Next Steps: Acting on the Research

Chart: Sources of referrals or leads on foreign residential buyers

Research provides many excellent insights. To advance your business, however, those insights are only beneficial if they lead to action steps. Here are five high-priority items, based on findings from the Profile of International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate 2018.

1. Pinpoint global niches in your market.

Who is buying in your market and why? NAR’s research reveals key trends, but you may need to dig deeper to identify specific local opportunities.

If your market is located in a U.S. state with high numbers of international buyers, you may be able to concentrate on one country and build a business plan around this group. If you’re in a market with lower numbers, you may need to take a different approach. 

For example, if you identify an employer that’s hiring skilled workers from one or more countries, explore offering assistance with their housing needs, stressing your international credentials. For employers, it can be an excellent selling point when attempting to attract overseas talent.

2. Don’t overlook referral opportunities.

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Cover of the October 2017 issue of Global Perspectives: After the Pin

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Every foreign client purchasing property in the U.S. originated from another country. CIPS designees based in these countries of origin can benefit from learning about patterns of migration into the U.S. and using this knowledge to provide referral assistance, leaning on the CIPS network. 

Another important referral segment is U.S. buyers searching for property in other countries. Approximately seven percent of survey respondents reported having a client who was seeking property in another country. 

Among these agents, over half reported that they could not refer the client to anyone to assist in the purchase process! Fortunately, CIPS designees know they can rely on the CIPS network for referral assistance. 

3. Leverage your “secret weapon”—the CIPS network.

Once you know where business flows between your market and another destination, the next step is connecting with other CIPS designees who can facilitate those opportunities. That’s where your access to the CIPS network provides invaluable resources. (

Real estate has always been a referral-driven business. This is especially true for international transactions, where buyers rely more heavily on “who can I trust?” recommendations. Referring within the CIPS network ensures you’re recommending a trusted international real estate professional. 

Nearly each day, CIPS designees are exchanging numerous referrals on the closed Facebook group called “Official Group: NAR CIPS Designees.” Plus, there’s a ready-to-use CIPS Referral Form in the Global Marketing Center. (

You can also identify designees in a particular market, or with a specific area of expertise, using the CIPS Search directory. (

4. Promote your credentials.

Interestingly, 19 percent of REALTORS® reporting an international transaction in the 2018 survey have been in the business for less than one year! It’s a positive indicator for a strengthening U.S. real estate market, but also points to the need for more training among agents interested in serving international buyers and sellers. 

As a CIPS designee, you already have those credentials and should be touting them on your website and in other marketing materials. The Global Marketing Center includes customizable post cards, flyers, PowerPoint presentations, plus banner ads and web badges. 

Looking for the best words to explain your expertise? Check out the messaging at 

Incidentally, only four percent of the 2018 survey respondents reported holding the CIPS designation. That puts you in an elite group!

5. Polish your online profiles.

Even if most international leads originated from personal connections, it’s fair to assume that many of these potential clients turned to the internet to research a recommended agent before establishing contact. Eighteen percent of leads on foreign residential buyers came directly from online sources.

It’s an important reminder that your online presence matters. It matters to potential clients and other CIPS designees.

If you don’t have a robust profile in the CIPS directory, it’s time to fix that! For specific tips, including your® profile, refer back to the October 2017 issue of Global Perspectives.

More Insights

Many of the topics touched upon here are explored in greater detail in NAR’s Profile of International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate 2018. Take advantage of this excellent resource for more business-building insights!


About Global Perspectives

Global Perspectives in Real Estate is a resource for global professionals, aimed at helping them globalize their local markets. Produced bi-monthly, this newsletter serves as a how-to guide and is full of useful and actionable tips. A free subscription is given to all Certified International Property Specialists (CIPS) designees.

Learn more about earning the CIPS designation