If you are going to “go global” with your real estate business, know that you cannot do it solo. While every real estate transaction presents its own set of challenges, working with international clients often increases the odds of encountering obstacles. This is not to discourage you from cultivating business in global and multi-cultural markets, but to encourage you to spend time building a wide net of professional contacts. Surrounding yourself with a top-notch team of professionals enhances your reputation, increases your closing ratio, and opens the door to referral business.
“The Draft“- Choose wisely
When it comes to building your global team, put yourself in the shoes of a professional sports recruiter or coach. Who are the players that will increase the odds of making playoffs this year? Or, in your case, who will help you make it to the closing table?
Below are key “players” that can help you leverage your global business. Continue reading »
Mexico’s millionaires aren’t making headlines the way China’s have been, but don’t count them out in terms of significance international real estate. As NAR’s 2013 “Spotlight” country, Mexico has proven itself a worthy destination for expatriates who are looking for a great climate, affordability, and a safe investment. During the Making Money With Mexico session at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, we learned why.
As Linda Neil, NAR President’s Liaison to Mexico, pointed out: people outside of Mexico think of it as a third world country – and this could not be further from the truth. “Mexico’s economy, business and investment climate, quality of life, and rich opportunities are very much first world!” Neil said.
Mexico is second only to Brazil as Latin America’s largest economy, and it has been climbing for several years now. Predictions are that over the next decade, Mexico will surpass Brazil and become one of the emerging markets’ most dynamic economies. According to Carla Hills, U.S. Trade Representative, Mexico’s reserves are healthy, and it is ranked by the World Bank as the best place for doing business in Latin America. Continue reading »
It’s no secret – Chinese investors are at the top of everyone’s “must-get” client list. We’ve heard ad nauseam how their economy is booming, their high net worth population is burgeoning, and they are investing millions of dollars in the United States economy, including real estate. I won’t bore you the statistics (but if you’re interested, check out NAR’s Profile of International Home Buying Activity – good stuff). Herb Jahnke, Director and Principal of China Real Estate Group, didn’t bore us with statistics in his session at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo. Instead, he got right down to business – how do U.S. agents find Chinese investors, and what should they expect once business is underway? Herb has been doing business in China for over 25 years, and his company has offices in 5 Chinese cities. He is intimately familiar with their culture, business practices, and real estate protocol. His knowledge and expertise served the audience well, as he provided many actionable tips on how to find and work with Chinese buyers. Forgive the choppiness of the post – I was furiously taking notes and this is the result…but all great information nonetheless!
Some of the learning points:
- One common mistake made by agents seeking the affluent Chinese buyers: focusing solely on first tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin. Many second and third tier cities often have as many millionaires as the first tier cities, and they are not as saturated with agents vying for their attention.
- The Chinese love luxury brands – BMW, Porsche, and Audi have all created their own luxury brands just for China. It is very important to the Chinese to be able to show that they have the power and ability to purchase luxury. If you want to stand out in China, position your membership in NAR and CIPS as the luxury brands in real estate.
Having attended this event four times already, it’s far from my rookie year, yet I find myself completely blown away at how our attendees continue to outdo themselves each year. We had nearly 22,000 attendees overall, about 1,900 international attendees, and delegations from four countries (Iceland, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Ghana) made the trip to the U.S. to attend the conference for the first time.
My highlights from the week:
- We pinned 500 new CIPS Designees at the CIPS breakfast! That’s a record year for the designation, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome this year’s class to the CIPS family. The milestone was recognized on our dessert plates at International Night Out, and on the walls.
- Alfonso Gordon, NAR President’s Liaison to Spain, won CIPS Instructor of the Year. He has taught 5 Institutes in 3 countries this year, and his students absolutely adore him. A well-deserved award for a true ambassador of the program.
- The Global Business & Alliances Committee meeting was an incredible networking and education experience. Find my recap of the meeting on NAR ConferenceLive.
