Foreign Buyers are Speeding for U.S. Real Estate; Here’s How Agents Can Prepare

Foreign Buyers are Speeding for U.S. Real Estate; Here's How Agents Can Prepare

With COVID travel bans finally lifted from many countries, wealthy foreign buyers are now flocking to U.S. real estate. Eyeing second homes, vacation properties, and investments, they’re largely looking at coastal and larger urban markets — places like Miami and New York, for example.

If you’re a real estate agent operating in one of these areas, there’s a chance you may have the opportunity to work with one (or even several) of these buyers.

While that’s certainly good news (hello, high commission and potential follow-up sales!), it likely won’t be a walk in the park. Wealthy overseas buyers come with quite a few challenges, and traversing those smoothly will be critical.

Want to make sure you’re prepared? Here’s what today’s foreign buyers are looking for:

Services in their own language.

Foreign buyers are most likely going to want assistance in the language they know and are accustomed to. If you’re not multilingual, make sure you have connections to local translators who can assist. Data shows that China is likely a big source of up-and-coming foreign buyers, so having a translator for Mandarin, Cantonese, and other dialects will be important.

Heavy lifting.

The majority of these buyers are going to be purchasing from afar. While some may drop by for a tour or two here and there, you can largely expect them to be off-site for most parts of the transaction.

For you? That means a lot of legwork. You’ll need to tour properties on their behalf and be their eyes and ears on the ground. You should also be comfortable with technology, as this might require video tours, FaceTiming, Skyping, or using more international-friendly messaging systems like WhatsApp.

In some cases, you may need to be a client’s power of attorney, if requested, and handle closing or other paperwork when they’re unavailable. 

Attention to detail.

Affluent buyers expect a high level of attention — both to their needs and to the small details of the transaction. After all, they’re spending significant amounts of money on their purchase. They want to be sure those funds aren’t just put to good use, but that they’ll likely make them more money in the long run (i.e., be a sound investment). 

The bottom line? Before you sign on a client in this category, make sure you have the time and bandwidth to deliver on these expectations. 

Need more help with the wave of foreign buyers?

Let these tips for luxury real estate agents guide the way. And if you find yourself on the other side of the transaction? Try these luxury listing strategies on for size.

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By Aly Yale / November 15th, 2021 / Categories: / Tags:

Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.