Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Working Abroad as a Real Estate Asset Manager, Challenges and Barriers

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Working Abroad as a Real Estate Asset Manager, Challenges and Barriers

Article excerpt

Longtime CPM and dutch national, robert kuiper, shares insights from a career spanning decades and continents.

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Working abroad-whether as part of your career path or to expand the working area of your organization-can be a tempting event. Sometimes the opportunity to work abroad falls upon you because you have international clients or work in an international environment. But should you do it?

If you are (fairly) new in this sector or do not have extensive experience, think twice. The best starting point is always your own home territory, where you are familiar with the language, culture and professional arena. If you decide to become a real estate asset manager in a foreign country, your role can take shape in many ways. You might be transferred abroad for a certain period or just travel in and out of a country. (Recently, I have seen more asset management audits taking place on an ad hoc basis in order to verify and/or optimize processes and organizations). Although the depth of preparation can be different depending on what the working situation will be, it is my experience that following some basic rules can help bring down certain barriers and limit the risk of failure.

1. STUDY THE CULTURE: Prepare yourself for living in that country, even if you do the job just by travelling in and out. Learn about the way of living and working, the culture and the business environment. It is important to understand why things are done differently, how people deal with their superiors, clients, partners and so on. Will you be able to cope in the new environment? If not, don't do it. I once managed a real estate portfolio in Western Europe where property management was outsourced to a third party, local property management organization. Entering transaction discussions with potential partners by the management organization-at that time common practice-did not work out well, at least not the way we were used to, and created a lot of disturbance. It appeared that potential partners were reluctant to deal with the management organization; their decision makers wanted to discuss the matter with the owner's representative directly. We changed the way of working and became more successful. Nowadays that market has matured and is accustomed to working with intermediaries. …

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