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Global Real Estate Success (Even When You Don’t Speak Another Language)

You may be wondering what it takes to successfully market to and attract international clients. While speaking the language of the clients you are marketing to may be beneficial, it isn’t absolutely necessary when it comes to reaching an international market. We’ve compiled a list of 5 tips for increasing your likelihood for success.

1. Determine your target market

When deciding which foreign markets to target, consider things like the area where the home is, the price it is listed for, and how the economy is performing in the country your potential buyer is from. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), most international buyers are from China, Canada, the UK, Mexico, and India. To whom you market, however, will depend largely on the market you sell in, so as a first step, be sure to determine who is buying real estate in your particular area.


2. Know your customer

Once you determine your target market, learn as much as you can about the customs and culture of those in that country. What is normal here (like a handshake as a greeting, for example) may seem strange to your buyers. Things like this are important to know to avoid potentially offending your buyer and losing the sale.

3. Translate your listings and other searchable information

Numerous studies show that people feel most confident searching for and reviewing information in their primary language. Work with an agency to have a professional translation team translate your listings to appeal to your international buyers. Not only will a translated listing be more likely to come up in a search result if your potential client is using search terms in his/her own language, but your buyer will also feel more confident about the property and their decision to purchase through you. However, if you do not speak that particular language, make sure the buyer is aware that you will be happy to communicate in English. You may also wish to look into bringing an on-site interpreter with you to showings and meetings, as well as telephonic interpreting as an option for these contacts. Make sure you don’t try to run translations through any automated tools like Google Translate or similar. Doing so will turn up results that are often laughable to your customers and will not bode well for your business.

4. Be specific

Even on English-only listings, be sure to avoid abbreviations, spelling out things like bedroom and bathroom. A global buyer may not know these abbreviations, so using full words instead of abbreviations that only U.S.-born customers might know will help ensure they understand the listing completely when searching for their perfect property.

Bonus tip #1! The vast majority of the world uses the metric system, so be sure to include measurements in both square feet and square meters.

5. Explain the basics

Do not assume your global buyer understands how purchasing property works here in the U.S. Be ready to explain details that may seem basic to a domestic buyer, like what a home inspection is or what he or she may need to do to receive financing options. Have a lineup of service providers at the ready to recommend each step of the way. Your buyer will feel confident in the purchasing process and trust that you are the expert to help them along the way.

Bonus tip #2! Don’t forget to think about the vast U.S. Spanish-speaking market when you consider your marketing strategy. Latino buying power in the U.S. has reached an all-time high.

If you have further tips for being successful in a global real estate business, we would love to hear them in the comments below!