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"A Plan for Real Estate Globalization"

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2/1/02 Interview with Norman Flynn

Norman D. Flynn Associates, Inc.
5555 Odana Road, Suite 111
Madison, WI 53719

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The International Consortium of Real Estate Associations

  1. ICREA is an international alliance of national real estate associations who are working together to forge standards for real estate practitioners in the categories of business practices, code of ethics and technology standards.
  2. ICREA will allow tech-savvy practitioners in the US to do business across national borders; international real estate is a large and active business arena with real estate constituting 7% - 20% of GDP in many countries.
International Real Estate Potential

  1. Each of the three major global trading spheres (the European bloc, Asia and the Americas) is solidifying and becoming more competitive.
  2. Any multi-national organization in the future will be transferring people throughout these three blocs - meaning phenomenal high-end business for all real estate specialties; companies will be looking for professionals who understand cultural and language differences to assist them and their employees.
  3. AFIRE [Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate], reported from a recent study that 65% of international investors prefer to invest in the US because of relatively high yields and low risk compared to other markets.
  4. Projections estimate 675 million Internet users on a global basis by the end of 2002, and over a billion by 2005; already in the US, the Internet touches more than 63% of real estate transactions.
  5. Flynn finds practitioners around the world interested and excited about RE practices here because our technology anticipates theirs by 2­5 years; Northern Europe is already advanced in its technology practices.
  6. China has amazing software for pre-marketing materials that can generate full video tours from line-drawing plans with fast and realistic results.
Overcoming the Language Barrier

  1. It is unrealistic for most practitioners to conduct business in a foreign language, but English has become the language of business in the world.
  2. Translation tools are useful for deciphering simple messages (such as e-mail) but are inadequate for high-quality translation; the translation tools may become more effective over the next few years.
  3. Some sites convert MLS databases into multiple languages []; software is available to help with as many as 10 languages.
Genesis of the Consortium

  1. In 1999, the National Association of Realtors sponsored a think-tank group from national associations from nine countries to respond to the impact of globalization brought about by rapid changes in technology.
  2. Concern centered on keeping real estate professionals central to transactions and extended to overcoming impediments to transnational business.
  3. ICREA was formally established on May 13, 2001, participated for the second year at the NAR convention in November 2001, and expects to have its web site fully operational by the end of March 2002. The ICREA site launched in March 2002 at The URL has since changed to, reflecting the increased focus on the marketing of "distinctive" properties that have global appeal, e.g., high-end residential, resort/leisure sales and rentals, second home, etc. A re-designed site, with a Distinctive Properties Advertising Service will launch in July 2003.
  4. The consortium now has 26 country associations as members, representing about 1.2 million active practitioners; only national associations qualify for membership; any of their members may use ICREA services.
Benefits for Working Globally

  1. ICREA is setting a framework for international referrals, empowering the average agent to help buyers from other countries and to help US buyers purchase outside the US.
  2. By going to the ICREA site, any agent will be able quickly to learn about a country, find a qualified practitioner and get an agreement for a referral fee electronically; agents will be able to refer clients with confidence that they will be treated properly and that the agent will be paid.
  3. Affinity benefits of membership will include access to goods and services through a consortium 'mall'; the goal is for each national association to offer its affinity programs to all consortium members so that deals represent the best prices available globally. This product/service mall is still in the development phase. It was delayed due to the development prioritization of the Distinctive Property Advertising Service and the Transnational Referral System.
Cooperation among Associations

  1. All 26 associations that belong to the consortium so far are also cooperating partners with the NAR, which has agreements with 52 associations in 43 countries; hopefully the other associations will join. Twenty-four member countries signed the final Multilateral Agreement. Since that time one member country resigned due to their national economic situation and one new member country has joined. The full list of member country associations is at the Web site.
  2. FIABCI World, CEPI and CEREAN have observer status with the consortium and bring the cooperation of these regional and global real estate organizations.
ICREA Priorities

  1. The immediate focus of the consortium is to get its site up and running with information instantly accessible to any practitioner who wants it. Site launched March 2002; re-designed site with increased emphasis on consumers finding properties worldwide will launch July 2003.
  2. The next priority is establishment of a seamless, effective mechanism for transnational referrals; closely related, is the development of standards to elevate real estate practice globally. The Transnational Referral Protocol was approved in May 2002 and signed by a majority of the ICREA members in November 2002. Currently 19 of 25 members have signed the Protocol, allowing their member constituents to participate in the ICREA system. Available at the "members only" side of the Web site is a standard referral contract form, along with the Protocol and a list of member countries have signed the Protocol, and forms for use in the event of request to arbitrate.
  3. To follow the evolution of ICREA's efforts, stay in touch with the website, which will be an on-going work in (up 3/31/02). The new URL is
  4. The kind of information to find there will include, descriptions of member-countries' culture, real estate practices and licensing; roster of members with credentials; list of available properties.
  5. ICREA will help insure that technological advances will be integrated into real estate practice worldwide.
Global Change

  1. Society members are well positioned to expand their business globally because of their acceptance of technology as a solution to dealing with a dynamic market.
  2. Internet-based business will continue to escalate rapidly over the next 2­3 years in all the global trading spheres; international business practice will be much easier, more effective and more lucrative.
Contact Information for Norman Flynn:

(v) 608-276-4900
(f) 608-276-4910

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Norman D. Flynn Associates
Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate
Multi-language MLS listings