The La Paz Multiple Listing Service: A True Story for Sellers to Heed

By Susan Fogel

It happened in La Paz just a few weeks ago, and it is about the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

I have several nice properties in El Centenario and El Comitan. My colleagues make jokes about how I live in the desert, the boonies, or “way out there”. I invited them to see my properties and they said things like “some day”, “it’s a good idea” or “the next time I’m in your area I’ll make an appointment to see your properties.”

Others said if they had buyers for my properties they would be sure to show them. In other words, no one was going to make the effort to drive a mere 20 minutes even to see beach front and beach community homes, even though beachfront and beachview homes are in high demand even in this depressed market.

So back to the true story. I uploaded one listing to the La Paz MLS and encountered Internet issues. All I had to show was one listing. The next morning my phone rang and a colleague from La Paz said he was looking for an easy care, one-floor home with a pool and a view. And my listing fit the bill.

The agent and client came out within the hour. She liked my house, but wasn’t in love. I suggested that since she was here, she see another listing next door. That house is two stories, is high-maintenance, and has a slightly smaller pool. The would-be buyer walked in and said: “This is it!” I want this house, I love it!” She made a full-price offer that day and the transaction is set to close shortly.

What is my point? The agent said he was looking only on the MLS. He did not have the time to search individual websites, even if he knew whose sites to visit. If my listing had not been on the MLS, he would never have known about it. The MLS allows agents to post as many photos and videos as they want. A buyer’s agent can preview the property and contact the listing agent to get more information. Then she can put together a list of properties and email them to her client. It’s efficient and, because of the strict rules of the MLS, it is accurate. This also means that when homes sell, the prices are listed so that agents will have comparable properties that will support the price of your home to the buyer.

The very next day, I uploaded three more properties. Almost immediately after hitting “submit” I received an email from an agent in Loreto saying that she had sent all of my listings to her client in the USA that is interested in La Paz, El Centenario, and El Comitan.

“How did you get hooked up with a La Paz buyer?” I asked.

“He was searching my IDX pages,” she said.

Sellers, listen up! This is the key. Under the new IDX (Internet Data Exchange) system, buyers can type “La Paz homes for sale” into Google and La Paz real estate sites will pop up. They can click on the name of a page and those that are members of the MLS will have a search function on them that allows Susie Q. Homebuyer to search for homes in La Paz and the surrounding area. Now thousands of buyers back in the USA and Canada  and anywhere in the world, can look at YOUR house long before they book their flight to come to La Paz. They can narrow their search to just a few homes or they can expand out to other areas.

The “Loreto man” was fiddling around, looking at everything on the market, when he found La Paz and decided on our lovely town for his retirement.

And how do you as a seller get to have your house visible 24/7 to the entire world? It’s easy: (1) Contact an agent that is a member of AMPI (Mexican Association of Realtors) and the MLS. (2) Sign an exclusive listing agreement and they will upload your home with photos and a video.

So you will have one agent looking out for your best interests. And you will also have an entire sales force of other AMPI/MLS agents showing your home. Isn’t it a good feeling that your property is in the hands of professionals that subscribe to a high code of ethics and use the latest technology to sell your home?

It’s the Fourth of July; A Video with Danny Glover

Today is Wednesday the 4th of July. I meet three other women every Wednesday at Cafe Exquisito for coffee and conversation. The other three are Canadian. I am American and have lived here in La Paz, Baja California Sur for 12 years. As the years pass, American holidays and their importance fade.

Oh my birthday will always be the most important part of February. Thanksgiving is special to me and we share it with another couple every year.

And Christmas is a lot of fun here in La Paz, we have parties, go to parties, exchange gifts, then head north to be with our kids for the big day.

We were chatting about things in general and when school would be out, since one og u s is young enough to have kids in grade school. At that moment I remembered it was the 4th.

We have no special plans.

