With more than 40 years of experience, 20 as the head of Paradise Properties, the story of this broker, originally from Seattle, is unique. Mother of two children born and raised in Puerto Vallarta and with an extraordinary career in all imaginable areas of the real estate industry, Kelsey Magness’ vision is far from the big leagues, her passion and personal attention to her family reflected in her work.
An assiduous traveler and lover of Mexico, during a sabbatical in 1994 she met Guillermo, who would become her husband. It did not take long for the couple to decide to settle in our city. Magness came from the USA with an impressive career, with experience as a banker, mortgage broker, real estate developer and owner of her own construction company, something that has given her global vision and knowledge of the industry.
Her first jobs in Puerto Vallarta were with McFadden Group Real Estate and later with Mark Venegas Real Estate. A novelty she remembers from this time is working at The Pancake House. “I knew the owner, and he asked me to help him. I did not do it for money, since I was working as an agent at the time, but it was a great opportunity to make contacts and meet people. My children were embarrassed, but they were two very interesting years,” she recalls with humor.
Paradise Properties: A Family Project
With proven experience and an entrepreneurial spirit, but more because of the need to work close to her family (since she had to take care of her convalescent husband and children), in 1998 she decided to establish with a partner Paradise Properties (a small real estate agency with a boutique approach and personalized attention), which allowed her to work in what she knows without having to travel all the time.
“I never saw Paradise Properties as more than a means of sustenance. I see contemporary brokers like Carl Timothy, Wayne Franklin and Silvia Elias, whom I admire, with big companies, doing a great job; however, I had a family, and that was always my priority,” she says. “It was only recently, when my children grew up and went off to college, that I began to see my company differently, from a more entrepreneurial perspective,” she adds.
Fortunately for Magness, her children have shown interest in following in her footsteps. “One of them has been working with me for months, and the other, who is still studying computer engineering, also wants to support us in the future. So, I said to myself, ‘Why not turn this project that started as a mere source of income into a family legacy?’ That is my plan.”
Growing Without Losing Perspective
Currently, with her assistant Joel, her children and two other sales agents, Paradise Properties is an established real estate agency that offers property sales, rentals, management and construction, their competitive advantage being the close personal attention of Magness and her team.
“Our goal is to continue growing in quality, not in quantity. Our focus is personalized attention. I attend to sale and rental clients, since many times they are afraid to invest because of ignorance of the real lifestyle here, not just vacationing. I have a lot of life and work experience, so I know everything about schools, hospitals, supermarkets, where to live and rent here, where to get a plumber, curtains and more. In addition, I have previous experience in buying and selling houses, demolishing them and remodeling them—as many new residents seek to modify their newly acquired properties. From personal and professional experience, I consider Paradise Properties to be an excellent guide to your new life here.”
Magness is aware that the size of her agency is also a disadvantage in such a competitive industry. “Sometimes, potential customers do not want to list their products with small agencies because they believe they will not get enough exposure. However, we are a member of AMPI and participate in the MLS, and our work and trajectory are reflected in the satisfaction of our clients, whose recommendations compensate for our supposed lesser scope.”
Many Years Ahead
The owner of Paradise Properties sees a bright future for both her company and Vallarta · Nayarit. “Our destination still has many good years left. I have visited several places in Mexico, and the key to Vallarta is that it is big enough to have all the amenities, facilities and services of a city, but still has the charm of a small and quiet city. For example, a place like Zihuatanejo is good for vacationing, but it is too small to live in. At the end of the day, ‘You can take the girl out of the USA, but you cannot take the USA out of the girl,’” she jokes. “The destination is no longer just a place for vacations; we are increasingly receiving more full-time residents. An indication is that you already see expats in neighborhoods where previously only locals resided. This is because Puerto Vallarta already has top-notch services and infrastructure. The Internet has allowed foreigners to work remotely, and thanks to frequent flights, we are just a few hours from our places of origin,” she adds.
Finally, Magness says she will be part of Paradise Properties forever. “I will never retire. I do not see this as a job, but as a vocation, and I will continue to personally attend to all my clients. I am delighted with the company’s current situation, seeing how it has consolidated and the great family we all are together.”