The world has changed in many ways since the start of the pandemic, but one major change is a new interest in international real estate.
With remote work becoming the norm for many people in the United States, some who are ready for a fresh start are looking beyond the country’s borders for their next home.
Now that international travel has opened back up, this presents a unique opportunity for real estate agents who specialize in relocation to leverage the trend. Plus, real estate agents who are looking for a relevant specialization may want to consider relocation to broaden their skillset and pool of prospects.
New Top International Destinations for Prospective U.S. Buyers
According to a recent study shared in The New York Times this month, prospective homebuyers in the United States are seriously considering moves to North, South, and Central America more than ever before.
And, after an uncertain two years and a series of lockdowns, it’s unsurprising that these prospective homebuyers are showing the most interest in countries within those continents that are most associated with perks like great weather, tropical vacations, and some of the world’s best ski resorts.
The study, which was based on internet search terms over the last six years, revealed Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Belize, and the Virgin Islands topped the charts this year — each moving up a few places on the list since the study started back in 2015.
Close runners up were Panama, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras, all keeping in line with prospective buyers’ desire to “escape” the grind and slow things down.
International Home Buying Challenges
Despite their enthusiasm, it’s not as simple as prospective homebuyers from the U.S. searching foreign destinations, picking the perfect place, and packing their bags.
On top of existing restrictions on foreign homebuyers — like Mexico’s restrictions on buying coastline property or the general difficulty of obtaining a Mexican mortgage — other destinations like Canada have vowed to ban foreign buyers for two years in an effort to “cool rising prices” set off by the pandemic.
Regardless of impending bans and extra restrictions that may arise, other challenges for most prospective American buyers sometimes include making decisions sight unseen, not knowing much about the schools or communities in their chosen destination if they have kids, and generally needing some orientation.
This is where real estate agents who specialize in relocation can be useful, and why agents who do specialize in relocation may want to reach back out to prospects who were interested in an international move pre-pandemic now that global travel restrictions have mostly lifted.
To restart the conversation with leads or to bring in a fresh pool of prospects, relocation specialists may also consider sharing a monthly market report in their chosen foreign destinations to provide some insights on how and when is best to relocate, address any relevant restrictions, and offer helpful resources like relocation document checklists or FAQs.