And that is OK. America has not lived up to her Constitution in years and these last 4 years with the racism and hate flowing from Congress, and the Tea Party there is very little in the way of celebration in my heart.
I saw this very moving video sent by they lifted it from:The Howard Zinn Facebook page
He is reading the words of a former slave, written 10 years before the Civil War. It is rlevant today especially to blacks, Hispanics, Women and Muslims:

The Yellow Beetle and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day*

My day started off beautifully last Thursday. My new glasses were finally ready.  I could now, read, write, sew, and drive again! It was a sunny day; I was wearing brightly colored gauze clothing. My leopard-print flip-flops showed off my bright red pedicure.

From the optical shop I was heading to a closing, and from there to collect some buyers, have lunch with them, and then show them pretty houses. Daisy, our little yellow Beetle had just been detailed and she was bright and shiny.

I made the left turn onto Cinco de Febrero from a side street; I was so happy to be driving and to be able to see again that I misjudged the turn and hit the divider and went up and over. Kaboom!  Down came Daisy. I could feel that the tire was flat. I limped her around the corner and parked.

While I was examining the flat tire and bent and gnarled rim, a kind man pulled up and handed me my hubcap. That was like a gift from the goddess. I had just replaced all four hubcaps. Each one had fallen off over a few weeks. I had waited six months for the VW dealer to finally get four. I asked him to help me with the tire; he said he had no time. I thanked him again for retrieving my hubcap and off he went.

I called the closing attorney and asked him to proceed without me. He said, “Just tell me where you are and I’ll send Jorge to get you.”  Easier said than done. THERE WERE ABOSOLUTELY NO STREET SIGNS TO BE SEEN. I asked a man walking by, he motioned that he did not know the street names. And he walked off. A few minutes later, he came back and said that I was on the corner of Independencia and Cuahtemoc.

Jorge found me in minutes. He set up the jack, pulled out the spare, and then hunted for the lug wrench, there was none! We had clients waiting to sign their closing documents, so we locked up the car, I patted Daisy’s rump and off we went.

We got to the notaria; I was hot, dusty, and thirsty. I asked for a glass of water and was told that this notario publico did not offer any services like that. I asked the receptionist for water. A few minutes later, Jorge, my savior came with a glass of water.

I texted my buyers to let them know I would be late. They answered that they would come and get me. I responded that it would not be long and I could get there in 30 minutes. Dream on. The signing went smoothly. That was the end of the good day.

The accident did not upset me so much as embarrass me. But it was the hours and hours of waiting that ruined my day. We had left the car in front of someone’s driveway. Jorge went to the door to let them know we would be moving the car as soon as the tire was changed. No one was home. The neighbor came out and said that the homeowners would not be back until four. But if they did by chance return, he would explain the situation and point out the ugly damaged wheel. We asked the helpful neighbor if he had a lug wrench, he said no, but there was a llantera (tire shop) around the corner. When we returned after the signing, we asked another neighbor if he had a lug wrench. He did, but it was for an American car and did not fit Daisy. We went to THREE llanteras before we found someone that would come to us in a timely manner and change the tire. While we were waiting, we saw a man washing a VW Jetta. We asked him if he had a lug wrench, he was not the car’s owner, but he went inside and asked and was given permission to lend it to us.  The wrench fit the lugs, but they were on so tight, that Jorge could not loosen them.

And then a hunched man with a leg brace came to offer help! I am not making this up. Jorge went back to llantera number three to check on their progress. He called me to say he was leading the tire truck to me. We agreed on a price, and Jorge was off. The tire was changed in record time. I paid the man, and hopped in the car. Daisy would not start!

The tire man helped me look for the invisible hood latch. By now I was tired, had not eaten, had to pee, and saw the time racing away. I finally found the hood latch. The New Beetles are wonderful cars. They are also completely computerized and we could not figure out where and how to attach jumper cables.

