How to Boost your Business with the Bustling Foreign Market

by Bob Corcoran | Nov 03, 2014
Let me start with an important question: are you missing out on a consumer segment that could boost your real estate business?
If you’re not looking at foreign home buyers (those looking to move here or recent immigrants), you might be missing out big time. That’s because sales to foreign consumers in the United States are sky-rocketing. A new report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has found that from 2013 to 2014, home sales to foreign buyers saw a whopping 35 percent jump from $68.2 billion to $92.2 billion. That’s a full 7 percent of the $1.2 trillion existing-home sales marketplace.

Could you use a 7 percent increase in your business? You might be able to achieve it in the foreign market. There’s clearly room for more agents. NAR says just 28 percent of agents they surveyed reported working with buyers from other countries.

Here’s what you should know about this burgeoning market:

  • Know where they’re coming from. NAR reports the five countries most buyers come from are: Canada, China, Mexico, India and the United Kingdom. Canada accounts for the largest share of clients, but China is the fastest growing source of clients, now accounting for 16 percent, up from 9 percent since 2007.
  • Know how they connect with real estate professionals. NAR says of agents who work with foreigners, 59 percent reported that clients were referred to them through friends, previous clients, and international and domestic referrals. About 19 percent of clients came through website or online listings. The primary sources of online leads were the agent’s own website (24 percent), the local MLS website (16 percent), and other aggregators (17 percent)., which launched an international site ( in 2011, accounted for 6 percent of online leads.
  • Know what they’re seeking. Most homes purchased by foreign buyers, about 42 percent, are used as a primary residence. Non-resident foreigners are limited to six-month stays in the U.S., so these buyers largely use the property for vacation or rental purposes or as an investment. Roughly 65 percent of purchases involved a single-family home. Nearly half of international clients preferred properties in a suburban area, about a quarter preferred a central city or urban area, and about 13 percent chose to buy in a resort area. Location appears to be the primary factor affecting residential home purchases, depending on the buyer’s employment, vacation preferences, family, educational and investment objectives.
  • Know where to go from here. NAR can help with specific international professional development opportunities including the Commercial & Global Services Group and the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation. Visit for more information.

And while I still have you, I want to let you know about a great learning opportunity where the topic of expanding your market will be just one of many business-building subjects: The Corcoran Consulting & Coaching's Listing Mastery Boot Camp called “Prepare for Success” set for October 16-17, 2014 at the Hilton Garden Inn in St. Louis.

Prepare for success through two days of intense and informative training on time management, lead management and effective prospecting, plus many other keys to put success firmly in your grasp. Share and discuss ideas and solutions with your peers, make more money and catapult your business now and in the future. Visit to learn more and to register. Register before September 28, 2014 and save $100.

Let me hear from you. Is your market big enough now to help you reach your goals? If not, what opportunities exist in your farm area to expand your market? What can you start doing today to improve and grow your business? Please send any comments or questions you have to or