For the past few years, I have attended my company’s annual convention in Las Vegas. While I enjoy the many workshops and guest speakers who enlighten us about the world of real estate, one event is at the very top of my priorities each year. The Global Referral Exchange brings together more than 60 of my company’s international affiliates from six continents in one big room, where each of us host a table to make new connections, share business referrals, and generally promote ourselves and our listings to thousands of other attendees from across the globe.
Through events such as this (as well as my general business practices here in Miami) I have built a strong and diverse network of international agents — actual human beings I already know well, and have done business with multiple times.
If you are hiring a Miami-based agent to sell your listing, I would encourage you to consider the importance of these close international connections. Anyone you might consider can tap into their company’s website, or tell you that they are a member of an international realty alliance, and those things are certainly useful. Me? I can simply pick up my phone and call any number of global contacts, particularly from South America.
Why are these relationships so vital when your home goes on the market?
Great exposure for new listings, especially luxury and big-ticket properties: In the heart of these connections lies the opportunity for broader distribution of listings. For example, a Miami agent might offer his international counterpart the opportunity to promote their property on our local MLS. In exchange, the counterpart may promise to ONLY list the property with that particular U.S. agent. When we are talking about very expensive properties, where the players involved demand quick resolutions and a lot of money is at stake, these close connections become even more critical.
Trust makes the process run much smoother: Trust is the foundation of every relationship, and international real estate is no exception. Property sales are complicated enough even under the best of conditions, and can become exponentially more so when you factor in cross-border issues such as immigration, currency exchanges, tax implications, language issues, and even political trends. It is one thing for a real estate agent to work on a transaction with a relative stranger in a foreign country, but it is really quite another when the two agents or offices have already done several deals together, can anticipate and avoid challenges, and work together quickly to iron out any last-second issues.
Knowledge of international requirements for foreign buyers: This has become especially true here in South Florida over the past few months, where there is heightened scrutiny on international real estate purchasers (particularly cash and “shell company” buyers). My global real estate connections can sleep well at night knowing that I am up to speed on all the latest legal necessities for their buyers, and I feel the same about them.
Relationships can be rewarding in unexpected places and situations: Last March, while waiting in the security line at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, I started a conversation with a gentleman who was traveling back to his home country after receiving professional training in Dallas. At some point in the conversation, I let him know about my profession, and he explained to me that he was about to be relocated to Dallas for the next few years, and needed to relocate very quickly. After passing security, I met this man again, immediately put him on the phone with a colleague of mine in his hometown, and they arranged a listing appointment a few days after his return. Less than one month later, his two properties were listed and under contract. This type of situation could only happen through natural, human contact, and the initiative to make a connection quickly.
Here’s another example: Just days ago, a broker from Venezuela contacted me to request assistance for one of his best customers, whose family left that country in a rush due to the political turmoil. However, his customer traveled straight to Chicago, where I was obviously not able to assist him. Fortunately, I reached out to a colleague in the Bucktown/Wicker Park area, who was able to help this customer rent a property almost immediately. Which leads me to my final point…
Good deeds come back to you in spades: You may have noticed that these two situations helped out my colleagues but did not result in a direct sale or commission for me. And that’s perfectly fine. Call it quid pro quo, or “real estate karma,” but I am certain that these acts of kindness on behalf of my colleagues will come back and reward me (and my customers) many times over. That’s just how it works.
While technology continues to transform real estate and the world in which we live, the human connections will always be the most meaningful — and in the long run, the most profitable as well.
The writer is an agent at RE/Max Advance Realty II in Miami. firstname.lastname@example.org