Thanking the goddess for the second time, this time for the magic of the iPhone. I was able to look up the VW dealer and click on their number and was connected at once. We called VW, they said, “NO! Do not attempt to jumpstart that car; it will destroy the computer!” Off went tire guy. I called the VW dealer back and asked for them to come and get the car.  They said they would send a tow truck.

“But you have to pay!”

“Of course I will pay, just send the truck.”

“OK, we will, but service closes from 1-3 so you need to talk to the sales department when you arrive with the tow truck.”

It was 12:30. By 1:30, no truck had come. I called the sales department of the VW dealer, after explaining what happened, where I was and that yes, I knew I had to pay. A tow truck was dispatched.

I arranged for a rental car, and the ever-generous editor of this paper came for me and also paid for the tow truck. I only had $200 pesos in my wallet. She took me to the VW dealer, dropped her kids at home, waited for my next call, and took me to Budget Rental Cars near the airport. It was well after 4:00 p.m. By this time I had eaten one piece of toast at home and two hairy cough drops I found in the car. No lunch, no coffee, no clients, and I still had to pee.

But here is how I overcame this Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day:

*In 1972, Judith Viorst, author and poet, wrote a wonderful children’s book called

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very Bad Day.

Oh Mexico!

Since 1989 my Beloved and I have traveled to Mexico looking for the perfect retirement spot. We have been to small villages, tiny islands and big cities.

Not at all beguiled by the Disneyesque all –inclusive  tourist resorts, we opted for small posadas, charming B&Bs and private homes.  Some were wonderful, some forgettable and some simply awful.

But wherever we traveled in Mexico we had fun, and were open to adventure. We made friends with other tourists of all nationalities. We got to know local Mexicans. We played Good Samaritan one Christmas Eve. We were driving back from Tulum to Cancun. There was a young American woman standing in the teeming rain surrounded by Mexican workers.

She flagged us down. She had been waiting for the bus that never came. We stopped, backed up and offered her a ride. Her companions did not want her to get in the car. They heard about how Americans carry guns. They held onto the car and wouldn’t let us leave. After some sharp words from her, they relented. We headed for the Cancun airport where she was meeting her mother. And we listened as she told her story about running a dude ranch. We will never forget her, and that stormy night and the adventure.

We had the best lobster dinner of our life at a cute restaurant owned by a Frenchman in Playa del Carmen. And while waiting for the ferry to Cozumel, we had a plate of guacamole and chips that is indescribable in its delicacy of flavor and smooth texture.

We were sitting on a wall near the pier, waiting and loving every finger lickin’ scoop. It cost $3.00

This is the Playa del Carmen of the late 80’s not what it is today which would perfectly fit into Joni Mitchell’s song, Big Yellow Taxi the opening lines describe Playa del Carmen of the 21st century perfectly:

“They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot”

Whether it was a crepe place in a tiny space on a side street  on Isla Mujeres, a rooftop bar in Puerto Vallarta, a new, formal restaurant in downtown Cancun,where the owner  flamed the Bananas Foster with great expertise, the oldest restaurant with the biggest selection of mole in Puebla, a hopping and hip bistro in Tlaquepaque, or an Argentinean steak house in Mexico City, they all charmed us. And we can bring back the mood, and the food when  we reminisce about our trips.

And as we traveled through Mexico, we were longing to live there. We envied the foreigners already established in their now homeland.  We dreamed and schemed about what life would be like once we retired and moved to Mexico.

Now after eleven years of living and working in La Paz, that magic of the Mexico we imagined can come rushing back  when we hear a song, smell fresh fish being grilled, or the light on the water is just right.

We have magic here. And there are magical places, and wonderful restaurants, but it is where we live our daily lives. That exotic otherness of our romantic notion is gone.

When guests  visit and stay in our HoneyMoon Hut, they tell us how lucky we are. Our lives look exotic.  We have friends, I write for the paper, my Beloved walks to work along our beach.

