Real estate is and always will be a prime investment. It is and always will be one of the most important and biggest investments most people will make in their lifetime. More and more, foreign buyers are realizing the value of prime real estate in the United States.
The number of foreign buyers that are investing in our country’s real estate is growing rapidly. The Washington Business Journal reported early this year that New York City has now taken the top spot over D.C. for the “No. 1 U.S. investment city this year. . .and is No. 1 worldwide.”
According to the article the top cities in the United States in 2011 are New York, D.C., Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Globally, New York takes the Number 1 spot this year, followed by D.C., London, Paris and Shanghai.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported in May of this year that the United States is a top destination for foreign buyers and “international purchases surged by $16 billion this year, one of the highest increases in recent years.” That’s $82 billion for international residential sales for the past year ending in March 2011. You can read the NAR’s full 2011 Profile of International Home Buying Activity here.
What’s more, many of these investors pay cash so the sometimes time-consuming loan process is eliminated.
I’ve been seeing this trend for a couple of years now and Keller Williams New York City has not only added, exponentially, to its staff of real estate pros, but several of our agents are bi-lingual and expert in communicating with foreign buyers. Below are just a few of our talented agents. They’re giving their personal accounts of working with foreign buyers and in the coming weeks, I plan to showcase more of KW NYC’s stellar “cast” of agents and associates that are accommodating this ever-increasing need in Manhattan.
Birthplace: Tel Aviv, Israel
Languages: English and Hebrew
Experience working with foreign investors/buyers: Elenora Srugo has several years of experience working with buyers/investors from all over the world including Israel, Canada and Argentina.
Elenora’s personal account: Many of my clients have experience buying real estate all over the globe and are very savvy investors, but when they first encounter the Manhattan buying process, they’re often surprised at how fast paced our market is and how prime property they have their eye on can be gone in a matter of hours. I often form a close bond with these buyers, going back to the basics with them and explaining the unique Manhattan market. They discover what adds and/or doesn’t add value in our market. It may sometimes take a bit more time but they value my expertise and rely on it to guide them through the process. They are loyal clients and are often the best source for referrals. Since I have family all over the world, we often find we have a mutual acquaintance or friend. Most of my most recent transactions have been with foreign buyers and I’ve formed lifelong friendships with some of these clients.
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Languages: Italian, English and French
Experience working with foreign investors/buyers: Richard founded his own real estate company, Tayar Real Estate Enterprises, before joining KW NYC this year. He has years of experience working with foreign investors, lawyers, accountants and architects.
Richard’s personal account: I recently completed a sale with a buyer from Italy. This gentleman wanted the ideal Manhattan apartment after seeing an Upper West Side condo with magnificent views of Central Park, the East Side and the George Washington Bridge. His budget was a much lower scale for that type of apartment, but I knew I’d have to “show” him what he could buy for his budget. After several showings, he wasn’t at all happy -- he had those views in mind! Over time, I was able to explain that views of that kind are prime property in Manhattan. He agreed to adjust his budget and after months of scouting, an apartment in the same location as the one he viewed came on the market. He was back in Italy, but I sent an email with the subject line, “THIS IS THE ONE!” with pictures and a description.
He trusted me to make the offer and by day’s end, we’d signed a contract. He got his ideal Manhattan apartment and he understood the value of what he was buying. What I’ve learned most from working with foreign buyers and investors is patience is key. I make sure my clients understand this market and the difference in value of a West Village or Soho condo (which have more of a European feel) and why those properties are typically very high-end investments. Most of my foreign clients are buying for investment or to secure a condo for their children that are attending college in the city. They see Manhattan as a solid and proven real estate market. With prices still relatively low and rentals at a peak, buying an apartment in New York is considered one of the best long-term investments by foreign buyers.
Birthplace: Seoul, Korea
Languages: Korean, English
Experience working with foreign investors/buyers: Kelsey has been working with foreign buyers for nine years, completing the Real Estate Investment Seminar and Power Coaching at Trump University and Certificate of Real Estate Marketing at the Continental School in Minnesota. She has bought, sold and renovated several Manhattan properties and graduated from Konkuk University in Seoul with a Bachelor’s Degree in fashion and design and owns her own real estate investment company providing foreign buyers with expertise in aggressive marketing, buying and selling of prime properties throughout New York City.
Kelsey’s personal account: Foreign buyers are a bit more hesitant in investing until they know all the particulars of real estate investing. The rules of buying are much different here in Manhattan that what they are accustomed to so the importance of guiding them through the process is crucial. I find that once they fully understand the value of a property and how that property greatly enhances their investment portfolio, they are quick to purchase and some often have cash resources to do so. They love New York City and its people and nearly always provide wonderful referrals. Because of my background in buying and selling property in Manhattan, they rely on my judgement and expertise, as far as property analysis, asset protection, landlording and creative financing in order to finalize the best deal for them.
Are you working more with foreign investors and clients? What is your experience -- how is the process different or the same? Share your comments and let me know how you’re “up for the challenge” for this growing clientele of buyers.
Next Week: More KW NYC agents share their experiences!