US Business Students Gain Foreign Real Estate Perspective through FIABCI, the International Real Estate Federation.
While on a study tour in Barcelona, several business administration students from Coastal Carolina University (located in South Carolina, USA), were provided an exciting opportunity to enhance their studies and meet with attorneys and real estate business professionals, gaining first-hand knowledge and experiences on the international marketplace that no text book could ever provide.
The visit was facilitated by the FIABCI, the International Real Estate Federation, which provides members access and opportunity for real estate professionals interested in gaining knowledge, sharing information and conducting international business with each other. Coastal Carolina University has recently become an Academic Member of FIABCI and is the first academic institution in the world to become a Supporting Partner of the International Ethics Coalition of which FIABCI is a founding member.
It was a chance encounter at the FIABCI Winter Business Meetings in Brussels, Belgium earlier this year between partners from the AvaLaw firm from Barcelona and representatives of the University that inspired the meeting between seasoned international business professionals and American students who were already scheduled to be in Madrid, Spain on a previously planned school trip.
Students visited the offices of AvaLaw a firm specializing in foreign investment in Spain and were treated to a series of presentations comparing the legal and business culture in Spain and the USA. Presentations focused on how foreign investors acquire real estate in Spain, including general requirements on location and type of building; appropriate legal structures, professional fees and other costs and finance availability.
Raisa Venermo, partner of AvaLaw, explained, “Based on my extensive experience in assisting foreign investors in Spain, the investments do not tend to fail for legal, technical or financial reasons, but due to cultural differences and lack of confidence in the system or in the players on the other side. The role of AvaLaw is not purely acting as lawyers on behalf of the investors but also providing the cultural intelligence to be able to close the operations successfully. This is what FIABCI is all about, and this visit in particular was another good opportunity to exchange information between two quite different business environments, the USA and Spain.”
In addition, the students met with partners at La Casa por el Tejado, an architectural firm specializing in the development of new penthouses in the urban area of the Eixample in Barcelona. The firm implements a very innovative business model – to identify among the existing buildings in the city center, those which have not reached the maximum height allowed by urban planning. The firm then negotiates the right to build a pre-fabricated penthouse on top of these older buildings. The penthouse is transported from the factory and constructed in only one day. FIABCI is very committed to educational initiatives of this type and will be facilitating a similar program for Coastal Carolina University students through the FIABCI-Italia Chapter when they visit Rome later this year.