Florida Realtor April 2012 : Page 28

Makeover SELLING TO BRAZILIANSPRA CARAMBA! With Theresa Black, sales associate with Prudential Shimmering Sands Realty in Panama City Drawn to the Panhandle N ow that Theresa Black , a sales associ-ate with Prudential Shimmering Sands Realty in Panama City, has established her local business, she wants to reach out to the international market with a focus on Bra-zil. “I’ve worked primarily with investors and international buyers who are interested in beach properties,” she says. “I want to use my fi nancial background to help interna-tional investors, and I’m particularly inter-ested in reaching more Brazilian buyers.” Enter the coach To provide Black with expert ad-vice, Florida Realtor® contacted Miami sales associate Marco Fonseca , the National Asso-ciation of Realtors® Presi-dent’s Liaison to Brazil. A native of Brazil, Fon-seca understands the nuances of attract-ing buyers from Latin America. “Now is a good time to educate Brazilian buyers about the lesser-known areas of Florida,” he says. 1. 2. Become known as an international expert. Black’s fi rst question is a natural: “Where do I start?” She asks Fonseca if it’s better to focus on marketing local listings or her own services. Fonseca says that the best approach is to position herself as an international ex-pert on the Panama City Beach market. “Since you’re already working with in-ternational buyers, you’re clearly moving in the right direction,” he says. One of the fi rst steps, he says, is to be-come actively involved with international committees and councils in the local, state and national associations. “Florida Real-tors and the National Association of Re-altors have great information and tools to help you establish your position in the global market,” he says. “You should also take advantage of international network-ing opportunities within your brokerage organization.” Fonseca also recommends that Black begin working toward the Certifi ed In-ternational Property Specialist (CIPS) designation. “It’s an excellent creden-tial that can open doors for you in South America and around the world,” he says. Understand what drives international buyers. Black has a question that resonates with many Florida sales professionals in smaller markets. “I think Panama City Beach is a great location, and we’re just hitting our growth,” she says. “We have great prices, great properties and a new airport (Northwest Florida Beaches Inter-national Airport). But Brazilians just aren’t familiar with the Panhandle. How GREAT IDEA Most international buyers tend to vacation in Florida before buying a residential or commercial property. Therefore, it makes sense to contact a local tourism association for the latest statistics on international visitors. That can help you pinpoint the most promising countries or regions for targeting marketing campaigns. You may also become a sponsor or participate in local events and activities for international visitors, increasing your visibility among prospective buyers. 28 FLORIDA REALTOR April 2012 PHOTO BY RAY STANYARD

Makeover

With Theresa Black, sales associate with Prudential Shimmering Sands Realty in Panama City

SELLING TO BRAZILIANS-PRA CARAMBA!

Drawn to the Panhandle

Now that Theresa Black, a sales associate with Prudential Shimmering Sands Realty in Panama City, has established her local business, she wants to reach out to the international market with a focus on Brazil. “I’ve worked primarily with investors and international buyers who are interested in beach properties,” she says. “I want to use my financial background to help international investors, and I’m particularly interested in reaching more Brazilian buyers.”

Enter the coach

To provide Black with expert advice, Florida Realtor® contacted Miami sales associate Marco Fonseca, the National Association of Realtors® President’s Liaison to Brazil. A native of Brazil, Fonseca understands the nuances of attracting buyers from Latin America. “Now is a good time to educate Brazilian buyers about the lesser-known areas of Florida,” he says.

1. Become known as an international expert.

Black’s first question is a natural: “Where do I start?” She asks Fonseca if it’s better to focus on marketing local listings or her own services.

Fonseca says that the best approach is to position herself as an international expert on the Panama City Beach market. “Since you’re already working with international buyers, you’re clearly moving in the right direction,” he says.

One of the first steps, he says, is to become actively involved with international committees and councils in the local, state and national associations. “Florida Realtors and the National Association of Realtors have great information and tools to help you establish your position in the global market,” he says. “You should also take advantage of international networking opportunities within your brokerage organization.”

Fonseca also recommends that Black begin working toward the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation. “It’s an excellent credential that can open doors for you in South America and around the world,” he says.

