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How to Market Your International Property

What do cooking, painting, decorating, outfit planning, and real estate marketing all have in common? They all are proof that the devil is in the details. 

While we could talk about the details of accessorizing outfits or line movement in art, we’ll stick to what we know best. Because while marketing an international property might seem the same as marketing a domestic one, you’re about to find out how the details make these two selling situations drastically different.

Detail #1: Vernacular is very important.

Thinking of buying a house and renting out bedsits? Do you need a letting agent or a barrister to do so?

While bedsits (single-occupancy rooms) and barristers (lawyers) are U.K. English words, it goes to show that language differs a lot — even across English-speaking countries. For this reason, it’s essential to know the lingo that your international buying audience uses and searches for.

Here are some tips to ensure your listing is linguistically accurate:

  • Measuring units: Convert to metric or imperial measurements when necessary (or consider using both if your buying audience is also international).
  • Use outside resources: Find websites with real estate glossaries specific to a region or talk to someone local who has great insight.
  • Keep it simple: Sometimes it still makes sense to list in English even if your buying audience doesn’t speak American English. If that’s the case, avoid lengthy and descriptive text — a text is considered difficult to read even when a person understands 98% of the words. When potential buyers can’t understand what you’re writing, they’re much more likely to give up on your listing.

Detail #2: Pictures are priceless.

Most of the time, international properties are not sold to locals but to buyers living outside of the region or country. When traveling takes hours or even days, you need knockout, professional photos that show buyers this property is worth the trip. 

With that in mind, honesty is crucial. If your property is further from the beach but your listing makes it seem closer, you’ll turn off potential buyers. Make sure photos accurately depict your property so that when potential buyers visit, they know what to expect.

Detail #3: Amp up amenities.

This Dubai condo certainly has some brag-worthy amenities.

This detail is definitely a real estate marketing tip that transcends borders. Everyone wants to know what your property has to offer! Is your house walking distance to downtown? Does it come with a pool? Are the views sensational? Is the bathroom newly remodeled with a to-die-for shower? Every property has its own unique benefits — use photos and your listing to make these benefits both enticing and clear.

You might want to downplay the less-than-stellar aspects of your property (HOA fees, anyone?) but being upfront is essential. If a potential buyer feels like something is sprung on them, they’ll most likely back out. Honesty is always the best policy.

Detail #4: Web presence is powerful.

While very rare, it is possible to get away with a newspaper ad or sign out front for a domestic real estate listing. However, we can’t emphasize enough that a web listing is virtually a necessity for marketing your property. This becomes even more true with international real estate marketing — you will likely never sell an international property without an online listing.

But this is where it gets tricky. Since sites like Zillow don’t list internationally, how can you get your overseas property out there? 

RealtyHive is the answer. We offer both marketing and international listings to get your property the attention it needs. And since we list international properties all the time, we have the marketing skills you’re looking for. Sell with RH today!

How to Buy International Real Estate

A beautiful Bahamian bungalow or a Spanish seaside condo? An apartment in Toronto or a modern house in Ecuador

Once you find the international property you want, you’ll know. But then what?

Countries Where Americans Can’t Buy Real Estate

Vietnam is the only country where you flat-out cannot buy a property. This is because all land is owned collectively — even native Vietnamese citizens cannot own property.

However, there are a few countries where, while not impossible, it’s pretty tricky for a US citizen to buy real estate overseas.

  • Greece: A bit easier if you’re part of the EU, not so much if you’re an American. The birthplace of Rome has tons of zoning restrictions due to its archaeological history. Mortgages in Greek are also notoriously hard to come by.
  • Thailand: The only way a foreigner can own land in Thailand is if they form a corporation — and that corporation requires 51% ownership from Thai nationals.
  • Mexico: Probably the least tricky of the four, but purchased land must be in an unrestricted zone.

Best Countries for Buying International Real Estate

There are a lot, but Belize is pretty popular for US citizens. It’s a gorgeous country with phenomenal beaches and marine life, it’s not too far from the states (less than 2½ hours flying from Houston, direct!), and it’s an English-speaking country.

Paying for International Real Estate

Nearly always, you’ll need enough money to buy the property outright (or enough to almost buy it outright). Financing is typically challenging or met with insanely high interest rates.

What to Look for in a Foreign Property

Just like buying in the US, you want a property that’s in good condition and in a solid location (or at least, a location that meets your needs). 

However, you also want to make sure you’re buying a freehold property (a property that you own entirely and that you have rights to use as you please, as long as it’s in accordance with the law).

Buying a freehold property isn’t always possible, and that doesn’t have to spell impending doom. Just know what you’re getting into and understand the limits in place for a property that’s not freehold.

Who to Hire When Buying Foreign Property

Here’s who to assemble when buying property overseas:

  • Local lawyer: Someone local to the area where you’re buying.
  • US accountant: Someone who specifically has experience in international real estate (if they have experience with your country of preference, even better).
  • Local real estate agent: Use RealtyHive to find an agent — we can find an experienced agent in practically any location.

What to Use Foreign Property for

Most often, people use foreign properties for vacation or rental purposes. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t relocate to a new destination — we applaud your adventurous spirit!

Some people even purchase land abroad solely for protective purposes. If buying near a coral reef or forest, you could speak to the local authorities about conservation efforts. Whenever we have the means to help the environment, we should do what we can.

Beginning to look for international real estate? Check our overseas listings! Ready to make a purchase? Let us help you find an agent! Get started on buying property overseas today with RealtyHive.

