Florida Realtor April 2012 : Page 29

“I am based in São Paulo, Brazil, but I come very often to the United States, and I travel all over the world.” —Racecar driver Emerson Fittipaldi, who has a home in Key Biscayne can we attract their interest?” Fonseca says convenient air connec-tions are important for South Americans, who tend to fl y into Miami and Orlando. So there has to be a compelling reason for buyers to look at other Florida mar-kets. “Generally, that involves showing them the pricing advantages, since in-ternational 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 fi nancial 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. in-terest 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 certifi cate of deposit.” 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 cus-tomers 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 di erent 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 pre-paring a downloadable presentation that explains concepts like windstorm, home-owners’ 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 di erences.” 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. 4. 3. Use social media e ectively. In addition to a website, Black should be using social media to connect. However, says Fonseca, “You don’t want to just post properties be-cause 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 Face-book, 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 e ective way to help Brazilian buyers. “If there’s a new build-ing in your market, you can get a nice video from the developer or you can take videos of your current listings,” he says. 5. Develop a welcoming website. Because most Brazilian buy-ers use the Internet to begin a prop-erty search, Fonseca tells Black to make sure her website appeals to those inter-national 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 incorporat-ing a Brazilian fl ag and a welcoming mes-sage in English, like “We assist Brazilian buyers and investors.” “That’s a great idea,” Black says. “Should I include a Portuguese transla-tion feature on my site?” Fonseca advis-es Black to go even further and prepare downloadable marketing packages in Portuguese. “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 in-ternational 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 (fi rst place) in 2011 in the Best Department category from the Florida Magazine Association. “Bargains for International Homebuyers” Attractive prices, inventory and friendly fi nanc-ing are just a few reasons that Brazilian investors are buying homes, condos, villas and golf course properties throughout the Sunshine State. Take fi ve minutes to learn more about Florida’s world-class lifestyles and busi-ness opportunities in this video: fl oridarealtors.org/MediaLibrary April 2012 FLORIDA REALTOR 29

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