People-to-people relationships are an important element of success for any real estate professional, but are absolutely critical for global agents. You will rely on your network for many things: to generate and share business opportunities, to continue expanding your knowledge, and to support you and your clients in completing sometimes-complex real estate transactions.
Three Types of Networks
1. Other CIPS Designees
One of the very best benefits of earning your CIPS designation is the access it provides to other CIPS designees. There’s no limit to the number of ways you can leverage this resource. A few of the best and easiest ways to find and connect with other designees and build your network:
• Use the online directory (www.nar.realtor/cips-search)
• Network on Facebook (see Action Items)
• Attend the REALTORS® Conference & Expo (www.nar.realtor/conference)
• Attend Global Business Council meetings and events (see Action Items)
Each time you establish a new CIPS connection, add them to your preferred relationship management and tracking system, including a plan for periodic follow-up.
2. Professional Team Members
Global real estate transactions are inherently more complicated than most transactions involving domestic buyers and sellers. As a result, you’ll want to assemble a team of experts who can help your clients navigate a wide range of issues, potentially involving taxes, immigration, currency fluctuations, and more.
The type of professional assistance you’ll need hinges on the focus of your business. For example, helping a foreign buyer invest in a U.S. multi-family property requires very different support than helping a foreign investor who is interested in the EB-5 visa program.
Even if you focus on one type of client, such as buyers of resort properties in a particular development, each buyer can have a unique set of issues and challenges, requiring different types of professional assistance.
Networking with other CIPS designees is one of the best ways to obtain recommendations for experts in:
- Currency exchange
- Legal issues
Once you’ve assembled your “team,” consider ways to support one another in your marketing efforts. (For example, feature them, along with their photos/bios/links, on your website.)
Reach out to your team on a regular basis, even if you don’t have clients in immediate need of their services. These exchanges can be very beneficial in staying informed about new issues that may impact your clients, as well as generating informal referral opportunities.
3. Local Professional Referrals
Like your team of professional experts, which might be physically dispersed across multiple cities, you can also build an excellent professional network in your immediate vicinity. This might include local attorneys and lenders with ties to an immigrant community, members of your chamber of commerce, or owners of ethnic restaurants or other businesses with global ties. Each of these people, and many others, represent a potential resource for sharing business tips and referrals.
More Agent-to-Agent Connections
Beyond CIPS designees, it’s also worth exploring valuable opportunities to network with other real estate professionals with strong ties to ethnic influences in your local market. In North America, these groups include:
National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP)
Has over 50 chapters in 18 U.S. states. To learn more, visit nahrep.org.
Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA)
Includes 35 chapters across the U.S. and Canada. Learn more at areaa.org.
1. Connect to Other CIPS Designees on Facebook
Called “Official Group: NAR CIPS Designees,” this closed group has over 1,700 members located around the world. It’s an excellent forum for sharing business-building tips and referral opportunities.
2. Attend a Global Business Council Event
Organized through various local REALTOR® associations, these groups provide many opportunities to make face-to-face connections and learn from other CIPS designees. If your local or state association doesn’t have its own Global Business Council, you’re always welcome to attend other associations’ events. (Find a GBC here: www.nar.realtor/global/global-business-councils/ global-business-councils-directory)
3. Explore (at least) One Other New Group
Whether it’s a convenient local event (like an expat meetup, or a special program at a cultural community center)—or a larger commitment (such as participating in a trade mission, or attending an overseas real estate trade show)—commit to at least one new activity that could open the door to additional global opportunities.
4. Work Your Network
Decide how you will maintain contact with your professional network, commit your plan to paper, and add specific action steps to your calendar. In this way, aspirations turn into accomplishments...and lead to more global business!