Sales tips

How to sell to key home buyer groups looking abroad: An estate agent’s guide

As an experienced estate agent you’ll be pretty good at spotting the types of international buyers that come through your door. You’ll meet those that are looking to relocate, those that want to invest, people emigrating to retire or perhaps buying a holiday home.

But have you ever thought about what it is specifically that each of those buyer groups is looking for, that the others might not be? Here we’ll help you understand a bit more about the situations your buyer might be in, helping you think about what they might be looking for and why. That way you will be able to strike up empathetic conversation about some key things that might just win over those clients and get you the sale.

Buyer group #1: People buying a holiday home

Buyers looking for a holiday home will often have a fairly clear idea of where they want it to be located. They may have visited the area many times on holiday or have done some research online. That’s not to say you can’t suggest properties elsewhere, as long as you’ve first listened to what it is they are looking for.

International buyers tend to purchase holiday homes so that they can enjoy convenient, stress-free holidays in the sun whenever they fancy it. So locations that are not too far from an airport or those that offer beaches and other leisure activities within walking distance are extremely popular. Access to a pool will often be top of the list, as will good restaurants nearby. Think about amenities and facilities that will reduce wasted time travelling and offer complete relaxation on a short break away from home.

If your buyers are looking for a property to rent out for part of the year it may benefit them if it is within a short journey of a popular tourist destinations. This would help to increase the rental value and popularity of the property for holiday makers.

Buyer group #2: People looking to relocate

People look to move to Spain for a number of different reasons. These could be related to jobs, family or simply wanting a change of pace. To understand exactly what your buyer will be looking for you will need to ask a few questions about their reasoning.

Most people moving to a new country like the idea of a local expat community to offer support while they settle in and find their feet. This can make the move a lot easier. It may be of interest to potential buyers to understand the nationality mix of certain areas, for example, what percentage of locals are Spanish and which other nationalities feature heavily. Try to look into statistics for the areas that you cover. It’s worth talking to your clients carefully about this though, as while some may be looking for a close-knit group from their homeland, others may be seeking immersion in the local culture and language.

If your relocators have children, schools will almost certainly be at the top of their list of priorities, as will outdoor spaces to play and other children’s activities in the local area. It’s also worth checking whether your buyers expect to have family visiting regularly. If so they may wish to be close to an airport to prevent long pick-up and drop-off trips.

Buyer group #3 People planning to retire abroad

When deciding to retire to another country, we usually find that people have visited numerous times and already have an idea of where they would like to settle. That’s not to say it’s a done deal. You can increase your success at selling to this group if you build a rapport with them by showing that you understand exactly what it is they need from their new home.

An established expat community is often high on the list of ‘wants’ – you may even find they have made some connections with expats while finding out more about the lifestyle and opportunities. Budget is likely to be a factor to this group as they will tend to be fairly careful with their spending and will often make a cash purchase following a sale at home rather than taking out another mortgage at this stage of their lives.

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Discuss age-related issues sympathetically – your potential buyers may wish to live close to good health care facilities and close to leisure facilities that allow them to pursue hobbies such as golf. But make sure you don’t make negative assumptions; your prospective clients may very well still like to water ski or rock climb in their spare time!

One thing that many retired expats have in common though, is a stream of visiting family and friends, so you may find that access to the airport is a key consideration as well as available guest space within the property.

Buyer group #4 People buying for long term investment

On the other hand, potential buyers who want to make a long-term investment are looking for very different things. They will want to know about the future potential of an area. Is it looking like it will go up in value? Are there any large developments or local plans on the horizon that may suggest the area will increase in popularity?

Think about the buyer’s reasons for buying. They are likely looking to use this as a rental property, hoping to gain a regular income over the short term. Establish whether your buyer is interested in taking on some renovation work. If they are, guide them to properties that you feel could see value add with some modest building work. Why not be extra helpful by suggesting local builders or tradesmen that would be able to provide estimates of the cost of the work to help your buyer with their budgeting?

Save your potential buyer time and effort by doing some research for them. What do similar properties in the local area rent for? What kind of returns could they expect? If the property is to be used as a holiday let, help the investor consider which kind of locations and amenities would attract holiday makers, making the property as easy as possible to rent out. This could include local beaches, easy access to supermarkets and restaurants, local child-friendly activities or proximity to tourist attractions.


By considering your prospective buyer’s situation and asking carefully considered questions, you will be able to get into your buyer’s head and perhaps even help them understand more about what they are after. You’ll also build a much better relationship with them if they believe you are truly trying to help them find the best place for them. All of which leads to a higher chance of making that sale.

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