Learning a second language is often a requirement of high school and college, but it also has relevance in today’s real estate industry. Agents who speak a second language find that they stand out from the crowd, and they will see their business grow.
Why be Bilingual?
It may seem obvious for those in major metro markets, like Los Angeles, Dallas and New York City to speak a second language. Real estate agents in the largest housing markets are just as likely to work with a non-native English speaker as someone with a long lineage from the U.S.
In those markets, you are going to meet up with people who are first-generation Americans all of the time. They may speak broken English or have someone to translate, but it will still be beneficial to know the person’s native language.
However, what many new agents do not realize is the smaller markets have a growing non-native population as well. Look at cities with 100,000 – 200,000 population, and you will see more people who have English as a second language or are struggling with the complex English language.
A Second Language Means More Opportunities
When you are fluent in a second language, you can promote your services to reflect this skill. Buyers and sellers who are able to conduct business in a language other than English will have a strong and loyal audience. Get one client who appreciates this fact, and they will tell all of their friends about you.
In many areas, agents with a second language skill have unlimited potential. It is here that you can seize a golden opportunity with virtually no competition. However, even in large markets, the number of agents who can speak a second language well enough to enhance their business is small. In fact, the National Association of Realtors estimates the total number of agents who do speak a second language in their job is 15 percent. Spanish is by far the most spoken second language with French coming in a distant second. (Real Estate Agents’ Secret Weapon)
Even if you work with international real estate investors who are fluent in English, they often feel more comfortable communicating in their native tongue. It also marks you as a professional who cares enough about their clients to make an extra effort, which will retain their loyalty.
For first-time buyers who do not understand English well, it will help reduce their fears and confusion in a complicated situation. They have all of these technical terms coming at them, and a person who can translate everything into layman’s terms in their native language will help make the process less frightening. (Building a Bilingual Agency)
Building a Bilingual Business
Anyone who is considering building up their agency with agents who speak a second language or learning one themselves should test the market first. They should do some research and find out who the largest minorities in the area are and what percentage of the total population they compose. You also want to know how many of them are interested in buying a home. You can conduct surveys and other types of research to get an idea of how much more business it would bring in. Take a look at some of the major markets and see just how diverse they are:
|New York||Chicago||Los Angeles|
|1. Spanish||1. Spanish||1. Spanish|
|2. Polish||2. Mandarin|
|3. Russian||3. French|
|4. French||4. Russian|
|5. Greek||5. Armenian and Korean|
Developing a bi-lingual agency is one way to increase your client base and to separate your company from the competition. You will see sales increase and your reputation develop as your agency becomes more diverse. (Real Estate Agents’ Secret Weapon)
Buyers who speak only minimal English or none at all are concerned about being taken advantage of or getting a bad deal. By being able to speak to them in their native language, you can allay those fears and create a unique niche that will provide you with long-term success. So find your avenue to learn a second language now, or hire licensed assistants who speaks the languages you need in your business. Be aware that these assistants may become your competition in the future, so choose carefully. Personality tests are helpful in determining if you are hiring someone who wants to work in support role or on team as opposed to being their own boss and leader. Agents who feel the need to lead need to create their team and build their own business instead of working under you. Choose carefully Your people will make or break you. You have the power to build a business that serves the community with the right people who reflect your goals and value. “Your Power Is Now!”
As a bilingual broker myself, I know how important having that skillset is. Feel free to contact me, Eric Frazier, at firstname.lastname@example.org for all of your mortgage, lending, or real estate needs. I am here to help you take control of your life now! I am happy to guide you in the right direction now.
Eric Lawrence Frazier, MBA
President and CEO