How to Sell Your House to an International Buyer

Jessica Johansen's Photo
By Jessica Johansen Updated January 30, 2024


5 tips for selling to a foreign buyer | Pros and cons | Which countries to market in | Differences from traditional selling | FAQ

When you’re selling a home, you’re not limited to the prospects in your local market.

People all around the world are interested in investing in the US market. From April 2022 to March 2023, foreign buyers bought $53.3 billion of residential real estate in the US (2.3% of existing home sales).[1]

Here’s an overview of how to market your house to foreign buyers.

5 tips for selling your home to an international buyer

Tapping into the global real estate market has its challenges, but it’s not impossible. You may have an easier time selling if your home is in Florida, California, Texas, North Carolina, or Arizona, which are the top destinations for foreign buyers.[1]

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you get ready to sell:

  1. Hire a real estate agent with experience in foreign transactions
  2. Translate your listings
  3. Invest in high-quality photos and videos
  4. Advertise on international websites
  5. Consider your target audience when writing a listing description

1. Hire a real estate agent with experience in international transactions

The best practice is to work with a real estate agent who is certified in foreign transactions, such as a Certified International Property Specialist designation from the National Association of Realtors.[2]

These agents can help you market your home to foreign buyers, whose expectations on property and real estate transactions are probably unfamiliar to you. They'll also give you expert guidance throughout the sale to help you get an optimal outcome.

If you’re looking for a skilled real estate agent to help you market your home internationally, Clever Real Estate can help. Clever's free agent finding tool can connect you with full-service, top-rated real estate agents who have experience with unique transactions, including selling to foreign buyers.

Plus, Clever agents charge just 1.5% in listing fees instead of the typical 3%, saving you thousands on realtor commission.

Work with an agent who's familiar with foreign investors.

Find a vetted agent who can market your home to your target buyer, and get help navigating the unique challenges of an international transaction.

2. Translate your listings

Translate property listings and marketing materials into languages most spoken by potential international buyers. Prioritize Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, but also consider Russian, Arabic, Portuguese, French, German, and Hindi.

Top foreign buyers in US marketsPercent of all foreign buyers
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Source: National Association of Realtors, "2023 Profile of International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate." Data for April 2022–March 2023.

Provide translations directly on listing websites whenever possible, and consider hiring a translator to ensure accurate translations.

Translation serviceQuote*Time to quote
Stepes$22.50Instant after submitting online form
Click For Translation$24.94**Within a few minutes via chat
Acadestudio$100 (min. fee)Within 24 hours via email
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*Quote for 250-word residential listing, standard translation from English to Spanish. **This company price matches.

3. Invest in high-quality photos and videos

You need great real estate photos and video walk-throughs when selling to international buyers. If they can’t visit your property in person, they'll rely on photos and videos when making a decision.

In your listing, consider including a 3D virtual tour, 360° photos, and a personalized website landing page.

4. Advertise on international websites

Purchase digital banners or text ads on platforms that foreign investors use to search for US properties. You can also experiment with search ads on Google and social media.

Many Chinese buyers use, where they can shop for homes across China, the US, and other countries. Another popular site,, specifically caters to Chinese buyers looking for property overseas.

Canadian buyers often look for US properties on major US sites like Zillow, Trulia, and is another platform you can use to market to international buyers.

5. Mind the details of your listing description

Make sure you use the right measurements, whether square footage or square meters, miles or kilometers. Also make it clear that appliances are included in the sale, since many foreign buyers aren’t used to appliances being included.

You may also want to share community details like rankings of neighborhood school districts, availability of academic support for non-native speakers, and any international cuisine, cultural centers, and offices of multi-national corporations close by.

There are tons of little details that can create communication issues. You can work with an experienced realtor to make sure you don't leave any important details unaddressed.

Which countries should you market your home in?

Marketing your home to a foreign buyer isn’t as simple as picking a country you like. Think about your home’s location, the asking price, and the economy of the country you might target.

The National Association of Realtors reports that foreign buyers tend to flock to specific areas of the country. For example, many buyers from Asia purchase property in California, and Mexican buyers tend to buy homes in Texas.[3]

This doesn’t mean you can’t market to certain countries, but it can provide a logical starting point to maximize your efforts.

Why sell to an international buyer?

Selling your home to a foreign buyer has its challenges, but the benefits shouldn’t be ignored. Let’s weigh the options:


  • A global market means a larger pool of potential buyers.
  • Foreign buyers typically spend more money than domestic buyers.
  • Many foreign buyers make all-cash offers.


  • It can be complicated for foreign buyers to get mortgages on US homes.
  • Language barriers could impede the sale.
  • It might take longer to close.

Pros of selling to an international buyer

First and foremost, the global market is much larger than your local one. Opening up your home to buyers in other countries gives you a much larger pool of prospects.

Also, foreign buyers are eager to buy in the US and typically spend more money than a domestic buyer. Foreign buyers accounted for 2.3% of all home sales between April 2022 and March 2023, with a median purchase price of $396,400 compared to a median price of $384,200 for all homes sold in the US.[1]

If you want to sell your home for top dollar and potentially get more offers, tapping into the foreign market might be a viable option.

Cons of selling to an international buyer

Though many foreign buyers will pay cash for a house, some of them will need a mortgage, and that can complicate the process. Mortgage requirements are usually stricter for noncitizens (some lenders require a 30% down payment), and the lending process might take longer than a typical mortgage.

Also, there’s a big difference in language that could impede the sale. For example, listing your home’s square footage might not translate well with a buyer who is used to measuring in square meters.

There’s also the potentially longer closing cycle. Getting paperwork reviewed and signed, finding an escrow company that works with foreign investors, and other scheduling conflicts may stretch out the timeline.

Differences when selling to international buyers

When selling a home to foreign buyers, there are a few key differences you’ll need to navigate, particularly in cultural distinctions and the transaction at large.

  1. Remove any symbols of politics or religion when photographing and staging your home. These items might not translate well to other cultures and may create a bias of your home.
  2. Research the country’s cultural values to understand how they negotiate and do business so you're less likely to offend someone.
  3. Be aware of special circumstances for foreign real estate transactions. For example, if the buyer isn’t paying cash, they may have to come up with a large down payment and get financing through specific lenders that cater to foreign buyers.

Your agent should be able to help you navigate the differences and complexities, as well as communicate with the buyer’s agent throughout the process.

Find a top agent to help you navigate a foreign transaction.

Connect with experienced agents who can help you throughout your international transaction, including marketing to foreign buyers.

FAQ about selling your home to international buyers

How do you attract high-end real estate clients?

Earning high-end clientele requires you to go a step above the norm. The property itself is just part of the equation. You may also want to emphasize luxury amenities, offer a free gift or cash buyer incentive, or market your home where high-end buyers are most likely to see it.

What is global real estate?

Global real estate is a term that describes the process of buying real estate across borders. For example, someone who has property in multiple countries is an investor in global real estate. This is becoming more common with real estate investors who are looking to expand their portfolios.

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Article Sources

[1] National Association of Realtors – "International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate". Updated March 2023.
[2] National Association of Realtors – "Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS)". Accessed Jan. 29, 2024.
[3] National Association of Realtors – "2023 Profile of International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate". Pages 18.

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