Step 2: Sharpen Your Focus

Global agents enjoy a wide array of opportunities. The possibilities are so expansive that many new CIPS designees wrestle with the question: How will I carve out my niche?

It may take time to sharpen your focus. Plus, your global practice may evolve with experience. Use a three-pronged approach:

1. Define Your Interests and Assets

What aspect of global business is most appealing to you? Do you enjoy transnational travel? Maybe you prefer staying closer to home but love helping international clients achieve their dreams. Do you have a strong affinity to a particular culture or region?

What personal skills do you bring to the table? The ability to speak two or more languages provides a distinct advantage for cultivating international business.

Have you lived in another country and understand how to navigate business and social conventions among other cultural groups?

All these factors—what you enjoy and what you do well—are vital clues for defining the shape of your global real estate practice.

2. Identify Potential Opportunities

Now, shift your focus to your local market. Every area has pockets of opportunity for global agents. Finding them, however, may require looking at your market through “global glasses.”

For example, residential agents may ask:

  • Are there local corporations that need help with international relocations?
  • Does a local university attract international students looking for housing and property investments?
  • Is there an immigrant community that would welcome specialized real estate assistance?

Commercial agents should consider:

  • How is my state (or country) working to attract new international investment?
  • What government groups are leading these efforts?
  • How can I get involved and provide real estate investment data and expertise?

3. Select Your Niche

Ideally, after assessing yourself and your market, you’ll discover opportunities that align strongly with your skills and interests. That’s a recipe for turning work into fun!

But don’t stay locked into a single, narrowly-defined niche. As a global agent, you’ll want to remain flexible and explore other ways to expand or modify your real estate practice.

How to Learn More About...

International relocation opportunities in your market

  • Search for local companies with foreign offices or headquarters
  • Find out who is hiring highly-skilled H-1B visa workers at

Who visits your market?

  • Check tourism websites, chambers of commerce, and economic development offices

International students

  • Visit for Open Doors data, by state, and other facts on foreign students
  • Check local university sites for enrollment data

The international commercial business landscape

  • Investigate foreign direct investment through various offices of economic development or
  • Research key indicators of global trade, including major trading partners, ports, and free-trade zones

Action Items

Download Your State's International Business Report

To start learning more about the international flow of people and business in your market, check out NAR's state-by-state snapshots.

Draft an "Elevator Pitch"

Be ready to answer "What do you do?" with a carefully crafted statement about your global real estate practice, including your unique skills and expertise.

Explore CIPS Benefits

Get acquainted with the NAR Globel Marketing Center. It's your go-to site for CIPS resources and tools to support your business.

Make Friends with the NAR Global Marketing Center

You'll find all your CIPS benefits in one convenient location, including:

CIPS Designee Resources

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  • Discounts
  • Referral contract form
  • Presentation templates
  • Plus many other resources

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Notice: The information on this page may not be current. The archive is a collection of content previously published on one or more NAR web properties. Archive pages are not updated and may no longer be accurate. Users must independently verify the accuracy and currency of the information found here. The National Association of REALTORS® disclaims all liability for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information or data found on this page.


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