NEW ORLEANS – Nov. 8, 2010 – Real estate professionals from across the U.S. and abroad participated in a series of international discussions on global real estate at the 2010 Realtors® Conference & Expo in New Orleans.
S. Nicolai Kolding, partner at REAL Trends and Murray Consulting, has done his own research and analysis of different countries with an eye to how the U.S. might be able to adopt similar practices.
“As a real estate professional, especially one that works with international clients, it is vital that you are educated on the differences in real estate practices throughout the world,” said Kolding. “Not only does it make you more valuable as a professional, but also it helps the U.S. real estate industry learn from other countries, essentially becoming a more global society.”
Kolding touched on a number of countries, but focused on Canada and several in the European Union. With a homeownership rate similar to that in the U.S. – about 68 percent – Canada has a more regulated mortgage system, with loans that typically last 25 years. The United Kingdom has no multiple listing service and buyers must register with many agencies to gain access to sellers. In Germany, Kolding said, renting for life is common, with a homeownership rate of only about 43 percent. An estimated half of all sales in Germany are for-sale-by-owner, and mortgages come with high prepayment penalties, with refinancing highly discouraged.
Kolding described extremely strict requirements for agents in Denmark, including mandatory liability insurance. Denmark also has an extremely regulated and transparent real estate system, and all properties must be listed on the single MLS system.
“According to the 2010 NAR Profile of International Home Buying Activity, more and more Realtors are working with international clients who want to buy in the U.S.,” said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder.
To underscore a growing commitment to international service, several NAR committee meetings and sessions were, for the first time at this year’s conference, simultaneously translated into different languages. Nearly 1,200 international attendees were able to listen in French, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish with translation headsets during various conference events.
In addition, Realtor.com announced that it would soon add international listings and translation and conversion tools, allowing NAR members and bilateral partners and their members to upload non-U.S. listings to the real estate site. Realtor.com, NAR’s official property website, is the most visited real estate site on the Internet, attracting more than 5 million unique visitors and more than 13 million total visits every month.