The Extreme Expert in International Franchising

Essentials of Moving Into the Property Business On a Global Scale

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International Property BusinessThree Essentials of Moving Into the Property Business On a Global Scale

  1. Know your areas of expertise
    • Are you a residential or commercial expert or do you have multifamily apartment sales experience?
      • You can’t be all things to all people, so identify who is buying what kind of property first and then look to your area of specialization to satisfy their needs.
    • Which price ranges are you comfortable in marketing?
      • You must be able to walk the talk! (Lifestyles of the rich and famous). If you are driving a Volkswagen and living in a rental project outside the area you are trying to sell property in, it will be almost impossible to have any credibility with your clients.
      • For example, many Russians and Chinese buyers are high net worth individuals and will expect a level of service comparable to what the concierge at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC will provide. You cannot fake this with your clients.
    • Are you a short sale or foreclosure expert?
      • Many international investors are looking for the DEALS and although the media always highlights the “trophy sales” in major cities the reality is that the average international sale in the USA in 2012 was $315,000.
      • International investors are flocking to areas such as Las Vegas, Florida and Arizona where as much as 50% of all sales are to non-local buyers. Therefore you need to become the expert in such areas and establish contacts with agents in each for cooperative sales or referral transactions.
      • Throughout Asia and parts of Europe, small or medium size investment funds ($25 million to $100 million range) are being set up to acquire USA foreclosure properties. They are looking for an expert in foreclosures who can lead them to individual properties or to financial institutions who are holding such properties, so start networking to position yourself as such a conduit.
  2. Know your marketplace
    • A full understanding of the population demographics and future growth projections for every area is vital to enhance your position in the client’s eyes as the expert in your area.
      • Use Google; research and statistics; state, international and U.S. Census Bureau statistics; Trulia; Zillow; REAL Trends; and Swanepoel Report, etc. to become the leading source of property statistics.
    • Individual market area knowledge is vital to enhance your expert status so you must be able to confidently explain the listings and sales figures for every area you work in.
      • Know the Board of Realtors multiple listing service statistics for your city, plus your individual office or company statistics as well as your own personal sales numbers, off the top of your head.
    • Community benefits, education facilities and public conveniences, transportation infrastructure, utility costs, etc. are very important to international buyers, especially when they are immigrating to the U.S.
      • Join your local Chamber of Commerce and take an active role since many overseas companies seeking to open a branch in your area will first meet with the Chamber of Commerce Business Development Committee as part of their due diligence.
      • Meet the HR directors of the major employers in your area as many of them are recruiting top talent from overseas. Offer to provide their prospects with housing information, mortgage pre-qualification and property familiarization tours as part of your service package as an added value to the HR department.
      • Meet the housing directors at your local universities. In 2012, more than 700,000 foreign students attended universities in the U.S. Approximately 40% of these students purchased properties through their parents to live in during their four years of study. Therefore, it is vital that you meet the university housing directors in your area and offer your services to them as part of their recruiting program with international students who all pay out-of-state tuition, which is an important component of each university’s annual budget.
  3. Know your customers
    • Familiarity with your market’s diversity
      • Based on the population demographics from the above, get to know the various community organizations: Asian associations, Italian/Russian/Latin American organizations. Offer to be a speaker at their many events and set up an ongoing marketing program to promote yourself as the “international expert” in your area.
      • Become involved in your community outreach organizations.
    • Building the relationship first
      • The old adage “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” is so true when working with international clients. Take the time to get to know your clients over a meal, coffees and dialogue about them BEFORE you jump into the conversations about business. Until they know you on a more personal level, you will not be entrusted with their business needs.
    • Earning their trust
      • Depending on the ethnicity of the clients you will be serving, you will need to study their culture before you ever meet them so that you will know the proper social customs such as gift giving, proper business card etiquette, greetings in their language, dining etiquette, respect and proper dress and many more intricacies of social dialogue.
      • I would recommend reading books on international customs such as “Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands” by Terri Morrison, among others.
Bill has had over 40 years of management and leadership experience within the real estate industry. Bill has spent the majority of the last 20 years overseas in executive roles within the Century 21 system. As President of Century 21 China, Bill was instrumental making them the largest real estate network which is now listed on the New York Stock Exchange. His newest venture, Amanzani Group Ltd has consulted to major Beijing Developers on various projects.
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