By Sheila Madsen (November 2014)
While you are away from your Mazatlan winter home you most likely have been keeping a to-do list for when you return. Call Mega Cable/TelMex, go to the CFE office, arrange for a cleaning crew to do a deep clean, turn fridge on, change sheets, clean plunge pool, fill the tanaka, hook up gas and hope like hell the washing machine, tv, dishwasher, mini-split and microwave are all working. Perhaps you’ve even taken time to write all these requests in Spanish, in hopes of speedier service.
For most snowbirds it takes a week check off the to-do list items, plus the usual trips to Mega and Home Depot. Imagine arriving at your winter home with all this completed (yes, your phone and internet are working!) and all you have to do is buy groceries because your fridge is already stocked with icy cold beer and a bottle of your favourite sauvignon blanc.
Kristen and her husband Lionne (pronounced Lion, his mum went to Berkley, enough said) Decker and their team of 12, Mazatlan4Rent, provide this white glove property management service. In your absence, bills are paid, the maid service is supervised as well as gardeners and pool service. You will receive monthly statements, and you can pay via VISA, or through your Canadian or US bank. Your condo/apartment/house is checked in detail every week; sometimes more often depending on the weather. Kristen assures me that nothing is too small or too big to manage; from a one-bedroom apartment to a 22-bedroom mansion. When you know your return date that’s when Kristen organizes the internet, CFE, and completes those annoying household tasks that will make your return seem as if you never left.
Kristen and Lionne had a similar business in Vancouver, Washington for 13 years. They are no strangers to property management; at one point they owned and managed 50 properties. Call it smarts, call it luck, call it what you will, but a financial angel was watching over them because they decided to sell all the properties in 2007, before the stock market crash. After years of hard work they were rewarded with a decent profit.
Meanwhile back in Mazatlan, Kristen’s mum, Karen Sloan, had moved full-time into her El Cid house she had bought years ago as an investment. Kristen and Lionne now jobless in Washington, decided to take their two boys out of school and spend a month in Mazatlan. The boys adored the local Mexican school, made friends quickly, and the entire family had a wonderful experience. Because buying houses is in the Decker blood, Kristen and Lionne bought a house across the fairway from their mum. Their month was up and the family had return to Washington. The boys, inspired by their Mexican school experience asked if they could be sent to a private Spanish emersion school. They enrolled, they conquered and it really got the Deckers thinking “do we return to Mazatlan full-time, do we make the move now? We are only 32 years old, we are ripe and ready for a change.” In 2008 they held a massive garage sale and packed only what would fit in their Jeep Cherokee. Kristen did admit “the kids and grama flew to Mazatlan, Lionne and I made the drive alone.” Grama? Kristen said “we are a close family, we couldn’t leave her in Washington. Now she’s 92 and happy as a clam living in El Cid.”
Once the boys were back at school the Deckers incorporated Mazatlan4Rent in Vancouver, BC in 2009 and set about to hire their staff of accountants, bookkeepers, handymen – really employ all the skill sets necessary to maintain multiple properties for long periods of time. If you are interested in the Mazatlan4Rent peace-of-mind services Kristen will visit your property and give you a quote depending on how long you need her services for. A $500 U.S. deposit is required for out-of-pocket expenses. I think you’ll be surprised by how reasonable the fee is, and delighted by the level of detail and professionalism. Kristen ends our interview by saying, “we treat every property the way we would look after our own house. We are in constant communication with our owners. We are 24/7. Our entire business is word-of-mouth. Our only goal is that you walk through your door and you are happy, relaxed and your winter start is stress-free.”
See – there’s no to-do-list!
(Mazatlan4Rent details: e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mazatlan office: + 52 669 913 6408; calling from US or Canada: + 1 360 326 8769. Mazatlan4Rent has another department – vacation rentals. They offer rentals from Cerritos to Centro, a minimum stay of 7 nights is required.)