By Peter Ricci
It’s no mystery to anyone that follows the U.S. real estate market that foreign buyers are a major force. In the last year alone, international residential sales were $82.5 billion, a 24 percent increase from the year before, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.
Clearly, foreigners with disposable funds are interested in property on U.S. soil, but how can agents directly appeal to those buyers? Here are five possibilities to consider:
- Advertising – With how streamlined the world’s economy is nowadays, there’s nothing stopping you from pursuing advertising opportunities in foreign markets. However, as this excellent summary on Global HR News explains, there are a number of factors to keep in mind when considering foreign advertisements, especially the possible language barrier and the cultural differences of the native population, the latter being something we’ve written about before.
- Dedicated Website – Unique websites for properties are becoming increasingly common in real estate, and their especially important for international buyers, who will more than likely want as much information as possible about the home. As NAR’s report found, many foreign buyers abandon a prospective home because of lacking details, so make sure those listings are filled to the brim with information!
- Tweak Your Presentations – Also, when writing out your listings data or designing brochures, postings and other publications about the property, think about tweaking certain aspects of the presentation to make it more conducive to buyers from other countries. For instance, a recent Newsday piece recommended changing square feet to square meters, to accomodate the metric system, which most foreign countries use.
- Engage! – Undeniably the most effective strategy for appealing to foreign buyers is directly engaging the international community, and few agents have been more effective at doing that than Maria Davies, a broker with @properties in Lincoln Park. Nearly all of Davies’ foreign business is referral-based, and she said her reputation on the international scene comes from her designations and involvement. In addition to her CIPS and TRC designations, which are two of the more prestigious for agents interested in international real estate, she is a longtime member of FIABCI, where she was not only a board member of FIABCI-USA, but also a past president of its Chicago chapter; and, she has given numerous presentations and lectures to the FIABCI World Congress, which features 500-900 attendees from 63 countries.
So, whether you’re buying advertising, converting feet to meters or putting your literal feet to the ground and engaging with the international community, there are a number of approaches to take in attracting foreign homebuyers.
The question is, which one(s) will you use?