- A truly informative and education session on marketing yourself to Chinese buyers, and how to do business with them. It was really more than the statistics of why you want to do business with them (everybody knows that!). It went beyond the basics to provide some real, actionable information on working with Chinese buyers. I will have a recap of that session on NAR ConferenceLive soon.
- Another great session on Working With Government to Protect Property Rights. In this session, we were fortunate enough to have a panel that included U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), former NAR President Pat Combs, Senior VP of Public Policy at Florida REALTORS® John Sebree, NAR Deputy Chief of Government Affairs, Jamie Gregory, and was moderated by NAR’s Global Business & Alliances Committee Chair Furhad Waquad. Again, I will have the recap up on ConferenceLive soon!
- The International Networking Pavilion was most definitely the place to be to meet with attendees from all over the world. Each country had its own networking hour, and it was packed for the duration. Here is a photo from Mexico’s country hour. Share yours on the NAR Global Facebook page!
- The CIPS Advisory Board was an incredible opportunity to share the success of the past year, and challenge ourselves to make 2014 even better. Our work is never done!
I could go on and on – but those are the moments that first come to mind when I think of what a fantastic experience it was. For those who couldn’t make it – we hope to see you in New Orleans next year!
What were your favorite moments? If you couldn’t attend, what parts of the event are you most disappointed you missed? Share in the comments section; we’ll do our best to recap those moments in detail!
Next week, over 22,000 real estate professionals will be in San Francisco for the REALTORS® Conference & Expo. We do this every year, an annual convergence of real estate professionals on one city, to talk about best practices, new ideas, and good old fashioned networking.
So what makes this year significant?
First, we are anticipating a higher number of attendees than in the past several years, perhaps a sign of a healthier real estate market? It is also due to the overwhelming popularity of San Francisco, a destination NAR hasn’t been to in nearly a decade.
Among the 22,000 registered are close to 2,000 from outside the United States. Our international delegates hail from countries near (Canada, Mexico) and far (China, Ghana, United Arab Emirates, Australia). According to Jeff Hornberger, NAR Director of Global Alliances, “We are seeing healthy numbers from a variety of countries. We have a nice, well-rounded attendance at this year’s event.”
Some of the larger delegations include:
Canada – 500
China – 150
South Africa – 88
Australia – 50
United Arab Emirates – 20
Russia – 30
Sweden – 30
Notable global moments taking place at this year’s conference:
- Official representatives from Ghana for the first time ever.
- Ecuador will sign an agreement to be added as a new bilateral partner
- A REALTOR® from South Africa, Toni Enderli, will be doing a charity swim from San Francisco’s Pier 33 to Alcatraz on Monday, November 11 to benefit the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. Donate or watch the swim.
Last but certainly not least, we are thrilled to welcome United States Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to our conference lineup. Senator Stabenow will headline an expert government affairs panel, moderated by 2013 GBA Committee Chair Furhad Waquad, that includes 2007 NAR President Pat V. Combs, Florida REALTORS Senior Vice President of Public Policy John Sebree, and NAR Deputy Chief of Government Affairs Jamie Gregory. These distinguished guests will share advice on how to implement effective government affairs programs at their home associations, and strategies for communicating with U.S. Congress and promoting the interests of homeowners and real estate professionals. Topics will include serving as an expert and resource to Members of Congress, building relationships, organizing grassroots communication efforts, understanding the legislative process, using social media, sharing constituent stories, the role of Congressional staff, and getting involved in elections. This special session is included in your conference registration and is highly recommended. Learn more about the session and add it to your event planner here.
For a full listing of globally-focused events, view the International Schedule of Events.
- Population demographics: U.S. born, foreign born, naturalized, and non-U.S. citizen residents
- Main languages spoken in households
- Immigration and naturalization trends
- Non-immigrant visitors to the state
- Metro level economic, real estate, and commercial data (where available)
Whether you are new to the global market, or have been working with international buyers and sellers for years, take some time to find out what, globally, is going on in your neck of the woods.
