Panel of Experts

Ronan McMahon
Director
Pathfinder Ltd

A finance graduate, Ronan McMahon worked in the e-business consultancy and dot-com industries before joining International Living as Real Estate Marketing Director in January 2004. Ronan has been an active real estate investor since his early twenties and joining International Living gave him the opportunity to marry his personal and professional interests. In 2007, Ronan took up the position of Executive Director with Pathfinder.

Ronan writes for Pathfinder's VIP service Real Estate Trend Alert and regularly contributes to International Living’s print and online publications. Ronan has travelled to 15 countries in the past 12 months alone following real estate trends with the potential for profit. Instinct, experience and an unrivalled black book of contacts give him access to the inside track to unique profit opportunities. Read more…

Margaret Summerfield
Director
Pathfinder Ltd

Margaret was born in Ireland but has spent her most of her adult life living outside her home country. Real estate has always been her passion. 

In late 2005 Margaret joined International Living, as an administrator.  She spent her first fifteen months with the company analyzing the paperwork and due diligence of countless projects. For the last five years Margaret has traveled extensively in Central and South America, scouting for real estate opportunities. She’s been to places you’ve never heard of…spent hours in meetings with local contacts…and seen more projects in the region than just about anyone you’re likely to meet.

Rick Philps
Attorney, Petersen & Philps Law Offices, San Jose, Costa Rica

Richard (Rick) Philps is a Canadian citizen, naturalized as a citizen of Costa Rica. He was born, raised, and educated in Victoria, British Columbia, receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1977, and a Bachelor of Laws Degree (English Common Law) in 1980, from the University of Victoria. He practiced law in Victoria, as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, for fourteen years, prior to moving to Costa Rica in 1998.

Mr. Philps returned to university in Costa Rica, where he earned his Bachelor of Laws and Licensing Degrees (Civil Law), with Honors, from the Metropolitana Castro Carazo University, and a Post-Graduate Degree in Notary and Registry Law, from the Escuela Libre de Derecho University in San Jose. He is a member of the Costa Rica College of Lawyers, he is a qualified Notary Public, and he has practiced law in Costa Rica since January 2003 in the areas of real estate and development, corporate, commercial, contract, banking, and immigration.

Juan Federico Fischer
Lawyer partner, Fischer & Schickendantz, Montevideo, Uruguay

Juan Federico Fischer manages Fischer & Schickendantz' foreign investment consulting unit, advising both multinationals and individual investors in privatizations, real estate developments, and acquisition of local companies.

In his 14 years as a corporate attorney, Juan has worked in some of Uruguay's main privatizations (Punta del Este Airport, 1994, and Montevideo port, 1995 and 2000); in major local corporate debt restructurings; in international debt restructurings (regional debt-equity swap of Italy's Parmalat, 2004), in mergers and acquisitions (AstraZeneca spin-off of Avecia, 2000; Katoen Natie's acquisition of the Montevideo port, 2006; and Sherwin Williams's acquisition of Pinturas Industriales, 2007). He has advised and is counsel to dozens of multinationals such as Computer Associates, Bechtel Corp., UBS Warburg, Cable & Wireless, HSBC, and Globo of Brazil, and to multilateral institutions such as the World Bank Group.

Currently, Juan specializes in major real estate developments. Fischer & Schickendantz is a leading advisor to individuals seeking to buy properties and to obtain residency in Uruguay.

Juan graduated from Uruguay's Catholic University's School of Law in 1994, and in 2002, he obtained an M.B.A. degree from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, where he majored in strategy and finance.

Christoph Sieger
Resident partner at Guzman Ariza, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Christoph Sieger is a resident partner of the national law and business consulting firm Guzman Ariza. Mr. Sieger is based in the Bavaro, Punta Cana office and head of the firm in the eastern region of the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana, Bavaro, La Romana, Bayahibe, Miches).

He is an expert on international taxation and estate planning and has handled thousands of real estate transactions, from the simplest to the most complex multi-party, multi-million-dollar operations. He is legal advisor to major international hotel and resort chains, and real estate developers, on real estate, corporate, construction, labor and tax matters and a member of the Dominican Bar Association.

Mr. Sieger's education includes Christian Albrechts Universidad, Kiel, Germany (J.D., magna cum laude, 1995), Robert Kennedy Universidad, Zurich, Switzerland (Postgraduate studies in International Tax Law, 2002), and UAPA (LL.B., magna cum laude, 2005)

Rainelda Mata-Kelly
Attorney-at-Law, Law Offices Rainelda Mata-Kelly, Panama City, Panama

Rainelda Mata-Kelly practices commercial and shipping law at Law Offices Rainelda Mata-Kelly. In 1982, she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Law and Political Science at Santa Maria La Antigua University in Panama. She then went on to Cornell University Law School and obtained a Masters of Law, specializing in Commercial and Maritime Law. Upon graduation, she became the founder, resident lawyer, and manager of the London office of a Panamanian law firm. In 1991, she became the Miami Correspondent for the Panamanian newspaper, La Prensa, and then went on to be the paper's Executive Editor.

