REALTOR® Networks Can Help Grow Your Global Business

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While NAR’s acronym stands for the National Association of REALTORS®, did you know that NAR is an international organization? Most U.S. members don’t realize that the power of the REALTOR® name and brand extends far beyond U.S. borders. In fact, the association has members in 60 countries worldwide.

The impact of globalization on the real estate industry has been immense over the years. Last year alone (March 2013 – March 2014), international home buyers purchased $92.2 billion in U.S. residential real estate─ a 35% increase from the previous year.  Many economists predict that this trend will continue to grow.

NAR realizes that no matter where in the world you practice real estate, globalization affects your business. Consumers are more mobile than ever before…they are looking for homes, businesses, and investment opportunities in locations beyond their backyards, and beyond their borders. There is great value and opportunity in helping agents develop global networks and business skills.

Listed below is an overview of some of the REALTOR® networks that can help you grow your global business.

Global Business Councils

Whether you are new to international sales, or are a seasoned global practitioner, a global business council or committee typically has something for any level of experience.  For example, these groups may have already compiled details about the global influences in your local market, and can help you identify which countries are represented more than others, whether through foreign direct investment, immigration, or other sources. In addition to providing research, your board’s council may sponsor globally themed educational and networking events such as talks by authors of books on international business, foreign nationals discussing business practices in their native countries, panels of outside professionals such as tax specialists and immigration lawyers, or a look at best practices for developing international business. Getting involved with a global business council can expand your network and open the door to a world of opportunities.

Click here to find out if your local or state association has a global business council or committee. If you don’t have a council in your area, contact your association and encourage them to work with the National Association of REALTORS® to develop a global business plan.

Global Alliances & International REALTOR® Members

If you are looking to meet referral partners from outside the U.S., take advantage of the many long-standing relationships that NAR has developed with global real estate partners from around the world. Currently NAR maintains formal alliances with 81 global real estate associations/organizations in 61 different countries. NAR will only partner with associations/organizations that abide by a strict code of ethics, similar to the REALTOR® code of ethics. This ensures that the relationships you build through NAR’s global alliances will be with practitioners who share your high business standards.

Members of NAR’s cooperating associations are able to join the National Association of REALTORS® and become International REALTOR® members. Visit the online REALTOR® Directory and network with REALTORS® from locations all around the globe.

Ambassador Associations

Another great way to grow your global network is to get involved with NAR’s Ambassador Association program.  The program is loosely based on the international Sister-City programs.  For every country where NAR has a bilateral partner, a local or state REALTOR® association has been assigned to act as their “sister-city.”  Local and state associations that participate in the program build relationships with NAR’s partners in their assigned countries.  For example state/local associations will trade best practices with their partner associations; at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo they will often meet with their partner association and plan networking activities; additionally, some Ambassador partners will organize outbound or inbound trade missions.  REALTORS® who are looking to expand their global business are encouraged to get involved with the Ambassador Association Program. Visit the NAR Global Alliances Directory to determine if your local and/or state association participates in this program.

President’s Liaisons

President's Liaisons are NAR members, appointed by the NAR President to serve as his or her liaison to real estate professionals in their assigned country. Appointees generally hold the Certified International Property Specialists (CIPS) designation and have knowledge of the country's culture and language. Appointments are made each year prior to the REALTORS® Conference & Expo and run concurrent to the NAR presidential term.

If there is a country that you are trying to learn more about, or you want to do business with, reach out to the assigned President's Liaison. Often times the President's Liaison can provide you with market information, point you in the right direction, and/or introduce you to contacts overseas. Click here to access the President’s Liaison Directory.

CIPS Network

If you complete the required coursework and achieve the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation, you become part of the CIPS referral network, comprised of over 2,600 agents from 45 different countries.  Designees are profiled in the CIPS directory where consumers and other agents can search to find experienced international practitioners.  This is an extraordinary tool to help you network and grow you business beyond U.S. borders.  Click here for more information about the CIPS designation.