Acres of Diamonds

Your diamonds are not in far distant mountains or in yonder seas; they are in your own backyard, if you but dig for them.
 – Russell H. Conwell

You don’t have to travel to a distant land to become involved in international real estate. Everything you need to begin mining your fields for international real estate is right here. Have you ever wanted to work with international clients but just didn’t know how to get started? It can be very exciting and rewarding working with clients of other cultures and countries.

One of the first steps you have probably already taken is being involved in an international real estate transaction. If you have ever worked with someone from another country, someone who speaks another language or someone moving to a foreign country, then congratulations. You have completed an international real estate transaction. Take what you have learned from handling those transactions and move forward by taking the following steps:

Learn as much as you can about our global economy and diverse cultures here in Houston. How? Educate yourself. There are many classes and tools available to agents that want to get involved. I recommend working towards your Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation. Join the CIPS Network after you take the “Global Real Estate: Local Markets” course and start globalizing your business as you work to attain your designation. You will then need to successfully complete two core courses and three elective courses. Set aside a minimum of six eight-hour days to complete courses. After completing five CIPS courses, you must submit a designation application demonstrating your experience in international real estate. This application requires that you earn 100 points in elective credits. For full details, visit Realtor.org and get started.

Another good class to take is the Transnational Referral Certification class. It will prepare you to make and receive referrals using the Transnational Referral system developed by the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA). This course is also offered online.

Take the HAR International Day 101 Class offered here in Houston. This course will help enhance your knowledge of international real estate transactions, both inbound and outbound, by providing valuable tools and resources. Cost includes breakfast and lunch.

Read books that help you do more international business, such as “Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands” by Terri Morrison. The author teaches you the most important things to know when working with international clients. The book is geared toward all businesses and can certainly be applied to real estate.

Join international groups and network with others already working in the international arena. One great group is The International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI). It’s quite expensive to join if you are just getting started, so you might consider attending some of the monthly luncheons held at Polos once a month. See fellow HAR member and Houston FIABCI Chapter President Christi Borden for more details on how to become involved or join.

Through your National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) membership, you already are a member of ICREA, an alliance of 29 national real estate associations representing more than two million real estate professionals. The ICREA website is http://www.worldproperties.com. By registering on WorldProperties.com, you can access the Member Directory White Pages, give and accept business referrals using ICREA’s Referral Network and much more.

Other groups to consider for networking include the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Practitioners (NAHREP) and the Asian American Real Estate Association Group (AAREA).

Take a look at NAR’s international network which consists of 71 national real estate associations in 55 countries.The purpose of NAR’s international program is to enhance the ability and opportunity of all members to conduct business successfully and ethically in an expanding global environment. Lovely diamond in your own backyard!

Social Media Networking

  • Facebook – get connected with international groups on Facebook
  • ProxioPro – A Professional network that connects real estate professionals around the world who want to do business together. Market yourself and your listings to referring agents across the globe in the world’s most extensive real estate network.
  • LinkedIn – connect with other real estate professionals around the globe.
  • FIABCI – there is a new FIABCI Member to Member networking and information resource. You can easily network within your FIABCI chapter, region or across the world to find the information and contacts that you need.

Do some research on your own, add designations and information to your business card, update your website and make sure you note international business. Make a video and post it on HAR.com. Most important of all, have fun! Make sure your really enjoy the international flavor and you will be successful. Your acres of diamonds may be waiting for you in your own backyard!

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