It’s time to grab your piece of paradise by taking advantage of the real estate opportunities south of the border. The intoxicating allure of ocean and bayfront properties, a warm climate, an affordable cost of living, convenient direct flight access, and a friendly culture is waiting in Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding Bay of Banderas.

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Harriet Cochran Murray, founder and owner of Cochran Real Estate since 1997, established one of the original real estate companies in Puerto Vallarta. She is well known for offering her company’s international clients decades of real estate experience and in-depth local market knowledge to help them make a smooth journey to the “The jewel of Mexico’s Pacific Coast,” Puerto Vallarta.

One of a Kind: Doors are open to a new life
experience 1A highly respected real estate professional, Murray can guide prospective buyers on the journey to one of the most beautiful and appealing retirement or vacation home destinations in Mexico. Serving on the board of AMPI Vallarta for more than 16 years, Murray was a founding member and current president of this prestigious Bay of Banderas professional real estate association. She is an expert on local real estate law and the local real estate market and can guide buyers through the real estate purchase and sales process in Mexico. Her knowledge and experience are both impressive and essential to those seeking to buy in a country that doesn’t require an agent to have a license.

One of a Kind: Doors are open to a new life
experience 2There are properties currently available for everyone, says Murray, from studio and one-bedroom condominiums for the ideal pied-à-terre to larger homes and villas that offer plenty of room to stretch out, which will come in handy when hosting family and friends who will want to visit.

The decision to move to Mexico or buy a vacation home is not an easy one, Murray says, but, “Something clicks, and suddenly the desire to try something different wins.”

One of a Kind: Doors are open to a new life
experience 3Many of her clients have sold their family homes and have the cash to make a move. Others, including cash-rich younger professionals in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area who are renting and, rather than investing in real estate at the top of the market, choose to buy exceptional luxury homes and condos in Puerto Vallarta at a fraction of the U.S. cost.

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For about $250,000 plus 5 percent in closing costs, you can purchase a one- or a two-bedroom condo with one or two bathrooms. This includes new construction.

One of a Kind: Doors are open to a new life
experience 4Murray transitioned from teaching to a successful real estate career in Dallas, Texas, where she worked in the industry for more than 20 years before moving to Puerto Vallarta to start her own company.

Murray told us that being patient, establishing a rapport with clients and being a good problem solver are the skills that help her stand out from other Realtors. She also never stops learning. Murray continually updates her team of three additional agents, two assistants, a customer relations coordinator and a support staff on the Mexican real estate market, its laws, and key trends. She has also built a support team over the last 25 years of notaries, real estate attorneys, accountants, contractors and others.

It’s no wonder Cochran Real Estate is trusted by more expat buyers and sellers than any other firm serving the Bay of Banderas market, and it has thousands of highly satisfied clients to prove it.

Real estate is more than a job for Murray. Real estate is also in her blood. She chose the name Cochran for her company to pay homage to her grandfather, who was a real estate developer.

The combination of her more than four decades of real estate experience, her interest in art and culture, an aptitude for helping others, and a genuine love for Puerto Vallarta and the Bay of Banderas makes her an invaluable resource for those considering moving there or buying a rental property.

“I’m fascinated with people and enjoy meeting people from all over the country and the world, “ she says. Some of her recent clients relocated from Alaska, New York and Europe.

“Living outside the United States opens you up to new experiences and has taught me to be open to other viewpoints and cultural differences,” she says. Even the architecture in Puerto Vallarta is quite varied, where buyers can choose from colonial haciendas to ultramodern design.

Speaking in a phone interview from her home on the Bay of Banderas just south of Puerto Vallarta, Murray describes the beauty of the mountains plunging into the sea and the jungle landscape that surrounds her. She often takes advantage of kayaking and snorkeling and watching the migration of humpback whales.

The Bay of Banderas — the largest bay in Mexico — is different from what you’ve ever experienced. The second-busiest tourist destination in Mexico and a major port for many cruise lines, the cost of living is still about 60 percent less than San Jose, which is why so many flock to the area to purchase vacation homes or become full-time expat residents. According to the Mexican 2020 Census, about 65 percent of the 1.2 million expats living in Mexico are Americans. During the winter, snowbirds, who are seeking a warm, tropical climate for the winter months, swell that number considerably.

“I do what I do because it’s very satisfying to help someone start his or her next chapter in life’s adventure and to know that I was the one who helped guide them to a new life in the city I love, Puerto Vallarta,” Murray says.

Who: Harriet Cochran Murray, owner/agent
Contact: Cochran Real Estate USA/Canada (504) 298-6730
email: [email protected]