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Finding Global Buyers in Your Area

Do you think global buyers don’t exist in your area?
I’ll bet they do. You don’t have to look hard – just with a different perspective.

Here are a few things to consider before making the assumption that global buyers aren’t in your local market, or that you shouldn’t spend your time trying to capture them.

1.    Global buyers aren’t just big-time investors from faraway places like China, India, or Dubai. International real estate opportunities are everywhere. New people move to the U.S. from other countries every day and foreign-born individuals residing in the U.S. move to new markets. Collectively, these global buyers purchased over $68.2 billion in U.S. residential real estate last year. On the outbound side, Americans in your local area invest in property overseas.

2.    The NAR Profile of Home Buying Activity concludes every year that international buyers are purchasing in all 50 states. Want proof of that in your state? Check out the NAR State-by-State International Business Reports. Click on your state for a snapshot of what international business activity is taking place there, and to access the full .pdf report. You’ll see how many immigrants were admitted into your state last year, which countries they came from, and what the top export countries were. (All reports available at realtor.org/research.)

3.    Have you heard about www.realtor.com/international? It has changed the way foreign buyers are looking at U.S. real estate. They can view your listings in their language (11 languages are currently available), in their currency, and can convert area measurement from feet to meters. The site launched in November 2011, and since then it averages close to one million unique international visitors each month. That is a lot of international eyes on your properties. Want to know where they are looking? Check out the map at realtor.org/articles/where-are-global-buyers-searching-in-the-united-states that shows which countries are looking most, and what U.S. cities they are looking in.

Working with global buyers can be more complicated than a domestic transaction, but it can be well worth your time. Last year, 62% of purchases from international buyers were all-cash transactions. And the average price paid by international buyers was $188,000 MORE than domestic buyers. (Again, info from the NAR Profile of Home Buying Activity.)

Complications can include language barriers, changes in currency exchange rates, acquiring financing, and understanding of the U.S. transaction. Feedback from REALTORS® indicates that they have been unable to close deals because of such obstacles. Education and information are key – NAR offers the CIPS designation (www.realtor.org/cips_us) to prepare agents to close these international transactions.

As one REALTOR® stated, “It is critical that real estate professionals be prepared with as much information about foreign buyers as possible, thereby creating a pool of buyers who are comfortable working with agents when they look to purchase property in the United States.”

A small investment of time and money can pay dividends in the long run. Capturing global buyers can be a lucrative venture for your business! Visit www.realtor.org/global for resources, education, and networking opportunities provided by NAR Global.

Cynthia Fauth

Cindy Fauth (AHWD, CIPS, ePRO) is Director of Global Marketing & Communications for the National Association of REALTORS® Commercial & Global Services division. She joined NAR in September 2009, and lends her expertise to the promotion and growth of the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation, At Home with Diversity certification, and International REALTOR® membership, along with the many other programs NAR Commercial & Global Services offers.

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