International Vacation Homeownership Options

Want to own an international vacation property? Better question: who doesn’t?! The great thing about vacation properties is that they not only provide you a home base for traveling, but that you can even rent them out and make money. See the options for owning a beautiful bungalow in Belize or a quaint cottage in Canada—and benefit in the process.

RealQuick: Types of Vacation Homes

“Timeshare” is usually the word that pops into people’s heads when thinking about vacation homes, but there are plenty of other options. 

Cabins, beach houses, apartments, condos, and even hotel suites at resorts all are vacation homes. Virtually any type of property can be turned into a vacation home! And what’s more, these vacation home options are different than timeshares because you get to make the rules.

What to Do With Your Vacation Home

There are three main ways that you can use your vacation home: keep it just for yourself, rent it out yourself (such as through Airbnb or VRBO), or hire a third party to manage and rent it.

Keep It for Yourself

A lot of people get a vacation home (such as a cabin or lake house) and keep it as a standalone. They only use the property for their vacation purposes, or perhaps allow family and friends to use it as well.

The Benefits:

  • Have a place to escape to.
  • Avoid paying for or finding accommodations while traveling.
  • It’s a financial asset.
  • The memories of spending repeated time in a vacation spot are priceless!

The Drawbacks:

By keeping it for yourself, the vacation property is only being used when you’re there. As is true with any property, it’s a significant investment. Some people also feel like they can’t travel elsewhere—they feel like they have to get their money’s worth. Not to mention, if you think owning one home is a lot of work, imagine owning two.

Rent It Out Yourself

Turning your vacation home into a vacation rental undoubtedly opens the door for additional revenue. With renting it out yourself, you are responsible for finding renters and managing the property.

The Benefits:

  • All the benefits of owning a vacation home, plus… 
  • Generates income off of a rental property.
  • Pays off the purchase over time.

The Drawbacks:

It’s a lot of work to rent out your place by yourself—many consider it a full-time job. It’s more convenient if you live near your vacation rental property, but nearly impossible if you don’t. You’ll have to do a solid job marketing it to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. 

It should be added that if you don’t feel comfortable with others staying in your vacation home, this is not the option for you and that’s OK. Adding tons of stress for the sake of money won’t be worth it.

Rent It Through a Management Company

beautiful patio

Hiring a third party to manage and rent out your vacation rental eliminates a lot of hassle. With this option, a property management company takes over renting processes and also provides cleaning.

The Benefits:

  • All the benefits of owning and renting out a vacation home, plus…
  • Saves tons of time on cleaning and renting it out.
  • Makes it possible to own an investment property without having to live nearby.

The Drawbacks:

You’ll pay a fee for these services—it depends on location but some averages estimate 8-12% of the monthly value. Many who use management companies find it harder to use their vacation home themselves—at that point, they’re paying a fee and want the difference to be covered with extra renters.

Everyone has an option that works for them when it comes to owning a vacation property. But before you plan on laying poolside or start dreaming about what that added income will do for your finances, you need a vacation home! Look through RealtyHive to find your perfect property abroad.

International Property Marketing Options

Whether it’s a 5-bedroom condo in the Bahamas or acres of land in Panama, investing in international real estate certainly has its benefits. Access to beaches or mountains, indescribable cuisine and culture, what’s not to love? 

While owning an international property is great, things can get complicated when it’s time to sell. RealtyHive explores your international property marketing options to make selling easier.

Local Marketing

house for sale sold right price

What it Entails: Advertising in a local newspaper, putting up a “For Sale” sign, word of mouth.

Local marketing isn’t the go-to marketing strategy for US properties, and this is all the more true for international luxury real estate. The market you’re likely trying to target will be big spenders who have the means to afford such a property. In many countries where the cost of living is substantially lower, local marketing will not attract a buying audience and your property won’t sell.

Online Marketing

Online marketing can be broken down into two sections: real estate databases and self-marketing.

Self-Marketing

What it Entails: Using social media (such as Facebook, Facebook Marketplace), building your own website.

Screenshot of Facebook Marketplace, showing homes for sale

While self-marketing isn’t the best and most efficient solution, it at least reaches a wider audience than local marketing. However, you’re usually only reaching people that you already know or who are in your area. If building your own site, it will require tons of marketing, SEO, and paid ads to help it rank to the point of being successful. This can take months or longer to get the international real estate traction you’re looking for.

Real Estate Databases

What it Entails: Listing your property with a site like Zillow or Trulia.

Screenshot of Trulia, a real estate database's website

These databases are popular for many FSBO home sellers, but they do not sell internationally. The IMLS is a site that works with international real estate, but as of 2019, it’s not a secure site; it tries to piggyback off of safer, domestic MLS sites. In the era of constant data breaches and threats to privacy, you don’t want to risk your online security when trying to sell.

RealtyHive: An International Real Estate Solution

Banner with white man standing in front of house with text "Buy. Sell. RealtyHive."

Where other online real estate databases fail to reach the international market, RealtyHive checks all the boxes. Here’s what you can expect when marketing with our international real estate site:

  • Exposure: We’ll cast a wide net to improve your selling opportunities.
  • Security: You won’t be transferred to some third-party site that could threaten your privacy.
  • Experience: We specialize in international properties more than any other online database.
  • Marketing: We provide the online marketing your property needs—you won’t have to lift a finger.
  • Pay-for-Success Model: Work with us and there’s no sale? You pay nothing!

Set your international property up for success with RealtyHive. Contact our global real estate company to get started!