By Paige Tepping
As the world continues to shrink from a global perspective, buyers and sellers alike are setting their sights overseas, making it more crucial than ever before to have a dedicated team by their side to help successfully navigate the home-buying or -selling process. To keep up with this growing trend—and ensure the numerous pieces of the puzzle come together seamlessly—currency exchange experts Moneycorp have made it their mission to educate real estate professionals in order to keep up with today’s foreign national customers.
“Buying a property overseas is the largest foreign currency transaction any of us will take part in,” says Andrew Woolley, director of international payments at Moneycorp. Established in the UK in 1962—with the first U.S. office having opened in Orlando, Fla., in 2004—the company has been dealing in currency exchange since 1979, helping millions of clients each year with their foreign exchange and international requirements.
“Our role is to facilitate foreign exchange, making sure costs are managed in an effective way from a currency perspective,” says Woolley, who explains that the business has been built out on first-class service, which is crucial when it comes to moving large funds across borders, a process that not only requires a lot of handholding, but a dedicated team as well.
While international payments are considered to be a true growth area as globalization continues to increase, Woolley notes that this is one area that is poorly serviced by banks since it doesn’t typically form part of their corporate product. And this is where Moneycorp’s value proposition truly comes into play.
Since the process surrounding currency exchange can be overwhelming to those not familiar with the ins and outs associated with the practice, taking the time to educate the parties involved is a key piece of the puzzle. “The main thing we offer is education,” says Country Manager Kelly Cutchin, who notes just how crucial it is for real estate professionals—specifically those who interact with foreign nationals—to understand the importance of currency exchange and international transfers.
While transferring money abroad can be nothing short of frustrating, Moneycorp alleviates all the pain points associated with timing and constantly fluctuating exchange rates, leaving real estate professionals, and their clients, with a positive experience from start to finish. “When moving large funds across borders, there’s always the chance that the money could get held up in compliance checks,” says Woolley, “so we focus on making sure the journey—from the customer’s perspective—is as smooth as possible.” Whether it’s ensuring the customer has the right documentation to making sure the funds can be easily accessed when needed, Moneycorp is dedicated to pointing people in the right direction.
In addition to ensuring a successful transition, Moneycorp’s customers also receive better exchange rates than those offered by the banks. “It’s not uncommon for Moneycorp to be able to save a customer anywhere from $2,000 – $5,000 on a currency exchange transaction, which is often more than enough to cover closing costs or the costs associated with an upgrade,” says Cutchin. “Helping customers see where rates are moving is really our value add,” explains Woolley. And saving a client any amount of money on a real estate transaction is a step in the right direction when it comes to building a stronger relationship between the agent and the customer.
But perhaps the most important benefit associated with working with Moneycorp is the company’s ability to lock its customers into an exchange rate for two years, protecting both the real estate agent and the buyer from losing a sale. “Constantly fluctuating exchange rates can be the difference between getting a client into a home and them not being able to afford a property once a rate has fluctuated negatively or against them,” says Cutchin. “We’re constantly ensuring that our exchange rates are extremely competitive so customers can feel confident that they’re getting the best possible exchange rate.”
And the benefits don’t stop there. In fact, Moneycorp offers a wide range of digital assets that are instrumental when it comes to providing real estate professionals with a competitive edge in today’s market. In addition to providing their REALTOR® partners with links and various widgets, such as a currency exchange converter that can help their website appeal to the international market, Moneycorp also helps with strategic introductions that enable real estate professionals to build up their contact base. “At the end of the day, we want the REALTOR® to have more closings with foreign national customers, and if we can help that along, we will,” says Cutchin.
“As the world economy continues to come out of recession, we’re seeing more interest in people buying investment properties and residential properties overseas,” says Woolley, a trend that Moneycorp is well positioned to take advantage of. As a member of multiple real estate associations across the state of Florida, Moneycorp attends various conferences throughout the course of the year, including the REALTORS® Conference & Expo held each November, in order to meet brokers, explain their value proposition and get their foot in the door so they can set up a time to visit the office and present everything they offer to the firm’s agents.
With a strategic growth plan already well underway, Moneycorp is laser-focused on pushing borders even further. From recently partnering with a bank in Brazil to facilitate the movement of Brazilians into Florida—a significant growth area—to opening offices in France, Ireland and Spain, it’s clear to see that expansion is on the horizon.
“Expanding our footprint even further into the international market is all about targeting real estate professionals who are investing in foreign national investors, or at least show an interest in dealing with this demographic,” says Cutchin, who goes on to say that their attendance at this year’s Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®’ s annual conference set the stage to meet brokers from top agencies throughout the U.S. who are dealing with luxury properties and working on attracting market foreigners.
As the world continues to become more accessible, Woolley notes that the international payments division sees opportunities in the United Arab Emirates, as well as further opportunities in Latin America. “Our hope is that through our global offices, we can continue to educate not only local real estate professionals in those areas, but also foreign investors who are visiting those countries in an effort to attract buyers from those regions,” concludes Cutchin.
For more information, please visit www.moneycorp.com/usa.