So when I look at picture like the one at the top of this page, I can smell that special smell of Isla Mujeres. I can taste the succulent lobster of Playa del Carmen. And I want to dissolve into that setting, wearing a white gauze dress. I will be barefoot, and tanned with a ruby red hibiscus tucked behind my ear. My beloved will be in white linen and will hand me a tall cool glass of limonada.

Afraid to Travel to Mexico? A Video Tells You the Truth.

“What? You are moving to Mexico? Aren’t you scared?”

These were the words of frinds and family when we sold our house, had the mother of garage sales and left for points south of the border.
Befroe we left San Jose, Ca in 2000, there had been, in our upscale, vintage neighborhood, two murders. There were break ins and car thefts. There were also community picnics, and the annual San Jose Mercury News 10K run came down our street.
It was a wonderful place to lice with frinedly neighbors, cafes, and restaurants.
No one warned us about living in a dangerous place.

Yes, there is drug violence in Mexico. And most of it is fighting among the cartels, much like the Prohibition days of the 1920s.
If you are a tourist in any city in the world there are seedy places that you are warned to steer clear of.
Back in the 90’s , before they were married, my son-in-law came from South Dakota to meet my daughter. They went together to San Francisco. He was mugged.
No one at the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office put out a warning to it’s citizens not to go to San Francisco.
18 million Americans traveled to Mexico last year. did you hear about anything bad happening to them?

Where is the proof of all of this supposed crime, that cause sthe US Department of State to waen people away from an entire country. A country that welocmes tourists and has the most beautiful beaches in the world?
Where is the proof that you will be, shot or kidnapped while soaking up the sun on a white sand beach?
Watch this video and look at a map, and see where the drug related crime is and where you will most likley be visiting.

Valentine’s Day, Tulips and ME

Valentine’s Day, or as we say it in La Paz; Dia de Amor.
When my kids were young (pre-teen through high school) I always purchased cupcakes for every season. I would put them under a cheese dome in the center of the table, and there they would sit until dinner time.

Of course there were other treats throughout the day, but the cupcakes, well they were the ultimate treat!
One year Bubbie, (Yiddish for Gramma), my sweet, late mother-in-law was staying the weekend. At dinner she was the first to choose a cupcake. She turned the plate, removed the dome, and looked for the cupcake with the most icing! She who eschewed treats and sugar and used to follow me around reading excerpts from Prevention Magazine about the evils of coffee, had to have the most of the sugary icing dyed red with red dye #1!

Well here I am in Mexico, and missing out on the usual exchange of Valentine’s in the mail, and treats at the office and a dinner out.

Since my birthday is also in February, on the 21st, my beloved and I usually visited Calistoga in the Napa Valley for a weekend of mud baths, massages and good food. This was after the kids had flown the coop.
We would do this or visit Carmel, or do both each on a separate weekend in February.
The gardens and garden shops in both Carmel and Calistoga would be bursting with Spring blooms. And hanging planters and wine barrels all dripping in color.

And the curb strip in front of my San Jose home would be blooming with 1,000 daffodils.
And just to make sure I had enough daffodils, I also planted bulbs in front of my neighbor’s house.
How I miss Spring flowers.

The other day I was in Chedraui, the main grocery store in La Paz and right before my eyes was a display of the loveliest potted tulips. I did not hesitate; I grabbed two pots of these luscious blooms. One pot for my office and one for the dining room table.
And here they are:

And when my beloved came home for lunch is said “Oh sweet darling thank you for the tulips!”
And he said “ So I don’t have to go to town and buy you one of those readymade flower arrangements they sell on the corners?” “I am disappointed.”

Don’t believe him for a minute, he was relieved.
And so to chase the” I am not in California anymore blues”, I decorate my house for every season.
And tomorrow I’ll show you what I did for Valentine’s Day.
Feliz Dia de Amor!

Friday Fill IN

Happy Halloween to those that celebrate it!
Photo courtesy Spering PhotographySo…here we go!

