RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

APR 2019

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

Issue link: http://remag.rismedia.com/i/1097917

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RISMedia's REAL ESTATE April 2019 33 Ambassadors of Global Diversity Carrying out the mission to embrace global diversity is LeadingRE's net - work of 565 brokers located on six continents. Each day, they're looking beyond borders to build business and, more importantly, lifelong rela - tionships. Here, five members from various corners of the globe share how diversity has led their business, their markets and their mindsets to - ward important growth. Having grown up in his family's real estate business, Berry Everitt officially joined Chas Everitt Interna - tional in 1990 and bought the firm from his father, Charles, in 1997. What started as a relatively small, family-owned company in Johan - nesburg has grown into the fourth- largest real estate company in South Africa, with what Everitt describes as "154 points of presence across the country" and about 1,300 agents. According to Everitt, his company thrives in one of the most culturally- rich areas of the globe. "Known as the 'Rainbow Nation,' South Africa really is one of the most diverse, cosmopolitan countries in the world, a melting pot that con - tinues to surprise outsiders with its high level of acceptance and toler - ance for different languages, eth- nicities, cultures and beliefs—and to attract more immigrants as its de - mocracy matures," says Everitt. Embracing cultural diversity will be critical for real estate firms to succeed today and into the future, says Everitt. "Investors everywhere seek the best returns," he explains. "However, the investors bring their own perspectives, with likes, dislikes and beliefs that are grounded in their own experiences and environments. Thus, it is vital for real estate com - panies to have the intercontinental cultural savvy—or access to local experts in an organization like Lead - ingRE—to make their offering com- pelling to widely diverse investors in different locales." Dima Lorenz started Ark Proper - ties in Shanghai in 2005 with his business partner and now wife, Kate. When it comes to doing business in a global environment, Dima and Kate Lorenz embody the very defi - nition of cultural diversity. "I myself am a German passport holder, born in Hong Kong to a Russian emigrant family, but grew up in Germany and was educated in the UK. My wife comes from a British expatriate family, but had her entire upbring - ing abroad, in Africa and the Middle East. We now live in Hong Kong and commute between Hong Kong and Shanghai. This set-up alone is grounds for enough cultural confu - sion," laughs Lorenz. However, it has given the Loren - zes an intimate understanding of the importance of embracing glob - al diversity. "We are dealing with clients from the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia and putting them together with Chinese land - lords on any given day," he explains. "My wife is a certified cross-cultural trainer and executive coach. We conduct sessions and workshops regularly for our team to make sure they have the right skills—or just general awareness to deal with cli - ents from various backgrounds." And despite their personal back - grounds and accumulated expertise in cultural diversity, the Lorenzes de - scribe joining LeadingRE as an "eye- opener." "Having access to privately-owned leading brokerages that share the same passion for their clients and local communities has given us the opportunity to really understand the cultural norms displayed in other real estate markets," explains Lorenz. Founded in 1960, Giorgio Viganò Real Estate is headed by 29-year real estate veteran Benedetta Viganò. The company enjoys a healthy, ac- tive market in Milan. According to Viganò, since the 2015 EXPO— a universal, six-month exposition— Milan has become the point of refer - ence for residential and commercial real estate investments. Being prepared to do business in a global environment is critical to Viganò's success, she explains. "It- aly has signed the Reciprocity Act; therefore, almost anyone can buy here, if an Italian can buy in their countries," she explains. "Opportuni - ties are many, and surely, the most important (factor) is word-of-mouth. If you sell a property to a foreign buyer, he or she will certainly refer your company to their friends and cli - ents because they know you are an expert, and they trust you because you respect their culture." The importance of embracing global diversity—and the role that LeadingRE plays—cannot be under - estimated, says Viganò. "Clients who want to move to other countries need to be understood and respect - ed. It is always scary to buy where you are a foreign citizen, as it might take years before you are able to embrace another culture. Our long history with LeadingRE has helped Berry Everitt Group CEO, Chas Everitt International Property Group Johannesburg, South Africa Dima Lorenz Managing Director, Ark Properties Shanghai, China Benedetta Viganò Owner and CEO, Giorgio Viganò Real Estate Milan, Italy

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