Buying or selling real estate is already likely to be one of the most complicated transactions most individuals will undertake in their lifetime. Add in foreign regulations, different cultures, fluctuating exchange rates, and unknown market conditions and it becomes apparent that there is a significant need to hire a professional.
To help clients overcome these challenges, guerilla / realty agent Makeda Phillander recently completed the coursework to become a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS). Sponsored by guerilla / realty, this education was part of the brokerage's on-going agent development.
"The combination of being from Trinidad and my love of travel - and previously working with international clients - all fueled my interest in becoming an international property specialist," Phillander said.
In 2018, Foreign Buyers spent $121 Billion on properties in the United States. This represents a huge chunk of the real estate market. Without understanding the cultural norms of a variety of international buyers, it’s all too easy to miss the opportunity to do business with them.
As one CIPS certified Realtor noted, it isn’t just the technical aspects of international realty that are challenging.
"While Florida's 'Time is of the Essence' contract language is pretty standard to us, French buyers and sellers have a very different definition of time -- especially in the summer! We had around 20 vacant lots to be sold and were blowing through all of the contract dates, however, per my CIPS training, we anticipated these potential delays and prepared the other side, armed with extensions where needed,” said recent CIPS designee Terry Yonker “If we had entered each contract as a normal domestic transaction, we would have lost a good portion of them. We closed them all! Earning your CIPS designation before you attempt to enter this arena is invaluable."
In receiving the certification, Makeda and other participating agents studied:
- International real estate capital flow
- Various government regulations and cultures
- International brokerages
- Effects of taxes and exchange rates on investment
- How to prepare international investment projections
- Specifics of working with clients from Asia, Europe, and South America
“As Makeda has a dual citizenship with Trinidad she's naturally our agent with an international perspective,” noted guerilla / realty's broker and founder Rachel Rabinowitz.
While Makeda will be the first CIPS designee at guerilla, the brokerage has already marketed high-end real estate to an international audience - particularly Chinese buyers of luxury properties in the DC area. Expanding on this, we look forward to seeing Makeda and other guerilla agents help buyers and sellers navigate these involved but often fruitful transactions.
If you are considering dipping your toes into the international real estate market, Phillander said make sure to do your own research and then reach out to a CIP specialist to help gather information.
"We have a global network and partners on the ground of most countries around the world that are ready and willing to help facilitate your needs."