Quick Takeaways

  • Virtual tours create trust
  • Don’t show the entire house in a virtual tour
  • Offer educational webinars on the home buying process

3 Digital Tools That Revolutionize Global Real Estate (Florida REALTOR®, Mar. 26, 2021)

The topic of international clients garners great interest and attention amongst real estate professionals and news providers these days. The real estate markets in the United States offer lucrative investment opportunities that attract a global audience. How can you capture the attention and interest of these prospective clients? Review the articles, reports, and resources below to learn more about international clients.

Discover information from NAR that can help you gain international clients. Find out why business cards are still an important part of global business etiquette and get the outlook on foreign home buyers in the U.S.

See References for more information.


NAR Library & Archives has 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 the member's nar.realtor login.

International Client Facts

2021 Profile of International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate (National Association of REALTORS®, Jul. 2021)

  • 42 percent of foreign buyers purchased property as a vacation home or rental or both.
  • Foreign buyers from five countries continued to account for most of the reported purchases: Canada (8 percent), Mexico (7 percent), China (6 percent), India (4 percent) and United Kingdom 4 percent).
  • The major destinations for foreign buyers are Florida (22 percent), California (16 percent), Texas (9 percent), Arizona (5 percent) and New York (4 percent).

Marketing & Selling t​o International Clients

Going Global From Home (REALTOR® Magazine, Mar.-Apr. 2021)

Because much real estate business is now virtual, it’s far easier to make connections and build business relationships. You can reach international buyers using the technology tools you’ve become familiar with, such as videoconferencing and virtual showings, and keep them abreast of market shifts. Closings can happen without the need for in-person signatures in many instances. Yun is optimistic that more widespread distribution of coronavirus vaccines will help lift foreign transactions again.

3 Digital Tools That Revolutionize Global Real Estate (Florida REALTOR®, Mar. 26, 2021)

Lance stresses being mindful of different time zones and languages spoken. “If you’re doing virtual open houses on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. Eastern, know what time it is where your international buyers live. If language is an issue—to some it doesn’t matter because people speak English—consider having your open houses or videos human-transcribed. Rev (rev.com) is a great service. Or have an assistant or someone on your team who can be a liaison and help with the language barrier.”

How to Market Your Home to Foreign Buyers: A Complete Guide (List With Clever, Nov. 20, 2021)

Having great real estate photos and a video walkthrough are critical when selling to international buyers. If they can’t come see the property in person, they will rely on these images when making a decision. You want to put your home in the best possible light, so don’t take any shortcuts.

Foreign Investors Poised to Flood U.S. Real Estate Markets (Axios, Nov. 12, 2020)

Wealthy families from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and South America are again starting to shop for high-end homes for their children who want to study or work in the U.S.

State Economic Data for Engaging in International Real Estate (National Association of REALTORS®, May 29, 2020)

International migration and trade and investment among countries open opportunities for working with international clients. This report provides state-level economic data that point to the potential of working with international clients interested in purchasing U.S. residential or commercial real estate for a primary residence, vacation home, investment rental property, or business uses.

How to Sell Property to Chinese Buyers (Juwai.com, Mar. 11, 2020)

Chinese when buying overseas are looking for a safe place to call home for years to come. The security of a long-term or freehold lease is something many Chinese buyers dream of. They covet a place of their own where they can raise their family and invest for future generations and as such, destinations that offer residency are always a huge draw.

For the most current articles on marketing and selling to international clients, check out Global Perspectives published monthly by the National Association of REALTORS®.

The Market for International Buyers

Experts: Global Vaccines to Bring Foreign Buyers Back (REALTOR® Magazine Daily News, Aug. 6, 2021)

But as vaccines pick up globally, pent-up demand among foreign buyers is expected to be unleashed once again. Already, there are some signs of a return in pockets across the country. A housing development in the Dallas-Fort Worth area saw 130 homes sold the first day that lots were released. Most of the buyers were investors from foreign countries snatching up properties in bulk.

