"Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma"
---Sir Winston Churchill
Marketing to Russians is an important topic for international real estate sellers and realtors who are looking for foreign buyers for their properties.
Real estate owners, developers and brokers / agents from all over the world who are interested to sell their properties to Russians - directly or through Russian real estate agents - usually have lots of questions about selling to Russians. Please find below my answers to typical questions that apply to any property in any country:
Q. Will I be able to find Russian buyers for real estate properties in my country?
A. The answer will be most probably "Yes" as Russians buy real estate properties all over the world nowadays. The market of international properties sold to Russians worldwide is estimated at more than $12 billion a year. In some smaller resort-oriented countries Russians bought about half of all properties sold. The right way of marketing is your path to success in the Russian buyers market.
Q. How are Russian buyers different from other Europeans?
A. The major difference of Russian buyers of international real estate from other Europeans, who mostly know English pretty well, is that Russians prefer to search properties on the Internet in Russian.
There is a lot of international real estate information available to Russian buyers from all over the world through Russian search engines in Russian, so they usually don't need to search for any information in English or any other languages. (Here are some quick examples: a search for "real estate in the USA" in Russian in the most popular Russian search engine yandex.ru will return 20 million pages; for "real estate in Greece" 8 million pages; for "real estate in Panama" under 1 million pages, etc.)
Marketing in Russian Internet has to be in Russian if you want your real estate property for sale to compete successfully in Russian buyers' market.
Q. How do I reach Russian buyers?
A. Online marketing is the most popular, effective and inexpensive way to reach buyers in Russia (or any foreign buyers in general).
The online marketing of real estate in Russian may include a property website in Russian published in Russian Internet, advertising on Russian real estate portals, direct emailing to targeted groups of potential Russian buyers and/or real estate agents and other online guerrilla marketing venues.
There are also various offline ways of marketing as advertising your property for sale in Russian print media, participating in real estate exhibits in Russia, starting your real estate office in Russia or finding an existing business over there willing to represent you, but they are more expensive than online of course.
Q. What is my first step in marketing to Russians?
A. The best way of marketing to Russians is to start a property website in Russian as the first step. This website will serve as your multi-purpose tool to use in any and all kind of marketing to Russians.
There should be all the information on the property with high quality photos, also on location, transportation, etc. on the website. Russian buyers like to see floor plans too. It will be to your huge advantage if you can also provide all the information on the process and paperwork needed while purchasing real estate in your country by a foreign buyer, along with the approximate costs involved, real estate taxes, visa requirements, etc. This will make your site a one-stop expert real estate shop for Russian buyers and they won't go away to search for more.
If you already have a property website in English, it makes sense to add Russian translation to it.
With your informative property website in Russian you can proceed with marketing to Russians.
Q. How do I attract Russian buyers to my property online?
A. If you prefer to sell as "by owner" directly to Russian buyers with no involvement of an agent on the Russian side and keep real estate commission for yourself, then submitting your property website to Russian search engines and further improving the website positioning in Russian Internet so that more visitors could find it, contact you and convert to potential buyers, is the way to go.
Q. Can I find a real estate agent in Russia who will be marketing to Russians for me?
A. If you'd like to find a business partner in Russia who would be able to send you Russian buyers as your real estate agent and whom you will pay commission on sale, then you should send the link to your website with all the property information along with your business offer to as many Russian real estate agents as you could. Russian real estate agents mostly work as buyer's agents for international properties, so you'd be better off to spread the word about your property for sale as wide as possible.
There are no established rules in Russia on how real estate agents should be paid, so you'll have to discuss this matter with each potential Russian business partner personally.
Q. How can you help me with marketing to Russians?
A. As internet marketer in English and Russian and English-Russian translator who is knowledgeable in "All things Russian", I can help you with creating and implementing a plan for marketing to Russians which is the best suitable for your property according to your marketing budget, recent competition, personal preferences, etc. A good marketing plan takes the targeted audience for your sales into consideration first of all – and in case of marketing your properties to Russian buyers and/or real estate agents usually you are confronted with issues of language, cultural and business practice differences that I am able to help you resolve.
Q. How do you charge for your services of marketing to Russians?
A. I usually charge fees-for-services plus an (optional) performance bonus.
Services include creating all kind of marketing materials for your properties to sell them at the Russian buyers market; promotion of your properties to Russian buyers and/or real estate agents; related to sales correspondence and documents translation; etc. - whatever needed for your particular properties and circumstances.
Fees-for-services might be paid per project; or hourly, weekly, monthly; or whatever arrangement you prefer.
Performance bonus is paid on the particular property sale if you choose to offer it.
Q. Will you work on commission only?
A. No. I am not a real estate agent in any country. I do not sell houses, I develop marketing materials in Russian to help you sell to Russian buyers directly and/or through Russian real estate agents.
Q. Why don't you just send me a Russian buyer for my property and I will pay you later when he buys?
A. No. The reasons are plenty, and some of them are the following: I have no idea about the real estate market in your area/country and can't say whether your property is overpriced or not; I don't even know whether you have the legal right to sell this property; I have to put a lot into marketing your property, but how do I know the outcome? etc. etc.
Thank you for your consideration of the general information posted here and please feel free to
go from Marketing to Russians FAQ to CONTACT form and tell me about your property for sale and marketing budget and ask any specific questions you might have.
English - Russian Translator,
Associate member of ATA,
American Translators Association