Key Highlights from NAR: EXPLORE Global Real Estate Opportunities


Rich Green


January 5, 2022

In our business, it’s difficult to overstate just how much consumer attitudes, values, and desires have changed as a result of the pandemic. The ability to work effectively from virtually anywhere represents a fundamental shift for millions. For the first time maybe ever, a short commute to the office is no longer a major decision driver. We’re still seeing how this all plays out globally, but so far, the effect has provided a jolt to the global real estate industry.

As a true global real estate brand with a presence in 115 countries across the globe, Realogy is in a unique position to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the global housing market. Recently we attended the National Association of Realtor’s Conference in San Diego. Realogy hosted a session bringing together real estate professionals to “Explore Global Real Estate Opportunities.” It was incredible to see so many colleagues in person and share all the tips and best practices needed to navigate the global real estate market today.

The first panel, moderated by Sherry Chris, CEO & President of Realogy’s Expansion Brands, featured three real estate leaders discussing Global New Development trends:  

Major Growth in Dubai, Paraguay and Mexico

The panel kicked off with a discussion of Dubai, where Tamara had worked prior to relocating to Los Angeles. Unsurprisingly, she said Dubai real estate is extremely hot right now, due to multiple factors including low taxes, lax legal resident policy, and a dynamic and exciting nightlife to rival Miami or Las Vegas. It’s also an extremely safe city, with lots of flights back and forth to the USA every day.

Francisco, working out of Paraguay, discussed the unique situation of that South American nation. Though a fraction of the size and population of nations such as Brazil and Argentina, Paraguay currently has a very robust real estate market, attracting a wide range of international investors due to the low costs (approximately $150 per square foot), tax advantages, and a more stable political environment compared to many of their neighbors.

Working out of Cancun, Chris touched on how the pandemic has forced a reevaluation of what’s important. “People are thinking about their life, how fast it can go. So now they want large terraces. They want luxury real estate. People are seeking quality of life and lower cost of life.” He said perhaps the biggest change to the Cancun market: longer rental periods (because the market is dominated by rentals instead of sales). Instead of one or two weeks, properties are now going for one or two months at a time.

Overall, the sentiment from this panel was how real estate in all three nations—Paraguay, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates is more popular than ever. Low taxes, inexpensive (relatively) property costs and the rise of “digital nomads” aka remote workers has fueled interest in areas that were not too long ago regarded primarily as vacation destinations.

The Global Power of an Established Brand

The next panel focused on Growing Your Global Network, and was moderated by Rich Green, EVP of Realogy Franchise Group. The session featured two high-level Realogy executives, as well as the CEO of one of the most influential real estate associations in America:

The discussion kicked off with an interesting question about how American agents and brokers can network at the international level. As Chairman Emeritus of Realogy, Alex Perriello brings a unique perspective to this issue. In his view, agents and brokers have two choices: do it yourself, which is time-consuming and expensive. Or “leverage what’s already been built”, i.e. partnering with a global real estate brand that’s already made the inroads. “If you can leverage those relationships that have already been built, it’s easier.”

Alvaro Cardenas, the SVP of Global Development for Realogy Holdings Corp, noted that the power of a global brand can be a force multiplier for agents and brokerage on the ground. While it started out that Realogy was “exporting these US franchise brands,” in just a few short years the knowledge gap has closed. “Now there’s so much knowledge in these countries, it’s more of an exchange.”

When asked her advice to agents and brokers, Carmen Chang, as CEO of AREAA Global, stressed the importance of becoming a local leader first. She also suggests to join networking groups such as AREAA or other industry associations where you can volunteer your time and play a leadership role.

Building a Global Brand

The third session was a one-on-one discussion on the topic of Building a Global Brand. It featured a wide range of best practices and tips for working with international buyers, strategies for getting more international referrals, and building your “sphere of influence.” The talk was held between:

The discussion kicked off with Chris asking Steve about tips and best practices for working with international buyers. Steve said one of the most essential aspects of the business is seeing which countries are moving capital. Right now, in South America, Chile is the leading the way, while nations such as Brazil and Argentina are making it a bit more difficult to move money out of the nation.

Steve stressed the importance of speaking the language in any nation you’re doing business with. The ability to think in Spanish—or any other language your client speaks—is absolutely essential to establishing trust with them. He said in his experience, “The biggest problem, and why transactions fall apart, is communication.”

Also critical: your network, aka your sphere of influence. Building your international network is key to getting referrals, which is essentially the most important way to grow your business.

“The World is Getting Smaller”

Closing out the session was our own Sue Yannaccone, who shared with Rich Green and the audience her views on the international real estate market, and how changes in work/life balance are impacting the industry on a global basis.

Sue echoed what many of the speakers said throughout the day on how “The world is getting smaller. We’re seeing this incredible momentum. People are thinking about where they want to live differently. The flow of capital is different…People are thinking about their lives and working differently, and we’re seeing that internationally as well.”

To close out the session, Rich asked her for some advice on the future of international real estate, as she sees it.

For me, it’s understanding where global markets are going. Where is business being generated today? Where in your market is business flowing in and out from?”

Keeping in mind the overwhelming complexity of the international real estate market, from macro-factors such as political stability of the nations, to more granular issues as getting money out of the country, Sue stressed that it’s nearly impossible to go it alone. “To be able to partner with and align with a global organization that can help you navigate that is a very, very solid move to protect that growth.”

How agents can grow their sphere of influence

  • Become a local expert first. Be the go-to authority for your specific area
  • Play a leadership role in local real estate groups and organizations
  • To expand, start with a plan. What do you want to achieve? Put a budget behind it and learn about your target market.

Tips on getting international referrals

  • Speak the language. Customers want to be able to communicate with you in their native tongue
  • Take social media seriously. Make your presence known online, and people will get in touch
  • Make sure you know the inventory.

Looking for more insights into the global real estate market? You can find similar discussions in our Webinar Archive here. Let us know what you think! Did you gain any insights into the international market? Are you seeing shifts in the real estate market in your region? Let us know what you’re seeing on the ground.  

*Please note this document was published prior to Realogy’s rebrand to Anywhere Real Estate Inc. on June 9, 2022.

Rich Green

EVP, Realogy Franchise Group

Rich Green leads both the domestic and global franchise sales teams supporting Realogy’s world-renowned residential real estate brands. He is a real estate industry veteran and has held various roles within the Realogy Franchise Group sales organization.

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