Realtor.com goes global
In the last 90 days, roughly 2.6 million international visitors searched for U.S. real estate on Realtor.com with the highest concentrations in Canada, the UK, Germany, Australia and India. Janet Branton, Senior Vice President of Global Business and Alliances at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says that most NAR members are unaware of the large number of visitors to Realtor.com from other countries, and the NAR 2011 Profile of International Home Buying Activity says that international buyers spent $82 billion on American real estate last year, split evenly between non-resident foreigners and recent immigrants.
For these reasons, Realtor.com/International has launched to serve the global real estate search needs, starting with Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Spain. Announced a year ago, the site is finally live and being promoted by NAR as well as Realtor.com.
Features and design
The look of the website is quite different from Realtor.com, especially with regards to the chosen colors. Realtor.com told AGBeat that the departure from Realtor.com is on purpose so that visitors do not confuse the sites because U.S. listings are found on both sites. The new site is built using HTML5 which is a coding language that makes a site compatible across devices and browsers so it will work equally well on an a brand new iPad as an old PC using Internet Explorer.
The first iteration of the site is very streamlined and simple and has several unique features. When a user tells the site what country they want to search and indicates which of the 20 currencies and 11 languages they want, it follows them throughout the site and remembers their preferences in between visits so that they don’t have to start from scratch. Once they’ve set these preferences, search shows U.S. dollars and underneath reveals the amount in the currency the user has indicated which is converted automatically based on current conversion rates. The site uses predictive text alongside drop down menus and they have reduced the number of clicks so that users can quickly access listings.
Where the listings come from
Errol Samuelson, President of Realtor.com told AGBeat that there are three primary sources of data syndicating to the international site. First is through NAR bi-lateral partners in countries abroad, each of which have signed separate operating and licensing agreements with Realtor.com. Second is local brokers (frequently partners of U.S. franchises) and lastly, data also comes from international portals.
NAR & Realtor.com weigh in
“Increasingly, more and more Realtors are working with international clients who want to buy property in the U.S. and the new Realtor.com International web site will not only allow Realtors to offer their expertise and knowledge to a broader audience, but will also bring buyers and sellers together across the globe,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty. “Foreign buyers understand the value of owning a home in the U.S. and can rely on a Realtor because of their global perspective and understanding of different cultures and real estate practices. This collaboration with Move is just one of many ways Realtors can expand and grow their business globally.”
“The U.S. continues to be a top destination for international buyers from all over the world, and Realtor.com remains a natural choice for international buyers because we offer the largest, freshest and most accurate collection of property listings available online,” Samuelson said in a statement. “In recent years, foreign buyers have increasingly become interested in owning real estate in the United States. Like millions of U.S. consumers, they trust the Realtor.com brand to help them connect with Realtors and find the property that’s right for their needs. Opening up the world of real estate on Realtor.com to include an international search experience is a natural evolution of our offerings at Move. We’re very excited to help hundreds of thousands of Realtors grow their businesses beyond U.S. borders as they connect with international buyers.”