LeadingRE is not alone in its global expansion, as other real estate franchises are doing the same with success. LeadingRE’s legacy of specializing in broker referrals, though, has caused it to turn attention to enhancing the success of cross-border referrals, which can be challenging given vastly different cultures, time zones, business practices and customs. To help members feel more confident sending and serving international referrals, LeadingRE created a cross-border “concierge” referral team to coach members through the process, assist with language barriers, educate them on unique business practices in diverse locations, and trouble-shoot to bridge any perceived service or communication issues.
Helping set expectations can be essential to keeping the transaction on track. Dietz notes, “In southern Europe, for example, most people take a more relaxed approach and may not respond to emails as quickly as North Americans expect. A German client may find it too pushy if an agent calls after 6:00 p.m., ‘invading his private space and family time,’ while an American agent may think he or she is simply providing great service by being readily available.”
Beyond the cultural issues, there are financial concerns to keep in mind, as the tax implications on international property transactions can be complicated. LeadingRE coaches its members to be aware that issues may exist and to advise clients to seek tax advice from appropriate professionals to help ensure any financial impact is identified early in the process.
To support its goals for global growth, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® has increased its participation in international real estate events. This year alone, the company’s staff has attended conferences in Dubai; London; St. Petersburg, Russia; Singapore; Shanghai; Honolulu; Banff, Australia; New Zealand and Taiwan. The company is also active in FIABCI, the International Real Estate Federation, with Dietz actively participating in the United Kingdom chapter and LeadingRE COO Paul Boomsma serving as president of the Chicago chapter.