Real Estate is already amongst the most complex transactions. Now, imagine buying or selling a home in another country. For some, this process can be incredibly stressful, arduous, and lengthy, unless of course, one’s lucky enough to work with Julie Douarin, real estate expert, author, coach, and renowned influencer.
Julie comes from a long line of famed real estate brokers. Although she dismissed a real estate career in her youth, in favor of fashion couture, fate and her family legacy eventually brought her back. Julie chuckles, recalling that she once found real estate uninteresting and glamour less in comparison to fashion.
“Now that I understand real estate and all its complexities, I realize it is the most interesting industry in the world!” Julie admits.
16 years ago, Julie got her start in social real estate, she went on to pursue construction real estate, commercial real estate, and finally luxury real estate, the sector that she presently focuses on. In recent years, Julie has trained and supported many brokers for Coldwell Banker and has been fortunate enough to work with clients buying and selling homes all over the world, an experience that has been pivotal in honing her skills and industry knowledge. The cultural differences in each country present both a challenge and an opportunity for growth.
Although Julie works all around the world, her favorite transactions involve Americans looking to move to Europe or French clients in search of a home in America. Julie spent a season of time working in the United States and learning the intricacies of American real estate.
“The experience of buying or listing a home in the United States varies greatly from the experience of doing so in France,” Julie explains.
Americans have a different set of expectations, wants, and needs that they bring to the real estate transaction.
“Moving to Europe is not the same as vacationing in Europe or watching a television program about Paris.”
Indeed, there is extensive preparation involved in finding an American their dream home in Paris. However, for brokers like Julie, this is the fun part.
Julie approaches each transaction like a puzzle, “You have to be strategic and play by the rules to figure out the best outcome for the client,” says Julie.
On the flip side, finding a home for a European in the United States or Asia can be equally challenging.
“Time is money when working with countries outside of your own,” Julie explains.
For this reason, she always works to close contracts quickly and efficiently. This mentality is just one of many reasons why having a broker who understands both French and American needs is so vital.
A few years ago, Julie realized that the ability to properly service American clients was sorely lacking amongst her French associates. Today, Julie coaches other real estate agents on a variety of skills, including selling best practices, relating to foreign clients, leadership within the industry, and strategies to increase business and bring in new clients.
According to Julie, “Even if you’re the best real estate agent in one country that doesn’t mean you’ll be the best in the next, successful agents will understand the different approaches.”
When working with her students, Julie always begins by helping them shift their mindset to improve their confidence. Mindset is a very “Americanized” concept, Julie explains. This is one of many American strategies that Julie has implemented from her time spent selling in America that she seeks to teach her European students. Julie is presently in the process of writing a book that will address this and other aspects of modern real estate, including the digitalization and impact of the media in the industry.
Whether she is working with an American or European client, Julie operates with transparency and efficacy, incorporating the best of both American and European real estate strategies to provide the best level of service to her clients.
Although Julie is presently accepting new clients, she recognizes that she can’t help everyone. Nevertheless, her goal is for potential buyers or sellers to enter into their next real estate transaction educated and informed to ensure a positive outcome. Julie shares her top three tips for Americans working with a foreign broker.
Look at the degrees and diplomas your broker carries. Each country has different compliance laws, so make sure your broker has the proper credentials.
Verify your broker’s level of understanding of American culture, particulars and language.
Understand your broker’s flexibility. American brokers are typically much more flexible with their time. Unlike Julie, some European brokers may be less willing to give up afternoons or late evenings. While some level of flexibility may be assumed, ensure you and your broker have clear expectations going in.