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Why You Should Be Paying Attention to Global

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By Cindy Fauth

Do you think there aren’t global buyers in your area? I’ll bet there are. You likely don’t have to look hard—just with a different perspective.

Here are a few things to think about before you make the assumption that global buyers don’t exist, or that you shouldn’t spend your time trying to capture them.

1. Global buyers aren’t just big-time investors from faraway places like China, India, the Middle East, etc. This buyer segment includes Canadian snowbirds, first-generation (or second-gen, 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., and even U.S. property buyers looking overseas. Collectively, though, global buyers purchased more than $82 billion in U.S. residential real estate last year.

2. 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 State-by-State International Business Reports (www.realtor.org/reports/state-by-state-international-business-reports) and click on your state for a snapshot of what international business activity is taking place. Or click the link to the full .pdf report. You’ll see how many immigrants were admitted into your state last year, what countries they came from and what the top export countries were. (All reports available at www.realtor.org.)

3. Have you heard about www.realtor.com/international? 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 even 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 these foreign buyers are looking? Check out the interactive map at www.realtor.org/articles/where-are-global-buyers-searching-in-the-united-states to find out which countries are looking most and what U.S. cities they are looking in.

Do you really want global buyers?

While working with global buyers can be more complicated than a domestic transaction, 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. That’s a lot of money! (Again, info 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 as possible. 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 when it comes to working with global buyers, therefore, NAR offers the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation to prepare agents to close these international transactions. A small investment of time and money can pay dividends in the long run.

Cindy Fauth is the Global Marketing Manager of National Association of REALTORS®

For more information, visit www.realtor.org/global.

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