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Working with Foreign Real Estate Buyers

The opportunity to work with foreign buyers isn’t limited to certain markets or to practitioners who travel overseas.

Here are a few things to remember to succeed:

1. Foreign clients may know real estate but not U.S. Real Estate.

You need to explain local market conditions and legal issues. But be careful not to talk down to them.

2. Focus on clients from 1 or 2 countries, if you’re just getting started. In that way, you can become more familiar with the culture and establish a wider network of contacts faster.

3. Factors such as currency fluctuations and market stability may influence buying decisions.

For example, a client who bought a building, left it vacant for three years, and then sold it for about what he paid originally yet was still happy because the currency in his home country had devalued by 50 percent over that period. So just by parking the money in the United States, the owner had made a profit.

4. Take things slowly.

Recognize that some cultures require more consultation and time to make a decision.

5. Develop a group of experts in foreign ownership of U.S. real estate you can offer foreign buyers as a resource.

Once you’re seen as a trusted adviser, offshore clients will often look to you for assistance in other parts of the transaction, such as finding legal advice.

6. Aid in bridging differences

Simple things such as converting a price from dollars to euros or square feet to meters can make a foreign buyer more comfortable.

7. Get your Certified International Property Specialist designation from NAR’s International Division.

It’s a great way to acquire skills needed to work with foreign clients and to network

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