The World Is Knocking…Answer the Doorbell Please!

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Did you know that the 2013 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of International Home Buying Activity indicated that during a twelve month period (covering April 2012 – March 2013), there was over 68 Billion dollars worth of International home sales activity? That’s approximately 6.3% of the total housing sales in the United States. And the number is growing!

In 2011, I served as the President of the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS®. During that year, the association undertook a survey to determine if our members were involved in international transactions. We also engaged the services of the National Association of REALTORS® headquarters in Chicago to educate our directors and brokers about the nature and potential for international partnerships in West Michigan.

We discovered, not unexpectedly that Canadian buyers comprised our largest pool of foreign investment, but other interesting details caused our brokers to take note as we obtained a better understanding of who the international buyer is and the incredible opportunities that were available to REALTORS® who gained what can be termed a ‘global consciousness.’ Some of the things we learned were…

  • There is a significant increase and potential for growth in the international real estate marketplace.
  • It is a very profitable business comprised of many well-qualified buyers with an average purchase price 26% higher than our average local purchase.
  • Relationships matter! Much of the commercial and residential business that flows into the West Michigan area could be traced to some type of local connection.

Due to the recent economic crisis, affordability of homes in the United States has created attractive economic incentives to investors and home buyers from other countries. The United States remains a nation which is a beacon to the world. And, that world is about to arrive right on our doorsteps as we make the pilgrimage to NAR San Francisco!

There will be REALTORS® from literally all over the world at the conference. Some International REALTORS® were born here or immigrated recently. Others are coming from a diverse number of countries and continents including Europe, Central and South America, Asia, and Australia.

This presents an incredible opportunity to meet and network with professionals across the globe and initiate business contacts which are mutually beneficial. Over the past several years, I have met so many fascinating individuals from different places.

A few helpful tips to help you expand your international knowledge footprint:

  1. Attend one of the many International forums available during NAR San Francisco.
  2. Invest in a ticket and attend the International Awards Night Gala.
  3. Be friendly! Step out of your comfort zone and talk with people. You might be surprised to learn where they came from.
  4. Enjoy the rich diversity that is San Francisco by visiting cultural hot spots including Chinatown.

As a recent immigrant myself, I appreciate the rich diversity and uniqueness of the American experience and look forward to expanding my knowledge of the world and its citizens at NAR San Francisco.

Lola is a first generation American and a first generation REALTOR®. Living, working, and visiting across three continents has provided a global perspective on life and business.

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