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An INDEPENDENT REAL ESTATE AGENT works with Buyer´s to determine their complete realty requirements. A major consideration is determining which locations will offer Buyers the most benefits to compliment their lifestyle, AND, which locations will provide the highest probability of a good (ROI) Return On Investment, when it comes time to sell?

As an INDEPENDENT AGENT, Paul knows the city, including politics, proposed and rumored changes in roads and infrastructure, all of which ultimately effect current and future property values.

It´s common for all developer brochures to brag about their so-called: "Privileged Location". Obviously, with the dozens of projects both planned and under construction, located all over greater Cartagena, they cannot all be at a Privileged Location! An Independent Agent is able to help determine, with the Buyer, free from individual developers sales pressure, which locations are best for the Buyer! Some properties that Paul may show can vary widely in cost per square meter. (click here for an explanation of per square meter costs)

Commenting as Paul´s Jr. partner: I can tell you that from my experience in working with Paul, the price of the various properties is NOT a sales consideration. The requirements and budget of the Buyers are always the guiding factors!

A third generation Cartagenero, Paul knows the entire area like the back of his hand. Paul can help Buyer´s with the purchase and closing of ANY Cartagena properties- with this exception which may relate to some newly announced apartment projects:

Some developers prefer to do their own limited initial (the first 30 days or so) marketing study. During this brief period these developers "Test Market" their properties, to obtain a better "feel" for their proposed asking prices and features relative to the existing competitive "market". Once the above information is analysed, the initial pre-construction prices, building and apartment features become the basis for the design and creation of sales brochures, and the developer´s website. When the Test Marketing is completed, the developer opens the project for sales representation to qualified realty agents. Typically brochures and websites appear only in Spanish. Paul continually encourages all Cartagena business owners and managers to think "international", (which includes the use of English) and Paul reports that the idea is slowly taking hold.

Prices offered by developers sales offices are the same as those offered by Paul and other realty agents. NOTE: If prices are less, it may be an indication that the apartments are not selling well. This could be because of location, high prices, poor design, poor construction, poor marketing, etc. Properties with these stigmas attached often result in lower long-term re-sale prices! Some Cartagena realty companies have co-op advertising and marketing agreements directly with developers. Naturally the opinions of personnel with these companies are biased, and therefor Buyers should understand that the advice or comments they may be receiving are NOT Independent!

When presenting projects For Sale, on his websites, Paul uses the developers actual brochures, including the same: text, drawings and photographs. Developers brochures appear in Spanish, along with the current price list in Pesos. Paul then translates this information into English, converts prices into U.S. Dollars, and makes the full information available on Paul´s websites, within two working days. As Paul receives: price, terms or features adjustments the websites (BOTH Spanish and English) are updated within two working days. For Paul, this is an expensive and time consuming process, that is taken advantage of, and used by many Cartagena realty companies.

Typically, an apartment project will be under construction for 18 to 24 months. During this time, the developer continually monitors sales activity as compared with other nearby projects. Historically, if a development is ahead of of sales projections, and are in a market of rising prices, they will raise prices on remaining unsold apartments. Price increases seldom are based on a fixed percentage, but will vary with the sales popularity of the different floor plans, views, and elevations being offered. Price increases, in a rising market, such as Cartagena´s, may occur as many as four times during the construction phase.

If prices, in a rising market, do not increase, or if developers offer, or accept "special deals" from Buyers, it´s a strong indicator that the apartments may be over priced, or the location or building features lack Buyer desirability. This stigma against a project usually remains as a long term depressant driving down re-sale prices. As an INDEPENDENT AGENT, Paul knows the local market and is able to share this important information for his Buyer´s consideration.

AS AN INDEPENDENT AGENT, PAUL DOES NOT SET, SUGGEST, OR INFLUENCE, PRICES, TERMS, FEATURES OR MARKETING PLANS. This is the exclusive domain of the developers. A few potential Buyer´s have complained, that when they re-visit Paul´s websites the prices keep rising. In a market of over-all rising prices, this may be true! Prices, over time, always cycle up and down. HOWEVER, as long as realty prices and living costs in Cartagena remain so much lower than prices that Buyers are familiar with back home, the demand, overall, will continue to exist.

Our allotted "span of life" is short. Only the lucky, succeed in correctly timing the up and down cycles of currency, stocks, bonds, realty, etc. When you have found something affordable, that you truely like, and know that you will eventually purchase, WHY WAIT? NOTHING is more precious than: T I M E!

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Office: Bocagrande, Cra. 1 Calle 13 Edificio Cartagena de Indias - Local 1. Tel.: (57 5) 665 0515. Celular: (57) 311 660 2756. Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.

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