Tropicasa Realty is celebrating 20 years in business, during which it has become a leader in Puerto Vallarta’s real estate industry. To mark this milestone, Wayne Franklin, Tropicasa Realty broker and president, welcomed us at his modern smart offices to chat about those first two decades, which were full of challenges, changes and successes.
Twenty years in the market is a great milestone. How is Tropicasa Realty currently doing?
“We are in a very sweet spot, on the way to achieving—even surpassing—last year’s figures, which also were tremendous. We owe this to the great work of our team, to the trust of our clients and to the cooperation of other agencies on various projects. At the moment, Puerto Vallarta is very well positioned, continuing to grow, and Tropicasa is in very good shape to face coming challenges.”
How did the company begin?
“I had been visiting Mexico since the ‘80s, and I loved doing it. I came to Puerto Vallarta for the first time in 1995, and after a long stay I fell in love with the destination. I decided I was ready for a big change in my life, and since I had experience in real estate in the United States I decided to pursue it here as well. I looked at the local market and thought, ‘I can do my bit.’ As a result, I founded Tropicasa Realty in October 1997, together with my previous partner.”
What situation and challenges did you encounter?
“The industry was very different. Although we had the MLS system, the agencies worked differently: they relied on calls, contacts and relationships with those who had the databases and listings. At the beginning, it was essential to establish ties with great agents such as Silvia Elias, Moray Applegate and Brock Squire, who always supported me and with whom I still maintain a close relationship. Fortunately, today’s agencies cooperate a lot with each other, and the internet has made it easier for everyone to have access to the same information. Marketing was also a challenge for us. In targeting a primarily foreign audience, we had to decipher how to market effectively, and the internet was an invaluable tool.”
Tropicasa Realty is considered an innovative agency in terms of marketing and new technologies. What have been the keys to its success?
“I believe that we have been the first to attend to two essential things: first, the importance of securing the client before they reach the destination. In our early years, clients were not very aware of how real estate operations work in Mexico. We were the first to provide the information online, making them more familiar with the process before they arrived here. We invested a lot of money in both the website and in digital tools so that Tropicasa was the only agency they wanted to go to. Fortunately, today they are more informed about these issues, but it is extremely important to stay up to date with tools that help identify and satisfy the needs and desires of clients through marketing, software and applications. The world is becoming a network of interconnectivity, and this will not change. On the contrary, it will continue to spread.”
“Another area where we have stood out is predicting where the market will move. Many agencies operate in specific niches, but at Tropicasa we prefer not to limit ourselves. As a result, we have a database and inventory that reflects the entire region’s real estate market, and we can identify very precisely where it is going.”
Not everything can have been a bed of roses.
“I remember that in 2008, the market bottomed out and sales fell. Previously, agencies could afford to ‘reject’ offers, but that changed after the real estate crisis, because you did not know if there would be another offer the next day. In our case, we had to put in place measures that would allow us not only to survive, but to be successful. It wasn’t without sacrifices; we had to close one of our offices, reduce the advertising budget… this allowed us to move forward. It is always important to adapt and anticipate changes. We knew how to do it, and since 2008 we have not stopped growing.”
How do you see the future? Do you anticipate another 20 years of success?
“We will continue to be one of the leading agencies in the local industry, and we owe that to integrity and professionalism in our work as much as to our sincere interest in our clients. Our mission is that clients find in Tropicasa a trusted friend that makes them feel comfortable and safe. Our philosophy is based on a warm and professional service, so we are confident that we will continue to make our current and future clients happy.”
“My partner, Maria O’Connor, and I want to thank our clients for their trust over these 20 years. And we also thank the community in general and members of the industry, because a large part of our business is done in cooperation with other agencies, in whom we place our trust and vice versa. And, of course, we thank Mexico and Puerto Vallarta for giving us the opportunity to make our business flourish and, on a personal level, to reside in this wonderful land.”