By Edward Alford, Massachusetts REALTOR® and NAR Liaison to South Africa
Can you make money in International real estate?
The answer is yes, and you don’t have to go to exotic places to do it. But you do need a different skillset to help you succeed and the NAR Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation can help. NAR statistics show that over 20% of transactions nationally have an international component. With those numbers, doesn’t it make sense to equip yourself with the skills necessary to give you that value-added advantage?
In the Bay State, we became home to many Irish, Portuguese, Polish, and Hispanic immigrants. Now we see an influx of other cultures too: Brazilians, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indians, and Russians to mention a few. Twenty-one percent of Massachusetts households speak a foreign language. These are your clientele of today...and neighbors of tomorrow. The number of immigrants and foreign nationals working in the U.S. is growing and that translates to income potential.
Shouldn’t you be the recipient of that income?
Private property ownership is stable and reasonably risk free in the United States. It’s what makes America great and attracts those seeking the American Dream of Homeownership, but it also creates challenges for the average REALTOR®. What significance does the color red or number four have? Why is a square foot confusing when a square meter is not? What are the ramifications of currency exchange and its effect on a transaction? What is an EB-5 visa? These are not concerns of the average real estate agent, but they are to the REALTOR® working with internationalclientele. NAR developed the CIPS designation to equip REALTORS® with the tools to work in multi-cultural situations, and to understand cultural behavioral nuances. The CIPS is a network of professionals dedicated to the global real estate market and NAR maintains bilateral partnership agreements with
counterparts in over 60 countries.
Most of us practice Transactional Brokerage: Secure a listing or buyer, put a deal together, close it and move on to the next... straightforward. International real estate can be different. It tends to be built on face to face contact and trust established over time. We call this Relationship Brokerage. It takes time to develop, but once in place, the trust that’s formed, the bridges built, are extremely strong. By building such a network, you can become the “go to” person in your area and you can further develop your expertise by nationality, types of property, languages spoken, or country knowledge. Find your niche.
How do you develop these networks?
Inexpensively, you can attend Chamber of Commerce events; go to festivals, or clubs catering to different nationalities. A little research goes a long way; think outside the box. You can also become involved with organizations such as FIABCIUSA, AMPI, APEMIP, AREAA and others. The Transnational Referral Certification (TRC) certification sponsored by ICREA can help you access counterparts in countries that have people immigrating to your area. NAR with its Global Business Alliances is another excellent resource. Making contacts establishes the foundation necessary to work in the global arena. It’s amazing how small the world can become, and those you work with along the way can enrich your life, broaden your horizons, and often become lifelong friends.