5 Tips For Working With International Relocation Clients
Like working with clients who are from out of town, working with international relocation clients is a little bit different than working with clients who live right around the corner. These clients have needs and concerns that you should be prepared to accommodate.
With that in mind, we’ve laid out five tips for working with international relocation clients below. Read them over so that you can feel prepared to grow your business globally.
1. Think about getting certified
If you’re thinking about making a habit of working with international relocation clients, you should seriously consider getting certified. Similarly to how it’s possible to become a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SERS) or to obtain your GREEN designation, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) also offers a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) certification course.
To obtain the certification, you need to complete a five-day course and pass an exam at the end. The course content focuses on giving you the knowledge and tools you need to succeed at growing a global real estate business.
That said, in addition to giving you the foundational knowledge you need to work with clients all across the world. having this certification can be a great marketing tool. For international buyers who are searching for an agent, it could be the thing that helps you rise above the competition.
2. Understand the potential roadblocks
In some aspects of the transaction, working with international buyers can be trickier than working with domestic buyers. In particular, it’s not uncommon to experience issues with the following:
- Verifying the buyer’s identity and status
- Clearing large amounts of foreign funds to be brought into the country
- Obtaining a valid power of attorney for the buyers
As the agent, you’re the expert in the room. While you’ll certainly be able to connect with the lender and title agent to work through any problems, it’s up to you to inform your clients that these tasks are critical and to do what you can to help set them up for success.
3. Be ready to educate your buyers
No matter where your buyers are relocating from, they’re going to need you to educate them on how the real estate process works here. Many countries have their own approach to real estate and there may be key differences that you’ll need to be prepared to explain.
In addition, you’ll also need to educate them on the state of the current market in your area. For example, if you’re in a sellers’ market, it will be important to explain that inventory is low and that leads to more competition between buyers. In that case, you’ll need to share with them that it will be crucial to put their best foot forward when making an offer.
To that end, make sure you’re up-to-date on all the goings-on in your market. Again, your goal should be to be able to fulfill the role of a local expert.
4. Listen to their needs
Sometimes international buyers may have unique needs. For example, someone who’s family lives in another country may need enough living space to accommodate occasional long-term guests. You may not be able to anticipate all of their needs, so it’s important to take the time to listen.
With that in mind, be sure to set up at least one meeting where the main agenda is to discuss your clients’ needs for their new home. It doesn’t have to be a big production. It can just be a friendly chat where all of you take the time to get on the same page.
Since you won’t have the opportunity to go on showings together, it’s best to take care of this at the beginning of your relationship. That way, you can be sure that you’re searching for listings that truly fit their needs.
5. Have recommendations and resources ready
Lastly, make sure you have recommendations on hand and are ready to give out resources when needed. You’re likely going to serve as your clients’ first point of contact throughout this whole process. They’ll turn to you when it’s time to choose a lender or when it’s time to research good school districts.
While you may not feel comfortable making these choices for your clients, consider making up lists of resources that they can use to do the due diligence on their own. For instance, Niche offers a grading system that lets you compare schools and districts nationwide.
The bottom line
In most respects, working with international relocation clients is going to be very similar to working with your domestic clients. However, these clients do have a few unique needs that you’ll want to keep in mind when working with them. To that end, keep these tips close at hand so that you can refer back to them when working with clients from abroad.