Russian Buyers of Real Estate in Cyprus

In the previous post we have recognized that foreign buyers make up approximately one third of the real estate market in Cyprus, their numbers are on the rise, and the most significant players in this market are Russian buyers (look at all authoritative sources in English that we have cited in that post).

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Let’s see what the Russian sources tell us about the real estate market in Cyprus.

The Russians started buying vacation properties in Cyprus in the 1990th. Russia is a big country, but the most part of it belongs to the cold climate areas, that’s why the Mediterranean climate of Cyprus is so attractive to the Russians. (Some other factors were also important, and still are – see below how real estate sellers promote Cyprus in Russia.)

Many things have changed since then in the world, but Cyprus is still high (or even higher) on the Russian buyers’ of real estate radar nowadays. The Russians are interested not only in residential, but also in commercial properties in Cyprus now as many Russian companies open their operational offices in Cyprus.

I’ve searched the most important Russian search engine Yandex for “real estate in Cyprus” (in Russian, of course), and there are 40+ million pages showing up for this keyword. Not all of them may be relevant as it always happens with any search. Anyway, we see that the subject is very significant in the Russian internet.

There are about 10 000 searches performed monthly for this keyword as Yandex stats confirm. If we add some other keywords as “buying villa in Cyprus”, “apartment in Cyprus”, “real estate in Limassol, Cyprus”, etc., the number of relevant to “Cyprus + real estate” searches by the potential Russian buyers would double, triple or maybe quadrupled.

Let’s have a quick look at how the Russian quest for the properties in Cyprus is answered in the Russian internet.

On one of the major Russian real estate portals for international properties you can find about 10 000 various properties for sale in Cyprus. And it’s just on one of five or six big Russian portals featuring only international properties in Russian, there are also some Russian portals with mixed – domestic and international – properties, and multiple pages with properties in Cyprus on the Russian realtors’ sites.

So, here’s the summary of advantages that Cyprus offers to the foreign buyers of real estate in the country (namely, to the Russian buyers), according to some Russian sites:

-High standard of living with stable economy and low crime level
-Warm weather and sea
-Possibility of getting citizenship while purchasing properties over some price (which the government of Cyprus regulates) with all the privileges of the European Union passports
-English schools for kids
-Low taxes
-Russian is widely spoken in stores, restaurants and other service establishments

By the next time I’ll find (and translate into English for you) the best property descriptions in Russian that beat others by showing high for the eyes of the potential Russian buyers of properties in Cyprus.

Happy blog reading,

Olga Kellen,
The Amazon Author
International Marketing Consultant and English-Russian Translator

Copyright © 2018 by Olga Kellen
All Rights Reserved

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A Case Study: Foreign Buyers of Real Estate in Cyprus

Let’s imagine that we have a task at hand: to prove that every realtor and developer and many private property sellers (especially in the high-end range) in Cyprus should market real estate to foreign buyers – to be on top of things and not be lost in the dust behind their competition.

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I’ve never been to Cyprus and I do not know Greek, but here is what my quick research shows.

Wikipedia:

“Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and most populous island in the Mediterranean.

“Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean, it joined the European Union in 2004. In 2008 the Republic of Cyprus joined the Eurozone.

“Cyprus has two official languages, Greek and Turkish. Although without official status, English is widely spoken and it features widely on road signs, public notices, and in advertisements, etc. 80% of Cypriots are proficient in the English language as a second language. Russian is widely spoken among the country’s minorities, residents and citizens of post-Soviet countries, and Pontic Greeks. Russian, after English and Greek, is the third language used on many signs of shops and restaurants, particularly in Limassol and Paphos.”

Global Property Guide (2016 – 2017):

“Cyprus property markets are recovering due to rising foreign interest. Sales to foreigners rose 162% in December 2016 compared to the same month in 2015, according to the island’s land registry.

“The land registry figures show that foreigners made up for 31% of total buyers in December 2016.

“This sudden spike in sales to foreign buyers is being attributed to changes in the investment-for-citizenship and residency schemes introduced by the government. Under the program, a foreigner can get full Cypriot citizenship and gain the right to live, work and study in all 28 European Union (EU) member countries by investing in real estate.

There’s been a sharp rise in the sale of residential properties to foreign buyers in Cyprus. Property sales to overseas buyers rose by 65% in October 2017 compared to the same month last year.

“The increase in sales has led to increased building. During the first nine months of 2017, the number of new homes for which building permits have been issued rose by 35%.”