Ms. Mata-Kelly has been External Legal Advisor to the Colon Free Trade Zone Merchants Association, and External Executive Director and Legal Advisor to INTERED (Internet Service Providers' Association). Since 1989, she has owned her own private practice dealing in the areas of corporations, immigration, commercial, real estate, and shipping law of Panama. The practice was incorporated in 2005 as a law firm, and has now been expanded to include four other lawyers.

Benjamin Beja
Founder and President, Mexico Alive

Serial developer and entrepreneur Benjamin Beja studied law in Mexico, graduating with highest honors, before completing Harvard's prestigious MBA program. Over the last 10 years, he has sold and/or developed more than 1,300 homes (mostly targeted at the North American market) in Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, and Riviera Maya.

He is the Founder and President of Mexico Alive, a leading company in selling and marketing real estate projects in resort areas of Mexico.

Before settling in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya, Benjamin dedicated 7 years of his life to traveling all over the world visiting or living in more than a 100 countries. He was recently appointed President of AMPI Tulum, (the Mexican equivalent of NAR) and Vice Chairman of the MREC, (Mexico Real Estate Coalition).

Benjamin is developing 2 real estate projects on Mexico's Riviera Maya. The first, Sian Ka'an, launched in early 2009, is sold out, and his newest one is TAO, a community focused on health and wellness.

Steve Linder
Developer, Pacific Lots, Costa Rica

Steve Linder is from Cambridge, MA, and currently travels between his homes in Key West, FL, Baker's Island in Salem, MA, and Ojochal, Costa Rica, depending on the season. Steve studied International Business in both the undergraduate and MBA program at Northeastern University in Boston. Steve has traveled extensively in Central and South America as well as parts of Asia. 

Always an entrepreneur, Steve owned a jewelry manufacturing company in Mexico for over 10 years as well as a sales recruiting firm. Steve discovered Costa Rica about 20 years ago and now is worldwide sales manager for the largest residential development in that country, Pacific Lots. Steve runs monthly property tours to Costa Rica, and the company develops land and builds custom homes for clients. He is also the vice president of a large expat homeowner's association in Costa Rica and his firm, Pacific Lots of Costa Rica, publishes a quarterly newsletter about the southern Pacific region of Costa Rica, the Paradise Post.  

Boris Mannsfeld
Developer & Real Estate Broker, Placencia, Belize

Boris Mannsfeld operates the largest brokerage firm in the booming Placencia, Belize area (Boris Mannsfeld & Associates), and is an owner of one of Belize's most successful beach resorts (Robert's Grove).

Boris successfully developed and sold property in the Denver, Colorado area for many years before transitioning operations to Placencia, Belize. He has 22 years of experience in Belize and continues to invest heavily in local real estate, hospitality and other markets. Boris is fully utilizing his MBA education, professionalism, relentless entrepreneurial drive and love for Belize to provide his clients the very best resources, knowledge and service so they can make rewarding real estate, retirement and investment decisions. Boris Mannsfeld was awarded 'The Best Real Estate Broker' at the 2013 and 19th annual Caribbean World Awards.

Daniel Neves
Managing Director, Escala International Imoveis

Daniel Neves is a real estate broker specializing in investment properties and second homes in Fortaleza, on Brazil's northeast coast, since 1999. Daniel graduated from High School in Grass Valley, California, and went on to study law in the University of Salamanca in Spain. Daniel has been a partner in Escala Imoveis, a family-owned real estate agency with more than 16 years of experience, since 2003.

Increasing international demand for properties in Fortaleza inspired Daniel to create a website exclusively for overseas clients.

Daniel has personal connections with Fortaleza's top developers, giving him early access to the newest real estate releases in the city before anyone else. This gives his clients the opportunity to analyze investments opportunities and act on them ahead of the official launch.

Robert Kroesen
Forestry and Residency in Panama

Robert G. Kroesen is a Panamanian of Dutch origin. He lived for many years in the United States, where he obtained his marketing degree and worked as a consultant with a marketing research firm. He later returned to Panama. For several years, he advised international companies and Panama-based law firms on their global marketing and public relations strategies.

He also became involved in one of the largest reforestation projects in Panama, and now advises individuals on how to maximize their returns in forestry projects through proper management—and how to take advantage of Panama's visa/residency options through forestry.

Chill Weekends

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Pathfinder is in the business of recommending a wide range of real estate and relocation services from developers and lawyers to real estate agents and tax specialists, to name but a few. Pathfinder requires developers to meet basic criteria before bringing them to you. However, any vetting we do on projects or professionals should not be construed as a guarantee by Pathfinder. Remember, the value of your real estate purchase can go down as well as up; there are no guarantees that property values will rise.

Pathfinder is not responsible for the management or delivery of chill weekends. We bring these to you for informational purposes on behalf of our developer and broker partners. As with any other overseas trip, we advise that you purchase travel insurance. We always recommend strongly that buyers perform their own complete due diligence, use a qualified legal professional to help with real estate transactions and purchase title insurance. Should a reader decide to purchase a property from one of the developers/real estate agents Pathfinder covers, Pathfinder will receive a fee from the developer or real estate agent.