The Asia Services Group Meets to Discuss International Broker Best Practices


As international buying surges in the Pacific Northwest, it is key to understand best practices for working with global clients.

The rise of the Seattle housing market has continued over the past few years, as buyers turn to the region for it’s wonderful environment, top-rated schools, eclectic cultural offerings, and world-class companies. Buyers are coming not just from around the nation but around the world, and it’s no surprise that Seattle was the most searched for U.S. market in 2017 on, a top real estate search portal in China. What’s more, many Chinese mainlanders are currently on shopping tours, taking advantage of the extended holiday surrounding the Lunar New Year celebration.

As demand increases amidst a small supply of inventory, so does competition, and unfortunately it leads many consumers to take shortcuts to put themselves at the front of the line, from waiving inspections and purchasing a home sight unseen or forgoing comparison shopping prior to making an offer. But it’s important to take into consideration that there are many best practices that should be followed in the buying process, and that there are unique factors Chinese consumers face when they decide to make a purchase in Puget Sound.

Weeks before the Lunar New Year celebrations began, the Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty Asia Services Group held a Town Hall meeting to review best practices when working with overseas buyers. The meeting was also attended by China Daily reporter Linda Deng, who covered the findings in a recent China Daily cover story, and was moderated by Marc Berger from Nyhus Communications.

Here are the top ten takeaways:

  1. Work with a reputable broker, that has established, trustworthy capabilities gained through policies, endorsements, and language/cultural alignment.
  2. Require a personal tour of homes – RSIR strongly discourages buying a home sight unseen or relying on referrals and endorsements from friends or family members.
  3. Hire an independent inspector – this will help you ensure all systems are working properly and know what to expect as you take ownership of your home.
  4. Encourage market education – it’s important to compare markets and make sure all reasonable alternatives are considered and explored.
  5. Hire an appraiser and consider their advisement during the offer and counteroffer process. Ultimately a home is worth what the buyer is willing to pay.
  6. If providing buyer credits and a buyer agent is being rebated, that agent must always show all price and compensation adjustments on the HUD statement. 
  7. Should the home be vacant for any period of time, it is recommended that you hire a property management company to professionally take care of heating, maintenance and landscaping. This will prevent both neighborhood conflict and loss of value due to a poorly looked after property.
  8. Confirm all warranty periods and perform inspections again prior to their expiration to make sure all claims are processed in the correct time frame.
  9. Work with third-party experts rather than making representations outside the Law of Agency of a broker, which states that the duty of an agent or broker terminates after closing.
  10. Treat all buyers with respectfully and ethically, as great experiences often lead to referrals.

In 2017, Sotheby’s International Realty was named the most trusted residential brokerage brand in the United States, according to Lifestory Research. Our franchise parent company, Realogy Corp, has been honored as one of the world’s most ethical companies for six years in a row, according to Ethisphere Institute.