Take Your Pick
Friday, March 16, 2012
From the March/April 2012 issue
Regardless of which national origin you select to serve, international clients all require special care and handling.
Statistically speaking, there’s an enormous probability that you are going to deal with an international client in the coming year. In fact, according to the 2011 Profile of International Homebuyers In Florida, 77 percent of the state’s REALTORS® worked with an international client within the survey’s time frame (up from the 65 percent reported in the 2010 survey).
"The international real estate market is crucial to Florida and to Orlando,” explains ORRA Vice Chair of Strategic Planning Zola Szerencses, who is both a member of the NAR Global Business and Alliances Committee and immediate past chairman of the Orlando Regional International Council. "Approximately 25 percent of all sales in Florida are to foreigners. If you apply that percentage to Orlando, it would mean 6,925 of the 27,703 Orlando homes sold in 2011 went to foreign buyers."
Orlando is the second most desired destination of foreign homebuyers, garnering 14 percent of the state’s market share. Only the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach area, which drew a whopping 30 percent of all international transactions, ranked higher.
Just who finds Orlando attractive? While you can certainly take your pick of potential clients from a king-sized pool of national origins, by a large margin it’s buyers from Canada, Brazil, and the United Kingdom that flock to Orlando. Those from Canada alone make up 38 percent of Orlando’s international buyers, while Brazil and the United Kingdom make up 16 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
It’s a good thing that the Canadian majority of Orlando’s international buyers hail from a culture that is not all that foreign to us: Missteps in the dance of business etiquette between partners from different countries are frequently cited by experts as a completely avoidable source of friction and misunderstanding between a U.S. REALTOR® and an international buyer.
To help you avoid potential missteps, here are links to the protocol and expectations that are specific to the Canadian, Brazilian, and British clients you will most likely have the opportunity to serve.
International Etiquette Basics
Beyond using normal good manners, which you probably already use in the course of business, it is important to project positive attitudes toward international diversity, as well as adjust to the other person’s need for communication. Following are some basics for multicultural business norms and etiquette:
Respect the concept of "face.” Never do anything to embarrass another person, either in that person’s eyes, in the eyes of others, or in your own eyes. In the same way, do not sacrifice your own face in front of others.
Just to be on the safe side, and until you learn more from your customer, avoid the following:
Standing with hands in pockets;·
Using first names;
Asking personal questions;
Asking about family;
Showing the soles of your feet;
Fleeing or invading the other’s personal space;
Initiating any physical contact; and
Source: National Association of REALTORS®