By Richard P. Miranda, CIPS, TRC, TRLP
The year is almost over and it’s time to reflect on what HAR’s International Advisory Group (IAG) accomplished in 2012. This is my favorite time of the year; it’s what I like to call “ACCOUNTABILITY.”
In January, ten of our members reached out and while representing the IAG at the 2012 Asian American Real Estate Association (AAREA) Gala saw the 2012 HAR Chairman, Wayne Stroman, install the 2012 Chairman for AAREA, Lauris Tam.
In February, HAR Staff Director Lori Carper and I represented the HAR IAG at a World Affairs Council program held at the Federal Reserve Bank.
In March, IAG member Peggie Pentecost hosted a tour and provided an overview of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Operations for the IAG volunteers. Thank you, Peggie, for such a great job!
In April, the HAR IAG reached out to the TAR International Committee and together wrote and sent out a survey to all members to learn the scoope of their global real estate activity. The response rate was overwhelming and plans are in motion to repeat the survey in 2013.
In May, two of our own, Judith Snively (past IAG chair) and Nancy Furst, (current HAR Vice Chair 2) represented the IAG in a breakfast meeting for the Humble area networking group at the Atascocita Country Club. We received great reviews of their overview of international real estate practices. We also had three of our members–myself, Judith Snively and Bridget Crowley–teach an International Real Estate 101 course during the first ever TAR International Cruise. During the at sea days three additional MCE courses were taught. We toured Pristine Bay in Roatan, Honduras, hosted by Theresa Hughes-Hill of Personette and Associates; Belize’s Ambergris Caye; and went on a fabulous tour of some of Cozumel’s new developments, hosted by the Mexican Real Estate Association’s (AMPI) Cozumel section.
In June, we hosted the national president of AMPI, Sergio Gomez, for a short meeting between the TAR International committee and the HAR IAG, a sort of preparation for a possible trade mission of AMPI members to Houston prior to the TAR Convention in September. Also in June, I served as a panelist during the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professional’s ( NAHREP) Networking Luncheon, discussing real opportunities for our members on capturing inbound real estate transactions.
In July, several of our IAG members interviewed on video several local influential people including Pete Garcia, head of the US-Mexico Woodlands Chapter, Ricardo Peduzzi, the late head of the Texas-Brasil Chamber of Commerce as well as the volunteer leader of the British American Business Council, among others. These videos will be placed on the new HAR global portal once it is finalized at the end of this year.
In September, we offered the first of several “Around the World in 60 Minutes” lunch-and-learn seminars. This inaugural chat was conducted by Bob Hopkins of the U.S. State Department and the subject was related to Diplomatic Immunity and how it affects real estate contracts. We also attended the TAR Convention in San Antonio, and our own Bill Gottfried, named as the 2013 TAR International Committee Chairman, co-presided over a historic TAR-AMPI cross border cooperation agreement intended to increase the opportunities for our members to get their fair share of inbound real estate buyers.
In October, I recorded a video in Spanish encouraging our Hispanic membership to go out and register to vote in the November general elections. We also had 15 of our members–as part of our on-going outreach programs–cook, cater and serve a hot meal at the Ronald MacDonald House for approximately 30-40 families from all over the world staying there while their children underwent medical treatment. We held our second lunch-and-learn “Around the World in 60 Minutes” seminar, this time our presenter was the well-known international tax attorney, Allan Tiller. It’s worth mentioning that this session and the previous one held in September were sold out. In addition, we produced an NAR nationwide Global Webinar, sharing our successes with other boards across the country, I was invited by the City Of Houston International Operations to hold a chat with the Chinese Association of International Trade delegation of 16 Chinese businessmen. And finally, the HAR’s IAG was recognized with the NAR’s International Operations Gold Award for the year.
I attended the AMPI 2012 Congress held in Guadalajara, Mexico, and was honored to be representing both HAR’s IAG and TAR’s International Committee. As a result of Nancy Furst’s previous interview with the Royal Bank Of Scotland’s president, HAR was invited to attend the British American Business Council Gala on November 30, further enhancing the opportunities for our members looking to capture inbound buyers from that part of the world.
And finally, in December, we will be honored to have our own Bill Gottfried named as NAR’s President’s liaison for the United Arab Emirates. As mentioned previously, Bill will also be TAR’s incoming 2013 International Committee Chairman.
In closing, many, many thanks to the committee volunteers who worked hard to update the content and the look of HAR’s global Web portal. It is a work in progress. And to the other volunteers, who prodded the folks at TREC and TAR to update Spanish forms, thanks for the many hours you spent making phone calls and following up. And because of other volunteer’s efforts Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands were finally excluded from Area 81 and included in International Area 82, even though everyone knows they are part of the United States people tend to want to search for them in our international database.
Here is to a great 2013, may your world grow more global.