Did you know that 1 in 12 properties sold in the United States last year was an international transaction? That is over $92 billion dollars worth of foreign money coming into the U.S. and investing in residential real estate. This number increased 35% from the previous year and is continuing to grow. So my question is, did you work with any international buyers last year? If not, you are missing out on a huge opportunity.
why you need to be an international real estate agent
1) To understand other cultures
International business is getting bigger while the world is getting smaller. This means that you will inevitably end up working with someone of a different culture. You need to know how to conduct yourself: how to greet, negotiate, speak and eat.
2) To differentiate yourself
Do you remember my discussion with branding expert, Seth Addison? If not, click here and check it out. In an over-saturated market of real estate agents, you have to find ways to stick out amidst your competition.
3) To market your listings
If 1 in 12 sales are coming from an international buyer and if you are only marketing locally, you are only operating at 91% capacity. You must reach international agents and buyers to get top dollar for your listings.
4) To get more referrals
International connections will lead to an exponential growth in your referral business. And who doesn't want that?
Don't be intimidated, it is simpler than you'd think
There are many intimidating aspects around working with international clients. Perhaps you are thinking, "I won't understand their culture and I'll embarrass myself." Or maybe, "Where will I meet international buyers?" Or finally, "I want a piece of this foreign investment! How can I market my listings at an international scale?" The answer is a combination of the CIPS designation and the GPS platform.
CIPS: Certified International Property Specialist
This is the only international designation recognized by the National Association of REALTORS®. The NAR describes this designation as such: A Certified International Property Specialist designee has undergone specialized training to complete international transactions seamlessly and with reduced risk. I'll be frank; the CIPS designation is not easy to get. You are required to complete 5 classes and pass each exam. In addition, the application process requires a certain amount of international business exposure; whether that be previous transactions with international clients, a year of studying/working abroad, etc. It is difficult, but absolutely worth it. And remember, if it was easy everyone would do it!
GPS: Global Property Specialist
The Global Property Specialist platform is unique to Keller Williams Realty (another reason to join this great company). GPS members have access to international branding & marketing resources, online marketing and a referral network. Because of this platform, I have the ability to market my listings on 86 top consumer-facing portals around the world and reach more than 500,000 agents in 100 countries in 19 languages. Imagine being able to communicate that level of marketing exposure during a listing presentation; sellers love it.
*Information from Keller Williams Realty Global Property Specialist statistics and NAR article "Coming to America" http://theglobalview.blogs.realtor.org/2014/07/08/coming-to-america-nar-releases-2014-profile-of-international-home-buying-activity-report/