Category Archives: International real estate

International Business Council

I’m pleased to be the next Advisory Board Chair for the International Business Council, at the Oregon Association of Realtors.  I’ll be meeting next week with colleagues at OAR to form a 2011 Plan.  As we all know, international commerce is crucial to our state’s economy – and real estate is a significant piece of that pie. Stay tuned!

About the International Business Council:

The Oregon Association of REALTORS® International Business Council works to expand awareness of opportunities in international real estate. Members learn how real estate practitioners around the world are developing strategies to succeed in a global economy, how cultural diversity can be a win-win for REALTORS® and clients, and how to provide added value to international clients in Oregon. The International Business Council increases understanding of worldwide investment opportunities in real estate through a combination of networking and education. Joining the International Business Council is the first step to adding a global scope to individual REALTOR® business plans.

The Oregon Association of REALTORS® is currently the ambassador association to the country of Vietnam, where new real estate licensing laws were recently adopted. Vietnam was granted unconditional normal trade relations (NTR) status by the United States through a Presidential Proclamation signed by President Bush on December 29, 2006. (Source, U.S. Dept. of State). In 2007, the Oregon Association of REALTORS® was named the International Ambassador Association of the Year by the National Association of REALTORS®.

For more information or to become a member of the International Business Council, please contact me at 503-490-4116 or email

Certified International Property Specialist

I am excited to announce that I have earned the designation of a Certified International Property Specialist. This designation is awarded to Realtors who have completed  two core courses, three elective courses, have  successful experience involving international real estate transactions, and have demonstrated other global professional experience.

There are over 14,000 members of the Oregon Association of Realtors.  Fewer than two dozen have achieved a CIPS designation.

What does this mean for my clients?

International real estate opportunities are everywhere. New people move to the U.S. from other countries every day and foreign-born individuals residing in the U.S. move to new markets.  Americans in your current market invest in property overseas.

For sellers: As a broker with nearly a decade of experience, I have developed a comprehensive marketing plan which recognizes that opportunities come from a myriad of sources. That next buyer may be from across town, from across the state, or from around the globe.  I have made a significant investment to give my clients’ properties the widest exposure, in order to maximize price and minimize marketing time.

For buyers: I love working with buyers, too!  Even when selling locally there are international components. Different cultures view the home-buying process uniquely and often have different priorities.  Having worked with clients from almost every continent I often draw upon those experiences – and have met amazing people along the way.

This is just a brief overview.  While the world of real estate has in some ways become border-less, it is no less complex. Please put my passion for real estate to work for you.

International real estate, in our backyard


I just returned from our FIABCI Spring Business Meetings in Alexandria, VA, and as always the meetings proved to be both educational and great business. A quick recap….

Most of my clients and friends know that I work in the international real estate market, but not all know how that applies directly to my business right here in Portland. It’s simple – while all real estate is local, to be truly effective we have to operate on the global stage.

Consider this:
1. Trade between the United States and Canada (our largest trading partner) is at the rate of over $1,000,000 per minute.
2. Closer to home, Oregon and Canada trade $16,000,000 in goods daily – and bilateral trade supports 88,750 jobs in Oregon.
(source for both, Canadian Embassy briefing, Washington DC, March 26, 2010).

How does this affect a local seller of real estate?

While all sellers expect their property to go on the MLS and the broker’s website – unique, high-end and investment properties need more. Much more. This is where FIABCI members can offer a seller a tremendous competitive advantage over every other broker.

  • FIABCI members are members of Proxio, a global MLS exchange for practitioners who work with international clients.
  • We can broadcast messages directly to FIABCI members around the globe to announce our special properties. This is supply and demand at work; I can maximize the supply of potential buyers.
  • At each business meeting, we can promote our featured listings to brokers from around the world – FACE to FACE. In the age of social media, we all know that face to face networking still yields the best results.

Prior to the meetings, many of us also attended a class on Global Real Estate that was conducted by a visiting professor from University of Denver. We were reminded that the United State is still considered the best real estate market in the world, so it is key to promote our local market outside our backyard.

So, as the U.S. continues to attract global real estate buyers, I will do my part to make sure that Oregon is on the world’s radar!

