The Real Estate Diplomat

Aaron Masliansky

Welcome to the Real Estate Diplomat, an American's guide to global real estate looking through a geo-political lens. I’m your host Aaron Masliansky, Realtor at Dream Town Realty and Chairman of the Global Real Estate Council at the Chicago Association of Realtors. In each episode we will explore the American experience of buying real estate abroad, and learn how and why people from around the world move to and invest in the United States. We will speak with real estate professionals, political experts and those who have made the leap to move abroad. Listeners will come away with the knowledge they need to move around the world, and be inspired to make their dreams a reality.

Gay Cororaton- Ukraine Update on Global Real EstateAlly Rodriguez - Navigating Central American Real Estate
Looking to invest in the Central American region? Ally Rodriguez will be sure to inform you about the know-hows today! In this episode, Aron Masliansky is joined by Ally Rodriguez to provide input in investing globally in Central America. Ally empowers people through education to learn how to buy international real estate, and find their fit.  Ally also shares that the cultures of Central America are different than what you may be used to, and it can be refreshing. She speaks about Panama City where there’s a boardwalk that people go to just to be a part of a tribe in a collective community. There’s a lot to learn about the Central American culture and how to get there so stay tuned!The career shift: Ally shared that when she and her family moved to Belize, they didn’t have a solid plan on how to live. They didn’t have jobs, they sold everything they had in Texas, started a new life from scratch with the money they had. What struck Ally is that she likes the idea of teaching, coming from a background of teaching in a public school. Ally explored all different options for teaching from online to teaching in a school again, but it didn’t feel right anymore. After a couple of years of living in the island, Ally was offered the position where she can reach out to people who had the same situation as her and help them. The idea of meeting someone who has little idea of what they want to do other than needing a change of pace or environment, Ally fell in love with the job as it also allows her to educate and empower people to take the crucial first step into finding the paradise that they want and need.The pandemic’s lesson about Central America:Ally shares that one of the reasons why people from the US are moving into to Central America is to have a plan B in case a situation calls for the need to move. A common reason people move to Belize or Honduras is because they did not like how their country or government handled the pandemic. She also tells us how she was on a vacation in Honduras when the lockdowns started and was stuck there for five months!About Ally Rodriguez:Ally began her professional career as an elementary school teacher in Texas where she helped grow and shape young minds for over 10 years. Her tenure included many awards and recognitions for the dedication and support she provided to her students from many diverse and challenged backgrounds. In November 2017, she moved with her husband to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye after a brief trip to the island only a few months before. Her love of the warm Caribbean waters, friendly people, and rich culture immediately made her feel at home.As Mrs. Rodriguez’s knowledge of the community and market grew, she found herself as the marketing manager for various businesses on the island where she discovered her desire to deliver information to tourists and locals alike, eventually connecting her with well-known real estate developers in the Central American region. In May 2019, the adventurous souls held by both her and her husband couldn’t be contained and the love of the new culture and country led them to become permanent residents of Belize.After holding the position of International Referral Network Director at ECI Devekopment for over 2 years, Ally and her husband decided it was time to spread their wings and position themselves to be able to help people from all walks of life in their desire to move to locations around the world.Panama was the next stop on the list and in December of 2021, Ally along with her husband packed their bags and booked a one-way ticket to the Bridge of the Americas. Upon arriving and settling in, she co-founded a consulting business to offer first-hand advice, experience, and services to people wanting to relocate to Central America and beyond!Through this new business, she has teamed up with the Velarium Group to head up the sales department for the award-winning communities designed by EcoVillages.Life.Outline of the Episode:[03:14] Ally’s background and the move to Belize[10:16] How the pandemic made a way for Ally[19:56] Why are people choosing to move into Central America[21:45] Integrating into society and culture in Panama[25:43] Panama as a global hub[29:25] How to keep your paradise, a paradise[31:34] Ally’s present workloadAnd many more!Resources:Website: https://www.ecovillages.life/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ally.rod.international/Connect with Aaron Masliansky!Website: https://www.therealestatediplomat.com/LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-masliansky-4b937217/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/633849318025738Twitter: https://twitter.com/aaronmasliansky
Feb 16 2022
39 mins
Marc Tropp on Commercial Lending
