Like life, the real estate market is forever shifting, changing, evolving. If there was ever a trend to be ahead of the curve on, it’s global. For years, many of you can recall me saying, “REOs and Short Sales are a short term trend; global is long-term and if you want to succeed in the future, you need to add global to your business model.” 

So what is global? And, how do you tap into the global market? 

Global real estate encompasses serving: 

  • clients who live abroad investing in real estate in your market or another other market that you assist them with as either a representing or a referring agent 
  • clients from your market/sphere of influence you assist as either the representing or referring agent in purchasing or selling property abroad 
  • clients you represent or refer who are first or next generation immigrants who are still immersed in their native customs and culture 

Helping a South African rent a property while studying abroad at UNLV, selling rental properties for a Canadian National, marketing resort properties in the Caribbean to prospective buyers anywhere in the world, or representing a Chinese investor for a commercial project in Las Vegas are all examples of global real estate that will most likely require greater sensitivity and expertise than traditional, domestic transactions. 

Mayor Hafen recently welcomed guests to the Grand Opening of Engel & Völkers, Henderson’s first foreign-based real estate company, stating that global is the latest “buzz word.” The crowd, filled with entertainers, entrepreneurs and real estate professionals represented all corners of the world – a sea of dynamic, diverse, global citizens connecting on a higher level – the level of unity and reciprocity beyond borders. 

For agents in the Las Vegas Valley, the reality is that “Global” is not a niche, it is not a fad; it is our new normal. Professionals who want to be relevant for years to come must embrace two important aspects in our industry: 1. Technology, and 2. Globalization. Both of which, go hand in hand. 

In a multicultural, world-renown city like Las Vegas, it is inevitable that agents will serve foreign nationals or foreign-born residents sooner or later. It is far better to be prepared for the challenges that come along with cross-border transactions long before being faced with them. There is a huge learning curve before becoming competent, let alone proficient in this realm. 

Here are some suggestions: 

FIRST: Learn.
There are more and more CE classes being offered relating to international real estate from FIRPTA to asset protection, to cultural sensitivity. NAR, the National Association of REALTORS® offers a Certified International Property Specialist designation that covers a vast spectrum of know-how. CIPS is a 5-day Institute. It begins with an introduction to international real estate, exploring the possible opportunities and areas of specialization, business planning, and an overview of global markets. 

Then, the content goes deeper into the tools and skills necessary for analyzing markets and properties from currency and spatial conversions to investment strategies and models. There’s also a choice of electives focusing on different regions: The Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, The Middle East and Africa, and The Business of U.S. Real Estate. The next CIPS Institute in Las Vegas is March 24th -28th. www.LasVegasREALTOR. com. ICREA, the International Consortium of Real Estate Agents has a one day Transnational Referral Certification class that is delivered live or online. 

The TRC designation also gives access to their referral network through World Properties which is an internet marketing platform for global real estate. To learn more or register for a class, go to: WorldProperties.com 

SECOND: Serve.
In 2012, the Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS® launched a Global Business Committee which is charged with informing and educating REALTOR members on global and multicultural business opportunities. They host forums, networking events, inbound and outbound trade missions and continuing education. As a member of the Committee or an attendee at a GBC event, you will find yourself on the leading edge of what you need to know as a licensee to succeed in global business. 

THIRD: Get involved.
Reach out to cultural organizations in the community that interest you whether it’s a chamber of commerce or a social club to expand your sphere of influence. In addition to networking and prospecting, getting involved will help you raise your cultural intelligence and better serve clients from different backgrounds than your own. 

FOURTH: Go.
A surefire way to meet foreigners interested in U.S. real estate is to travel to them and educate them on the benefits of investing in your marketplace. You can attend international real estate expos and conferences. You can go on an outbound trade mission* which is an organized tour for the purpose of learning about foreign markets and building bridges of business between markets. 

FIFTH: Stay.
You don’t have to go abroad to capitalize on global. You can actually attend or design your own inbound trade mission where you invite foreigners to come to you. Put together a seminar or a tour of properties and market your event to professionals and investors across the globe. The Global Business Committee is planning an inbound trade mission in autumn. The GBC meets the 3rd Wednesday of every month. You can find a calendar of events at www.LasVegasREALTOR.com. 

It is important to note that global is a long-term pillar for your business. While you may be able to attract business over night, usually it takes months, even years to build up trust that results in closed transactions. However, once you have built rapport and performed successfully with international clients, you will most likely be rewarded with a flood of referrals from them, their family and friends. More importantly, you will develop rel