These three takeaways from the Global Real Estate Summit in New York will help you and your firm work with buyers from abroad.

With mobile applications such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Skype, and others, it’s easier than ever to communicate with clients around the globe. But it’s one thing to have a couple of international customers here and there; it’s something entirely different to strategically and intentionally build a database full of global partners.

If you want to be more intentional in developing an international book of business, here are my three takeaways from the 2017 Global Real Estate Summit NYC hosted in Times Square in New York by the Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS® and the Staten Island Board of REALTORS®.

1. Collaborate on Foreign Turf

I was honored to host the millennial panel at the summit, and one thing I repeatedly heard is that “the plane ticket is worth it.” Presenter after presenter expressed how vital it was to go and meet face-to-face with your connections and clients in order to solidify business relationships, even if that means hiring a translator. It’s easy to rely on telecommunications to connect from home, but trust is gained more readily in person.


Marsha Collins-Mroz, a global relocation specialist in Illinois and Florida with HomeSmart Connect Real Estate, championed her affiliation with FIABCI (the French acronym for The International Real Estate Federation) and National Association of REALTORS® Trade Missions, saying they both have shaped her referral base and success attracting global business.


“Trade missions for me have offered organic growth in partnering through connecting on others’ soil. I always like to spend time with a prospective global partner to be sure our values align,” said Collins-Mroz, who added that these global visits also offered her opportunities to immerse in other cultures. “I am so fortunate to be a first-generation American living in such a diverse city like Chicago where we tend to look for the similarities in our cultures while celebrating the uniqueness of our ethnicity.”

You cannot be in a people business like real estate and not get to know people. Being the “lone ranger” will not get you far locally or internationally. Ideally, you will want to seek out and meet with those who have connections with prospective investors as you plan your trip to foreign soil. Vital relationship-building appointments should include meeting with wealth managers and financial planners in addition to local real estate agents and brokers to garner future referrals.

2. Have a Command of Global Market Data


You probably already understand that if you want to be the go-to real estate professional in your area, you have to be a local market expert. For example, you should know what’s happening with the schools, how interest rates are changing, and what companies are relocating to or from your area. Paul Boomsma, luxury portfolio president at the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, said that the same is true for the global market. Being an expert in market data legitimizes your real estate expertise. Both Kellee Buhler, an associate broker at Compass Real Estate in New York, and Anne Miller, director of business alliances at RE/MAX, also reiterated that maintaining an online portfolio of your listings and services is essential.


3. Ever-Expand Your Professional Status

Knowledge is truly power and education is the vehicle that gets it to you without the rough and tough road of trial-and-error. The array of designations and certifications available isn’t just “alphabet soup.” If you want to focus on being educated in the areas of our business, you should strive for proficiency.

Case in point: Susan Merdinger Greenfield, who is the current president of FIABCI USA and a member of NAR’s Certified International Property Specialist designation faculty, said that approximately 80 percent of her business is connected to her CIPS designation and activities. Hopefully, that gives you a newfound inspiration to level up.


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