Commercial real estate is a major driver for foreign direct investment into the United States. Today, Aaron Masliansky is joined by Marc Tropp to share information about commercial lending and how the service can definitely help people that are looking to invest or buy properties, whether they are from the US or abroad. Aaron and Marc have known each other since high school and now are both working in the same field. Marc will share more on the general sense of commercial lending and what he thinks will be the future for commercial property investment. Be sure to stay tuned because there’s a lot to discuss in this episode! The realm of commercial lending (2:50): Marc starts by explaining what commercial lending is. This includes industrial property, hotel, office, multi-family residential and more.  Commercial lenders, as Marc shared, work together with reall estate brokers to better understand the current landscape of the marketplace. Commercial lenders as global bridges (23:07):Just before this interview, Marc was on the phone with a client from Singapore that would like to buy an apartment building in the US. He shares that typically non-US citizen clients will look for a lower leverage deal. Marc then shares what he would do in these cases to lower the risks and provide clients a way to recoup their finances. Marc further shares that it’s currently a trend for international investors looking for US properties and acknowledges that the world really is getting more connected especially in terms of business. Whenever Marc is being asked why the US is doing significantly better in the market, his opinion is because the safest place to be putting in money and potentially growing it is in America. He shares more about the American market and why it’s safer to invest in, and the state of other countries such as China in this episode!  About Marc Tropp:Senior Managing Director at Eastern Union. Financed over $1 billion in properties of all types. Experience working with a wide range of lending institutions including community banks, CMBS, life companies, and institutional investors. Introduce new lenders to the DC-Metro area and surrounding markets, resulting in increased and consistently robust production for Eastern Union’s Bethesda office. Experience executing complicated deals, including a hotel conversion with an EB-5 component and an equity stake raised for a retail legend’s 239th retail purchase. Recognized by the Commercial Observer in 2014 in its annual top ”Brokers and Lenders on the Rise” feature honoring 25 national executives under 35 years of age. Outline of the Episode:[02:44] The premise of commercial lending[04:48] Fund sourcing for projects[06:35] The trend in commercial lending [12:07] More about the scope of work and services[22:58] How lenders help non-US citizens   [29:02] Developments in China and will it affect the USAnd many more! Find Marc Tropp on. . . Email:              mtropp@easternunion.com Website:          https://easternunion.com/ Linkedin:          https://www.linkedin.com/in/marctropp/ Connect with Aaron Masliansky! Website:          https://www.therealestatediplomat.com/ LinkedIn:         https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-masliansky-4b937217/ Facebook:       https://www.facebook.com/groups/633849318025738 Twitter:                        https://twitter.com/aaronmasliansky
Feb 3 2022
34 mins
Alison Kalantzis- An American Buying in Greece
Does owning a home in Greece sound like a good idea? Alison Kalantzis’ got you covered on today’s episode of The Real Estate Diplomat! In this episode, Aaron Masliansky is joined by Alison Kalantzis to share how she ended up owning a home in Greece while living in Chicago. Alison shares her story on how she was able to travel during a good part of her education and her career further giving her background on different cultures and languages. Who knew that these opportunities will be the road to her owning property in Greece? Timezones, legalities, renovation, communication, are just some of the factors that may be able to get your interest in investing in Greece especially regarding ownership and property handling. There’s a lot to unpack in this episode so be sure to stay tuned! Family connections help with the process:During the time of the early pandemic, Alison and her husband got the chance to buy an apartment in Athens that was owned by her husband’s aunt. They got a great deal for the property as it was also not in optimal condition. They had help from her husband’s side of the family to get connections that helped them with the legal matters and even the renovation of the property. Updates on everything were done via email and that was actually already enough to be able to get the property and have it renovated without having to travel back and forth from Athens to Chicago. Her husband’s aunt actually worked as the head representative for the Agricultural Department for the Cyclades Islands which gave them the confidence that she’s not only comfortable but is also very well-informed about navigating bureaucracy in Greece. Draw a Line with Family:Alison opted not to have the apartment rented out because she doesn’t want to ask family to help her manage a tenant, and she was able to purchase the property at such a low price. Athens is also 8 hours ahead of Chicago which would make it difficult for her to be in regular communication with the tenant and family. Alison also suggests drawing the line on what you think your family should handle, and what an expert should handle, as this would save a lot of money, time, and energy. Keep listening for more information especially with the current state of Greece to help you decide whether Greece should be the next point of interest when investing. About Alison Kalantzis:Colorado-born & bred, with a case of wanderlust running through her adulthood. In pursuit of a B.A. English Literature & Geography, she spent a year directly enrolled in a Scottish University and traveled more widely in Europe. She taught English in Greece after undergrad and while it wasn't right at the time to pursue a career abroad, the experience helped her focus further studies and she got an M.A. in Language & Communication back stateside. She’s spent her administrative career working for global organizations and continues to be interested in the connectivity of our world. Outline of the Episode:[02:56] Why set a global mindset[05:02] Alison’s background and what led her to Greece[10:45]  How the pandemic shifted the need for office spaces[16:47] What the experience in Greece was like for Alison[22:15] The deal for the property in Athens [26:24] Renovation through connections[31:06] What state Greece is in[34:06] What to expect when managing properties in other timezonesAnd many more! Find Alison Kalantzis on. . . Twitter:https://twitter.com/glossolatres/Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/glossolatres/LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/alisonmkalantzis   Connect with Aaron Masliansky!Website: https://www.therealestatediplomat.com/LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-masliansky-4b937217/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/633849318025738Twitter: https://twitter.com/aaronmasliansky
