An International Marketplace – Is the Triangle Real Estate Community Ready?

With each passing year the composition of companies and the business they transact in Research Triangle Park becomes increasingly global. This globalization brings a continual influx of people from nations around the world to the area not only to work but to live and to raise families. With this rapid growth of international cultures in the area, suddenly there are people with seemingly endless investment capital from many different countries. Not only are they buying homes in which to live, but they are also seeking real estate opportunities for investment purposes. Are Triangle REALTORS knowledgeable enough in international real estate to fully and competently assist these investors? Are our agents aware of the differences in U.S. tax laws and IRS statutes when applied to foreign non-residents and their ownership of U.S. real estate? A word of caution is in order for both the international client and the professional REALTOR. International real estate is a very different and complex business with potential financial pitfalls when practiced by those unfamiliar with the laws that affect these purchases.

RTP has been a catalyst for international growth to North Carolina for many years. There are nearly 100 companies in the Triangle which have international corporate headquarters or offices located on foreign soil. It is truly a World Trade Zone. Raleigh was recognized recently as “one of the top ten most international cities” in the U.S. with over 87 foreign languages being spoken in the area. In addition to the Triangle’s draw, the nine-county area that comprises the bulk of the local real estate marketplace contains one of the fastest growing Hispanic populations in the country. This blending of people and cultures creates a common ground as resources are exchanged and opportunities are created for local industries not the least of which is the real estate industry. With few exceptions, every REALTOR in the area has either sold property to a foreign client or had a property listing that was sold by another REALTOR to a foreign client. The international growth and diversity of cultures are a large part of the mix, along with educational resources, economic health, cost of living, and moderate climate that continually keep the Triangle as one of the nation’s “Top Ten Places to Live.”

One of the many responsibilities of a REALTOR as a professional is to be informed. Their job is one of sharing knowledge and information with consumers and the general public. They must be authorities on schools, churches, malls, day care, assisted living, new construction, old construction, mold, mildew, radon, asbestos, well water, sewer systems, transportation issues, and a plethora of other disclosure items. Why would it not hold true that a REALTOR should be an authority on an international real estate transaction and the nuances of U.S. tax laws when applied to foreign clients? To enjoy the financial benefits and rewards of the local international market, REALTORS must educate themselves in this arena because it is becoming a large and viable segment of the Triangle market. Fortunately for the local real estate community many resources are available through both NAR and the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors.

More than eight years ago the Board of Directors of the RRAR with insight and progressive thinking created an ad hoc Committee to explore the creation of an International Council of REALTORS. Since then, that Council has come into being and has grown to over 45 active members. The Triangle International Council of Realtors or TICOR serves as a resource for not only REALTORS but the public as well, bringing together the cultures of the Triangle by offering educational opportunities through printed materials, seminars and classes. They strive not only to educate themselves but also to include others who share their interest. Their varied activities include participation in Raleigh’s International Festival, other cultural festivals, and bimonthly luncheons hosting presentations by international attorneys, mortgage lenders, State Government representatives and various Chambers of Commerce.

With NAR approval, the TICOR group has hosted CIPS classes on four different occasions with participants from as far away as Northern Virginia and the state of Washington. Another CIPS course is scheduled for this October and is being sponsored by TICOR at the RRAR Board office. CIPS is a designation from NAR which means Certified International Property Specialist. It is achieved through class work and testing in five different courses of materials and subjects related to finance, international real estate, globalization, and five subjective regions of the world. Due to the efforts of the RRAR Triangle International Council of REALTORS there are more CIPS designees locally than in any other board in the state of North Carolina.

REALTORS in Research Triangle Park are most fortunate to live and work in such an exciting and lucrative marketplace. To have such nationally high rankings as one of the “Top Ten Cities” in so many categories and the recognition as such an international center of activity is a privilege. With privilege comes responsibility. REALTORS of the Triangle community must not only recognize the need to be informed and educated regarding the intricacies of the international market and it’s clients, but act on that need by using available resources to gain the necessary education to perform professionally.

For information about the Triangle International Council of REALTORS we welcome you to visit our website located at www.triangleinternationalcouncil.com or contact RRAR, the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors at 919-654-5400.