Nubricks, the overseas property blog, posts on a report published by Datamonitor which states that British and Irish investors currently own 3.81 million properties overseas.
Apparently this is an increasing number with more and more Britons looking to emigrate. Figures quoted expect the market to double in value between now and 2012. The report also claims the overseas property sector was worth £44.4 billion in 2006,
It is said that Britons are choosing to emigrate overseas on the back of high numbers of foreign migrant workers entering the UK, a yob culture, greater opportunity to further their careers internationally and the desire of many to seek a better standard of living overseas,
Given this appears to be one area with growth potential it is no wonder some of the shrewder agents are looking to see how they can maximise their overseas property exposure. Indeed, the money is good and in this present climate, very tempting.
So what to do? Andrea Kirkby writes in the EAT this month about adding an overseas element to an agent's business. She warns against the complexities of individual international markets and rightly sets out the benefits of joining a network such as the Overseas Homes Network or MoveWithUs.
Networks are certainly the future for estate agents, but one area the article overlooks is the online potential in dealing with such a market and growing the online network. Indeed, I was very, very surprised that the first agent I looked at on the Overseas Home network page did not have the online overseas property search within their website. Indeed, if I want to find out about overseas properties I have to email them or call them. So as a punter I won't ever find an overseas property on their website even though they subscribe to a network providing an abundance of overseas properties!! Result - Lost punter!!
Pursuing your online options is also far less risky than forging links with agents abroad and trying to approach any new relationship/business on a traditional 'high street agent' business model. Furthermore, developing links with networks are only any good if they are going to help you with your online marketing strategies.
There are other options to obtain white label sites from overseas property companies and offer your customers properties throughout the world. There will also be opportunities to broker deals with large online property sellers in other countries. Ask if you can feed their properties through your website with any enquiring leading to a sale generating a commission. You can control the level of involvement.
Entering into a relationship with a larger player may bring in a little less in commission, but it still brings in a commission nonetheless. Moreover it increases traffic to your website and thus your business. Let's face it if I am buying a property in Bulgaria I am going to search the Internet first. If my local agent pops up in a search result with an abundance of properties and what looks like a good relationship with the country in question, I am going to be impressed.
Your customer has left the building and the high street and is searching online. They are also looking for overseas properties.