Cyprus Profile (2017):

“According to the report by PwC Cyprus titled ‘Cyprus Real Estate Market – 2016 Year in Review’, although up to 2013 sales of luxury residences in Cyprus were stable, since 2014 with the introduction of the citizenship incentives, demand for luxury residences has significantly increased.

“Indicative of this fact is that in 2016, the number of sales of luxury residences has almost quadrupled compared to 2013. As the supply of luxury residences increases, so does the demand, says PwC Cyprus in its report.

“Limassol is the city with the most sales of luxury residences. According to PwC Cyprus, Limassol responded positively to the increased demand for this sort of real estate, with more luxury residences being planned. For this reason, Limassol was the first choice for luxury residences, followed by Paphos.

“The report also says that in 2016, 70% of the transactions in Limassol were for the purchase of luxury apartments, while the remaining 30% was for villas or mansions. Contrarily, in Paphos all the sales of luxury residences were villas or mansions.

“Nicosia, Larnaca and Famagusta were considerably less active in the sale of luxury residences.

“According to PwC, the increase in sales of luxury residences is largely due to the citizenship incentives which have drawn foreign buyers from outside the EU (Chinese, Russian, Indian and UAE nationals).”

The Move Channel (2017):

“Foreign buyers now make up 1 in 3 property sales in Cyprus, as overseas demand continues to climb.”

I’m convinced now that every real estate seller (realtor, developer or private) in Cyprus has to market their property to the foreign buyers to be successful. Are you?

Happy blog reading,
Olga Kellen,
The Amazon Author
International Marketing Consultant and English-Russian Translator

Copyright © 2018 by Olga Kellen
All Rights Reserved

 

Marketing Real Estate to Foreign Buyers: Cost-Benefit Analysis

Wikipedia: “Cost-benefit analysis (CBA), sometimes called benefit-cost analysis (BCA), is used to determine options that provide the best approach to achieve benefits while preserving savings. The CBA is also defined as a systematic process for calculating and comparing benefits and costs of a decision or project.”

Let’s try and apply the cost-benefit analysis to marketing real estate to foreign buyers.

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Obviously, the benefit is actually the following: selling a property eventually, preferably faster and for more money.

Marketing real estate (to be able to sell a property as a result) always costs money, and the goal is definitely to minimize this cost.

We have already talked in this blog about the costs of various international marketing venues, or you can check out my article on the topic at http://www.english-and-russian.com/Selling_to_Russians-marketing-budget-to-find-russian-buyers.html

Case Study

Let’s say you want to sell a great home in a decent neighborhood for $500k, list it with a local agent for a while and nothing happens – you only get a couple of low-ball offers during your contract with this agent. The problem is that although your home is big and shiny, but most of other homes in the neighborhood sell for 400k, that’s why local buyers usually go for them and ignore yours.

You know that the international buyers from two foreign countries love to buy around. It’s definitely time to market to them as it’s a well-known fact that the foreign buyers usually purchase more expensive properties than the locals.

If you buy an ad on a foreign real estate portal for $1k in each foreign country of interest, it’s just a marketing expense 0.2% x 2 = 0.4% of the price. Well, if none of the ads work, you’ve lost not much, but if one of them works, you just may get $100k (in the selling price increase) for $1k spent – imagine that. (Of course, it’s a primitive example, in reality you have to do a thoughtful marketing campaign to attract the foreign buyers.)

Thinking allowed and required!

Happy blog reading,

Olga Kellen,
The Amazon Author
International Marketing Consultant and English-Russian Translator

Copyright © 2018 by Olga Kellen
All Rights Reserved

 

Your Real Estate Foreign Buyers in Spanish Internet

About 500 million people on our Earth speak Spanish. Spanish is the official language in 20 countries, and some of these countries are interesting in terms of attracting real estate international buyers from there (like Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela).

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Google is available in 100+ countries of the world and you can find a local edition for any Spanish-speaking country that is of interest for you to look for the foreign buyers for your property for sale. For example, Google in Mexico http://www.google.com.mx , in Spain http://www.google.es , etc. Go there and find the best places to advertise your property for sale in Spanish for your foreign buyers.

Note: Google has recently changed the way you can access other countries search results from your current location. By default, you’ll be always directed to your local results, never mind what other Google URL you type. Don’t be discouraged – go to “Settings”, then “Search settings”, scroll down to “Region settings”, click on “Show more”, and you’ll see the full list of the world countries for which Google has a local edition. Choose the desired country for which you want to see the search results as if you were there, and click “Save”. That’s it – now you may google anything as if you were imaginary real estate foreign buyers from that country. Do not forget to switch your location back to “Current region” when done with your research!

