Realtors Get Reined In

The time for licensing is here
BY: ANNA PRENTICE

The time for real estate deals here to look like the wild and wholly West is officially over. Not over in practice of course, that would be expecting too much, but over officially. Very soon real estate will be more regulated and orderly. This time we mean it.

We mean it because Setues.gob.mx, which stands for something in Spanish meaning “we’re watching real estate transactions” has implemented a state law which requires Realtors to take courses offered by AMPI and register to become actual licensed Real Estate Agents which will be subject to the newly enacted state laws. This has got many people in the industry in a panic because of the approximately 600 people signed up with the Multiple Listing Service and working as Realtors, most have no experience and no training. You know who you are. They call themselves Realtors because it’s one of about two jobs immigration officials will allow them to hold, the other being timeshare sales. Oh boy.

Although most people working as Realtors hide under the bed at the suggestion of education, testing and following Mexican state laws, really now is the time to man up and go through the process and become a true professional. This advice is from the first person to complete the education and registration process, Cyndi Williams, broker of Cabo Premier. Granted, she was a real broker in the real world so you might think she has an advantage most people don’t have, but she assures us that any goofus can pass it, they don’t ask for specifics on real estate law and It’s almost an open book test.

The big news is, this year one of the qualifying courses is offered in English, the rest only in Spanish. but all of the required continuing education and testing will only be offered in Spanish. Yup, the time to take it is now. Here’s the scoop on it:

There are seven courses, but only one in English and that’s all you need. Basically, you have to show that you know your documentation that is needed to wrap up a deal because it is very different here. There is a light written test, and orals. The orals are outlined in the materials you will study. (OK, glance at.) It consists of how to answer the phone and what information to ask of a prospective client.  See, any goofus can ace this.

Ampi is offering the classes at numerous locations including the Koral Center and Keller Williams new state of the art conference center, 40 people maximum to a class. The classes cost $225, let’s not all stampede up there at once. Although Ampi is giving the classes, the state drove the law.

The hard work comes in assembling all the documentation on yourself necessary to get the actual license after you get your piece of paper that says you passed the test. Some people are thinking they’re all copasetic because they took and passed the course and have a certificate. Not good enough. They need to now register with the state, send in the documentation on themselves, including a police report from our local Keystone Kops, their tax ID number, their immigration papers, a picture of themselves, and $75 US. Brokers pay $500. Oh, and of course the usual electric bill. You can barely even sign up for yoga classes without that.

And what if you don’t jump through all these hoops? You can be fined for “impersonating a Realtor” which is a hoot because about half the 600 who belong to the MLS do that every day. Eventually, the notario who seals every real estate deal will be required to check the state roster to see if you have a license before paying commissions, and if you don’t, the deal will unravel because you are impersonating a real estate agent. The notary is obligated to report you.

The bad news: within one to three years, (Mexican time), there will be continuing education requirements, and they’re not going to be in your language of choice.

So far the government has not listed those who have taken and passed the courses and completed their paperwork, on their site at setuesbcs.gob.mx, which pains Cyndi Williams mucho. Watch that site if you want to assure yourself that your Realtor knows what the hell he or she is doing.

It’s not clear if the MLS is going to post the list but for certain unlicensed Realtors will not be allowed to be members of the MLS. Calls by Williams to Doug Christianson who runs the MLS site were not returned to confirm the actual date to pay and the register has come and gone.

Registration is mandatory immediately but with a grandfathered clause to allow completion of courses by the end of 2019.  Failure to register now is in violation of the current law and the State can decide any minute to declare unregistered Realtors, impersonators.  Ouch.

There will be big dollar fines on their way…any day now, Mexican time. Of course, there will be many real estate agents pushing that date, so if you want to know if your Realtor has taken the test and got their license, which so far nobody has because the government is fiddling around with the applications, and not paying attention, your best bet is going to the setues.gob.mx. Also. AMPI/CCIE should be able to tell you who has a certificate since they give the classes and they quite fancy themselves as the enforcer around here. (However, they hardly enforce anything due to conflicts of interest).

So, the good news is Realtors are going to be held more accountable, but is there an “errors and omissions” path to redress as there is in the States? No. You will need to sue and good luck with that, the courts are a whole ‘nother story for a ‘nother day, however; Realtors can and will lose their licenses if found to be involved in malpractice and they are subject to severe penalties and even jail time if they are really crappy Realtor people.  There you go no option now but to hire a professional licensed Realtor because if you are caught paying commissions to an unlicensed Realtor impersonator you get to pay fines and or go to jail too.