Referral and International Business Growth

In an NAR survey,1 respondents highlighted their needs when it comes to growing their referral business. More than half of respondents reported they need networking events and tools, training, and information on international clients to grow their referral and international business.

We’ve broken down these topics and provided some deeper insight into how to achieve your goals, expand your knowledge base, and, ultimately, grow your business.


Clear and concise communication is essential for every step of purchasing or selling real estate. Customers want to be as informed as possible, regardless of their first language.

Translation tools

It’s important to be able to communicate with clients in their first language. Translation tools can help you quickly translate messages or documents. It is also a good idea to have someone from that particular region review anything you have translated to make sure all nuances are accounted for, especially in legal documents.

Cultural and legal resources

Working with clients from different countries requires understanding their unique cultural and legal considerations. Do your research to make sure you are providing the correct information within the correct context. For example, have you looked into Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions?2 A social psychologist, Geert Hofstede, developed a cultural dimensions framework that can help distinguish among various national cultures and cultural characteristics.



If you want to expand your presence in a particular market, you have to be visible. Reach out to colleagues, attend courses, and be active on social media. Gather feedback from current and recent clients and let their feedback inform your future transactions.

Take advantage of your CIPS network and connect to other professionals to share top tips and exchange information. Find a fellow Certified International Property Specialist by searching by name, language, or location:

Build a strong network of professionals in the country where you plan to refer real estate clients. This includes lawyers, accountants, and property managers who can also serve as a referral source for you.


Attend as many global events as you can, either in person or online. Keep an eye on the Global Events page, Don’t forget to make the most of social media to stay on top of global and local events.

Education and Training

While NAR provides you with specialized courses to help you succeed in the global real estate industry, there are a wide range of tools you can use and articles you can read to stay current on multiple levels.


NAR compiles the data you need to interact intelligently with real estate clients and other professionals from around the world, both residential and commercial.

Some examples are:

Reports are updated periodically so, please visit

International real estate news sources

When was the last time you sat down and checked your news sources and notifications? Staying up-to-date with real estate news and trends around the world can help you better serve clients who are looking to invest in international markets.

Set aside some time each month to check in with trusted news sources and global real estate and investment companies and identify any new or emerging trends. Use this time to update your social media profile and do some active research to make sure your tools are up-to-date. We live in an ever-changing and evolving world, but taking time out to do your research and organize yourself will pay off!

1 Survey on Inbound Referral Business of International REALTOR® Members


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