Florida Realtor April 2011 : Page 18

success strategies cult for both domestic and global buy-ers. However, the 2010 survey found that 81 percent of Florida’s interna-tional buyers paid cash—a clear sign of their willingness to invest in the Sunshine State. To capitalize on today’s interna-tional market, Florida Realtor inter-viewed leading professionals around the state. Here are 15 tips for success. or speak fluent Spanish. Or you might have recently worked with an interna-tional buyer who could be a source of referrals. That knowledge and experi-ence can provide you with a good start-ing point for reaching the global market. “You don’t have to speak another lan-guage, although it is helpful,” says Ger-man-born Christel Silver, with Silver Inter-national Realty in Delray Beach. 2. Study your local market. Going global can begin right in your neighborhood. Talk to your local tour-ist bureau or hotel association to learn about the flow of international visitors— where they come from and what they en-joy doing in your market. International companies, colleges and universities may relocate people from overseas. Fuentes suggests joining an international cham-ber or local social club and start cultivat-ing any relationships that you develop there. “You must be ready to participate, understanding that you have to give be-fore you can receive,” he adds. 3. Reach out to other professionals. Many real estate associations have a global business alliance or an interna-tional council whose members share ideas, pool resources and share leads. “If you don’t have a council in your associa-tion, then start thinking about forming one,” says Szerencses, a native of Hun-gary. “It can be an excellent source of information and business opportunities.” In addition, Silver suggests building rela-tionships with an attorney who special-izes in immigration law, an international tax advisor and a mortgage broker who helps foreign customers. “Get educated about our tax and immigration laws so you’re aware of the possible pitfalls,” she says, “but refer clients to an attorney when they ask for advice.” 4. Pick a target. To make the best use of your time and resources, pick a specific international target rather than aiming for the entire world. “Focus on a region or a country,” says Tan. “This lets you play to your per-sonal strengths while developing your market knowledge.” Another strategy is to focus on different types of foreign buyers, such as vacationers looking for a second home or investors seeking a busi-ness property. 5. educate yourself. After you pick a target, it’s time to do your homework. Learn about the cus-toms, currency and culture, and keep up with political and economic trends. “You want to be able to talk global,” Fuentes says. “Otherwise, you’ll quickly be out of the game.” Another suggestion: look at international air travel patterns. “There are lots of direct flights from dif-1. Assess your personal skills and background. Consider how you can apply your background and skills to the interna-tional market. You may have relatives in France, travel frequently to Canada Where are the biggest opportunities? When Manny Mencia , senior vice president of international trade and business development at Enterprise Florida , looks at 2011, he sees opportunities in every sector of the world. “Florida remains a bargain for the global investor, [from both a residential and a commercial] property side,” he says. “One of the key factors is the relative weakness of the dollar. We’re a really good deal for Euro-pean, Canadian and Latin buyers.” Mencia notes that every part of Florida, from the Panhandle to the Keys, is attracting international buyers. “But you have to look at patterns in your market to see who’s buying there,” he adds. For instance, English-speaking Cana-dians tend to gravitate to the Gulf Coast side of the state while Quebecois (French speakers) like Daytona Beach and the Holly-wood–Fort Lauder-dale areas. In 2011, Canadian, German, Brit-ish and South American buyers are expected to be four of the stron-gest international segments. “With a strong economy, huge supply of natural resources and growing mid-dle class, Brazil is one of the markets to watch,” says Francisco Angulo , broker, CENTURY 21 United Proper-ties Inc. , Weston and Miami Beach. “Elsewhere in the region, Peru, Chile and Colombia have stable govern-ments and economies, making them attractive targets for Florida agents and brokers.” Christel Silver, of Silver International Realty in Delray Beach, expects Ger-many and Canada to be big markets for her in 2011. “All my German cli-ents have been professionals in their 40s buying an investment property as their second home,” she says. “The same is true for my Canadian clients, although they also include some retirees. I’m looking forward to another good year.” GReAt IdeA When vacationing in another country, take along your business cards and visit local real estate offices. “That’s a great way to start building relationships,” says Zola Szerencses, of RE/MAX 200 Realty in Orlando. “When they think about Florida real estate, you will be the first one who comes to mind.” 18 FLORIDA REALTOR April 2011

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