This information may seem discouraging in the current global economic landscape, but, as with any declining market, you can still count on there being buyers. If anything, understanding this shift and knowing where to look for such clients can give you insight into this particular area and to determine whether you should include it in your marketing plan as well as to prepare yourself for a shift in the other direction. At some point, all of those foreign buyers who completed American real estate sales in the past will become prime seller leads when they start looking to turn a profit.
So how easy is it to look for foreign clients? It will take a little legwork to connect with the right organizations, but here are a few ways to create a global foothold for your company:
Prepare your proposal/presentation
Foreign prospects have many of the same needs as local clients, however, they certainly have their own unique requirements or ways of doing business, especially by country. Perform your due diligence and ensure you understand the current economic situation and what needs from a real estate sales perspective these prospects have so you can tailor your presentation to them.
Work with economic development organizations
At the national level, these organizations exist such as the Department of Commerce, but local resources at the municipal and state levels will be the most help as you know your regional market best. The Economic Development Directory is a great place to start. You can search by continent and drill down to the city level. It’s worth it to pay a visit and even schedule and appointment with a leader in the organization to learn more about what they do and how you can work with them to find foreign clients looking to make American real estate sales transactions. Be sure to offer any services you can provide in the way of local information that you are privy to in order to strengthen your relationship with them over time. Also use them as an educational resource to brush up on the countries that go to them for assistance and how you can create a unique value proposition.
Work with local chambers of commerce
Every city has at least one chamber of commerce. Some, like Houston, TX, have up to 10 or more focused on different areas of the city. They can be a great resource as many foreigners rely on their information and networks to connect with local businesses. By being active with the local chamber and providing valuable information, you can be the go-to person when it comes to real estate sales questions and answers.
Understand the tax liabilities and transaction process
As with any foreign deals, it’s important to prepare yourself for questions your client may have in regards to the transaction and any tax liabilities on real property interests. The real estate sales process can vary widely from country to country and your foreign client will certainly need guidance. You will also want to consult your tax consultant and/or attorney for more information, as it will be imperative that you are able to direct your clients to knowledgable resources for those often confusing nuances of global real estate sales.
By exploring the possibility of real estate sales with global clients, you can expand your business and possibly be one of the first in your area to provide an international service and grow your expertise as a real estate agent. You never know when a sales lead or potential buyer will be swayed by your more extensive offering and knowledge!