Real estate agents and leaders from 19 countries gathered last week in Hanoi, Vietnam for the International Real Estate Conference (IREC), for two days of business and best practice exchange. To see each of the delegations so proudly representing their countries was very powerful. Though each country has its own culture, business practices, and varying real estate industry regulations – they each come together this week with one common goal: to raise the standards of real estate for the benefit of all real estate agents and homeowners around the world.
NAR First Vice President, Vince Malta, opened the conference with a strong and unifying message, “Our economies are connected. Our businesses are connected. And so are our respective memberships,” he said. “As leaders in our organizations, it is our duty to make sure our agents have the competencies and skills to make the real estate transaction as efficient, ethical, and personal as possible for property buyers.”
What is the value of the IREC for the U.S., and other countries around the world?
Research – and practical, everyday experience – shows us that globalization is changing the way business is conducted, and who we are conducting business with. The likelihood that your next client will hail from somewhere other than the United States is increasing dramatically. By helping to facilitate events like the IREC, NAR is ensuring that real estate agents and clients coming to the United States are prepared and more trusting of the U.S. real estate market. For residents of the U.S., it is easy to forget that in many countries, licensing and regulation in real estate do not exist. For example – of our 18 partner countries in Asia, only 9 have a formal licensing system. Even fewer have an MLS system, as in most cases exclusive representation does not exist in those countries. As session speaker and Chairman of the Board of California Regional MLS, Tom Berge, Jr., pointed out – the technology is the easy part. It’s the mindset that needs to change in order to implement an effective MLS.
These differences in business practices can present challenges for U.S. real estate agents. However, it can also be very rewarding. Helping families settle, employees relocate, or students find housing in a new country is a gratifying feeling, and this opportunity to own property might not be available to them in their home country. In addition, it’s a profitable area for REALTORS®, as foreign buyers typically spend over $160,000 more per home than domestic buyers.
Thanks to all who attended the International Real Estate Conference in Hanoi, particularly our President’s Liaisons who are instrumental in building our connections in these countries. Please share your experiences in the comments, and we hope to see you next year in Japan!