- Take some time in the beginning to have a face to face conversation with your international clients to discuss expectations and what can happen during the home-buying process. You want your client to know you work for them, not the seller. Remember, this is a process.
- Get involved in the community you’re working with by attending cultural events, international conferences, tradeshows, and doing volunteer work. This will help you get to know your clients better and over time, they will reveal themselves to you.
- Once you’ve earned the loyalty and respect, you will be rewarded with many referrals because your past clients will let you know when their cousin, brother, uncle and other family members are wanting to visit and buy in the United States.
- Earning a designation such as the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) is a great tool for lead generation.
Last week’s ABoR Forum: Real Estate is Global focused on a topic that has been buzzing around the real estate community: global real estate. As of July 2016, most international home buyers came from China, Canada, and India, and 10% of them are purchasing homes in Texas.
Four panelists, all who have extensive international real estate experience, joined ABoR at the forum and shared impactful information about international buying and selling in the Central Texas marketplace.
- Jay Gohil, Owner and Broker of Jay Gohil Realty, 2017 NAR Director, and 2017 TAR Regional Vice President
- Rela Manigsaca, CRIS, CNE, ABR, SRS – Austin REALTOR® at Realty Austin and Austin Chapter President of AREAA
- Susie Kang, CCIM, CRS, CIPS – Owner and Broker of Joa Realty
- Richard Miranda, CIPS, CNE, SMP, TRLP, TRC – Broker Associate at Keller Williams Realty Greater NW, 2017 HAR, TAR, and NAR Director, 2017 HAR Secretary/Treasurer
Why should you care?
Although foreigners purchase property nationwide, five states account for 51% of total residential property purchases – Florida, California, Texas, Arizona, and New York. In Texas alone, international buyers are pushing $10 billion dollars in home sales and Austin is seeing a huge chunk of that change. For these buyers, the proximity of relatives, friends and associates, and educational opportunities are important considerations in deciding where to purchase a property. For example, Texas, which is physically close to Latin America and home to a large Latino population, attracts buyers from Latin America, the Caribbean, as well as Asian buyers, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
Richard Miranda notes that these incoming buyers are spending a lot more and can bring you additional income.
“The average buyer that comes from outside the United States spends an average of $150,000 more per transaction than our domestic counterparts and half of them pay cash,” said Miranda. “It’s a great opportunity to enhance your income and make more money.”
In the next 30 years, it is projected that the Asian-American population in the U.S. will see a huge jump in population growth – double from current numbers of 21 million. Locally, the growth of this community has increased by 1.5%, providing more opportunities for a diverse population and REALTORS® alike.
Austin has a lot to offer
Susie Kang, a member of ABoR’s International Committee and a Korean immigrant says that people of Korea, China, India, and the Philippines choose Austin as their new home because of the city’s well-known school systems and public universities such as the University of Texas at Austin. In international rankings, UT Austin was ranked #30 as one of the best global universities by U.S. News & World Report last year. From an Asian perspective, Kang says families are willing to sacrifice their current life to put their children in the best schools because to them “a great school means for a great life.”
In addition to its highly-ranked schools, industries such as technology, entertainment, and medicine are on the rise in our area, attracting bright veterans and aspiring young professionals from other countries. Because of this, Jay Gohil says Austin will see a continued foreign influx than other cities in the state.
Patience is a virtue
Educating international buyers on the American home buying process will save you time, headaches, and will produce a smoother transaction in the end. Outside of the United States, the home buying process is very different. Many countries loan homes to residents for only a certain amount of years, don’t have notary systems in place, titles companies, or use lawyers to the extent Americans do in the real estate transaction.
“A lot of international buyers come here thinking they will hand over a dollar and can buy a house and that’s not really the case,” said Gohil. “Some of the acronyms we use such as HOA, are ones they are not aware of and we need to train them. Trust and patience with this type of education is very important.”
Getting started with CIPS
Whether you’re looking to working with your first international client or are a veteran with those transaction types, designations such as the Certified International Property Specialist Designation (CIPS) will introduce participants to the unique dimensions of international practice. The goal of the course it to make students aware of how the global economy impacts their local real estate markets and prepare them to serve foreign clients and customers. The ABoR Academy is offering CIPS courses in September. See details on the flyer.
For more information on how global real estate is impacting the U.S. and Texas, read the National Association of REALTORS®’ profile on international activity.