Lily Oberman is an editorial assistant at REALTOR® Magazine.
3 Tools for Working With Multicultural Buyers
You don't have to be fluent in multiple languages to work with international buyers. Here are some handy resources to get you started.
October 7, 2014
Have you noticed the uptick in international buyers looking at the U.S. real estate market, hoping to purchase property here? According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 28 percent of REALTORS® worked with international clients in the past year. Since 2009, interest in U.S. real estate has soared more than 95 percent in certain countries, and sales to international buyers jumped from $68.2 billion between 2012 and 2013 to $92.2 billion from April 2013 to March 2014.
Are you ready? Here are some handy tools for working with international clients:
First American Title's Multicultural Resources Center
First American Title Insurance Company recently launched a “comprehensive multilingual website” that offers videos and information about everything from title information to escrow to understanding HUD-1 in six different languages. Even some of the most basic information, such as “10 Steps to Buying a Home,” represents good information for any prospective client to have, in whatever language they’re most comfortable using. Everything on the site is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese.
State-by-State International Business Reports from Realtor.org
All real estate is local, so it's vital that you understand how your market interacts with the rest of the world. NAR's website offers helpful state-by-state guides to help real estate agents understand the international markets in their area. For example, a Texas real estate professional can figure out which countries send the most immigrants to the state (it’s Mexico, India, Vietnam, China and the Philippines, in case you were wondering), and get other helpful data about citizenship and population statistics to help inform his or her practice.
If you want to brush up on your own language skills, there’s a handy free app/website called Duolingo that offers an easy way to build up your Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, or Dutch skills. You can also build a foundation in any of those languages, even if you don’t have any prior experience. Interested in another language? Search around your app store, or online, for free language-learning tools.