Are You Prepared for an International Clientele?
Why You Should Be—With Tips for Interacting with Foreign-Born Buyers
The strength of the dollar, the desirability of real estate in the United States (U.S.) and emerging improvements in the world economy are increasing international homebuyer demand for property in the U.S., according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2010 Profile of International Home Buying Activity. The profile shows that 32% of international buyers purchased in the West, and Arizona is one of the top four states attracting international purchasers. (The other states are Florida, California and Texas.)
In addition, first-time homebuyers, who are expected to continue to play an important role in the housing market, are more likely to have been born outside of the U.S. (In NAR’s 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 12% of first-time homebuyers were not born in the U.S.)
What does this mean for you as a REALTOR® in Arizona? You’re increasingly likely to encounter buyers with an international background. In fact, NAR says that 28% of REALTORS® reported having at least one international client in 2009-2010.
This poses opportunities and challenges to you as the REALTOR®. How can you prepare yourself to interact with this diverse group of buyers? One way is to take GRI 307, a course on multi-cultural marketing, which teaches REALTORS® simple ways to adjust their behaviors to minimize cultural clashes. For example, one technique covered in the course is to adjust your personal actions to follow the lead of the client (i.e. shaking hands only if the client offers first or using formal titles if s/he does so).
Another recommended technique is to learn a bit about the client’s culture so that you can tailor your actions appropriately. For example, in Arab culture, it is rude to use your left hand or to inquire about a person’s family. NAR’s profile of international buyers tells us that three of the top countries sending buyers to the U.S. in 2010 are:
With that in mind, here are brief cultural sketches—taken from the GRI 307 class’s participant materials—to help you better understand these buyers.
When you keep these cultural differences in mind and are willing to make small adjustments to your way of doing business, you can develop loyal international clients who are likely to refer you to their friends.
Continue the Learning!
Take GRI 307: Multi-Cultural Marketing
This one-day course, a required module for the GRI designation, teaches how differences in cultural style impact the real estate transaction process and how to manage those differences. It focuses on how simple multi-cultural etiquette can lead to success with new clients and customers and how to develop sound diversity strategies to incorporate into your overall business plan. GRI 307 provides 6 hours of Fair Housing law continuing education credits.
Upcoming GRI 307 Dates
Tuesday, August 31
Thursday, September 2
Thursday, October 28
SouthEast Valley Regional Association of REALTORS® (SEVRAR)
View AAROnline.com’s international real estate pages—recently updated and reformatted!