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Last month, The Registry reported that foreign buyers have hit an all time high in purchasing real estate, with foreign office investment surpassing $20 billion in 2016, and accounting for 16% of the overall acquisition volume. Adding to that, the National Association of Realtors® reports that $100 billion in U.S. residential property sales each year are attributed to international buyers. For brokers, this means that finding a way to reach foreign buyers provides a significant opportunity.
For most brokers in the US, reaching these buyers—and providing information in another language—is a daunting task.
However, there are some good examples of large real estate enterprises leveraging technology to successfully extend their reach into foreign markets, especially when they don’t have offices there. These organizations are ahead of their competitors, able to promote their inventory and interact with their customers—whether local or global—in the manner and language their customers prefer. In so doing, they are making the entire sales process more efficient and more engaging.
In 2015, Lennar International, a progressive division of one of the largest homebuilders in the United States, saw an opportunity to grow domestic sales through gaining international exposure. Lennar adopted Proxio’s multilingual business-to-business marketing and sales collaboration platform to showcase more than 60 of their new home communities to foreign brokers, as well as a large pool of domestic agents with foreign connections. Lennar invites brokers in foreign markets to access the platform, which is also accessible to tens of thousands of US real estate agents through a “digital sharing” collaboration model.
The technology provides complete digital marketing packages for every new home community in English, Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese, corresponding to the countries where Lennar felt buyers would originate. It automatically brands the materials with the name, license number, and contact information of each cooperating agent or company—avoiding the need to use a drop box service or create custom flyers—while simultaneously providing complete control of the materials (ranging from digital brochures to floor plans to 3D virtual tours) by the homebuilder’s marketing team.
As the brokers and agents promote the properties digitally to their clients around the world, motivated by the opportunity for a commission or referral fee, Lennar gains broad international exposure, gets notified real-time on leads, and can see all of the marketing responses by channel and by country, to better shape their next marketing campaign. To date, the company has received homebuyer leads from over 20 countries.
Other companies, from large multinational brokerages to small regional developers, are adopting similar technology to extend their reach—without stretching their budgets with expensive foreign travel or print campaigns in newspapers or consumer magazines that have a short shelf life and un-measureable ROIs.
The real estate marketing environment today is vastly different from even ten years ago. Online collaboration has changed the landscape of how and where we transact business. Global has become the new local. Extensive visual presentation is mandatory and optimizing for mobile presentation is a must. Though challenging, these changes represent new opportunities for the real estate industry to move forward in a way that benefits everyone—seller and buyer alike.
Janet Case is the CEO and co-founder of Proxio, the real estate marketing and sales platform that enables enterprises like builders and brokerages to put inventory in the hands of motivated agents worldwide, resulting in a faster and more cost-effective sales process while tracking activity, interest, and leads. Proxio’s digital marketing, translation tools, and collaborative global network of 750,000+ agents combine to increase visibility and accelerate property sales. Learn more at www.proxio.com.