Atlanta Agent (AA): What factors are influencing international clients to buy a home in Atlanta?
Mike Wright (MW): The vast majority of buyers moving to Atlanta from outside the United States are related to either education, employment or both. Many international businesses have headquarters or large regional offices in the metropolitan Atlanta area, and it is common for middle and senior managers to spend part of their career in Atlanta. The concentration of colleges and universities also contributes to international clients purchasing in Atlanta.
AA: How can Atlanta real estate agents effectively work with international clients, given that global issues affect their demand for housing?
MW: Sales associates working with clients moving from outside the U.S. need to be familiar with the special circumstances around the availability of mortgages and the transfer of currency into the U.S. They also need to be prepared to offer a higher level of customer service, as they will be called upon to assist the client in obtaining a Social Security number, driver’s license and other formalities that are not required of U.S. citizens. Beyond the actual home purchase, spending additional time helping the transferring family members to acclimate to the area will create a true point of difference when seeking future referrals.
AA: There have been reports that international real estate is slowing in 2016. Is that consistent with your perspective, and where do you see business heading the rest of the year?
MW: The cost of relocating an employee internationally is quite high. Our international corporate clients are reporting that they are scrutinizing these moves more closely than perhaps occurred in the past. However, the recent focus on attracting international businesses, especially in the technology industry, continues to fuel the growth in international clients in the metropolitan Atlanta market. That trend should continue into the near-term future.
Mike Wright is the vice president of marketing and communications for Harry Norman, Realtors. In this role, Mike oversees the development and implementation of marketing strategies, marketing materials, advertising, public relations and internal communications. Prior to this position, Mike served as senior vice president and managing broker of the Harry Norman’s Intown office. He had been an active managing broker for 13 years, and was a top-producing sales associate prior to entering management. Mike is also a past president of the Atlanta Board of Realtors, and has served on or chaired nearly all of the committees of the Atlanta Board, including the Atlanta REALTOR Political Action Committee (ARPAC) and the Atlanta Board of REALTORS Educational Foundation Board of Trustees.