Expert: Illinois prime spot to attract foreign investors


Illinois is well positioned to reap the benefits of interest in real estate from European and Russian investors, a representative of the National Association of REALTORS® told more than 100 real estate professionals.

Bruno Crosby, NAR's manager for international market development, told those attending the Third Annual Multicultural Summit held at the Butterfield Country Club in Oak Brook, Ill., that the state enjoys three key attributes, not the least of which is affordability. Crosby said a weak dollar creates greater purchasing power for overseas clients.

Ease of access is also important to international investors. Having one of the largest airports in the world in Chicago is a powerful lure.

And finally, the business climate is good.

"This is a country, compared to most other countries, where rental investment is reliable and solid with good returns on investment," Crosby said. "In most countries that's not true."

U.S. real estate system a mystery to foreign investors

Crosby said that many parts of the wrld have no concept of the real estate industry as it exists in the U.S. In fact, he said, many countries don't even license realty professionals.

Crosby, who spent many years living in France, said in that country exclusive listing agreementss don't exist, and those looking for real estate have to go to many different sources to obtain listing data.

The differences in how real estate is handled in the U.S. makes it important for REALTORS® to spend additional time explaining some of the practices here that are largely taken for granted by dometic buyers.

Internet a key in attracting business

" is probably the most effective tool you have for attacting foreign buyers," Crosy said.

The reason for this is that the website contains a much more comprehensive database of listings than buyers would find in most parts of the world. NAR has added a international section to the website which include currency conversion and translation services.

Crosby said NAR's partner that manages the database has purchased keywords so that when international customers look for property, they are referred to

Other items of interest:

1. Work hard at gaining the trust of the various communities that have come to America. Once you gain that trust, you'll reap additional referrals, Crosby said.

2. Students are a huge market in the Chicago area. Students are potential clients, ether for renting or buying.


By Jon K. Broadbooks, Director of Communications, Illinois Association of REALTORS(r).