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The following information is provided by the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD), with assistance from Vani Ungapen, manager, Global Education and Membership, at the National Association of REALTORS®.

The real estate market is now global and the demographics of real estate are changing. NAR’s latest report on international home-buying activity in the United States shows that foreign real estate transactions accounted for $153 billion of U.S. sales. This number is up 49 percent from the previous year. REALTORS® who would like to tap into the global real estate market need to be aware of how real estate transactions in other parts of the world are different or similar from U.S. real estate transactions so that they better advise their foreign buyers.

You may be wondering what it takes to impress international clients.

Surprisingly, brushing up on some basics and doing your homework beforehand will help you make international property purchases an easy and pleasant experience for everyone involved:

  • Every major global market except the United States uses the metric system of measurement. U.S. real estate professionals need to be fluent in the metric “language” so that they can provide meaningful information to clients and customers from metric system countries.
  • Global real estate involves moving money between countries and converting currencies. Currency values fluctuate for a variety of reasons. By understanding and monitoring exchange rates, real estate professionals can help clients plan ahead to manage value fluctuations and transfer transaction funds.
  • Foreign buyers and sellers want to know how U.S. tax law applies to them. Although real estate professionals should not give advice in tax matters, they should have general knowledge in this area. Failure to comply in a timely manner with U.S. tax regulations can trigger serious consequences for a buyer, seller or real estate professional.
  • Foreign real estate owners want to know how U.S. visa regulations—entry to the country and permissible length of stay—may impact access to and enjoyment of their properties. General knowledge of visa matters helps the real estate professional alert foreign buyers and sellers so that they can seek expert advice and make informed decisions.

To learn much more about expanding your business internationally, consider taking the online Global Real Estate: Transaction Tools course and/or The Americas and International Real Estate course (recently updated!). These are two of five international courses developed by the Commercial and Global division of NAR and are designed to introduce real estate professionals to the basic skills and knowledge necessary to facilitate international real estate transactions and grow their global presence. In addition, these courses can be used toward earning the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation.

This entire month of August, all CIPS courses and bundles are 25% off at the Center for REALTOR® Development. In the case of the Transaction Tools and The Americas courses described above, purchasing in August will result in a savings of over $30 each.

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