Internet in Spanish is richly populated, and everything is available there, including real estate for sale from your country. So do not assume that the potential Spanish-speaking clients of yours – your foreign buyers – would necessarily search for your property in English. Bring them your property in Spanish on the websites that are easily available for them in the Spanish internet!

By the way, even some U.S. companies have arranged for a Spanish edition of their websites targeting the Spanish-speaking population of the U.S. – to increase their sales by letting people do shopping more comfortable in their native language, although the target population lives in the U.S. and knows English.

Look at Toyota in Miami, Florida, for example: http://www.toyota.com/dealers/Florida/Miami/dealers in English, and on the top right of the page you can easily switch to Spanish http://www.toyota.com/espanol/dealers/Florida/Miami/dealers

Happy blog reading,

Olga Kellen,
The Amazon Author
International Marketing Consultant and English-Russian Translator

Copyright © 2018 by Olga Kellen
All Rights Reserved

Your Real Estate Foreign Buyers in French Internet

Wikipedia says that 200+ million people in the world speak French, 40% of them in Europe and 8% in North America (the Canadian province of Quebec is the major player in the field of international real estate, and is especially important for the U.S. properties).

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From my personal experience, the French-speaking folks love Florida, but not English… Let’s see how to market real estate to the French-speaking foreign buyers in the French internet.

In France the major search engine is google.fr and in Quebec it’s google.ca (in French). Always remember that in each country/language Google‘s edition, any website’s local position will be different according to the Google‘s algorithms.

Thus, if you wish to sell an American vacation property to the Québécois and hope to rely on your listing on an English real estate site, think again. It may be not visible in Quebec search engines at all (even being close to the top on google.com in English).

At the same time internet searchers from Quebec – your potential foreign buyers – will see lots of French real estate websites with properties for sale (portals and realtors’ own sites). You have to be there to be visible!

Talking about Canada, we should know that often there are Canadian own websites that are sort of ‘matching’ American ones, and the sites are bilingual English-French, and translation is always of high quality (never machine-translated, always human-translated). For example, look at the Canadian realtor.ca and compare it to the American realtor.com – absolutely different, although the same type of the organization with the same goals.

But in the predominantly French-speaking Quebec we can see plenty of sites in French only. In France you can hardly find any bilingual site either.

We may assume that many Francophones do speak English, but you can’t ignore the fact that many of the property sellers who are competing with you, already advertise on the French sites and thus will definitely win over you and grab your potential foreign buyers, if you are not there.

Happy blog reading,

Olga Kellen,
The Amazon Author
International Marketing Consultant and English-Russian Translator

Copyright © 2018 by Olga Kellen
All Rights Reserved

 

Your Real Estate Foreign Buyers in Russian Internet

We have already discussed in this blog: The Russians, as your potential real estate foreign buyers, are quite comfortable with their own language and not many of them know English and other foreign languages, and thus the Russian buyers do expect to find international properties and any pertinent information in Russian. The Russian internet is a highly developed medium, and all the information may be found in there.

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The major Russian search engine is Yandex.ru (more than 60% of Russian internet users prefer it), Google.ru comes second, then a couple of small ones. They all have their own algorithms of positioning websites, their own advertising programs and many other services and products – actually in the same manner as Google, Yahoo and Bing, just in Russian.

Wikipedia informs us that Yandex ranked as the 4th largest search engine worldwide with more than 150 million searches and more than 50 million visitors daily. Yandex is being used by more than 250 million people not only in Russia, but also in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Baltic countries and everywhere in the world where Russian-speaking people live. Yandex is the largest media property in Russia by generated revenue which comes primarily from online advertisement. The Yandex‘s developer and owner Arkady Volozh became a billionaire.

Just as an example, search Yandex for “real estate in the U.S.” (in Russian, of course) and you get 4 million websites, search for “real estate in Cyprus” and you get more than 800 thousand sites.

That is why if you want to be competitive with your properties for sale to your foreign buyers in Russia, you have to be present in Runet (Russian internet) in Russian one way or the other: As an advertiser on Russian real estate portals, or with your own website in Russian (optimized for search engines and promoted to as high positioning as you can reach) if your goal is to attract the Russian buyers directly, or on Russian realtors’ sites if you choose to rely on them to ship you buyers from there, or all of the above.