International | Lessons from Bogotá

“The least a democratic society should do is to offer people wonderful public spaces. Public spaces are not a frivolity. They are just as important as hospitals and schools. They create a sense of belonging. This creates a different type of society—a society where people of all income levels meet in public space is a more integrated, socially healthier one.” Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá

The video is a little long, but great to watch.

Thursday | International Destination

Many of us know someone, or know someone who knows someone, who owns property in higher-profile foreign destinations – such as Mexico and Costa Rica. In fact, hundred of thousands of North Americans already own property outside the U.S., and the numbers will only increase.  I plan to feature both established and up-and-coming destinations.  I will only write about countries that place no restrictions (or limited – such as a fideicomiso in Mexico) on foreign ownership.

This week it’s Ecuador!


Atacames is located on the Pacific coast, less than 400km from the Quito, Ecuador’s capital. It’s a small beach town popular with vacationers from Quito and nearby Columbia. A good friend of mine and real estate agent owns a condo on the beach, so if you’re want to check things out this is an affordable way to go; we can connect you with a reputable broker in the area as well.  More popular cities for North Americans are Cuencas and Salinas; most foreign buyers are from the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

Here’s a view from the balcony. I can send you more pictures and full details if you’d like.


Homebuying basics

  • New construction average is <$90 per square foot,
  • Cost effective way for Americans concerned about outliving their retirement assets,
  • No restrictions on foreign ownership,
  • No Multiple Listing Service; hire reputable agent  (I can refer you, just ask),
  • Transactions are still mostly cash, as in many destinations.

This is intended as just a very brief overview, and of course is not intended as legal advice.  Real estate transactions can be especially complex outside the United States, as customs and laws vary from country to country. As a member of FIABCI (the International Real Estate Federation), I can connect you to skill professionals worldwide. FIABCI has members representing the entire real estate spectrum, and we’re passionate about the world of international real estate. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.

If you have any destinations you’d like me to feature, please email me at or call +1.503.490.4116.

Highlights from New York


FIABCI meeting

Last week was the annual reception and meeting at the United Nations for members of FIABCI (the International Real Estate Federation). FIABCI maintains a Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN, the top ranking of any non-governmental organization.

In addition to being a networking event, we enjoyed a presentation by Michael P. Buckley on “Seven Transition Waves in the Midst of Crisis.” Mr. Buckley is the Director at Columbia University’s Center for High Density Development (CHDD). Two topics especially spoke to me:

1. Clustering – Cities that will thrive and lead in the 21st Century will be clusters of similar types of businesses. As Portland has built – and continues to build upon – its reputation for  being a center of green technology and industry, we will be a leading cluster in this arena. This bodes well for our future.

2. High Density Development – High density development is key to remaining a leading city in the 21st Century.  Mr. Buckley presented some CHDD-inspired case study scenarios for developments in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Harlem, New York City; Coney Island, New York City, among others. Here too, Portland is a leader. We’re fortunate to live in one of the few areas of the country with Urban Growth Boundaries, which maximize urban development and makes intermodal transportaion options more feasible.

United Nations Tour

We had an impressive tour of the United Nations and enjoyed some private remarks regarding the Global Housing Foundation (launched by FIABCI in 1999 in partnership with the UN). We take for granted our property rights in this country. However, it is estimated that one billion people live in slums. And worldwide, only 1% of property is owned by women.

From the GHF’s mission:

“Private-public partnerships like that of Global Housing Foundation are crucial to addressing and solving these catastrophic, imminent problems. For this reason, the United Nations, through its UN-HABITAT Human Settlements Program, has embraced Global Housing Foundation as a powerful model for slum-improvement programs. Global Housing Foundation is considered an official partner to the United Nations’ global housing efforts. In 2007 GHF teamed up with Merrill Lynch to create the world’s first international “Micro Mortgage” program.”

I look foward to learning more about the GHF,  and appreciate that FIABCI takes a leading role so that I may become involved. If you would like more information about any of the above, please contact me at, or call 503-490-4116.

Thank you for your business. Your support enables me to be active in groups that truly make a difference.

