What is a Certified International Property Specialist?

by Corben Grant on 15 Dec 2021

Despite being inherently tied to one location, real estate in the modern world is an increasingly international enterprise. Worldwide, the international real estate industry encompasses thousands of transactions a year and billions of dollars.

In Canada specifically, investors and potential immigrants from all over the world are looking to buy in our local markets. In addition, Canadians themselves are looking beyond our borders in large numbers for global real estate opportunities both for investment and recreation.

When it comes to buying or selling across borders things can get complicated very quickly. Often there is a lot of work involved to align the laws, government regulations, and customs of two regions, let alone physical issues like timezones or handling documents remotely. Luckily, there are people who are trained to help with these specific issues – and you may even be able to become one of them.

What is a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS)?

Certified International Property Specialists (CIPS) are real estate professionals with certified knowledge and experience in international real estate practices. The CIPS course was developed by the National Association of Realtors in the U.S. and is now available to Canadian realtors through the Canadian Real Estate Association. The program was first founded almost 70 years ago, back in 1953.

Agents looking to become certified in international real estate must complete specialized courses geared to making them experts in the areas such as global real estate, international transactions, currency exchange, market conditions and international real estate trends, investment tax concerns, and more.

Though international real estate transactions are not restricted only to CIPS, they are some of the most knowledgeable people on the topic and are equipped with tools to help make international transactions go as smoothly as possible.

What does a CIPS do?

A CIPS, like all real estate professionals, will have various job duties involving the buying and selling of international real estate. CIPS may handle both sales in Canada and sales abroad. For example, they may sell property in local markets to international clients, or sell international real estate to Canadians. CIPS may work with international real estate generally, or may specialize in specific regions or groups of people. For anyone looking to get into the international real estate business, this certification will prove very useful.

How much do international real estate agents make?

Ultimately, how much you make will always depend on how you market yourself and how well you do your job. However, becoming a CIPS will offer you access to markets and clients that otherwise would not be available to you, as well as offering you an in-demand certification and knowledge that you can leverage for better business and more pay.

How can I become a Certified Property Specialist?

Canadian agents can become CIPS certified through courses offered by the Canadian Real Estate Association. The program curriculum requires the completion of two core courses, as well as three elective courses. The main courses cover local markets in global real estate and the U.S. market and each elective addresses real estate practices in areas like North and South Americas, Western and Central, Europe, Asia and the Pacific, and Africa. The courses cover not only market information, but also cultural and business information that is required for successful transactions. In addition, optional courses on diversity, resorts and second homes, and pricing strategies are offered. These courses may be offered both online or in person and usually occur every few months.

Once you have completed your courses, you may apply for CIPS designation. Your application also requires demonstrated international experience, measured through a number of points on your application. To be considered you must achieve at least 100 points across things like international sales history, other professional certifications, foreign language proficiencies, experience travelling, studying or working abroad, university degrees, and more. Application costs a one-time fee of $75 USD, and yearly dues to remain certified cost about $220 USD yearly.

What are the benefits of a Certified International Property Specialist?

For clients, the benefit of a CIPS is clear. These agents specialize in making sure that your real estate transaction goes as smoothly as possible and have important cultural and business knowledge about your origin and the place you want to buy and its historical and cultural influences. When it comes to such large and important investments, it should be obvious that you want someone who will make sure everything works out in your transaction.

For agents, there are numerous benefits in becoming certified as an international property specialist. For one, you will be getting valuable knowledge about your job and industry, as well as a certification that proves your experience in the global market. CIPS agents also have access to exclusive transaction tools, events, and networking opportunities that not only make their jobs easier but also open many doors in terms of potential business.

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