Happy blog reading,

Olga Kellen,
The Amazon Author
International Marketing Consultant and English-Russian Translator

Copyright © 2018 by Olga Kellen
All Rights Reserved

Your Real Estate Foreign Buyers in Chinese Internet

The Chinese buyers are the No. 1 target for American, Australian, Canadian and Western European sellers, realtors and developers among all foreign buyers of real estate in their countries.

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According to Wikipedia, there are about 700 million Chinese internet users as of March 2017, and many of them have a high-speed Internet connection. More than half of the Chinese internet users access it on mobile devices.

The numbers are impressive, but (there is always a “but”, unfortunately) the Chinese internet is censored by the Chinese government, and many sites are blocked and unavailable over there including: Google with all its apps, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, WordPress, BlogSpot, Blogger, Flickr, etc.

So, as you can see, no search engine and social media marketing of your real estate for sale seems available to the Chinese buyers, at least in the way you are used to. What do you do??? How do you put your property in front of the Chinese buyers’ eyes???

By blocking foreign social media sites in China the government creates the best no-competition conditions for the Chinese companies, and instead of Google people in China use the search engine Baidu (http://www.baidu.com/ ) and several other smaller Chinese search engines.

You may think that if you type something in English in the Baidu search window while sitting at the computer desk here in North America, and the familiar websites appear as the organic search results for you, it would be the same for a Chinese searcher based in China. Absolutely not. The so called “Great Wall of China on Internet” will filter his results in a way unknown to you.

Yes, typing in English “real estate in U.S.” I’ve got Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia from Baidu searching it from North America, but who knows whether any international website you choose for marketing your properties and services to the Chinese buyers will be available to them any time and all the time? Maybe yes or maybe not. That’s why you have to turn to the real estate websites hosted on servers in China only!

In China the social media sites are also specific, their own, hosted over there and monitored by the government. You can use them for your real estate marketing with the help of a Chinese-speaking person who should be able to find the best sites in terms of exposure and pricing if any.

A note about use of English in China: According to Wikipedia less than 1% of the mainland China population know English which makes about 10 000 000 people, plus 3 000 000 in Hong Kong. Is it a lot or is it not? Can you rely on targeting just 1% of eligible foreign buyers for your real estate marketing when 100% might be available if you market in their own language? Translate your listing into Chinese to be at least on par with the competition or on top of some other sellers who do not pay attention to the needs of their foreign buyers.

 

Happy blog reading,

Olga Kellen,
The Amazon Author
International Marketing Consultant and English-Russian Translator

Copyright © 2018 by Olga Kellen
All Rights Reserved

How Foreign Internet Helps Reaching Foreign Buyers

If you are from an English-speaking country and wish to reach foreign buyers for your property for sale, it may come as a surprise to you that the English language covers less than half of all the internet nowadays. The rest is the internet in foreign languages or the foreign internet as we’ll call it.

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Various sources state various approximate numbers that from 1/3 to 1/2 of the internet content is in English (the discrepancies are probably due to various research and evaluation methods of measurements used).

As of today, most of the internet content is being published in English, but the amount of content in Russian, German, Japanese, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian and Chinese is growing faster or much faster.

A research of W3Techs shows us that just over 55 percent of the most visited websites have English-language homepages. Other top languages that are used on homepages visited more often than others by the internet users, according to W3Techs, are Russian, German, Japanese, Spanish, French, Chinese, and Portuguese.

In terms of the numbers of the internet users who definitely prefer to search the internet in their own language, there is a consensus on the top 3 languages being English, Chinese and Spanish. Various studies put the next languages in various orders: Russian, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese and so forth.

Actually, the number of the internet users in a particular language (your potential foreign buyers) probably correlates more or less with the population number of the countries where the according language is being spoken.

For example, the population of Russia is 150 million, but Russian is a language of choice (or sometimes a second official language) in many countries of the former Soviet Union, and also in some world countries with large Russian communities, which adds about 100 million more of users – that’s about 250 million of the foreign buyers for your property (the Russian buyers in this case).

So, if you really want to attract the foreign buyers to your property for sale, you have to be present in the foreign internet with your presentation of the property (websites, videos, advertising, etc.), as many others (your competitors!) have done it with their properties already, and you don’t want to be left behind, right?

A foreign internet in what language(s) will suit your goal? It depends on the preliminary research of yours: The foreign buyers from which countries usually come to purchase properties in your country? We have talked a lot about it in some previous posts on this blog.

A Case Study

Let’s say you know that the buyers from Russia are good prospects to buy your property, and you’d like to find business partners in Russia who would be sending you the Russian buyers from over there.

