Global buyers spent an estimated $104 billion in U.S. real estate from April 2014 to March 2015. And while foreign demand for U.S. properties may end up being weaker in 2016, it’s still a niche worth exploring in many markets.
When working with international clients, it’s important to recognize the cultural differences and also to be aware of various cultural faux pas that could end up costing you the deal. According to NAR’s Global View blog, the first step in navigating this niche is understanding the difference between high context and low context cultures.
High context cultures: The key to working with this segment of buyers is having patience. Clients from countries like Japan, China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Italy, and Spain want to build trust with you before getting into the heavy business talk. These cultures value personal relationships, expect a high-level of respect for cultural and religious norms, and take into account things like body language and how things are said.
Global View’s advice:“Wait for them to bring up the issues such as financing, budgets, the location of their money. Do your research and learn their cultural norms. Is it okay to shake their hand? How do you hand them a business card? Believe it or not, these are things that can make or break a deal.”
Low context cultures: These are the cultures that want business and real estate deals to be efficient and detailed. Buyers from the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, Denmark, and Norway want all of the facts laid-out from the get-go.
Global View’s advice: “People from low context cultures follow the rules, standards and details of a contract strictly. This relationship tends to focus more on what is said rather than how it is said.”
Source: “Recognizing High and Low Context Cultures,” The Global View Blog (April 1, 2016).