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Today’s Ask the Expert column features Cindy Fauth, global marketing manager for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Q: How do global clients differ from domestic clients?

A: Working with global clients brings a unique set of challenges that real estate professionals working with domestic buyers don’t typically worry about. From establishing creditworthiness for financing to tax and visa regulations, there are more components to keep in mind than a general U.S.-based transaction; however, the differences in working with global clients are mainly transactional and cultural. In terms of what foreign buyers/sellers expect from their REALTOR®, it’s important to remember that they’re regular people looking for the same service, relationship and expertise your domestic buyers expect.

Market Expertise
Most international clients have a general familiarity with the region or local market they’re looking to buy in. What sets you apart, however, and what they can’t get from Google, is intimate knowledge of the area. This includes everything from lifestyle characteristics to inventory, school information, etc.

Regular Communication
As always, communication is key. Don’t let time zones, language barriers or other obstacles get in the way of solid communication. There are a variety of technology platforms available to help you overcome these obstacles. Begin by viewing NAR Global resources like Global Perspectives (available at, which can help you identify these resources.

Invest Your Time
It’s a common theme throughout life: you get out of it what you put into it. International clients are well-known for providing referrals when they’ve received exemplary service. What might seem like a one-time or small-volume transaction that occupies a lot of time can turn into clients and referral clients for life.

Network of Resources
International clients need you for more than just housing. Oftentimes, you’re the person they know best in the area, making it more than likely that they rely on you for professional referrals to tax and immigration attorneys, finance professionals, etc. They may also need help with more personal items such as getting a driver’s license, setting up utilities and choosing a handyman/contractor.

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