1. While the cat’s away the geckos take over!

2. Having a break between big sewing projects fabuloso!

3. Children are grown, married and in a different country.
4. A dip in the pool, naked when I get home from work or shopping or what have you.

5. This may seem odd, but Tequila really does have medicinal qualities.

6. The work week is over and that seems like a fine idea to me!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to watching some US television with my beloved, having chocolate, tomorrow my plans include private drinks and tapas at Casa Coctel on the hill overlooking the Gulf of California with another couple, and listening to jazz and Sunday, I want to enjoy breakfast out with friends at La Marmolera!

Mexico is Safe, But What about the US?

Photo by Claude Vogel of MexSense
I am so tired of the screaming hysteria of the US prress and how they terrorize would be visitors to Mexico.
Here is a post written by Lola for Mexico Premiere

What If The Shoe Was On The Other Foot? Some Thoughts On Violent Crime And Tourism
Posted: 07 Oct 2010 05:12 PM PDT
By Lola
What if CNN headlines blared “Drug Violence Claims 4 Lives In Popular Vacation Destination” every time a gang-banger (any color, any race) shot up a rival gang’s sidewalk in Los Angeles? What if Fox News ran a constant ticker that read “Murder Chose Chicago 131 Times This Year” and held forms discussing why the city should be boycotted? (In fact, September in that city ended last week with 30 homicides. Nearly 20% of the victims were teens.) Should travel warnings be issued for the Windy City? Should we close up California because, according to the LAPD, even though overall gang crimes fell 12.2 percent, 31 more people were shot [this year] in suspected gang crimes, an increase of 4.9 percent?
I wouldn’t be lying if I said the US has more violence than other first-world countries—and that’s been a fact even before drug use in this country escalated to the point where every enterprising dealer south of the border wanted a piece of the action. We have more robberies, rapes and assaults here. We glorify violence in our movies and our TV shows. We breed serial killers. Meth labs are popping up like daisies in the suburbs (and we all know how sweet and mellow meth-heads can be). We are now even venturing into suicide promotion with the sudden spike of bullying in our schools.
So… honestly. Where are our travel warnings?
Are you mad yet? You should be. This is a great country. It’s a beautiful country. And if you stay away from the scary section of town, if you don’t deal drugs, if you aren’t a hooker and you steer clear of shady bars, chances are you’ll have a ball and be safe as houses in every city, coast to coast. It’s not a guarantee, though, because even in this great nation of ours, innocent lives have been claimed in crossfire. But the police scanners certainly won’t keep me from enjoying the fall weather along the Navy Pier in Chicago or spending a weekend of pure fun in Los Angeles.

So why should I cancel my visit to Puerto Vallarta? Or forget my plans to visit Mexico City for a week?
I shouldn’t. And neither should you.

Yes, be careful. Yes, take normal precautions. No, don’t go to the locus of the cartels for a drive or a drink.
I know I’m not the only one out there who thinks this way. I’m not a lone voice in the wilderness, but sometimes it sure feels that way. So, I’m doing what I can with the tools I have.
Here are just a couple of links from like-minded people. I know there are many more of you out there. Raise your voice. Let it be heard. Thousands upon thousands of people in Mexico depend on tourism for their livelihood. People who can’t feed their children become desperate. And we all know about desperate people. Please help reverse this desperation by looking beyond the headlines.Thanks for your time.
The Economist blog:Mexico Safer Than Canada?
Mexico Boutique Hotels Blog: Mexico Safer than the United States

How to Date Hot Mexican Girls?

How to Date Hot Mexican Girls?
By Susan Klindienst Fogel
I am flabbergasted, gobsmacked, down right angry.

And today I am talking about an article in the Building Baja Newsletter This is the title:
Hey Boys, Why Dating a Hot Mexican Girl May Not Be as Fun Or Easy as it Sounds

This is written by Cathy Brown, who states that she is a writer: Well she needs to learn some grammar.
And secondly, she needs to wake up and smell the century.