My top 10 for the week

Picture 015

What I learned or reminded myself of this week:

  1. Meeting face to face is always better than online.
  2. When someone doesn’t get back to you timely, don’t assume they’re ignoring you.
  3. Shouldn’t a “public option” for healthcare be exactly what us free market types want? Competition!
  4. The weather is irrelevant to me.
  5. I need to get back to Nicaragua, then start exploring Costa Rica. Opportunity knocks.
  6. I miss my dog Moxy, but now it’s out of fondness and not painful.
  7. I just tried to look at her photo; I was wrong.
  8. This has been the hardest year in my real estate career and it’s still the career I enjoy most.
  9. I’m seeing many cars from MN and WI in my ‘hood. Is anyone left back there?
  10. If more nights per week are spent networking than exercising, networking is bad for your health.

Have a great weekend everyone!

The Weak Dollar = Strong Real Estate Opportunities


The weak U.S. Dollar is good news for foreign investors! Now foreign investors can buy more real estate for their same financial investment because of their increased purchasing power.  Even in comparatively strong residential markets like Portland, prices can be considerably lower than in competing cities. And with direct flights to major hubs like Tokyo and Amsterdam, access to Portland is convenient.

“U.S. real estate has always been a popular option for buyers around the globe,” said Tu Packard, senior economist for Moody’s “The appeal lies in the general stability of the country compared with others throughout the world.   Add to that the fact that the dollar is so weak and interest rates are low and house prices are at their lowest in years… it’s a compelling combination for a home buyer,” she said.  “The U.S. dollar’s trade rate is the weakest it has been since the 1970s,” she continued, as reported in a MarketWatch article written by Amy Hoak.

Strong investment opportunities exist in all sectors of the U.S. real estate market.  As always, real estate is a local business, so foreign investors will want to work with a U.S. real estate professional to best understand the various markets and the investment opportunities.

How can a foreign investor find the best U.S. real estate professional to meet their real estate needs? Through FIABCI, the International Real Estate Federation.

As a FIABCI member, I have access and contacts in 65 countries around the world and throughout the U.S. FIABCI members understand real estate and cultures around the world.  My clients make informed decisions about investments in my local market, nationally and internationally, based on my experience and the contacts I have developed through FIABCI’s diverse network of real estate professionals.

Please contact me whether you’re looking to invest in Portland or elsewhere. It all starts with an initial conversation and a plan.

Real Solutions


I’ve been asked why I am involved in both local and international real estate, coming out of such a global economic crisis. First, it’s because the real estate world is becoming smaller and it’s what people expect. But perhaps more importantly, it’s because of events over the past several years that I have become so involved.

On the whole, people buying properties outside the United States are not fabulously wealthy, living a jet set lifestyle. They are solidly middle class, looking for a cost-effective yet desirable alternative to places like Palm Springs, Phoenix, and Fort Lauderdale for vacation or investment property.  And for people nearing retirement, they face the real dilemma of how to not outlive their financial assets.

Consider this: Ernst & Young reported last year that three out of five (60%) middle class retirees would outlive their assets if they did not cut back on spending significantly.

A major source of funding that many people planned on for retirement was home equity. The plan was to sell their appreciated asset and buy homes in warmer climates, banking much of the cash for additional income. While for many that is still possible, for others looking/needing to retire very soon, that amount may be substantially less than expected.

Enhance your lifestyle and spend far less? It’s possible, and Nicaragua may be right for you. With a growing ex-pat community, the friendliness of the Nicaraguan people, and cost-effective housing options – all in one of the safest countries in our hemisphere – be prepared to be surprised.  I work with developers that offer homes built to American standards, with many priced under $200,000 in a new urbanist neighborhood, and near the ocean to boot!  Combine that with the ability to live on $1000-$1200 per month, and you truly can enhance your life and spend less. Please feel free to contact me, and I can send you a complete budget with actual receipts to show you how viable this is.

Even if  the idea of buying a home outside the  United States is just a twinkle in your eye, please do not hesitate to contact me. It all begins with an initial conversation and a plan.

To my REALTOR colleagues – contact me, too. We offer attractive referrals and make it easy for you and your clients.