How Realtors Can Secure International Clients
For Realtors in Florida & New York, working with international clientele is a great way to level up in their careers. Many foreign buyers looking for properties in the U.S. have plenty of cash at their disposal, ready for a quick close; they are just looking for someone to help them navigate the process. But it can feel a little like jumping into a game of double dutch if your experience has been limited to domestic buyers. International buyers want experienced agents who specialize in dealing with foreign nationals and are familiar with the unique requirements and barriers. Here is how realtors can break into the international market and start attracting foreign buyers as their clients- how realtors can secure international clients:
Begin Networking Online
The SEO game takes time and while its important to compete for key search phrases, it’s not going to be your immediate way in. Begin by networking with other international realtors in groups, forums, at events and more. Realtors that are Certified International Property Specialists are typically listed out on realtor databases and sites. Establishing a relationship with firms and agencies in other countries is another great way to position yourself for great international referrals.
Make Your Website Legible in Multiple Languages
Don’t let language barriers turn off a would-be closer to a frustrated lead that decided to take their business elsewhere. With today’s accuracy of Google Translate, there’s no excuse for an outdated website that doesn’t translate your pages into at least 3-5 different languages. Many realtor sites offer easy, 1 click drop down menus with flags that allow international viewers to select the language they want to view your website in.
Hire a Diverse In-House Staff
If you or your team understand the cultural background of the potential client better than the next realtor, they’ll most likely choose you over them. That’s how realtors can secure international clients – or at least, one of the ways. If you have done your research about their customs, specific national requirements that pertain to the home buying process, or even if you can speak some of the language, you’ll have an advantage over the next realtor who didn’t do the extra work to fully understand the client. If your knowledge is limited, hiring assistants or filling your team with people from other countries who speak different languages could give you that extra advantage. If you get a Brazilian prospect and you don’t speak Portuguese – and one of your staff members does, this can be the difference between getting the business or having to watch them choose your competitor.
Establish Relationships with Lenders who Specialize in Financing Foreign Buyers
No man or woman is an island and if all you’ve got to offer is your services, you’re already at a disadvantage. Most good realtors have a whole network of professionals they can refer their clients to when they need a specific step in the home buying process. The lender is a highly important contact and establishing a relationship with the right ones is key; it can be the difference between a smooth, easy financing process or a long, drawn out, discouraging search. Establish a relationship with a lender who specializes in financing foreign buyers so they can help your client navigate the sometimes complicated path to securing a mortgage loan for a residential or commercial property in the U.S.
Once Secured, Stay Engaged and Accessible
Putting your information, trust and capital in the hands of people maybe you’ve never met in person before and who happen to be hours of flight time and maybe oceans away can be nerve-racking. Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer – wouldn’t you like to have the peace of mind that your agent is responsive and won’t dodge your calls or drop off the radar at any moment’s notice? Be extra present and accessible with your international clients. Set up Skype calls, keep a line of communication open via WhatsApp and don’t let more than 24 hours go by (at the most) when communicating via email. The more transparent and responsive you are, the more trusting your foreign buyer will be and the more likely they are to close with you and to refer their contacts to you.