You google for “Russian real estate agents” or similar terms in English – and what do you find? Some Russian-speaking American realtors based in the U.S. and also realtors in Russia who are ready to help someone buy properties in Russia. None of them are what you are looking for (they are looking for clients for themselves and would not be interested to cooperate with you in any way).

At the same time if you search the Russian internet in Russian, you can find the real estate agents in Russia who are dealing with international properties for sale to the Russian buyers – bingo! They are your potential partners in sales of your properties to the Russian buyers, and your only task is to make them interested in your offer!

To summarize all of the above: Looking for the foreign buyers of real estate and foreign realtors as your business partners in sales, your best way would be to do so in the foreign internet where they are present to perform their searches, advertise and feel comfortable all together every day. Go fishing where the fish is.

Happy blog reading,

Olga Kellen,
The Amazon Author
International Marketing Consultant and English-Russian Translator

Copyright © 2017 by Olga Kellen
All Rights Reserved

What Are the Sources of Referrals or Leads on Foreign Buyers?

In the previous post we talked about the comprehensive report 2017 PROFILE OF INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITY IN U.S. RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE, surveying about 6,000 American realtors, that has been published by NAR, The National Association of Realtors (U.S.).

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It also has some answers to a million dollar question: Where to find the foreign buyers for your properties? And the answers look like the following:

Sources of Referrals or Leads on International Buyers

24% – Personal Contacts

23% – Referred by Previous Client

11% – Website / Internet Organic Search

10% – Was a Former Client

6% – Walk-in / Open House / Phone Call

6% – Website / Internet (Paid Ad)

6% – From a Business Contact in the U.S.

5% – Signs / Ads on Boards or Yard

1% – From a Business Contact outside the U.S.

8% – Other

The survey has been conducted regarding international buyers in American residential real estate market, but certainly, the major results may be applied to international sales in any other markets.

Thus, we can see that the famous “word-of-mouth” brings 64% of the international buyers to the real estate agents who had been in this business for a while (personal contacts, former clients, and referrals from former clients and business contacts).

To get to this stage, when people already know you and your services internationally, you have to start somewhere, right? And we can see that 17% of the new foreign buyers come from the internet (website and online listings or ads).

Obviously, internet is the way to go for the realtors who are about to begin selling real estate to the foreign buyers – to get international connections, first clients and eventually referrals from them.

Happy blog reading,

Olga Kellen,
The Amazon Author
International Marketing Consultant and English-Russian Translator

Copyright © 2017 by Olga Kellen
All Rights Reserved

How to Improve Your Chances to Sell Real Estate to Foreign Buyers

NAR, The National Association of Realtors (U.S.) published a comprehensive report 2017 PROFILE OF INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITY IN U.S. RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE, in which, among other things, researched the issue why some foreign buyers have not completed the purchase as planned.

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The answers from about 6,000 participating in the survey American realtors have been summarized.

Here are the major reasons of failure to sell real estate to foreign buyers according to them (the total is more than 100% as multiple choices were allowed):

-Could not find a property (!) – 51%

-The property appeared to be too expensive – 31%

-Could not obtain financing – 29%

-Could not move the money from their country to the U.S. – 28%

-Immigration laws – 21%

-Exchange rate – 17%

-Property taxes – 14%

-U.S. tax laws – 11%

-Condo/maintenance fees – 10%

-Insurance costs – 6%

-Loss of home country benefits – 1%

-Personal reasons – 20%

Although the research is specific to American residential properties, it’s obvious that the major trends would be the same for any other markets, with some deviations of percentage points probably.

So, we all know that not every inquiry turns into a purchase – it’s a fact of life. But let’s see what you can do to improve your chances to sell a property internationally anyway.

While some circumstances are beyond your power, you can do a lot by adjusting your marketing to the needs of your potential foreign buyers.

Some examples:

Although you can’t change the laws of your own country and the buyer’s country, you can recommend a local professional (an immigration lawyer, accountant or mortgage broker) who might be able to help the potential buyer resolve his issues the best way possible and still go for a closing.

A very detailed description of your property including costs involved (maintenance, insurance, taxes, etc.) may save you from unnecessary inquiries of those who wouldn’t like the numbers from the start, and attract those who would become real buyers.

And the most important issue (51% mentioned it!) for the foreign buyers is an easily remedied fact that they could not find your property! Marketing is the King!

Happy blog reading,
Olga Kellen,
The Amazon Author
International Marketing Consultant and English-Russian Translator

Copyright © 2017 by Olga Kellen
All Rights Reserved