Build Business with International Investors
Brokers can find new customers by looking abroad
the british Are coming — And so
are the Canadians, the Chinese and
investors from many other countries.
Foreign companies and foreign high-
net-worth individuals are interested in
buying real estate in the United States
now. They are interested for a variety of
reasons, including favorable currency-
exchange rates, a significant drop in
real estate prices, a global shift in eco-
nomic power, and the stability of the
U.S. legal system.
Boston and Los Angeles. In addition, the
Organization for International Investment reports that, as of the end of 2009,
U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-owned
companies employed about 5. 5 million
Americans, which translates into office,
industrial and retail space.
Although some foreign investors are
cash buyers, many seek funding from
either U.S. or foreign lenders.
Like all prudent investors, foreign buyers entering the U.S. marketplace seek
the advice of mortgage brokers, real
estate agents, attorneys and other real
estate professionals. In general, these
investors select professionals who have
offices in their country and the U.S. Unless you are already part of a multinational firm, one effective way to find
foreign customers is to form a business
relationship with a multinational firm.
Another place to meet foreign investors is at major international commercial real estate trade fairs such as
Expo Real and Le Marché International
des Professionnels de l’Immobilier (aka
MIPIM). Within the U.S., other popular
places to meet foreign investors are the
local chapters of foreign chambers of
commerce and local foreign community groups.
After you’ve made contacts, you must
market your services. Start by making
sure you understand special rules, regulations and underwriting requirements
that apply to foreign borrowers. It is important to have a good understanding
of the Patriot Act and the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act.
Learn the basic commercial lending
rules that apply in the foreign customer’s home country. If you can explain U.S. requirements in a way that
gives foreign investors a point of reference, you have a great marketing
advantage. If you can either speak at
conferences attended by foreign investors or write articles on the similarities
and differences between national systems, you can distinguish yourself as
Foreign investors are an emerging
customer segment in need of mortgage
services. By working with other real estate professionals already in this space
and by developing expertise, you can
grow your business. •
Bruce E. Hawley is senior vice president,
senior under writing counsel and multinational
title-services group manager at Stewart Title
Guaranty Co. in New York City and Fairfield,
Conn. He specializes in providing title insurance and escrow services to foreign investors
who buy U.S. commercial real estate and to
U. S. investors who buy foreign commercial real
estate. Reach him at (646) 525-3542 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the company’s
website for more information: stewart.com.