2. Understand what drives international buyers.

Black has a question that resonates with many Florida sales professionals in smaller markets. “I think Panama City Beach is a great location, and we’re just hitting our growth,” she says. “We have great prices, great properties and a new airport (Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport). But Brazilians just aren’t familiar with the Panhandle. How can we attract their interest?”

Fonseca says convenient air connections are important for South Americans, who tend to fly into Miami and Orlando. So there has to be a compelling reason for buyers to look at other Florida markets. “Generally, that involves showing them the pricing advantages, since international buyers are usually looking at the investment opportunity as well as a potential vacation home.”

Black agrees, based on her experience with international customers from Europe and Latin America. “When they compare our gulf-front condos to what they have at home, our prices are too low to pass up,” she says. “Also, our year-round rental rates produce a good return because we have both a winter snowbird season and a strong regional summer season.”

Fonseca says Black is right to focus on the financial side as well as the vacation appeal. And he has a few related words of advice. “In Brazil, investors expect a return of 10 percent or more on rental properties,” he tells her. “Because U.S. interest rates are much lower, you should explain that a good rental return here is 6 to 8 percent. That’s still much higher than a savings account or certificate of deposit.”

3. Explain U.S. real estate customs.

Now, Fonseca tells Black to be sure to understand U.S. real estate laws and customs and to encourage Brazilian customers to seek legal counsel. “That’s really important because the exclusive right to sell is not common in Latin America,” he says. “Therefore, they may be planning to visit several different brokerages on their trip to Florida. You need to tell them they can work with you, see all the listings they want and save time.” He also suggests preparing a download able presentation that explains concepts like windstorm, homeowners’ and title insurance.

Black agrees completely. “When I’ve worked with international buyers in the past, I started out by educating them about how transactions work here,” she says. “They appreciate my taking the time to explain the differences.”

4. Develop a welcoming website.

Because most Brazilian buyers use the Internet to begin a property search, Fonseca tells Black to make sure her website appeals to those international buyers. For example, her site should include key words like imóveis, which means real estate in Brazilian Portuguese, just as bienes raices means real estate in many Spanish-language countries. He also suggests incorporating a Brazilian flag and a welcoming message in English, like “We assist Brazilian buyers and investors.”

“That’s a great idea,” Black says. “Should I include a Portuguese translation feature on my site?” Fonseca advises Black to go even further and prepare download able marketing packages in Portuguese.

5. Use social media effectively.

In addition to a website, Black should be using social media to connect. However, says Fonseca, “You don’t want to just post properties because people get tired of that.” Instead, he suggests joining a real estate group on Facebook that focuses on international properties. “Connect with other agents, and use the private message services to tell them when you have a new listing,” he says. “I have 3,300 friends on Facebook, and most of them are other agents around the world. It’s a really great tool for networking.”

Black then asks about other social media sites, like YouTube and Twitter. Fonseca says posting property videos on YouTube can be an effective way to help Brazilian buyers. “If there’s a new building in your market, you can get a nice video from the developer or you can take videos of your current listings,” he says. “Put them up on your website, and [prospects] can see them with just a click.”

Summing up his advice, Fonseca tells Black, “Keep using social media, and do everything you can to develop your international referral network. Those two steps alone will help you attract more buyers from South America.”

Black thanks Fonseca for his advice. “My priority will be to shift my online marketing to the international sector,” she says. “I’ll also plan to attend more international events and network directly with agents and brokers.”

This column provides advice from industry experts concerning marketing, technology and business issues. It won the Charlie Award (first place) in 2011 in the Best Department category from the Florida Magazine Association.

“Bargains for International Homebuyers” Attractive prices, inventory and friendly financing are just a few reasons that Brazilian investors are buying homes, condos, villas and golf course properties throughout the Sunshine State. Take five minutes to learn more about Florida’s world-class lifestyles and business opportunities in this video: floridarealtors.org/MediaLibrary

MEET THE EXPERT

A native of Brazil, Marco Fonseca came to the United States in 1995 and earned his real estate license in 2004. He is the National Association of Realtors® President’s Liaison to Brazil, a director of Florida Realtors and governor of the Miami Association of Realtors. He is a sales professional with Piquet Realty, a Miami real estate company with a strong market presence in Brazil.

Read the full article at http://browndigital.bpc.com/article/Makeover/1011549/105259/article.html.

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here