Selling a house to foreigners: 4 secrets to discover

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The Italian brick still manages to make the heartbeat to foreigners who want to buy second homes in the beautiful country, to live moments of relaxation and be pampered by fine cuisine, from the gentle hills, the picturesque medieval and ancient historic castles villages, which have impregnated culture and history our beloved peninsula abroad. But how do you manage to sell your house to foreigners? How many times have you asked yourself this question!

Surely, turning to foreign customers to sell properties is an excellent idea, especially in a period that is not so positive for the Italian real estate market. Having said that, through this article we will tell you what the profile of the ideal foreign buyer of real estate in Italy is and we will show you the tools and steps you need to know to sell a house to foreigners more efficiently and how investing in Blue World City can be a great investment opportunity for foreigners.

Sale of real estate to foreigners: the identikit

Before revealing some secrets to know how to sell a house to foreigners, it will certainly be useful to learn in-depth who the typical buyer is and what type of property he is looking for.

According to the 2017 annual report by Gate-Away.com (here is our interview with the general manager Simone Rossi), it is mainly people with an age group between 55 and 64 years who opt for the purchase of a property in the cities Italian. They are predominantly male and with a high level of education.

As regards the nationality of the target, the Germans are the largest buyers of real estate in Italy, followed by the Americans and the British. An interesting fact is that although 43.91% of requests come from the aforementioned top 3 countries in the ranking, the remaining 56% comes from 152 different countries, testifying to a range that tends to expand in an increasingly globalized world. Very interesting are some country-specific data that Gate-away.com detects for 2017. Requests from Canada have grown by 52.91%, entering the top ten of the most active countries. In the last year, emerging countries such as India, Israel, and Turkey have more than doubled the requests for real estate in the Bel Paese, marking respectively + 133.33% (India), + 127.24% (Israel), and + 140.58% (Turkey).

The regions most coveted by foreigners are Tuscany, Lombardy, Liguria and Puglia, Sardinia, Sicily and Abruzzo. It can be seen that most of the regions are mainly maritime and/or hilly, which is inevitably linked to a tourist investment, with the exception of Milan where a real estate investment intent is expressed. One figure that catches the eye is the + 40.99% of requests for properties in Piedmont, which places the region in the Top Ten of the most requested.

Knowing how to sell a house to foreigners could be a rather profitable business if we consider that the average price of the properties sold is around 411 thousand euros. Foreigners do not just go hunting for luxurious residences, in fact there is a considerable slice of requests that are addressed to properties with a lower value, between 100 and 250 thousand euros (30.22%) and 250 and 500 thousand euros (18 , 68%).

What types of properties are most in-demand?

Usually, in the collective imagination, the foreigner is looking for immense country houses to renovate, with a breathtaking view and lots of swimming pool, gardens and hectares and hectares of land, well, that’s not exactly the case.

Recently the profile of the potential buyer has changed: now foreigners prefer more liveable, comfortable but without excesses homes where they can spend their retirement or a long period of their life in peace. This change is due to the fact that the social class that wants to buy a house has expanded: from a few rich people to the middle class, consequently the number of potential buyers has considerably expanded.

One of the emerging trends of “regular” investors is the search for places that are less inflated than mass tourism: the beauty of the landscape always remains imperative to be met.

The demand of foreigners is mainly oriented towards the purchase of a house (77.45%) or an apartment (22.55%), already habitable for 64.64% of buyers, to be restored for 14.71%, to be partially restructured for 11.16% and new “only” 9.49%. With some surprises, the swimming pool is not an essential aspect, in fact it is 82.62% do not ask for it, while the desire to own a garden is recorded in 54.62% of cases.

What are the best months?

Obviously, during the year there are more or less favorable periods to proceed with the sale of houses to foreigners: the hottest months of the year, in which searches for real estate in Italy are growing dramatically are mainly spring and summer, such as April and August, but also February and March are months in which the search for a house in Italy is carried out quite intensively.

How to sell a house to foreigners? our 4 tips

1. Sell the Made in Italy style

The real engine that pushes foreigners to choose Italy for the purchase of a house is the intangible aspects, which weigh significantly more on the hypothetical scale. The foreign customer does not want to buy only a property where to live and spend part of his life, he chooses to marry the Italian lifestyle: an intriguing mix of excellent cuisine, undisputed culture, good fun, wonderful landscapes, and an infinite series of tourist attractions. These are just some of the factors that you must necessarily take into consideration when you see requests from an international audience.

Most foreigners looking for their dream home in places where life is simple, comfortable, and fun. In Italy, you can find various amenities offered by the territory: shopping centers, shops, parks, attractions a stone’s throw from the sea, in the hills or in the mountains.

2. Provide details to eliminate distrust

As you know, nowadays people rely on the net to search, evaluate and choose everything, of whatever nature it is, so it also happens for the search for the ideal home. Usually, the first approach between a potential buyer and a real estate agency takes place through a website, this is the virtual place that makes the difference to continue with the other steps of the negotiation.