I read the article. I thought it would be a cautionary tale about a certain class of young Mexican women and a certain class of over-the-hill, horny and misguided Gringo men. Here’s the tale that needs to be plastered on billboards, then we’ll get back to Ms. Brown’s article.

These Gringo men seek out young, sexy Mexican girls the way some men seek out young sexy Asian girls and for the same reason: they think these girls are submissive, pliable and will perform sexually. And Ms. Brown is right in one aspect: many young women find older foreign men alluring. But,they also think these men are rich, because they can go to the ATM and get money any time they want.

These men look like idiots with their grey pony tails, stringy arms and spindly legs, squiring a fresh young thing around town. And they do idiotic things like have babies with their new found love. Many of these old farts buy houses and put the property in their new wife or girlfriend’s name. They don’t want to pay the fees to own their property the right way in Mexico. Next thing you know, besotted Gringo is divorced, has no home and is on the hook for child support for 18 years. Their young love has discovered many truths about thier man and one being they are not rich.
Do I feel sorry for them? Not at all? Do I think they are stupid…you betcha!
Does this really happen here? More often than you would think.
Should these men be warned: well yes, but they don’t listen. They are not thinking with the head that houses their brain.
Should the girls be warned? OF course. They are young and in love and cannot think either.

Now Ms. Brown talks about opening doors for your new love, being a real Casanova, whispering endearments, giving long, bedroom-eyed looks,(and faking the romance while trying not to laugh) and walking on the street side.

And she suggests doing this on the first meeting.

And she suggests that heavy necking in public, and nuzzling even at the piano recital of your love’s little sister is expected and accepted. Not at any Mexican family gathering, or piano recital that I have attended in the last 10 years.

My Mexican women friends find the sexy boob-popping clothes, stiletto heels and skin tight jeans sported by some Mexican girls as silly as the girls look trying to navigate the potholes, bumps and puddles on La Paz sidewalks.

The Mexican women in my life: my hairdresser, my cleaning woman, my scientist and doctor friends, my lawyer, my architect, the designer I have recently met, would be as offended by this silly article as I am.

Dating between cultures has it’s hitches and glitches, but treating another person as your equal, engaging them in relevant conversation, and learning about their dreams, and interests is what builds a relationship. Not silly Telly Novella mooning and swooning.

What is scary about this article, is that Ms. Brown brags about being a mother, then proceeds to tell boys to fake romance and move fast on a young girl. Does she tell them what comes next? Does she warnt them to keep their pants zipped? No and no.

Any man that came on to a confident competent woman by following Ms. Brown’s advice would find himself alone in a hurry.
Any man or boy that comes on strong with a young, impressionable girl will find themsleves parenting their young love and a baby.
And by the way guys (old and young): babies are made the same way south of the border as in the old country…use a condom.
Do you want to really know how to date Hot Mexican Girls? Take them to an air conditioned restaurant and TREAT THEM WITH RESPECT.

My Blog Was Hacked But Now I Am Back

My blog was Hacked!

I am back! For those of you, my loyal readers, and new ones too, it is true I disappeared. My blog was hacked and malware installed.

 No matter how many times we cleaned it, more malware was there.

  Finally we took the entire blog down and re-started it!

Hackers are criminals. They are malicious, nasty, selfish and immature. What they do is worse than vandalism, worse than trespassing. What they do is more like character assassination. Their actions make it look like their victim has done something wrong.

 My blog was banned from Twitter and I was sent a less than friendly message by the Twitter admin team. I did nothing wrong!

So I am back, do you like the new look of the blog?

 I do! My darling daughter did the work!

 I will be blogging about life in Mexico, and anything else in the world that catches my attention.

 Did you miss me?

 I missed you.

 So please let me know you are there, leave comments.

 I’ll answer them.

But I will not answer or approve those sent by black hat bloggers blogging for companies trying to get back links off my site.

 I am back, I hope you are too!