By Cindy Fauth
Do you think global buyers don’t exist in your area? I’ll bet there are. You don’t have to look hard−just with a different perspective.
Here are a few things to consider before making the assumption that global buyers aren’t in your area, or that you shouldn’t spend your time trying to capture them.
- Global buyers aren’t just big-time investors from faraway places like China, India, the Middle East, etc. This buyer segment includes Canadian snowbirds, or even first-generation (or second-generation for that matter) immigrants who currently live in the U.S. but are more familiar with the business practices of their native country than those in the U.S., or a U.S property buyer looking overseas. Collectively, global buyers purchased over $82 million in U.S. residential real estate last year.
- The NAR Profile of Home Buying Activity concludes every year that international buyers are purchasing in all 50 states. Want proof of that in your state? Check out the NAR State-by-State International Business Reports. Click on your state for a snapshot of what international business activity is taking place there, or click the link to the full .pdf report. You’ll see how immigrants were admitted into your state last year, what countries they came from, and what the top export countries were. (All reports available at realtor.org/research).
- Have you heard about the Realtor.com® International Website? It has changed the way foreign buyers are looking at U.S. real estate. They can view your listings in their language (11 languages are currently available), in their currency, and can convert area from feet to meters. The site launched in November 2011, and since then it averages close to one million unique international visitors each month. That is a lot of international eyes on your properties. Want to know where they are looking? Check out the interactive map that shows which countries are looking most, and what U.S. cities they are looking in.
Working with global buyers can be more complicated than a domestic transaction, but it can be well worth your time. Last year, 62 percent of purchases from international buyers were all-cash transactions. And on average, they spent $188,000 MORE than domestic buyers did. That’s a lot of money! (Again, all information from the NAR Profile of Home Buying Activity).
Complications can include language barriers, changes in currency exchange rates, acquiring financing, and understanding of the U.S. transaction. Feedback from REALTORS® indicates that they have been unable to close deals because of such obstacles.
As one REALTOR® stated, “It is critical that American agents be prepared with as much information about people from other countries. This will make agents aware of needs and wants and why, thereby creating a pool of buyers who are comfortable working with American agents, as well as agents from other countries now working in the United States.”
Education and information are key−NAR offers the CIPS designation to prepare agents to close these international transactions. A small investment of time and money can pay dividends in the long run. A free resource in the meantime is the Global Perspectives newsletter.
Cindy Fauth is the global marketing manager at the National Association of REALTORS®. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.