Getting all of the necessary pieces in place for any real estate deal in today’s risk-averse housing finance environment can be a complicated affair. And when you add an international component to a transaction that requires financing, you increase the odds that something can go wrong.
At a Global Forum held during the California Association of REALTORS® Expo last week in Long Beach, a panel of experts — Steven Hung of CTBC (formerly Chinatrust Bank), John Fernando of Orange Coast Title and Regan Franklin at Inter Valley Escrow — discussed steps you can take to make the road to the closing table smoother. Here is a list of things they said you can do to prevent deal-derailing problems:
1. Get proof of liquid assets: This is important in any transaction, as you’ll need to know what your clients will be able to pay. But it’s especially crucial when the client will be seeking financing and making an escrow offer. And you’ll want to be sure they can demonstrate proof of those assets in any country they’re in, not just the buyer’s home nation.
2. Get those assets into the U.S.: Beyond getting an accurate picture of your clients’ ready money overseas, you need to help them prepare to move those funds into an FDIC-insured U.S. bank to make the purchase. Again, this is especially important when financing is being sought. Also, when wiring money into the U.S., you and your clients should be aware of any restrictions on cash amounts that can be transferred at one time.
3. Have them form a U.S.-based LLC: Oftentimes, establishing a limited liability company offers an easier way for foreign individuals to move money into United States and purchase (and later sell) a property. But you should talk to a financial expert who has experience with that specific situation before advising your clients to move in that direction.
4. Verify marital status: If your clients have a spouse, lenders want to know about it regardless of where they were married or whether their marriage is legally recognized in their home country or the United States. That’s because lenders want to know if anyone besides the title holder will have a claim to the property. If clients are married, they’ll have to get an interspousal deed.
5. Get documents translated correctly: “Se habla espanol” in a Yellow Pages ad does not mean the company in question can reliably translate real estate contracts. For reasons related to accuracy and legal assurance, translations should be done by a U.S. court-appointed translator.
6. Determine who can supply authorized signatures: It’s not uncommon when dealing with foreign purchases of U.S. properties to have multiple-buyer situations. Whether you’re working with a group of family members or an overseas company, make sure the person signing the contracts is empowered to spend the funds.
7. Know when to use original signatures: In some cases, electronic signatures will be fine. But in others, an original signature will be required. If your clients aren’t in the U.S. for long periods of time leading up to closing, make sure to take into account the time it will take to get the documents to them for signing and getting those back to you.
We are pleased to welcome guest blogger, NAR President’s Liaison to India, Baro Shalizi. Mr. Shalizi is broker-owner at Shalizi Real Estate in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and has held the President’s Liaison position since 2010.
India’s real estate market is developing rapidly and becoming more cohesive by the day. The government is starting to regulate the industry, though they have not yet instituted licensing. India now allows foreign nationals to purchase one residential property in India without having to form a corporation in India through which the transaction is funneled.
Six years ago, a national association of real estate practitioners was created, known today as the National Association of Realtors – India, not to be confused with our U.S.-based trade association, National Association of Realtors (NAR). NAR-India has adopted a Code of Ethics very similar to the one in the US and is actively promoting education, ethics, co-operation between brokers and is in the initial phases of developing a robust MLS. As such, members of the National Association of Realtors – India hold themselves out to be of a higher caliber and more professional than a real estate practitioner who is not a member of the national association.
India’s real estate market still faces a few challenges, such as, land title that may be cloudy, a need for under-the-table money to exchange hands in resales (commonly known as “black money,” the need for such extras is now quite rare), and the fact that India’s housing market may see a correction sometime in the near future. Having said that, real estate in India is still a good investment and India’s luxury real estate market is comparable to any in the world. With a shortage of close to four hundred million units, real estate in India is bound to remain vital for the foreseeable future.
Interested in learning more about how you can make the most of NAR’s partnerships in India? Contact Baro at Shalizi@aol.com, and discover the possibilities for U.S.-based real estate professionals doing business with both inbound and outbound Indian buyers and sellers.