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The Importance of Being International

Not long after Michael Saunders & Company celebrated its 30th birthday in 2006, our founder’s many years of forging strategic international partnerships began to pay important new dividends to many of our sellers.

History will note that by March 2007—with 13,477 properties for sale in Sarasota County alone—our painful, four-year-long market contraction was just getting started.  Lackluster sales from the month before created a 25-month supply of available properties, based on closed transactions; and a 23-month supply, based on pending transactions.

As challenging as the market was, there’s little doubt why so many foreign buyers chose to step up and buy.  Their economies were booming (still), their currencies were increasingly potent against the dollar; and ours was arguably becoming the best buyers’ market in history.  Moreover the U.S.—and particularly Florida—has long been viewed as one of the safest and most desirable havens on earth to own properties.

As these transactions increased, if your goal as a seller was to reach as many of these international buyers as possible, you did the right thing by listing your property with Michael Saunders & Company.  Exactly four years later, nothing’s changed.

Our on-going partnerships with the world’s leading referral networks is why international buyers discover properties in Southwest Florida more often through Michael Saunders & Company than any other local independent, franchise or chain.  These brokerage partners—who operate 6,000 offices with 200,000 agents in 52 countries—include Christie’s International Real Estate, Luxury Portfolio International, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, Mayfair International Realty and the European Real Estate Network.   Plus, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio International refer countless buyers to Florida from thousands of its member offices throughout the U.S.

Another reason your home is seen more often by buyers outside the U.S. is our unequaled Web presence; which enables it to be previewed instantly by Internet browsers from Des Moines to Dubai.  In addition, our longstanding commitment to technology assures that michaelsaunders.com rises to the top of virtually every search engine query involving real estate in Southwest Florida.

Now, as our market’s recovery quickens, the number of properties for sale has been cut in half—to 6,286—with 6.7 months of available properties based on closed sales; and 4.5 months based on pending sales.  (Source:  Trendgraphix, March 2011)  With prices this low amid the nation’s economic recovery, domestic buyers from all over are back with a vengeance.  Meanwhile international buyers still accounted for 22% of Florida’s existing home sales in 2010.  Approximately 13% of these took place in Southwest Florida, with buyers from Canada, the U.K. and Western Europe accounting for most. (Source: Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida; National Association of REALTORS® 2010)

Our affiliation with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World provides extensive coverage in key Canadian feeder markets, while extending reach to buyers across the U.S. and around the world.  Mayfair International Realty guarantees pinpoint coverage of the U.K.; while the European Real Estate Network (EREN) reaches buyers throughout Western Europe. Exclusive alliances with Christie’s International Real Estate and Luxury Portfolio International provide extensive global coverage for high-value properties priced above $1 million.

While many of our agents’ high-value transactions have involved international buyers, most international transactions in the state of Florida were in line with the typical price range identified in NAR’s Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida—from $160,000 to $240,000.  It’s pure myth that international buyers routinely spend more than domestic buyers.

As important as international buyers have been to our market over the past four years, chances are now 5-to-1—and growing—that a domestic buyer will ultimately purchase your property.  Therefore, listing it with an agent from Michael Saunders & Company maximizes your home’s visibility to both potential sets of buyers.  It’s a fact.  Over the past four years, Michael Saunders & Company brought buyers to more dollar volume sales than its next two competitors combined.  (Source: Trendgraphix; March 2011)

Under these circumstances, we’re fairly confident our sellers don’t mind where the buyers are coming from.

  • User Gravatar Sheila Meeks
    April 14th, 2011

    Just wanted to say that I thought this was an excellent article.

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