FSBOs: Should You Sell Your Home on Your Own?

by John Youden - October 16, 2017

FSBOs: Should You Sell Your Home on Your Own?


  • Speak the language?
  • Available to show the property?
  • Understand sufficiently Mexican real estate law?
  • Understand sufficiently how it could affect you fiscally?

The acronym FSBO stands for For Sale By Owner, and is commonly used in the USA and Canada to denote a person or family who have decided to sell their home on their own rather than the services of a real estate agent. It may work for some north of the border, and there are a number of services available today to assist with the process. But in Mexico, it is another matter and anyone considering taking the selling process into their own hands should consider the following:

Are you available at all times to show the property?

Most Canadian/American homeowners in Puerto Vallarta are here only part of the year, so it can become difficult to show the property at times, especially when you are out of the country.

Do you speak Spanish?

Not all prospects may speak English, so if you don’t speak Spanish, you’ll be at a disadvantage. It is also important when it comes to closing the sale, for in order for contracts to be legal they need to be in Spanish and you are going to want to ensure you understand every clause of the agreement. The same goes with working with a Notary, who will have to be involved in the sale, and perhaps a real estate lawyer.

Do you understand Mexican real estate law?

Just because you may have sold a property back home doesn’t mean you understand how real estate law works in Mexico. If you don’t, you’ll want to have someone represent you, such as a lawyer or real estate professional, to ensure that what you are selling is properly defined in the agreement.

Do you understand how the sale may affect you fiscally?

Capital gains laws seem to be changing or being adjusted every year, and if you don’t know how to best set yourself up fiscally for this, you could end up paying capital gains taxes, or more than you should.

How will you market your property?

Most real estate in Puerto Vallarta is marketed and sold using a MLS service, and these services are only available to real estate agents and agencies. The MLS, or Multiple Listing Service, distributes information about all properties currently on the market to all the member agents through an online portal. As well, it is available for the public to use and see. But only real estate agents can publish properties on the MLS systems mostly used in the region; Flex and MLSVallarta. There are other outlets available for marketing your property, not as good and they have a cost, which you have to pay for upfront. Whereas if you are using a real estate agent you only pay marketing costs (a commission) when the property has sold and then, only at the closing, and then only for a price that you are willing to accept.

So, if you didn’t answer yes to some of the questions above, you may want to talk with a realtor.

Related Links: Should I work with a real estate agent?