Everything you need to know about buying and selling real estate in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta, and the Banderas Bay region

Buying Property in Mexico

Why is Fair Market Value Important?

Those of us living in Mexico from other parts of North America probably take the concept of fair market value for granted.  We assume that this measure of value is used in other markets and other countries. Actually, it is not common outside of the USA or Canada to have sold market data.  In order to have information about sales prices and to adjust for differences in properties, data must be available.

Where is the Data for Mexican Buyers?

If we start out with the objective to have fair market value, where, do we as consumers normally go? There are no websites as in Canada and the USA such as Zillow and Trulia offering a large number of properties for sale as well as average sales prices by areas.  Until AMPI contracted with a third-party vendor of MLS systems, there was no genuine multiple listing system for AMPI agents as a group to collect data effectively to advise a buyer or seller on fair market value.

The classic definition of fair market value is the amount for which real or personal property is sold in a voluntary transaction between a buyer and seller, neither of whom is under any obligation to buyer or sell.

If the buyer and seller are not informed through public means, they rely on real estate professionals or appraisals to help determine value based on sales data of similar properties or properties adjusted for differences.

Shared Information Benefits Everyone

Commerce, as we know it, works efficiently and to the benefit of the whole, if information is shared.  Controlling prices comes when a few have information to the detriment of the many.  It is unconscionable when a seller or his agent keep market information from a buyer and sell them a property at an exaggerated price.


Knowing the fair market value in a real estate market enables buyer and seller to have control.  Knowing FMV can help price a home for sale, negotiate a purchase price, and resolve an estate or divorce settlement.

Factors which help determine fair market value:

  1. Comparable Solds within a certain time frame help determine the subject property value. Adjustment can be made for differences in size, location and condition of a property.
  2. Market Trends affect FMV. Low demand versus high demand affects price, as well as high inventory versus low inventory
  3. Particular conditions: If properties have mortgages or there are defaults with the lender taking the properties back, the listed properties may be offered at a much lower price to move inventory.  Builders also can compete against an individual seller who wants to re-sell his real estate within their development.
  4. Comparative Market Analysis is a common way to determine a property FMV. For it to be a valid CMA, there must be sufficient information on sold properties and their characteristics in addition to price. (i.e) condition, location, debt, etc.
  5. Appraisals describes measurements and improvements to a property, as well as allowable uses through zoning and permits. Appraisals are usually done by engineers or appraisers who also take into account in their reports the comparables or sold prices. Traditional appraisals are to find FMV from:
    1. Market value
    2. Replacement Cost
    3. Income


The Role of AMPI and Flex MLS in Mexico

AMPI is continuing to learn and become more proficient with its Flex Multiple Listing System. As AMPI agents become more knowledgeable and proficient, FMV will be a measuring stick.

AMPI is very aware of cultural differences and understands this is business in Mexico. AMPI also understands the individual’s right for privacy.

When information is withheld for the benefit of a few and manipulation of many, all are harmed.


*AMPI – Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios

*Flex MLS used by participating AMPI agents provides sold data which is available to the agents to help you arrive at FMV if you are buying or selling.



This article is based upon Flex MLS reporting, legal opinions, current practices and my personal experiences in the Puerto Vallarta-Bahia de Banderas areas. I recommend that each potential buyer or seller of Mexican real estate conduct his own due diligence and review. If you have any other questions, contact me through my website.

Harriet Murray


One Comment

  1. Kelly

    on   said 

    President Harriet Cochran, thanks so much for this article. Can you please explain the difference between the appraisals used here and the appraisals performed in the United States? Thank you!



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