Florida Realtor April 2014 : Page 18

targeting gLObaL buyers good that some of your neighbors are Canadians.” Convenient air travel remains one of the key factors that influence for-eign buyers’ location decisions, adds Branton. Regular charter flights from the U.K. to Sanford, for instance, have made it easy for northern European buyers to reach the Orlando area. Foreign buyers also tend to cluster in neighborhoods. In South Florida, for example, many Venezuelans have purchased homes in Doral and Weston, and Sunny Isles Beach has a distinct Rus-sian community. That means real estate professionals can often find internation-al buyers right in their local markets (see “5 Community-based Marketing Ideas,” pg. 26). Based on the NAR survey and insights from the state’s real estate profession-als, here is a closer look at the different groups of foreign buyers now active in Florida: CAnADA Think “Formal” if you want to connect with foreign buyers, it’s usually better to take a formal approach. Think business suit rather than casual attire, handshakes rather than hugs and “hello, Mr. smith” rather than “hi, John!” That’s sound advice from zola Szerencses , the 2014 chair of florida Realtors® global Business Committee and NAR’s regional coordinator for Eastern Europe. “On your first meeting, you should always say something like ‘hello, Mr. smith. it’s a pleasure to meet you,’” he says. “Even if you have exchanged dozens of emails, you should not assume that you are on a first-name basis with these buyers. Be courteous and for-mal when you greet them because that’s the best way to get things off to a good start.” szerencses says it’s also impor-tant to avoid making assumptions about foreign buyers’ cultures. for instance, he says, a husband and wife from Europe might come from different countries or have very different backgrounds. “About 80 percent of my foreign buyers are from Canada, but a large number of them are originally from india and China,” he adds. “Understand-ing someone’s culture is very important, but you need to take the time and get to know them as individuals.” According to NAR research, Canadians accounted for 30 percent of foreign buy-ers in Florida, purchasing both single-family homes and condominiums in re-sort areas. In general, French Canadians prefer the eastern side of the state, along the I-95 Corridor, while those from English-speaking provinces are more likely to se-lect communities on the Gulf Coast near I-75. Overall, the most popular locations are Naples–Marco Island; Cape Coral– Fort Myers; Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice; Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami– Miami Beach. “We get about 80 percent of our [Canadian] buyers from the Toronto area,” said brett brown , a broker with Fiddler’s Creek Realty Inc. in Naples. “Canadians are looking for a second home for vaca-tion and investment, and they typically pay cash for their purchases.” While there are many cultural simi-larities between Canada and the United States, Brown says, it’s important to un-derstand the nuances. “You should know something about the Canadian health-care system, which can influence the length of time these second-home buy-ers can stay in the States,” he says. “Also, there is no inheritance tax in Canada, so you may want to advise your buyer to consult a U.S. attorney before taking title to a property.” Nearly half of Patricia Tan’s buyers come from the U.K. “We have both lifestyle buy-ers, like the ‘snowbirds’ from North Amer-ica, as well as investors,” says Tan, a sales associate with Coldwell banker Residen-tial Real Estate in Sarasota. “The majority purchase single-family homes rather than condos, whether they are looking for a hol-iday home or a rental investment. They like the idea of owning land and property, and home prices here offer really good values compared with the U.K.” EuROPE NOW YOU KNOW Why do foreign buyers decide not to purchase a property in Florida? The top five reasons are insurance cost, immigration laws, property taxes, difficulty in getting financing or simply not finding the right property, according to the 2013 NAR survey. 18 FLORIDA REALTOR April 2014

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