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What are we doing here? Why does this exist?

The problem we wanted to solve started as a specific task: Organize properties for sale and trusted agents in international markets so US and UK consumers had a central place to find them.

That was a good start, and our efforts are a bit more broad today. Visitors on our website have come from more than 160 countries (so far).

There are dozens of property search portals out there, but none of them are focused specifically on expats (short for “expatriate” — a person who is living in a country other than their home country), and most of them don’t touch more than one country.

Enter the remote work movement.

Even before the COVID pandemic that began in 2020, we noticed some big changes on the horizon for the future of work. When people start working remotely, their priorities change. Many of them decide they want to move to a new city or embark upon some extended travel to take advantage of their new freedom.

Think about it. If all you need is a laptop and some wifi to do your job, why not do your work from the beach? Or the mountains? Or a different country halfway around the world?

To add fuel to the fire, it is next to impossible to buy a house in many of the top markets in the US right now unless you are willing to grossly overpay. Potential buyers in the US are simply fatigued, and they are tired of competing with everyone else writing offers on houses. Especially when those houses end up selling in 24 hours to cash buyers who waive contingencies, and for MUCH more than the list price.

Some of those buyers are getting a little creative and buying properties outside the US. Those are our people.

Our target market is the group of expats who are interested in planting roots in one place, not the “digital nomad” crowd (hence the lack of rental listings on our site). There are expat hotspots scattered about the world and that’s where we started to work with clients to help them find suitable properties to buy.

As it turns out, US jobs pay very well compared to jobs in most of the rest of the world, and US dollars travel well (for now). Because of that, buying property in many foreign markets is a much easier financial task than it is in most of the US.

The cost of a down payment on a typical house in the US is enough to buy an entire home for cash in all sorts of amazing places in the world. That’s good math as far as we’re concerned.

And then…

Once we started talking to people familiar with real estate in various countries, we discovered a large community of investors. There are real estate investors in every market, but this community is unique because of their international focus. These investors are specifically looking for investment opportunities in developing markets.

Enter our second area of focus.

We help people who want to diversify their investments into international markets.

All the responsible mutual funds and pension plans diversify with international holdings, so why not make it easy for people do the same thing in real estate?

What makes you different from all the other real estate websites in the world?

The world doesn’t need another website with feeds of all the property listings available for sale. There are plenty of those and they all look pretty much the same.

This is why we only have a small number of agents posting properties in every market we service. They have a good handle on the local inventory and can work with you to find what you need, even if it isn’t publicly listed.

All of them speak English (at least at a passable level) and understand they will be banned from our platform if we hear about any shenanigans. They are all agreeable to that.

We are focused on fewer clients, and high-touch service.

You know, like Jerry Maguire (except nobody here had to kamikaze their sports agent career to build this thing).

So we thought that perhaps it’s time for something a little different in the international property world. And here we are.

How does this work?

In every market in the US, you can do a simple Google search (or Bing for you weirdos out there) and find a dozen different versions of the same property information in slightly different website and app formats. Every property listed for sale will be there and you can sort by price, size, location, etc. You’ll find what you need, but the experience will be pretty much the same regardless of which tool you use to search.

The only BIG variable with the home search experience is the agent on the other end of your communications. That is a huge differentiator and can make or break your buying or selling experience. More on that later.

When you explore real estate markets outside the US and Canada, you’ll find a different set of challenges.

First, the MLS doesn’t exist anywhere else like it does in North America, so you have to go to every company that works an area and see their listings if you want to see all the listings for sale. It’s inefficient and a bit of a hassle to register on a dozen different websites to see what’s available in a certain market.

The MLS enables cooperation among all the agents in a given market, so any agent representing you as a buyer can show you ALL of the properties for sale. The MLS governs the agreements between agents and guarantees that the agent representing you as a buyer will get paid from the listing agent if you decide to buy that property.

That might not mean much to you unless you’ve ever tried to navigate a real estate market WITHOUT buyer representation.

When you take away the component of cooperation between agents, you are forced into a situation where every agent you meet is trying to convince you to buy something THEY have listed, which may or may not (usually not) fit your needs.

Sadly, this is one of the main reasons real estate agents have less-than-stellar reputations in many places around the world. They are legally obligated to represent the best interests of their seller clients, and they have no contractual relationship with YOU, the buyer. As you can imagine, this opens the door to a slew of potential problems.

(Fun fact: Buyer agency did not exist on a large scale in the US until the 1990s, so the US wasn’t all that different from the rest of the world until then.)

I need help buying a property overseas. What should I do first?

Find a trusted agent to help you, of course!

Finding agents who can be trusted is no small task, especially when you leave your home country. There are no licensing requirements for agents in most countries, nor is there any oversight of agent ethics or behavior. That means any person off the street can print some business cards that says they’re a real estate agent and BAM! They’re a real estate agent.

If you are looking for an agent in an area where you don’t see any properties listed, please contact us. We probably know some good people in that market and we’d be happy to make recommendations.

Who are the agents on this website? Can they be trusted?

Believe it or not, finding agents you can trust in far away places is a big challenge. This is especially true in markets where there is no licensing or regulation of real estate professionals.

Our relationship is strong with some of the agents listing properties on this site. With others, we don’t know them and they have simply paid for advertising spots. There are also some homeowners who are listing here without the help of agents.

Like any financial transaction, we encourage you to do your research and consult legal and tax professionals before committing to anything. We cannot be held responsible for the misdeeds of anyone you met through our website, but we are always happy to answer questions or provide guidance whenever you need it. You can ask us questions for free.

There aren’t any properties listed in the US. Why is that?

We are focused on people who are moving out of the US, not into the US. That may change with time, but the “property search problem” seems to be solved in the US by a number of large, publicly-traded companies. We see no need duplicate the things they have already created.

However, we DO have relationships with brokers we trust all over the US and we’d be happy to make a recommendation if you have a specific request. You can contact us about that here or email [email protected]

My search for (name a city) didn’t show any results. Why is that?

There are a few reasons that could happen. Have you checked our global property map, to see if that makes a difference?

If you don’t see anything on the global property map, don’t fret. The most common reason is that we haven’t had a specific request from a consumer or an agent in that market yet. Other possibilities are that we haven’t found any agents we like and trust there, properties in that market sell very fast, or we haven’t tried to find any agents there at all.

If you would like help finding a property in a market that doesn’t show in our search, please see this page.

Where are you based?

This seems like a weird question considering that nothing we do requires a physical location, but this question shows up on the regular anyway.

The formal answer: Different parts of our business are incorporated in different places. The informal answer: Wherever the team is sitting that day (we are 100% remote and plan to stay that way).

What does this cost?

We charge a flat fee for posting property listings. We do not charge any commission if a property sells to someone you meet through our website as we do not work as brokers or agents. We are focused on advertising and promotion of the properties on our website.

We can charge a low rate (for now) because our overhead is low. As an advertising platform, we want to make it easy for people to post their properties here.

Where are inquiries about my property sent?

Any inquiries are sent to the email address you provide when you register. You can change that email address anytime you wish through your profile page. We do not see the inquiries that are sent to you. Some agents prefer to post their phone number/WhatsApp/email directly on their profile, which is fine with us too. You can choose the best option for you.

Do you have a question that wasn’t answered above? Please contact us and we’ll get back to you right away. 

 

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