Realtors can be of great help when buying property in a foreign country: they know the market, the prices, and the locations. They also can guide you through the whole purchase process until you acquire the property that best suits your needs. In Mexico many realtors are service oriented and have their clients best interest in mind, however, some realtors face difficulties when trying to serve two masters: one master would be the client and the other would be the commission. When in this predicament, some realtors may choose to chase the commission at all cost and as a consequence they can commit negligence or dishonest acts against their client.
So if my realtor incurred in negligence or dishonesty, can I take legal action?
In Mexico, the job performed by your realtor is considered a provision of services. Article 2261 of the Jalisco Civil Code establishes that the service provider is liable to his or her client for negligence, lack of expertise or fraud. In this case, you can take a civil action which would be a lawsuit to claim damages and loses, or specifically in the case of fraud you can start a criminal proceeding by filing charges against the realtor.
And what if I don’t have a contract signed with my realtor, can I still sue?
The Jalisco Civil Code does not establish the requirement to have a signed agreement for a provision of services contract to be valid. If you have evidence that there was an agreement between you and your realtor on the services to be provided, such as emails, that would help prove the contractual relationship before a judge. Furthermore, even if you are buying and you are not paying directly to your realtor the commission, your realtor is still liable since article 2255 of the Jalisco Civil Code establishes that payment to the provider of the service can be performed by the receiver of the service or by a third party.
Having a competent and honest realtor is paramount when buying property on Puerto Vallarta. The state of Jalisco does not have a specific regulation for real estate agents yet and this can represent a risk for your investment, however now you know there are remedies and actions you can take in case you come across a fraudulent or negligent realtor.