Going International With Fiabci

By: Richard Soto

When real estate markets go international, FIABCI helps agents and brokers make the transition. This organization, known in longhand as the International Real Estate Federation, is spreading from city to city across America, and it's changing the way many industry professionals do business. In early 2008 Austin Texas became the latest city to form an FIABCI chapter.

FIABCI stands for "Federation Internationale des Administrateurs de Biens Conseils et Agents Immobiliers," and was founded in France following the second world war, at a time when many ambitious businessmen envisioned global organizations to promote cooperation among nations. Many groups of this nature took years to find widespread support, but this one was quickly successful. The organization held its first international congress in 1951 with delegates from Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Holland. Over the following decade FIABC would attract dozens of additional nations and hold several more international congresses. In 1964 at a meeting in Tel Aviv, the organization adopted the International Real Estate Federation moniker, but kept the FIABCI abbreviation, since it was already recognized worldwide.

Today FIABCI has more than two million individual members in 65 countries. At its most basic level, the organization promotes information sharing and networking on all levels of real estate. Almost anyone connected to the industry can become a member, provided they have enough experience, good standing in their market, and can work on an international level. Members of FIABCI include brokers, property managers, appraisers, developers, lawyers, insurers, architects, urban planners, and other professionals.

FIABCI is especially useful in markets where foreign investment is high and a strong economy has produced demand for commercial real estate - a weaker US dollar in recent quarters has also brought more international buyers and sellers to the market. In the case of Austin, businesses and residents from all over the globe need help finding office space and homes quickly, and FIABCI facilitates this. The organization's broad-based membership can help speed up transactions and enable professionals from different continents to collaborate quickly on client work. At the political level, FIABC FIABCI also works to promote high real estate standards and ethical business practices around the world as a special consultant with NGO status to the United Nations' Economic and Social Council.

Real estate professionals who work in a few residential neighborhoods or cities may not ever need to deal directly with FIABCI, but they may still find it useful as a resource on the evolution of the industry. For agents and brokers working internationally or commercially, FIABCI is definitely a worthwhile resource, and could mean the difference between a solid local business and one with the potential to expand overseas.

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