Talking to Mitch Keenan about his company, Mexico International, felt like a conversation with an old friend, even though it took place the first time we ever met in person. By the end of our chat, it was clear that this particular quality is what has allowed this real estate brokerage business to thrive in Mérida (and the entirety of Yucatán) for over 25 years.
If you ask him, though, he would say it’s all about persistence. But we’ll get to that part later.
Mitch believes in building relationships, and that’s something I got in a very “when someone shows you who they are, believe them” sort of way. Without actually saying it, he told me about how important his relationship with his team is, and how they all work hard to make other people’s lives easier. He talked about how he and his business associates have grown their client base over the years. Once again, without making a point of it, he described how they’ve strived to make sure their clients don’t just buy a home, but make themselves at home and live comfortably in Yucatán.
Mitch and his team really have a talent for becoming their clients’ friends, just because they like to be helpful. “We know and work with very good people, and we can definitely help someone who’s here, who doesn’t speak the language, who doesn’t know how to navigate the system, and needs to be able to accomplish things,” he says. So if they need anything from a lawyer, a builder, or a gardener, to someone who may go with them to negotiate the process of buying a car, or go to the doctor, Mexico International clients are covered, way beyond what you’d expect from a real estate business.
“If you can help someone move here, and help them live and flourish here, help them be successful in their new life in Mérida, it makes you feel successful. I’m always so glad we could help.”
Mitch and Miguel Angel, his former partner, chose Mérida for a variety of reasons. One of them is how open and welcoming people were to them back when they first arrived. It’s also a matter of infrastructure, he says, as well as cleanliness, peace, and quiet. When they first opened here, he recalls, there were really no other real estate companies that were promoting properties globally. They started out advertising properties longing for love in Centro. They were also marketing haciendas and, after a surprise mention in the New York Times, started to sell them like tortillas.
Keenan believes it’s more about persistence than anything else. They’ve gone through it all. Hurricanes, Y2K (remember we thought planes would fall out of the sky and computers would pretty much explode?), 9/11, the financial crisis of 2008, more hurricanes, the pandemic. Every time, Mitch smiles, they’ve gone “this is it; how are we going to recover from this?” and yet, Mexico International continues to grow.
“We’re a company that has been successful because of persistence in the face of a lot of difficult situations over the years,” he says. He’s not wrong: from being a team of two, Mexico International now comprises a team of over 20, and from the sound of it, they take care of one another like they’re family. Persistence, it seems, works wonders for people who, like them, have a long line of happy clients that continue to work with them in the long term, and recommend them to friends and family.
When I asked Mitch how he would like people to think of Mexico International, he was very serious and thoughtful: “We’re an honest company that has served Mérida for a long time, and I hope everyone, from anywhere around the globe, feels comfortable approaching us for whatever their real estate needs are.” From what I’ve been able to gather, they’ve far exceeded those expectations.
By Alicia Navarrete
Communicologist born circumstantially in Mexico City, but who says “uay” since 1985. Life has allowed me to see the world, which in turn has allowed me to discover how much I love the place where I live.
Photography by Yucatán Today for its use in Yucatán Today.
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