A Weak Dollar Will Help Foreigners Snatch Up U.S. Property More Cheaply—But There is More to a Good Deal Than Currency (Mansion Global, May 7, 2021)

“Just simple economics would say that real estate is cheaper in the U.S. from a foreigner's perspective because of those currency changes," Mr. Yun said. “This implies that foreigners have more financial incentive to consider the U.S.”

The Basics of International Business Etiquette

Connecting Abroad: The Cultural Etiquette Of International Business (Forbes, Jun. 10, 2021)

Another form of communication, even in the digital age, is the business card. In both Japan and China, when you offer someone your card, be mindful to extend it with both hands, conveying that you acknowledge the importance of the other person. Also: thumbs on top, name side up.

Global Business Etiquette (Expatica, Jun. 8, 2021)

In some countries, such as France, Germany, and New Zealand, you are expected to shake your business associates’ hands both at the beginning of the meeting and at the end. Also consider eye contact when shaking hands. In New Zealand, you should maintain eye contact throughout the handshake, while in France the eye contact should be brief. Handshakes are often accompanied with a slight bow or nod of the head in some countries. These include China, Germany, and Japan. It is important to return this bow or nod as a mark of respect.

5 Ways to Improve Your Business Etiquette in Mexico (Colibri, Apr. 7, 2021)

As relationships are a huge factor in Mexican business etiquette, it is important you know that they always open the floor with small talk before getting to their point.

In many cases, they make a story out of it that circles back to the main point of the conversation. That makes it seem less abrasive as they enjoy getting to know each other beforehand. Directness is perceived as harsh in their way of doing business.

Business Etiquette Around the World (Infographic) (Fundera, Jan. 22, 2021)

The most fool-proof way to guarantee successful interactions is to do your homework! Understanding the dos and don’ts of international business etiquette will help you feel confident, no matter where you are doing business.

China: Business Etiquette (Santander Trade, Jul. 28, 2020)

It is common that you are offered food and drinks during a meeting. Business meals are an important part of business relations and people must sit down and eat in order of importance. Do not finish all your food because your Chinese partners will think you are still hungry. If you invite someone to an activity or have a meal, you are expected to pay for it. However, try not to show your money in front of your guests.

Reports & Other Resources

International Listings (realtor.com®)

  • Explore overseas property in popular areas
  • Popular properties around the world
  • New developments due for completion globally

Certified International Property Specialist Designation (CIPS) (National Association of REALTORS®)

No matter which audience you cater to, the CIPS designation will provide you with the knowledge, research, network and tools to globalize and expand your business.

CIPS Network (National Association of REALTORS®)

The CIPS Network is made up of real estate professionals in over 60 countries, who focus on an international clientele. Through NAR's alliances with 81 national and regional Cooperating Associations worldwide, more and more members are joining the network from outside the United States.

Books, eBooks & Other Resources


Our eBooks collection contains a wealth of both audio and electronic books for learning a diversity of foreign languages and international business. Below you will find a sampling of materials available.

Learn a foreign language such as Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Italian, Japanese, Russian, or Spanish! Check out our foreign language eBooks here (select “Foreign Language Study” from the Subject drop-down menu).

Business Across Cultures (eBook)

Communicating Globally (eBook)

Global Color: Clues and Taboos (eBook)

The Global Etiquette Guide to Africa and the Middle East: Everything You Need to Know for Business and Travel Success (eBook)

Internet Resources and Services for International Real Estate Information (eBook)

International Real Estate Handbook (eBook)

Multicultural Manners (eBook)

Understanding the Global Market (eBook)

Cross-Cultural Selling for Dummies (eBook)

Books, Video, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through the NAR Library & Archives. 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 the library at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

World Wise: What to Know Before You Go (New York, NY: Fairchild Publications, 2006) HF 5389 D44

Breaking Through Culture Shock: What You Need to Succeed in International Business (Naperville, IL: Nicholas Brealey, 1999) HF 5389 M36

Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: How to Do Business in Sixty Countries (Holbrook, MA: B. Adams, 1994) HF 5389 M67

Do's and Taboos around the World (Elmsford, NY: Benjamin, 1985) HF 5386 P22

The Culturally Customized Web Site: Customizing Web Sites for the Global Marketplace (Chicago, IL: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2005) HF 5548.5 N63

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