This “Ask the Expert” column features Cindy Fauth, a Global Marketing Manager with National Association of REALTORS®.
Q: As retirees continue to settle abroad, what are the best ways to tap into this expanding niche market?
A: Retirees settling abroad are predicted to be one of the fastest growing segments in the overseas property market. Some factors that are driving this growth include:
- Retirees looking for ideal climate/location for their preferred lifestyle
- Growing number of workers who can’t afford to retire where they currently live
- Countries are working to attract retirees with specific visa programs
- International developers building resorts/gated communities designed with retirees in mind
How to Find Opportunities with Overseas Retirees
In a recent issue of Global Perspectives, NAR examined popular destinations for retirees. Tried and true destinations include Mexico, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, and the Mediterranean. Emerging hotspots include Panama, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Turkey, Morocco, Malaysia and Thailand. So how do you start to tap into this market?
1. Identify a niche. In overseas retirement, niches are typically based on destinations and/or the type of property. Since the number of retirees looking to retire abroad is likely small in your local market, you might have to look outside your immediate area to grow your practice. Establish key contacts in that country, and network with other REALTORS® who might have clients looking to retire in your country of specialization.
2. Educate yourself. Before you begin assisting retiree clients outside your borders, it’s important to have adequate knowledge and connections in that country. Make plans to visit and spend at least a week in your preferred market. Set up meetings before you travel and ask local agents to show you representative properties, highlights of the city and local healthcare facilities. Working through those connections, set up a day of meetings with legal, tax, financing, title insurance, and property management professionals.
3. Create an online presence. Expat retirees can also be a valuable source of information and advice for newcomers. Before traveling, visit and follow expat forums for your destination country to see what issues are being discussed. Ask them about issues like healthcare, quality of life, and personal safety. To help broaden your leads beyond your immediate geographic area, have a specific area on your website focused on international retirement and second homes. If possible, have a blog and conduct webinars to establish yourself as a trusted source of information. Be present on social media.
4. Work with developers. Retirees are sometimes more comfortable moving to planned communities where they feel safer and have easy access to desired amenities. Many overseas retirement destinations already have planned communities or new ones in development, especially if retirees have been moving there for years. Make sure they are reputable and their financials are sound before striking up a relationship.
5. Be prepared to educate potential buyers. Moving abroad is a major decision your clients won’t make without asking a lot of questions. Be prepared to discuss distance, healthcare, language, weather, cultural differences, second careers, tax considerations, etc.
Growing a niche in overseas retirement may require you to extend your reach far afield to find retiree and second-home buyers. Your business model should extend beyond your local market and include travel and strong networking opportunities. Read more on this topic and discover more ways to expand your global business at www.realtor.org/global.
For more information, visit www.realtor.org/global.