How to sell internationally? Any real estate seller (private owner, realtor or developer) may face this problem one day if he decides (for whatever reason) that he would benefit from offering his property for sale to the whole world's real estate buying population in addition to locals. And here comes the question: how to start and what to do to achieve success?
As always, the first move is to search the internet. What do we find there putting in the search phrase "How to sell internationally" or any similar? Hundreds of millions various websites with advice from various entities.
Realtors who want to get you as a client and receive their commission-on-sale, online advertising platforms that want you to pay them for ads, journalists who interview real estate professionals – all of them provide some advice. But are they good exactly for you, your property and eventually for your sale?
Here we will try and make a short resume on the topic "How to Sell Internationally" of some major players, but from the point of view of a real estate seller – what is really the best for sellers, not anybody else.
1. Decide on a foreign country (or maybe
several countries?) where you are going to promote your property for sale.
The words "how to sell internationally" or "sell to foreign buyers" are general words, but in reality you will be selling to British, Germans, French, Russians, or Chinese, etc. They are all different in many aspects: languages, internet use, cultural habits, etc. and attracted to different types of properties and areas where the properties are located.
You can't market to all foreign nations and in all foreign languages (budget issues would prohibit), but actually you do not need to – your task is to find out that foreign market(s) which might be the most profitable just for your property in terms of the ratio: marketing expenses vs. selling price.
At the first sight the task might be difficult, but in most cases it's the easiest thing if you know what kind of foreigners buy in your area where your property is located. Look and talk around, and if no such info available, then selling to foreigners might be not your cup of tea…
Let's proceed if your research has brought you to a particular foreign country’s buyers as your marketing target.
Just a reminder: we assume that you already know your own country's rules and regulations about selling to foreigners, and also are aware of any perks available to foreign owners of properties if any.
2. Decide on the best for you way of marketing: passive through foreign realtors (no advertising costs, but later commission-on-sale to pay) or active by advertising directly to your target foreign buyers (paying for ads, but no commission-on-sale later).
There is no such thing as one method is better than the other – it depends on your character (you prefer to stay quiet and wait for the result of other people’s actions or better be in a driver’s seat?), and your initial marketing budget (low expenses to prepare your marketing materials for the foreign realtors only or higher expenses for advertising the property on the foreign media platforms on your own?)
More often than not, property sellers prefer to work through the foreign realtors, thus we will proceed with this option for now. (On the other hand, if you are willing to follow the active advertising route, please email me through CONTACT on the left menu of this site and I will send you more info on how to sell internationally by directly advertising your property for sale to the foreign buyers.)
3. Choose the foreign realtors to cooperate in your property sale. To do this step right, you have to be ready: find out how realtors work in the country where you are going to search for buyers with those realtors' help, decide on a translator who will help you communicate with the realtors and later potential buyers, also you will need the translator’s service with preparing your marketing materials.
The translator must be knowledgeable not only in the foreign language, but also in cultural differences of your target foreign buyers, their business etiquette and be able to consult you accordingly.
4. Build trust with the foreign realtors who accepted your offer of cooperation – it's the foundation of your future success in sales, and at the same time probably the most difficult task of all on your way to sell real estate internationally.
It includes many things like the following: knowing what to expect from the foreign realtors and what they expect from you, being honest and open with them, taking care of their needs by preparing high quality marketing materials for their use, etc. Also keep in mind that realtors work for earning commissions at the end of the day.
As the result of your own research on how to sell internationally for your own property-for-sale described above, you might have come to a conclusion that Russians are among your target group of potential real estate buyers. Then I can help with your property marketing:
P.S. You may want to have a look at and order my E-Course: Sell to Foreign Buyers (Customized for Your Country and Property)
English - Russian Translator,
Associate member of ATA,
American Translators Association