Yury di Pasquale in Yucatan Magazine
Reprinted from Yucatan Magazine. You can see the original article here.
Over two decades of real estate experience and her deep involvement in the community lead both buyers and sellers to consider Yury Di Pasquale a trusted and knowledgeable professional. During a visit to the Slow Food Market, we discussed both her personal and professional philosophies.
Where are you from originally, and how did you end up in Mérida?
I am originally from Baltimore, Maryland. My mother is Peruvian, my father is Italian, my grandfather is Austrian, and my grandmother is from Chile. I came to Mexico in 2000 to visit my mother, who was living in Cancún. I moved to Mexico six months later with my daughter, who was 14 at the time. Then, I put in my letter of resignation for my tenure-track position as a political science instructor at Pierce College in Fort Steilacoom, Washington, and I have been in Mexico ever since. So, I am working on my 23rd year in Mexico.
Tell us something about your personal and professional background.
I live in the northern part of Mérida with my seven rescue dogs and four rescue cats. I graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1994 with a Master’s in Political Science. I worked for Hawaii State Sen. Milton Holt, and I taught Political Science and Spanish at Chaminade University in Hawaii and Pierce College in Washington State. When I moved to Mexico, I started working for a land developer in 2000. That company focused on oceanfront lots on the Costa Maya and in Sisal here in the Yucatán. I have been selling in Sisal since 2006, way before it was the cat’s meow. I moved to Mérida full-time in 2008.
When and why did you begin Yucatán Homes and Lots?
In 2008, I started Yucatán Homes and Lots. I had been working with that land developer in Cancún for almost eight years. I really wanted to move to Mérida, but they were not going to continue buying and subdividing land in the Yucatán after selling all of their Sisal beachfront lots. That was the determining factor in moving on from that company. I started with resales in Sisal and then selling colonial homes in the historic Mérida Centro. But I have been selling real estate in the Yucatán Peninsula since 2001.
Tell us about your involvement in the Slow Food Market.
When I moved to Mérida in 2009, my friend Gail Weaver (the current director of Slow Food Yucatán) introduced me to Monique’s Bakery for her artisanal bread. I was on Monique’s mailing list, and one day I received an invitation from David Sterling, the founder of Slow Food Yucatán. He was looking for vendors to participate in a first-of-its-kind market in Mérida on the grounds of Monique’s Bakery. I immediately replied and offered to participate with my Peruvian sauces and chimichurri. Later, David invited me to be on the board of directors. So, I have been a board member for Slow Food Yucatan for the last 13 years. I also started our current Slow Food Yucatán Facebook page many years ago, and I used to email our subscribed clients on a weekly basis with our menus. Then the pandemic hit. My sister Michele and I, along with a few other members, started the delivery program. My sister was a logistics specialist in the U.S. Air Force, so she knew what we had to do. We worked 80-plus hours a week to make it work.
Why didn’t you just close the market?
The simple answer is the vendors depended on their weekly sales to survive. Yes, we could have just shut everything down until things got better, but the hens kept on eating and laying eggs, the farmers kept on planting, the vegetables kept on growing and our vendors who cook meals needed a place to sell their delicious food items.
We hear you’re involved in other community activities as well.
Since moving to Mexico, I have been helping dogs and cats in Yucatán, mostly with my own funds. I have had over 200 dogs and cats go through my home on the way to adoption. Currently, I have 11 permanent residents in my home. Those are the ones who did not get adopted and just became part of the family. I don’t do large campaigns for the spay and neutering, I simply knock on doors and talk to the people in my community to offer the free service. Dr. Nelson from My Vet in Las Americas has really helped me out with the sterilizations and treating these dogs and cats when I first pick them up.
Why do you volunteer when you’re already busy with your business?
I truly believe that you make time for what is important. When I was a younger single parent, the important things were having a job to support my daughter and then my university studies. All that hard work has paid off, my daughter is now 36 with a doctorate in education, and I have the luxury that I can focus on work, but also help out where it is needed.
What are your strong points when helping people list or find a home?
I am honest with the clients almost to a fault. I am not just looking to sell them a property or just interested in getting a listing, I am looking to establish long-term relationships with these clients. Yes, I want to make a sale, but if the clients are not ready, then they just aren’t ready. If they don’t find a property to purchase on this trip, then I hope to show them their dream property on their next trip over. I want the clients to be happy with their purchases and the sellers with their sales. Yes, making the sale is also important, how else am I going to support my 11 pets? But establishing meaningful long-term relationships reaches a level above any monetary value. If I see that a home is not right for a client, I will let them know. I think being straight with the client is most important, and I think they appreciate it.
What real estate trends do you see?
In the last two years, I, along with other agents in the area, have seen an increase in the prices of homes and land in Mérida, and I am not just talking about Centro properties. We have been seeing the increase everywhere, in the north part of Mérida as well as on the coast. Something else I have observed recently is seeing younger people buying properties. It used to be just the retired crowd, but now we are seeing young families from different walks of life joining us in Mérida. I hope this trend of young families moving to Merida continues to grow.
What are the hot neighborhoods or overall buying patterns?
The hot neighborhoods had always been Santa Ana, Santiago, and Santa Lucía. But clients who spend a little more time here and actually get to know the neighborhoods are finding that they like the charm of areas that are not so centralized around Paseo de Montejo and the Zócalo. People are becoming more adventurous and buying outside of these areas. They find a certain charm to the tiendita next to the home they are interested in, or they like that not everything is perfect and polished. They acquire an appreciation for a more authentic Mérida in Ermita, San Sebastián, Chem Bech, San Cristóbal, Mejorada and even out to Chuminópolis. Since younger families are moving to Mérida, we are finding that many of these clients are now looking for homes closer to schools in the northern part of the city. I have also been getting more requests for land outside of Mérida and not necessarily on the beach. Some want inland ranch land with several hectares to build a small home and cultivate the land. So, for some people, a small home and lots of land are attractive. ′
While shopping at the Slow Food Market in García Ginerés, stop by Yury’s office so that she can answer your real estate questions. Or simply email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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