With NAR Global, REALTORS® can diversify their clientele. By completing the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation, the At Home with Diversity (AHWD) certification, or the Resort and Second Home Property Specialist (RSPS) certification, our members gain the global perspective to fully serve clients here and abroad.

Learn about international legalities, education, best practices, etiquette, research, and more. Also check this page for current news on the international real estate market, as well as a sample international referral form created by NAR’s CIPS group.


We've already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require a password.

International Home Buying Activity

Amid short supply and higher U.S. home prices, foreign buyer purchases of U.S. existing homes during April 2017–March 2018 decreased to $121 billion, a 21 percent decline from the level in the previous 12-month period. Resident foreign buyers purchased $67.9 billion of U.S. existing home sales while non-resident foreign buyers purchased $53.0 billion, both below the levels during the previous 12-month period. Foreign buyers accounted for eight percent of the $1.6 trillion existing home sales during the same period, a decrease from the 10 percent share during the previous 12-month period.

Dollar volume of foreign buyer residential property purchases

Read more from NAR's 2018 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate.

Forms, Laws, & Education


Referral Contract Forms are a useful new tool for REALTORS® to define the terms and conditions of a real estate referral. 

International Referral Form

U.S. REALTOR® Referral Form

CIPS Designee Referral Form

Certifications & Designations

At Home with Diversity® Certification (National Association of REALTORS®)
At Home With Diversity® is an educational experience designed to present a picture of the changing face of the real estate industry. More importantly, the class teaches REALTORS® how to work effectively with—and within—a rapidly changing multicultural market.

Certified International Property Specialist Designation (CIPS) (National Association of REALTORS®)
Provides introductory and advanced training for real estate professionals and administrators, along with business development/networking tools, resources and events. Access course descriptions, schedule, benefits and other information on CIPS from the NAR Global home page.

Resort Area & Second Home Certification (National Association of REALTORS®)
The Resort & Second-Home Property Specialist (RSPS) is an education-based certification program. Launched in 2006, the RSPS Certification was created by the National Association of REALTORS® to better serve the growing second-home and resort real estate market and now has over 1,300 elite members.

Legalities & Interstate License Laws

Rules and Laws by State (The Association of Real Estate License Law Officials)

Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)

Educational Tips & Tools

Market-to-Market Program (National Association of REALTORS®)
Designed to bring the global market to you, the Market-to-Market Program helps REALTORS® who are looking to expand their market globally. Whether REALTORS® are working with immigrant buyers or foreign investors in their local markets, or with Americans looking to purchase abroad, the Market-to-Market program offers the information and tools to connect you with the world.

Organizations, Best Practices, & Etiquette

International Organizations

Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE)
“As the official voice of the foreign real estate industry in the United States and the pre-eminent global real estate organization, the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) represents the interests of nearly 200 investing organizations from 21 different countries” (Source: AFIRE).

International Real Property Foundation (IRPF)
Established in 1992, IRPF has delivered technical assistance in 27 countries over four continents and helped create 84 self-sustaining real estate associations representing over 170,000 practitioners (Source: IRPF).

Best Practices

NAR Global (National Association of REALTORS®)
Best general resource for information on NAR international programs and services

Global Alliances (National Association of REALTORS®)
NAR partners with nearly 80 associations in 60 countries—all of whose members subscribe to a code of conduct similar to the NAR Code of Ethics. Review the full list of foreign partners, NAR’s volunteer liaisons to these groups, and/or access the association directly.

Diversity Program (National Association of REALTORS®)
NAR's Equal Opportunity and Cultural Diversity program offers education, grants, partnerships, and events for REALTORS®. This section provides information and tools to help you connect with diverse groups and create business opportunities. Learn about the business case for diversity and inclusiveness, discover leadership opportunities, and find out about fair housing and equal opportunity.

Diversity Toolkit for REALTOR® Associations (National Association of REALTORS®)
This toolkit is an essential resource for state and local REALTOR® associations seeking to understand, reach out to, partner with, and provide services to consumers in today’s increasingly diverse communities. The Diversity toolkit has helped associations of all sizes join the National Association of REALTORS® in its commitment to diversifying its membership and welcoming professionals of different cultural backgrounds into its leadership ranks.

Diversity Programs for Associations (REALTOR® Action Center)
Information on NAR’s three-part program, Leading With Diversity, designed to help associations achieve their diversity goals.

International Business Etiquette

International Business Etiquette, Manners, & Culture guide (International-Business-Etiquette)
This multi-country guide provides links to pages on several countries and geographic regions, with country basics, customs, and etiquette tips.

