By Marc Gould
With thousands of Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR®) designees in the United States and Canada, brokers and agents understand the value of the skills and training the designation delivers here at home. Although increasingly common in North America, the concept of buyer representation is only now spreading to the rest of the world. While customs vary, the globalization of the real estate market is turning toward brokers who can demonstrate an enhanced level of client service. Around the world, buyer representatives are discovering that the ABR® designation can improve their business, both locally and internationally. ABR® courses have been taught in Mexico, India, Spain and Dubai, with plans to bring the program to Egypt in the near future. Beyond the core skills, an ABR® designation brings unique benefits to practitioners around the globe.
In Mexico, ABR® training has had success in the Los Cabos area in Baja California. With a large segment of the market devoted to selling to U.S. and Canadian nationals looking for retirement or vacation homes, Los Cabos brokers and agents find the ABR® designation useful in understanding buyers from north of the border. The ABR® course has been valuable in helping these practitioners understand the expectations, customs and standards of practice of these international buyers. Additionally, as professional practices are currently unlicensed in Mexco, the ABR® designation core course provides a good introduction to agency and Mexican contract law. According to the 2013 NAR Profile of International Home Buying Activity, Mexico represents the third largest segment of international buyers in the United States. As training expands to other areas of the country, such as Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexican buyer representatives with knowledge of the U.S. real estate market will have an advantage.
In the Middle East, real estate in Dubai is booming once again. With over 2,300 brokers active in the emirate in 2013, adding the ABR® to their credentials helps designees separate themselves from the competition while at the same time improving their skills, knowledge and experience. Buyer agency is a relatively new concept in the market, though with more and more international buyers, the demand is growing. And with clients from around the world, Dubai ABR® designees also see value in being part of an international referral network.
Finally, in Spain, agents have been struggling over the past few years to go from individual open listings to cooperating with multiple exclusive listings. Buyer representation is the logical complement to seller representation. Agents in Madrid and Barcelona are using REBAC courses to focus on their buyers and organize their work toward signing and servicing exclusive buyer agreements. Most buyers are still local, but many agents also have clients from other European countries. These buyers understand the value of a trusted local advisor and generally do not have problems signing exclusive agreements.
We are living in a global marketplace. As both international and domestic buyers become more sophisticated in terms of the level of support they demand, it pays for brokers to ensure their agents have the necessary skills and knowledge. Whether from down the block or across the ocean, buyers today expect an ever-increasing level of service and knowledge. Make sure your office is ready.
Marc Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for the National Association of REALTORS® and executive director of REBAC.
To learn more, visit REBAC.net.
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