home owners association fees

25. Obtain a copy of HOA bylaws

26. Gather transferable warranties

27. Discuss video recording devices & showings

28. Determine property inclusions & exclusions

29. Agree on repairs to be made before listing

30. Schedule staging consultation

31. Schedule house cleaners

32. Arrange for installation of lockbox

33. Place yard/window signs

34. Set up photo/video shoot

35. Attend photography shoot at property

36. Prepare home for photographer

37. Schedule drone & 3D tour shoot if applicable

38. Get seller’s approval of all marketing materials

39. Input property listing into MLS and other platforms

40. Verify listing data on 3rd party websites

41. Have listing proofread

42. Create property flyer

43. Have extra keys made for lockbox

44. Help owners coordinate showings

45. Gather feedback after each showing

46. Keep track of showing activity

47. Update MLS listing as needed

48. Schedule weekly update calls with seller

49. Present all offers to seller

50. Gather all documents required for lender

51. Review and negotiate offers and promissory contracts

52. Coordinate with lawyers and notary to provide all necessary documents

53. Keep track of copies for office file

54. Coordinate inspections with sellers

55. Explain buyer’s inspection objections to seller

56. Determine seller’s inspection resolution

57. Get all repair agreements in writing

58. Refer trustworthy contractors to sellers

59. Meet appraiser at the property

60. Negotiate any unsatisfactory appraisals

61. Confirm clear-to-close

62. Coordinate closing times & location

63. Facilitate transfer of utilities

64. Make sure all parties are notified of closing time

65. Receive and carefully review closing docs

66. Review closing figures

67. Confirm repairs have been made

68. Resolve any last-minute issues

69. Attend closing

70. Pick up sign & lockbox

71. Change status in MLS to “sold”

72. Close out seller’s file with brokerage

As a buyer’s agent there are also many crucial steps in the process:

1. Schedule time to meet buyers

2. Prepare buyers guide & presentation

3. Meet buyers and discuss their investment goals

4. Discuss different types of financing options

5. Help buyers find a lender if necessary

6. Obtain pre-approval letter from their lender

7. Explain what you do for buyers as a realtor

8. Provide overview of current market conditions

9. Explain your professional value to buyers

10. Educate buyers about local neighborhoods

11. Gather needs & wants of their next home

12. Explain recording devices during showings

13. Create internal file for buyers records

14. Search presale databases, insider and public forums for suitable properties

15. Send buyers homes within their criteria

16. Start showing buyers home that they request

17. Schedule & organize all showings

18. Gather showing instructions for each listing

19. Send showing schedule to buyers

20. Show up early and prepare first showing

21. Look for possible repair issues while showing

22. Gather buyer feedback after each showing

23. Update buyers when new homes hit the market

24. Share knowledge & insight about homes

25. Guide buyers through their emotional journey

26. Listen & learn from buyers at each showing

27. Keep records of all showings

28. Update listing agents with buyer’s feedback

29. Discuss home owner’s associations

30. Estimate expected utility usage costs

31. Confirm water source and status

32. Discuss transferable warranties

33. Explain property appraisal process

34. Discuss multiple offer situations

35. Provide updated housing market data to buyers

36. Update buyers on any price drops

37. Find the right home for buyers

38. Determine property inclusions & exclusions

39. Prepare offer letter when buyers are ready

40. Review promissory contracts

41. Negotiate promissory contract with developer

42. Educate buyer’s on the process and timelines

43. Explain clearly payment timelines

44. Explain promissory contracts

45. Educate buyer on fideicomiso

46. Outline estimated closing costs

47. Explain home warranty options

48. Educate investors on rental market and calculate ROI projections

49. Review timeline to closing

50. Collect all required documents for closing

51. Review comps with buyers to determine value

52. Work with lawyer to execute a sales contract

53. Assist client through the international transfer process for deposits

54. Obtain a copy of HOA bylaws

55. Keep track of copies for office file

56. Coordinate inspections with buyers

57. Meet inspector at the property

58. Review home inspection with buyers

59. Negotiate inspection objections

60. Get all agreed upon repair items in writing

61. Verify any existing lease agreements

62. Coordinate closing times & location

63. Make sure all documents are fully signed

64. Assist buyers with transfer of utilities

65. Make sure all parties are notified of closing time

66. Receive and review closing documents

67. Review closing figures with buyers

68. Submit all required documents to listing agency or developer to receive commissions

69. Confirm repairs have been made by sellers

70. Perform final walk-through with buyers

71. Resolve any last minute issues

72. Attend closing with buyers

73. Give keys and accessories to buyers

74. Close out buyer’s file brokerage

This is just a general outline, I can tell you we have to do some crazy things outside of the expected as well. Definitely take advantage of this value and use a reputable agent to buy your next home or investment in Mexico. If this breakdown helped you recognize all the behind the scenes work that goes into buying and selling property and you want to support your real estate agent's business, Here are some ways you can do so even when you’re not buying or selling:

- Share one of their listings.

- Refer a friend or family member to them.

- Allow them to connect you with agents outside their area for a broker-to-broker referral.

- Leave them a positive comment or review. 

These small gestures go a long way in helping a real estate agent grow their business and are greatly appreciated.

**I want to acknowledge the fantastic educator and business owner who posted the original list on Facebook. I have modified it to fit my local market here in Mexico but if you're a Realtor or real estate agent, please feel free to copy and paste this information and continue sharing it.


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