As we step into 2024, I find myself reflecting on the seismic shifts in the real estate industry, particularly the rising tide of global networking. It’s a journey that has taken me from local markets to international stages, and I want to share some of these experiences with you.
The immense power of global connections
I remember attending my first international real estate congress in Cannes, France. The air was buzzing with languages from around the world, and I felt a mix of excitement and nervousness. It was here, amidst a crowd of seasoned professionals from various corners of the globe, when I realized the immense power of global connections. I was so excited to make friends from Nigeria, Spain, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hungary and more.
One encounter stands out vividly in my memory. I met a developer from Singapore, and our conversation quickly turned into a brainstorming session about sustainable urban development. This exchange didn’t just broaden my perspective — it also led to a collaborative project that integrated innovative green technologies into our respective markets. The next moment, I met someone from my hometown who had moved to France a few generations ago.
Melting pots of innovation and collaboration on many levels
These congresses are more than just gatherings. They’re melting pots of innovation and collaboration. I’ve learned about cutting-edge technologies like AI and VR (virtual reality) in real estate, from Rafat Chababane in Switzerland, which have transformed how we conduct global transactions. I recall the first time I used VR to showcase a property to an overseas client. The look of amazement on their face, as they “walked” through the property thousands of miles away, was a testament to how technology is revolutionizing our industry.
But, it’s not all about technology. The heart of real estate is still human connection. I’ve built relationships that have led to not just business opportunities but lifelong friendships. These connections have been invaluable, especially when navigating the complexities of different markets. For instance, a tip from Michael Von Hauff in Europe once helped me avoid a significant investment pitfall.
Understand the local market, but stand out with a global perspective
I’ve also learned the importance of being a local expert with a global mindset. Understanding the nuances of your local market is crucial, but having a global perspective is what sets you apart. It’s like having a bird’s eye view of the real estate landscape: you see patterns and opportunities that others might miss.
In my years in the industry, I’ve seen how attending these global events can redefine your career. They’re not just platforms for learning; they’re launchpads for growth. I’ve watched many colleagues transform from local realtors to influential global players, all because they stepped out of their comfort zones and into the world of international real estate networking.
It’s no coincidence that the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board is sending its five executives to this year’s global congress and the Canadian Real Estate Association’s global affairs group is expanding its scope of work.
As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of real estate, the key to success lies in our willingness to connect, learn and adapt. The world is our market, and our network is our greatest asset. Let’s embrace this global networking revolution and shape the future of real estate, together.
Seyfi Tomar is secretary general of FIABCI-CANADA and a Realtor with Re/Max Premier in Vaughan, Ont.