There’s a dark secret lurking in the throats of the National Association of REALTORS® employees. I personally uncovered this closet skeleton on a reconnaissance mission in the Chicago Association of REALTORS®’ professional development wing.
I walked up to the desk and announced that I was reporting for duty to cover the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) class. Except here’s how I said it:
Meg White: Hi! I’m from REALTOR® Magazine, here for the “sips” class.
Patsy Smith Wyant: Oh great; we’re so glad to have you! Except it’s C-I-P-S.
Meg: Really? Not “sips”?
Patsy: Yep! It’s C. I. P. S. [flashing hugely welcoming, forgiving smile]
Meg: [blushing] Oh geez. I’ve never heard anyone at NAR pronounce it like that. I’m sorry.
Patsy: No problem! Happens all the time, really. David [Wyant, Patsy’s partner and the instructor for my class] always jokes, “It’s not a drink that you sip!” And, you know, people don’t talk about being a “gry” [GRI, Graduate, REALTOR® Institute] or a “cree” [CRE, Counselor of Real Estate].
Meg: Makes total sense, now that you mention it. But I imagine hearing “sips” all the time would have the same effect as it does when the rest of us down at 430 N. Michigan hear “real-it-or” or “nahr.”
Patsy: Haha, yeah. It is kind of like that!
So, as you can see, I started at the absolute bottom when it came to the knowledge required to become a certified international property specialist. With that baseline set, let me share a few other items I learned from the globetrotting Wyants during Global Real Estate: Transaction Tools. While some of these information nuggets won’t be a huge surprise to global experts out there, there were others that had the whole class in disbelief, saying, “Really?”
Q: Do you need a social security card to purchase property in the U.S? Continue reading »
Miami is known for its colorful vibrancy, but 23,000 vacant condos put a dark cloud over the south Florida market at its peak inventory in 2008. Do you know what happened? They’ve all sold — largely due to the purchasing power of international investors.
As foreign buyers’ interest in U.S. real estate continues to surge, REALTORS® are seizing this opportunity and arming themselves with education.
A window into this trend could be seen in Chicago this week as about 20 REALTOR® students, some who traveled from several states away, attended the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) course at the Chicago Association of REALTORS®. I had the pleasure of sitting in on the first day as instructor David Wyant of Wyant Realty and Across Borders School of Real Estate in Ormond Beach, Fla., covered local markets. CIPS is a real estate designation that has seen exponential growth, with more than 2,000 recipients and courses taught in 50 countries.
Why are foreign buyers eyeing the U.S. real estate market?
Is it because the value of the dollar has fallen? Yes, the lower dollar value equals deals for foreign buyers. But according to Wyant, that’s one reason among many.
“Investing in real estate is great for individuals and for sovereign nations,” Wyant explained. “Real estate has its ups and downs, but it’s never worth nothing. It’s tangible, it holds its value and it’s around for a long time.”
Of all the countries in the world, the U.S. is still leading the way in providing the most stable and secure real estate investment environment, above Germany, Canada, France, Australia and the UK. Why? The stability of the economy and laws the U.S. has protecting private property rights. “That means a lot if you’ve ever had anything taken away from you,” Wyant said.
The internet has helped quicken globalization. It’s led to the migration of jobs across borders, and as countries evolve and economies diversify or move from farming to industry, creative centers have emerged and trade has expanded. Sunsetting tariffs, 24-hour markets, ease of air travel, and countries specializing in specific industries and trades have all contributed to globalization.
Who’s buying in the U.S.? Continue reading »
By Wendy Cole, Managing Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
I just returned from ten days in Cuba. It was a personal trip that offered a fascinating glimpse into one of the country’s great conundrums: how to balance people’s desire for greater economic freedom without compromising the country’s deeply-held socialist principles. My visit, as part of a group, was enabled by the “people-to-people” license program restarted last fall by the Obama Administration. (Such visits to the island-nation are designed to foster meaningful cultural exchange between U.S. citizens and Cubans. They were initiated during the Clinton years and suspended while Bush was in the White House.)
I was particularly intrigued to see how Cuba’s new property law that allows citizens and permanent residents to buy and sell real estate was playing out. Ushered in with much fanfare in November, this market-oriented reform is a major shift from a half-century of socialist, state-run housing policies.
What’s evident wherever you go in the country (and we traveled to five cities): The housing stock is aging and badly decaying. The 50-year trade embargo with the United States and the loss of the Soviet safety net in 1991 mean Cubans must make do with what they have or can make, notwithstanding the contributions from the few countries they maintain economic ties with. (Plywood and light bulbs are sorely needed, for example.) Still, the beauty of the neo-gothic, colonial architecture still comes through in many places, along with the peeling paint and crumbling walls.
Our personable and knowledgeable guide, Mirelys Gonzalez, is a typical Cuban home owner. She lives with her husband and five-year-old daughter in a two-bedroom flat, constructed on top of the Havana home she grew up in. The extreme housing shortage means that multi-generational living arrangements are quite common. It also means that divorcing couples are more apt to erect a wall within the home they have shared and continue to occupy the same property long after the marriage has ended. The reason for all this togetherness is that no one can be assured of finding a new affordable place to live. Continue reading »
By Erica Christoffer, multimedia Web producer, REALTOR® Magazine
It was a truly a “small world after all” in Anaheim Thursday night. More than 300 representatives from 30 countries gathered for the International Welcome Reception during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo.
Annemieke Cronje of Annemieke Properties in Kmysha, Garden Root, South Africa, was one of nearly 100 South Africans in attendance. “We want to see what the rest of the world is doing, network, and form a community,” she said. “We want to learn how we can help each other in this economy.”
Sponsored by Century 21, the event highlighted ways NAR is expanding its global reach through several new initiatives. A new global site, www.REALTOR.com/International, launched on Nov. 3. Friday was also “Global Day” during the conference, framed with educational sessions on working with international clients. The nearly 1,200 international attendees were able to enjoy sessions via translation headsets in French, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese and Spanish.
Today, NAR is recognizing the 313 new Certified International Property Specialists awarded their designation this year. CIPS has grown to include nearly 2,500 designees and candidates worldwide.
“More than a quarter of REALTORS® had international clients this year and we are seeing more and more enter the global real estate field,” said NAR President Ron Phipps. “To help REALTORS® diversify their clientele, NAR has built a truly global neighborhood with over 80 bilateral agreements and affiliations with nearly 60 countries.”