Evaluating the purchase of a house from abroad is a very delicate operation, which can generate mistrust and uncertainty. The more the website of your real estate agent will be able to communicate your real estate proposals in a transparent and complete way, the more you will be able to eliminate the two negative attitudes mentioned above.

We have already talked to you about how to write an effective real estate ad, in any case, take all the time you need to describe in detail each specific of property, leaving nothing to chance. Remember to enter technical information and information regarding the cadastral, urban, static, and energy documentation of the building, because they are able to more authenticate the description of your proposal.

3. Carefully select the images

Browsing the web, what stands out immediately to the eye is undoubtedly the image, a virtual showcase that, turning to the world, consequently also attracts part of the public interested in purchasing the product.

As mentioned, the first approach between potential buyer and real estate agency is mediated by the company website and, for this reason, in addition to providing detailed and complete information, it must play a role of great importance such as providing high-quality images.

The foreign customer who is in the first phase of choosing the entire buying and selling process will have to fall in love with his photograph, even before the house. Selling a house to foreigners is by no means an easy task, but some types of shots are essential to make this venture possible  :

  • detail photographs;
  • photographs at different times of the year;
  • photographs of all the rooms in the house;
  • photographs of the areas adjacent to the house.

Only with these different points of view of the house, the potential buyer will be able to have a small preview of the life that awaits him inside. By the way, here is an article in which to deepen the theme of quality photographs to give value to your real estate ads.

Furthermore, brightness also plays an extremely important role in image quality. The brighter the photos, the more they will be appreciated by the public, and by the way we give you another little piece of advice: make sure that the spaces are well cleaned and carefully ordered.

4. Adopt Multilingual SEO

When you decide to sell a house to foreigners, it is important to understand how to make your real estate marketing strategy interesting for customers from a cultural and linguistic point of view.

In this scenario, Multilingual SEO becomes an optimal solution to acquire an important advantage in a completely new field where competition is still at a minimum.

Thanks to this solution, in fact, we address a specific audience, making it easier to meet their needs and obtaining important benefits, including:

  • the increase of potential customers;
  • an improvement in your ranking possibilities for a specific country based on multiple languages.

However, it is good to know that this practice is not as simple as it might appear.
More and more often, in fact, it is thought that to sell houses, for example in France, it is enough to translate the pages of your website into French, and that’s it, even if only using an automatic translation script.

There is nothing more wrong! It is not certain that by simply translating your website you can be able to climb the Google SERP of the reference country.

If you want to position your website on search engines abroad, you need to study a multilingual SEO strategy that allows you to geolocate content and create ad hoc translations.

The wisest thing you can do is try to understand:

  • in which areas of the world you want to make your content visible;
  • what languages ​​do potential customers in those areas speak.

Here are some on-site steps that will allow you to reach your foreign target.

  • Create a landing page aimed at speakers of your target language. 
    You don’t have to jump through hoops! You probably already have landing pages for those customers who contact you via your online ads. All you have to do is add one more in your chosen language. The content of your website must be modeled on the characteristics of the target in compliance with the communication rules of the country you are addressing. If you want to sell a house to foreigners in an effective way, make sure that your website is not perceived as a foreign place, but as a familiar space that can welcome potential foreign customers. Recognizing your audience and showing them that you are sensitive to their particular needs is a small gesture that can lead to great results.
  • Create a good translation.
    Until a few years ago, translation for Internet sites was considered irrelevant. Over time, however, having a site well built and translated into multiple languages, as well as visible on search engines, has become the primary goal of every modern real estate entrepreneur. Then find someone who can present your business in the right tone and language. Consider how much energy you have put into your website and develop a page that is satisfying in both languages, and that references your target’s cultural norms.
  • Search for keywords in the foreign language.
    The Internet originated in America and grew up speaking English. For this reason, there is a good chance that your customers will be searching for you on Google.com. If, however, they are using Google .es or .hk, be sure to research keywords in the target language with better positioning. In fact, keywords are another metadata present in the HTML code that contributes to the positioning of your website on search engines. Note that these may not be literal translations of English keywords or phrases. In fact, they may be a mix of the English and the target language. For example, the equivalent Spanish search term for “online real estate listings” is not “clasificados en línea bienes raices”, but “clasificados online raen bienes” (just like in Italian).
  • Don’t forget the behind-the-scenes.
    Just like you would do when developing SEO activities, for your English content make sure to customize the URL of your landing page, use meta descriptions, title tags and alternative text for the images, in order to make your ads visible in the search engine results. People who are looking for you in another language are not looking for just any real estate agent or broker. Instead, they are looking for a company that can respond to their particular needs throughout the real estate purchase process. So spend some time making them feel comfortable on your website by making use of Multilingual SEO and you will have important rewards in the long term.

By satisfying these small but essential details, the property will certainly be more attractive than another house in the same area, which is however presented to the public with poorly maintained and poor quality photographs. By following this little guide, selling a house to foreigners can become an essential activity for you and your real estate agency.

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