International buyers have always had a soft spot in their heart for Florida; particularly it’s fabulously cultured West Coast. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear a foreign language—or heavily-accented English—being spoken in close proximity to wherever we happen to be. For this reason, we have gone to great lengths at Michael Saunders & Company to court the international buyer throughout our 35 years of service to the region. We never take lightly the fact that a buyer from England, Canada or the European continent may be just as inclined to buy one of our sellers’ properties as someone from Michigan, Indiana or New Jersey.
Right now in particular, international interest in owning properties here has never been more intense. Maybe it’s our bottoming home prices, the lowest in ten years. Maybe it’s our current mortgage lending rates, the lowest in 50 years. Maybe it’s the fact that the financial turmoil sweeping through the European continent reminds its citizens yet again that America—in spite of its economic ups and downs—is still the safest haven on earth to invest money. Then again, maybe it’s the weather.
Whatever their reason for coming to Southwest Florida, we have long cultivated formalized brokerage affiliations in countries throughout the world whose citizens display a particular fondness for wanting to be here. These exclusive affiliations include such internationally renowned real estate networks as Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, Luxury Portfolio, Christie’s Great Estates, Mayfair International Realty and the European Real Estate Network (or EREN); which are made that much more powerful through Michael Saunders’ active involvement in many of their governing bodies. The end result is a steady stream of customers being constantly referred to Michael Saunders & Company because our network partners can be confident they will receive the individualized service and special attention they need.
For international buyers eager to purchase Florida properties while prices are still at or near the bottom, one of the most important time and money-saving services we can offer is the ability to maximize the amount of U.S. dollars they receive in exchange for their countries’ currencies. Present-day volatility in currency exchange rates makes it even trickier as Europe’s on-going financial crisis continues to roil world markets; causing, among other things, dramatic fluctuations between its mainstay currency—the euro—and the dollar. Last week, for example, the euro fell sharply against the dollar; dropping to $1.2405—a four year low. Needless-to-say, it has never been more important for foreign nationals intent on purchasing properties here to work closely with a leader in currency exchange.
In view of this very special need, Michael Saunders & Company has long enjoyed a partnership with Moneycorp, Inc., the U.K.’s largest non-bank provider of foreign currency exchange services. Moneycorp offers our international customers still another way to save money on a property transaction in today’s market; by offering them the ability to obtain the most competitive exchange rates.
In addition, Moneycorp protects our international clients and customers against wild or unexpected rate fluctuations by helping them to lock into the best possible exchange rate at the best possible time. Moneycorp also facilitates same day money transfers to Florida; which can be a lifesaver for buyers suddenly subject to a fast closing.
With home prices so drastically reduced throughout Southwest Florida—often by more than half versus just five years ago—even if a European buyer purchases a property using the least beneficial exchange rate, he or she will still come out on the winning end of a great housing opportunity. But Moneycorp makes sure that each client does more than just settle on today’s exchange rate. It works to strategically maximize the amount of dollars received in every currency transaction.
Meanwhile, a much more cheerful scenario exists for Canadians wanting to buy properties here. Although the withering effects of the Great Recession have been generally felt worldwide, Canada’s well-regulated financial markets managed to hold their own and continued to experience impressive economic growth throughout 2009. Consequently, Canadians still have plenty of money to spend; and with home prices plummeting and cash being king, it’s easy to see why Florida looks so attractive. Moreover, the Canadian dollar has achieved parity with the U.S. dollar for the first time since July 2008.
It’s no coincidence. If you compare Canada’s robust purchasing power with Southwest Florida’s bottoming home prices you’ll quickly figure out why Canadian travel to the Sunshine State increased by over 10% in the final quarter of 2009. They’re coming here to do more than thaw out. They’re helping themselves to unprecedented buying opportunities made even better by their strong currency.
Unless they are French-speaking Canadians, language is never an issue once they make contact with Michael Saunders & Company. However, should fluency in a customer’s native tongue be required, our agents share a combined mastery of all of the world’s major languages and dialects.
In the end, of course, it’s all about customer service. It’s about anticipating international demand for properties in Southwest Florida, knowing exactly where the demand is coming from; and serving the special needs of the international customer once contact has been established. Whether they are referred to Michael Saunders & Company through one of our international brokerage affiliates, find us on michaelsaunders.com—which is clicked through by buyers in every state and 193 countries worldwide—or find us through any one of hundreds of allied internet portals, the expectation of superior service never goes unfulfilled.