The importance of international real estate sales is being underlined by growing companyBerkshire Hathaway HomeServices, which is offering special training to agents on how to boost their business in the sector.
Agents who successfully complete the training earn a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation, which is the only international designation recognized by the US National Association of Realtors.
OPP.Today spoke to Peter Turtzo, Senior Vice President for International Operations for US-based Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, about how much of an advantage the specialist training gives agents and where most buyer demand originates.
“CIPS training provides a strong foundation for U.S. agents seeking to conduct business with international clients. Instruction includes five full days of study covering the very latest in international business in U.S. markets and for transactions in Europe, Asia/Pacific and the Americas. Instruction will involve transaction tools, currency and exchange rate issues, cultural perspectives, regional market conditions, investment performance, tax issues and more.
“Demand we see is similar to the demand recently reported by National Association of Realtors, with buyers from China, Canada, India and Mexico leading the way, followed by those from the United Kingdom, Germany and France.”
As a result of the training program, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices hopes to pick up a sizeable slice of the lucrative market, he says.
“Few brokerage networks offer CIPS training. With help from this unique opportunity, we want our agents to earn their unfair share of the $104billion international market in the US.
“We intend to win a significant share of the international market in the U.S. and CIPS training will help us achieve that goal. We also believe our Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand will appeal to international buyers and help us gain market share, as the brand is built on a foundation of trust, integrity, stability and longevity. Of course, the geographic location of our affiliates also will help us win international business – many brokerages are located in US destination markets and feeder markets, and are well positioned gain market share.”
Which aspect of the training is most needed or do agents most value, we asked. “I think cultural and cross-cultural elements of CIPS training will be well received, yet all components – from currency and exchange rate considerations to market conditions, tax considerations and more – are essential for CIPS certification.
Marie Shoemaker, director for Network Education Services, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, explains why the course is valuable. “Currency issues and tax laws alone make international transactions more complex, and then there are visa laws, financing and other considerations.
“An agent who’s trained to handle these challenges can make the difference in a home sale or purchase.”
Since its launch in September 2013, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, which has its headquarters in Irvine, California, has grown to nearly 40,000 agents and 1,200 offices operating in 47 states.
HSF Affiliates LLC operates Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Prudential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate franchise networks. The company is a joint venture of which HomeServices of America, Inc., the nation’s second-largest, full-service residential brokerage firm, is a majority owner.