The year 2006 is drawing to an end, and what a year it's been for real estate in America. Wherever you live, local "experts" spew catch phrases like booming, hot, warming, cooling or ice cold. According to every major media outlet, the real estate market is on a significant decline, and with a new Congress, it's anyone's guess as to the future impact.
But wait ... What about the second home market? According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), more second homes were purchased in 2005 than ever before -- and that activity is being driven by the baby boomer generation buying abroad. While the market has certainly "cooled" in the United States, second home markets around the world are "booming." So, where are they buying and, most importantly, how do you profit?
These questions were raised by Brett Ward, founder of Baja Residential. "The answer was in my own backyard. As a native San Diegan, I've gone to Baja California my entire life. Like most Mexico enthusiasts, my visits were recreational. After I got into real estate, I saw it through a different set of lenses."
Ward has since capitalized on the opportunity to develop and sell vacation and second homes in Mexico. Baja Residential is quickly creating a presence in the Rosarito-Ensenada corridor, an area known as the "Gold Coast" because of the staggering real estate growth. However, Ward quickly learned that all that glitters is not gold.
"I looked at several properties with a number of different agents and I became alarmed when I got quoted different prices for the same property." Unfortunately, there is no formal licensing process to sell real estate in Mexico, nor is there a Multiple Listing Service. Obtaining accurate, reliable data is difficult. "I didn't see this as a negative, I saw it as an opportunity," Ward said.
The best protection is education, which forms the cornerstone of Baja Residential's business model.
"We hold weekly seminars for real estate brokers and agents. Most people still don't know they can own property in Mexico, and more importantly, how they can capitalize," Ward said. "We believe that the most effective way to get the message out to the buying public is to work directly with the broker community. It's been so successful that we're opening it up to buyers in January."
Although the market is definitely "hot," it's still buyer beware. Use a knowledgeable firm who understands the process. "We take a different approach. We have a fiduciary responsibility and we only market properties that meet certain criteria," said Ward.
Baja Residential is currently creating a network of broker partners, but not in the traditional sense. Depending on the development, the company pays from 2 percent to 5 percent for referrals. "Most agents don't understand the nuances of a Mexican real estate transaction, and they don't need to -- that's our job, but we're happy to pay them like they do," Ward said.
For more information contact Baja Residential at (866) I-OWN-BAJA or visit www.iOwnBaja.com.