GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: Exploring Global Opportunities

GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: Exploring Global Opportunities
HGAR Chief Executive Officer Richard Haggerty

When Alejandro Escudero, Director of Global Strategy and Engagement for the National Association of Realtors, confirmed in 2018 that HGAR had been designated as the Ambassador Association to Portugal I was very excited, but I also had no idea what it truly meant to be an Ambassador Association. In 2017 NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall had signed a Bi-Lateral Agreement with Portuguese International Realty (PIR), a trade association representing real estate professionals in Portugal.

PIR’s Association Executive, Pedro Pereira, traveled to Washington DC in 2019 for the NAR Legislative Meetings in May, and we began the process of laying down the foundation for a successful partnership, with discussions of an in-person MOU signing and trade missions in the near future.

Unfortunately, the onslaught of COVID-19 in March of 2020 delayed many of those plans, but just as we did with so many other aspects of our lives during the age of the coronavirus, we shifted to a virtual environment. We conducted a virtual trade mission with PIR and we conducted information sessions on buying property in Portugal as well as buying property in the United States for PIR members. I provided an information session on the value of MLSs to PIR members. We also exchanged articles for our respective publications.

Fast forward to the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 and we again began to discuss the feasibility of a HGAR trade mission to Portugal. In March of this year, President Anthony Domathoti led a team of HGAR leadership to the MIPIM conference in Cannes, France. While there, we were encouraged by NAR and an International Realtor Member from Portugal, (IRM) to connect with representatives of APEMIP, another association for real estate professionals in Portugal. We also met with representatives from the city of Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, who were very enthusiastic to welcome us to Porto.

With our existing relationship with PIR and our new connections with APEMIP and the city of Porto, we were able to launch HGAR’s first trade mission to Portugal the last week of June. To say it was a tremendous success is an understatement. There were constant opportunities to exchange ideas and best practices. There were visits to new construction sites and residential site visits, as well as tours and networking. We discussed the benefits of MLS and cooperation. We explored joint educational opportunities and partnership opportunities.

We all know the saying that real estate is local, but I would also argue that today, real estate is also global. Prospective home buyers are looking for opportunities in other markets, and global buyers are coming back to New York. Everyone who attended the trade mission came away with a renewed sense of being a part of a larger global real estate community.

I want to thank our Portuguese hosts for going above and beyond in welcoming us, including Ana Avelar, Secretary General of APEMIP, as well as APEMIP’s President, Paulo Caiado. I want to also thank all of the attendees from HGAR who made the journey. Finally, I want to thank Pedro Pereira, our partner since 2018 who helped with the coordination and planning, and whose efforts truly made the trade mission the success that it was.

We look forward to welcoming our friends from PIR and APEMIP when they travel to Orlando for the NAR Annual Conference as we continue to develop a roadmap to create growth opportunities for all of our respective members.

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