November 27, 2015 by Lief Simon
Before Investing In A New Property Market
Having never been to a place before, how do you find good local contacts?
First, you ask around. Start with friends. Anyone you know who has traveled to the place. If you can score a single recommendation, you’re on your way. With even one contact, even unrelated to your specific agenda, you can build a chain of contacts to get you to the kinds of resources you’re looking for.
This worked well for me years ago for my first trip to Vietnam. I showed up with only a single contact and four days to see and find what I could see and find. My one contact put me on to three real estate contacts. Those three put me on to another few resources each. By the end of the trip, brief as it was, I had met with a good number of people, seen a fair amount of real estate, and had all my questions answered.
The next option is to contact one of the big international accounting firms and arrange to meet with someone. These guys are connected. Every businessman needs an accountant. And accountants like to network. Getting a meeting with one can garner a few other contacts to, again, start a network chain. You can generally trust recommendations from someone at an international accounting firm. A high-profile accountant can’t afford to make a bad one.
What contacts are you trying to put in place? A real estate attorney, a real estate agent, and a banker. Start there.
When you meet with the real estate attorney, ask for a real estate agent and a banker. Likewise when meeting with the agent and the banker. Each may refer you back to the others if it’s a small market or a tight network, but that’s ok. The point is to ask every contact for more contacts, to be continually working to expand your network.
Next step could be an Internet search in the local language. I wouldn’t look for an attorney this way, but this is a strategy for identifying local real estate agents that will yield you a random, completely unqualified, and 100% unreliable list of agents who likely won’t speak English. Still, it’s the local agents who will find you the local deals. The real ...Continue Reading »