By Tony Harrington, ABR, AHWD, ALHS, CIPS
When I think back to my first experiences with the terms “global” and international,” I think back to a quote from the famous Yogi Berra, “You couldn’t know what you didn’t know, but now you know.” This is true for my first experiences with the terms “global” and “international.”
In 2016 alone, NAR found that more than $153 billion of international money flowed into the U.S. for residential purchase. In North Carolina, there are great opportunities to attract a piece of this investment. NC REALTORS® is now working to grow programs to help REALTORS® with this effort, and I am proud to be a part of the vision.
Two years ago, I was excited to be asked by 2016 NC REALTORS® President Kim Dawson to be on the newly formed NC REALTORS® Economic Development Committee. This group included business leaders from across the state with various levels of expertise and experience. As the committee evolved, we realized quickly that there was a need for additional education for brokers across the state. Connecting commercial and residential agents with economic development partnerships, local and state government agencies, as well as federal organizations, was needed to create a “network” of communication to effectively draw global business and transactions to our state.
During a meeting of the Committee during NC REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in June 2017, NC REALTORS® CEO Andrea Bushnell spoke to the group about the need for creating a “global” program. Internally, I thought this was a great idea, and then she looked at me and said, “Tony, would you chair this initiative?” You have all been there. You smile and say, Why of course, while inside you are saying, WHAT? What is global? Where do I even begin?
As the broker/owner of a firm who was comfortable in my area of the state, I did not really branch out of my comfort zone. Unfortunately, this is the case for most brokers. They do not participate much in their local or state organizations – not to mention with their local politicians and chambers. Most just sell real estate, and that is good enough for them. I was fortunate to have a mentor pull me out of that zone and show me that there is a much bigger picture! Due to that guidance, I knew I had to dive in headfirst.
The leadership at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and Isabel Villa-Garcia at NC REALTORS® were my first connections to develop a plan to lay the groundwork for our program. Quickly, I knew that if I was to understand and promote such a program, I needed to live by experience. I signed up to take NAR courses to better understand what was being offered. The first course I took was “At Home with Diversity,” an NAR certification program designed to present a picture of the changing face of the real estate industry. The curriculum encompasses topics of diversity, inclusion, fair housing, and risk reduction.
Through this course, I realized global brokers who conduct international transactions need further education and experience through in-depth training tools and knowledge. The pinnacle of this education is the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) program offered by NAR Global Programs. After taking the five-day course in Annapolis, Md., I changed my business model.
I originally attended with the intention of observing the program and realized quickly the benefit of putting the knowledge to use. This course was dynamic, covering everything from transactions to global cultures, currencies, money transfers, and so much more. The CIPS instructor was well versed and had strong knowledge of international processes with relatable stories and examples. With the coursework completed, I submitted my application for the designation. Once accepted, CIPS designees instantly join a tight-knit network of over 2,800 international property professionals around the world. These referral partners can help you do business in over 50 countries.
Know your market, find out what attracts people to your region, educate yourself, find a mentor and go global! Needless to say, I have gone from thinking “local” to “global.”
I now know what I didn’t know.
Stay tuned for exciting announcements in the coming year, as we roll out the program, NC REALTORS® Global Network, online and around the state.
Tony Harrington is the Broker/Owner & Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser with The Property Shop of the Carolinas in Wilmington, N.C
Tony holds the designations of ABR, AHWD, ALHS, CIPS