International Business Meetings & Gift Giving (International Business Center)
Article discusses country-specific culture and customs, and provides a list of countries in which gifts are expected.

World Business Culture
Culture and etiquette information for 39 countries on several topics, including business structures, management style, meetings, team working, communication styles, women in business, dress code, and successful entertaining.

Research & Demographics

International Buyer Activity, by State

Florida remained the major destination (19 percent), although it accounted for a smaller fraction of international clients, given the decline in Latin American and Canadian buyers. California was the second major destination, and its share increased (14 percent) because of sustained demand from Chinese and Asian Indian buyers. Texas was the third largest destination, although its share also decreased (nine percent), with fewer foreign buyers from Latin America. The share of foreign buyers going to Arizona (five percent) and New York (five percent) increased.

California was the major destination among Chinese and Asian Indian buyers. Florida was the major destination among Canadian and U.K. buyers. Texas was the top destination among Mexican buyers. Job and educational opportunities, familial presence, cultural similarities, and geographical proximity are factors foreign buyers likely consider when deciding where to purchase U.S. residential property.

Major destinations of foreign buyers

International Research

Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate (National Association of REALTORS®, 2018)

The 2018 Profile of International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate presents information regarding REALTOR® transactions with international clients who purchased and sold U.S. residential property during the 12-month period of April 2017–March 2018. The report also provides some information on U.S. clients seeking to purchase property abroad.

International Real Estate Research (National Association of REALTORS®)
See NAR’s International Real Estate Research landing page for all NAR international research.

State-by-State International Business Reports (National Association of REALTORS®)
These downloadable reports look at international business activity by state, including the number of foreigners arriving from various countries, homeownership rates, and top exports.

International Demographics

BBC Country Profiles (BBC News)
Country profiles provide basics, leadership, and media information on most geographic regions.

Country Background Notes (U.S. Department of State)
Background Notes include facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations of independent states, some dependencies, and areas of special sovereignty. The Background Notes are updated/revised by the Office of Electronic Information and Publications of the Bureau of Public Affairs as they are received from the Department's regional bureaus.

Global Property Guide
Rank countries by investment rating, and compare countries on 6 financial dimensions (buying price per square meter, gross rental yield, rental income tax, roundtrip cost, capital gains tax, buy-to-let income rating).

Global Real Estate Project (University of Denver)
Real property issues, real estate trends, and cultural issues by country. Compare countries in terms of real property issues, real estate trends, and CIA World Fact Book data.

U.S. Demographics

Extensive data on all U.S. cities, even for many towns with populations under 1,000. Data includes information on residents (race, income, ancestries, education, employment, foreign-born residents, place of birth, etc.), graphs of latest real estate prices and sales trends, recent home sales, and other data on mortgages, crime, religions, businesses, and more. If researching a wide range of general stats on a specific city, zip code, or neighborhood, this is a site to consult.

Demographic Data (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
BLS statistics for the following demographic categories: labor force, geographic profile, consumer spending, injuries and illness, longitudinal studies, and time use.

State & County QuickFacts (U.S. Census Bureau)
Provides drill-down demographic details with data for all states, counties, and for cities and towns with more than 25,000 people. Some profiles are built on 2000 Census data, but numerous markets have been updated since then. The recently-collected 2010 Census data will soon ripple through the entire database.

eBooks & Other Resources


Visit NAR's eBooks site for more International eBooks.

Business Across Cultures (eBook)

Global Color: Clues and Taboos (eBook)

The Global Etiquette Guide to Africa and the Middle East (Kindle, eBook)

International Real Estate Handbook: Acquisition, Ownership and Sale of Real Estate Residence, Tax and Inheritance Law (eBook) 

Multicultural Manners: Essential Rules of Etiquette for the 21st Century (Kindle, eBook)

Understanding the Global Market (Kindle, eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Find more books on international business in NAR's library catalog.

International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior (Thomson/South-Western, 2008).

International Real Estate: A Comparative Approach (Dearborn Real Estate Education, 2004).

Investing in International Real Estate (Quorum Books, 2001).

Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: How to Do Business in Sixty Countries (B. Adams, 1994).

Success with International Customers: A Complete Guide for Real Estate Agents (Ecademy Press, 2009).

Journals from EBSCO (E)

Find more International journals in NAR's library catalog.

Global Business & Finance Review 

International Business & Economics Research Journal

International Tax Journal 

Journal of Global Business Issues 

Journal of International Business & Economics 

Have an idea for a real estate topic? Send us your suggestions.

The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.