“You have to be a licensed real estate agent in the state of Florida,” says Ken O’Brian, a broker in Florida who works with Canadian buyers. “A licensed broker in Canada can refer Canadian buyers to Florida brokers for a referral fee. But, usually, it is the Canadians who contact us directly.”
More agents are deciding to act as the middleman in those situations, seizing every opportunity to collect those Florida-focused clients, build partnerships with communities and with other agents in the States.
“We’ve educated ourselves quite a bit down in Florida and we bring [that knowledge] back here to Canada,” says Wayne Levy, the vice president of sales and marketing for FloridaHomeFinders.ca. “It’s very technical and we have all the answers. It’s a lot less strain on the agent [to refer a client to us].”
But, outside of that referral, agents can further earn their clients’ trust by educating them about the outlying factors surrounding the purchase and sale of American real estate.
“That’s our specialty,” Levy says. “We’re a real estate brokerage, the largest in Canada that sells second homes and income properties to Canadians in Florida. When [agents] approach us with [a client], we tell them the easiest thing is to refer clients to us.”
A growing number of agents are refusing to leave money on the table, instead helping snowbird clients in their search for a foreign home – and collecting a referral fee for the service.