Last month, Kijner & Sons International Realty shared with you the percentage of international buyers in Florida for 2010 (post that you can access here). As a Realtor®, there are several important elements that you should always consider when dealing with international clients to ensure a successful closing; those elements as you might imagine go far beyond language and cultural differences.

1)   As you might be aware, Real Estate is different from one country to the next and the American way of buy and selling homes through an MLS is quite unique. In most countries, there is no comprehensive, shared and detailed list of all properties available in a market at a given time. Thus, it is your role to make international prospects understand what is the MLS and how to use it to their benefits. Furthermore, in many foreign countries, there is no “Exclusive Right to Sell” agreement between a prospect and a broker as people can easily list their property with as many agencies as desired.

2)   Some foreigners in their home country will never go to an agency to sell or buy a property as there is no concept of “fiduciary relationship” or “due diligences” as we hear it. Instead, they will turn to friends and family or a recommended person for the search and closing parts of a transaction.

3)   Most international prospects do not always understand the existing cooperation between different brokerages; that is, when an agent turns to another brokerage house for a property that might interest the clients and that is not on his/her own listings. In the same way, foreigners might have a hard time with referrals (especially if the referral comes from another state).

4)   Last but not least, you should always keep in mind that international prospects need to go through more legal and administrative steps than regular Americans when purchasing a property in the US. In deed, they might need to open a bank account to wire their money from abroad. In addition, they might have to convert currency and will be waiting for the right time to do so in order to have greater purchasing power. To go even further, you need to ask yourself the right questions: do your clients possess the appropriate visa and residential status to acquire a property and/or reside in the US? Do they have certified professionals to help them throughout the process of acquiring a property (lawyers, CPAs…)? And the list goes on and one depending on each client and his/her investment project of course.