Year in Review: Building Global Connections During a Pandemic

2020 has truly been unprecedented—a year of border closures, economic shutdowns and more. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought the world closer together. Thanks to technology, CREA Global was able to cross many borders, albeit virtually, to help our affiliates and members build their business networks.

“COVID-19, though challenging, has brought opportunities for us to connect with our colleagues throughout the world. Zoom and other platforms have provided us with the ability to showcase our real estate listings and continue to do transactions—including completely virtual ones,” said Pauline Aunger, Chair of CREA’s 2020 Global Committee. “The coronavirus pandemic has the potential to change the way we all feel about our homes—which may have a huge impact on real estate markets around the world. This makes it even more important for REALTORS® to keep their finger on the pulse of what’s happening globally.”  

CREA Global makes it easy for thousands of REALTORS® in Canada and international real estate professionals to network, exchange referral opportunities and compete in international markets.

Did you know: More than 69% of international buyers were recent immigrants to Canada or temporary visa holders? In 2019, roughly 8% of REALTOR.ca visitor traffic was from international visitors. 

As we adapted to this new normal, CREA Global members and affiliates stayed engaged in several ways:

  • CREA Global’s Facebook group: A space for members and affiliates to share knowledge on global real estate issues and an opportunity to network. Group members are encouraged to contribute to the conversation, share news and events, and discuss what’s happening in their local markets.
  • Monthly Global View emails and Quarterly Global News: Shared insights on business continuity planning, technology and more sent directly to your inbox! This is also a space where we shine a spotlight on our members/affiliates, global markets and market trends.
  • Webinars: More than 250 participants joined live webinars on topics such as market portfolios, global real estate practices, how buyer preferences have changed during the pandemic and more. These sessions not only allowed members to learn how real estate around the world has been impacted by the pandemic, but to share strategies on pivoting business practices for this new reality.
  • Education: CREA Global found new virtual ways to offer our education opportunities to our members and affiliates, hosting seven virtual Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) courses.

The pandemic didn’t slow down CREA’s efforts to promote global business. CREA staff and our volunteer leadership have been involved in many networking events to promote ties between Canada and U.S. 

This year, CREA Global signed three Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with the Austin Board of REALTORS®, Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS® and West San Gabriel Valley REALTORS®. A MOU is a vehicle for CREA to showcase the importance of our partnerships with associations who are also interested in growing their cross-border business for the betterment of REALTOR® members on both sides of the border.  The value of international collaborations can not be overstated.

MOUs sets the stage for the exchange of information in the general field of real estate, promote professionalism in the real estate industry, provide broader educational opportunities, strengthens international collaboration and other activities that provide mutual benefits to REALTORS® and real estate professionals. It’s really a commitment to assist their respective members to become ready for global markets!

As we say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021 remember: being a successful real estate professional is not about where you are on the map, but the connections you have across it.

To learn more about the global efforts supported by CREA, Canadian REALTORS® can visit www.realtorlink.ca/global and interested international professionals can learn how to become an affiliate of CREA at www.creaglobal.ca.  

Sharon von Schoenberg, our Product Manager – Global Services contributes to and implements CREA’s international strategy to increase global opportunities for REALTOR® members. Her initiatives include the Global Affiliate Program, building relationships with international associations and trade-related organizations, developing educational opportunities for members and increasing the relevancy of REALTOR.ca for global visitors. Prior to joining CREA Sharon was a Canadian residential appraiser and held marketing and client management positions in the private and non-profit sector. Sharon holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Ottawa, is a certified association executive and a CIPS designee. As a mother of two teenagers, Sharon stays rooted by practicing yoga.


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