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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Baja Ranch & Sea

By Larry Arredondo

John Pilato has been in real estate for the better part of 40 years. During that time he has experienced the real estate business from several perspectives, first as an agent, then as a broker and part owner of 13 Red Carpet Real Estate offices, and as an important influence in timeshare sales for some of the world’s most beautiful resort destinations.

So why San Felipe? “From the first time my wife and I came to San Felipe on vacation, we felt very strongly that this would become another Cabo San Lucas-type of town. Because of our involvement with world-class resorts, we knew that San Felipe had all of the things that would propel it into a tourist destination that would rival some of the major resort communities in Mexico.”

They bought property here in 1987 and started visiting every other week due to Diane’s involvement with the Las Amigas Club. By 1991 they were living here full-time and were on the original Sales and Marketing team for San Felipe Marina Resort. In 2002 they became full-time, permanent residents as John was managing the Century21 office. A little over three years later he opened Baja Ranch & Sea Realty.

What makes his company different from the rest? “Our company stresses professional handling of every aspect of every transaction”, he says. “The process of buying and selling real estate in Mexico is quite different from the U.S. There is a lot to learn and you frequently have to educate everyone involved in the transaction-buyers and sellers?” He adds, “During my years of working in Mexico I’ve noticed a different attitude towards real estate transactions. Sometimes very important things are put on the back burner. Shortcuts don’t work.

We value our clients and work hard to protect them.” John is a member of the San Diego Multiple Listing Service, and his listings are available U.S. agents which should provide an advantage in marketing. Asked about the current and future state of real estate in Baja, John says, “Real estate sales have been slow. This is undoubtedly a reflection of the general market in the U.S., but real estate has always been cyclical, and we’re optimistic this small bump in the road blocking normal, robust sales will soon pass.”

With three agents besides himself, John sees a bright future for San Felipe and his company. “Mexico is a friendly place to live and it is more affordable than many other places in the world, and these two key factors will continue to attract investors and retirees from the U.S. and Canada.” He hopes to foster more broker-to-broker cooperation in marketing properties in Baja. He says, “When agents from many offices show the same property, the property will sell much quicker.”

When asked to advise those seeking careers in real estate, he responds, “There is a real thrill in helping people find something that is going to be life-changing, in a positive way. Being a good, professional real estate agent requires a commitment to excellence.”