Atlantans with properties for sale are looking abroad for buyers as Europeans exchange their strong euros for a falling dollar to get what they consider a substantial discount on American real estate, Dagmar Sands, president of Atlanta-based Real Estate International Inc., told GlobalAtlanta.
Ms. Sands, who is also the U.S. president of FIABCI, a Paris-based international real estate federation with members in 60 countries, said she’s seen Swiss banks and buyers from Germany and the U.K. show particularly strong interest in the Atlanta area.
“They are looking at the U.S. as a safe haven, a good economy, coming here and getting good investments that will turn into great returns for them,” Ms. Sands said in a video interview.
Real Estate International has benefited from this trend, not necessarily in attracting more foreign buyers, but in getting new American clients who think that Ms. Sands’ international connections will fetch them a higher price for their property.
Although she welcomes the business, Ms. Sands said the perception that sellers can raise the price on foreign buyers because they already see Georgia as a discount is not realistic. Europeans are smart consumers who will, just like Americans, make sure they’re maximizing their dollars, however cheap they might have bought them.
As president of the U.S. branch of FIABCI, an organization founded in the 1950s to bring together professionals in real estate-related fields worldwide, Ms. Sands has worked hard throughout her one-year term to help U.S. buyers more easily reach the European market.
A main initiative of FIABCI is the World Congress, a yearly convention of international real estate professionals. The event’s international flair sealed Ms. Sands’ interest in the FIABCI after she got involved in 1987, the same year she started Real Estate International.
“It was almost like being at a mini United Nations where you had six languages being translated simultaneously,” said Ms. Sands, who emigrated as a teenager from Czechoslovakia in 1968.
She said FIABCI fed her appetite for operating a business with a decidedly international slant.
This year’s first worldwide conference will be held in Amsterdam in May, and the focus of the event will be an almost uncanny combination of issues fresh on the minds of Georgians: water management and how it relates to real estate.
Ms. Sands said that Atlanta sellers who want to attract international buyers should get involved with the conference. FIABCI will market properties on its Web site and will even target specific countries for those who sign up.
If they use the tools available, sellers in Atlanta should have no problem, finding buyers, Ms. Sands said. She has progressively watched real estate trends in the Georgia capital, and she’s convinced that the city has a lot to offer, even in the midst of the current mortgage crisis.
“In spite of what the media is portraying, I think Atlanta is very strong,” she said, noting shopping developments in Atlanta’s Buckhead community, convenient air transport and low cost of living as factors that will keep drawing buyers, and not only from Europe.
As the Chinese economy grows, Ms. Sands predicts more Chinese investors will start buying here. And she’s already seen a drastic increase in Korean people building business complexes and churches, especially in the metro area’s northern suburbs.
Honolulu will host a FIABCI World Congress in October, after Ms. Sands’ presidency expires. She expects that a substantial number of Asians, Australians and New Zealanders will attend.