Jan 28 2022
41 mins
Laurie Murphy - Regulating Illinois Real Estate
If you’re interested in investing in real estate or you’re looking to start your entrepreneurial journey in Illinois, then this episode will definitely be helpful for you! On today’s episode of The Real Estate Diplomat, Aaron Masliansky is joined by Laurie Murphy who works as the Acting Director for the Division of Real Estate at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. She shares on this episode her goal of building a relationship between the government and the public that is cooperative in nature and is more geared towards the protection of investors and entrepreneurs in the state. Laurie’s got you covered with a lot of facts and debunking prejudices about her services on this episode so stay tuned! Illinois towards modernization and progress:Laurie shares about how her office constantly changes to be able to cope up with the rise of virtual platforms in the industry. For one, this is necessary so that her office can properly regulate and protect both clients and Realtors that are utilizing these online systems. Laurie explains that this is necessary not only for the protection of already existing and potential persons that will be involved with real estate but also to modernize the system for faster and safer transactions especially during a pandemic. Repairing the Industry:Laurie shares how her agency is correcting for the mistakes of the past in the industry. This is focused on correcting for systemic racism that led to redlining and unfair appraisal, among many issues. She is working towards the continued improvement of the appraisal system to make the playing field fair, inclusive, and transparent.About Laurie Murphy:Acting Director of the Division of Real Estate at Illinois Department of Financial and Professional RegulationAppointed Acting Director by Governor Pritzker on April 1, 2021Served as Deputy Director since June 1, 2019Started her career at IDFPR as the Chief of Boards and Complaint for Real Estate in February of 2018Prior to Joining IDFPR, she enjoyed a 20-year career in real estate serving the majority of her career as a Designated Managing BrokerBachelor of Science in Biology from Northern Illinois UniversityA lifelong resident of West Chicago, ILOutline of the Episode:[00:07] About Laurie Murphy and her office[08:35] The stigma about the IDF PR[12:42] What sets Illinois apart from other states’ regulations[15:58] Why get the right professional for the right job[18:45] How Laurie’s office ensures security and modernity[22:57] What is a virtual office[25:24] The future for virtual platforms[31:22] Efforts for the removal of bias in the industry[37:23] What are the basics for safe investing in the USResources:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurieamurphy/Facebook Page for IDFPR: https://www.facebook.com/ILDFPRConnect with Aaron Masliansky!Website: https://www.therealestatediplomat.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-masliansky-4b937217/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aaron.maslianskyTwitter: https://twitter.com/aaronmasliansky
Jan 19 2022
44 mins
Lauren Cohen - Investing Across Borders
Interested in investing in the United States? Lauren Cohen’s got you covered on today’s episode of The Real Estate Diplomat! In this episode, Aaron Masliansky is joined by Lauren Cohen to learn about her program of Investing Across Borders. Lauren shares about how she got into the field. Lauren had no experience with immigration law before she had to save her ex-husband after he was deported upon their return trip from their honeymoon. She learned about the immigration process and developed her business around it. There’s a lot to unpack in this episode so be sure to stay tuned!Immigration to investment:In this episode, Lauren shares her strategies on how to setup a business and invest in the United States. She talks about programs like EB-5, which allows people to invest in real estate developments in exchange for a Green Card. She also discusses her experience with Covid, shares that the pandemic affects different people in different ways. She has found that many Canadians have been moving to the United States to escape lockdowns and Covid measures. Impact of social media in the field:Lauren finds the world to be highly connected because of social media. She states that having a social media presence is necessary if you’re building a business. She can educate the public and provide ample opportunity for them to connect to your business. Lauren has an international staff that assists with her marketing with people being located in Morocco, India and Arizona. About Lauren Cohen:Serial entrepreneur Lauren Cohen is an International Lawyer, Realtor, and Foreign Investor Expert. Originally from Toronto and now in South Florida, Lauren is also a best-selling author and sought-after speaker, and she launched her podcast, INVESTING ACROSS BORDERS, in late 2020. Lauren and her turnkey team believe in overcoming obstacles and navigating global expansion for business owners and real estate investors while offering access to unique passive income options. Lauren’s superpower rests in paving a path to immigration visas through real estate and business investment, navigating the path for clients to invest, live, work and play across borders.Outline of the Episode:[02:26] The idea of global real estate[05:02] Foreign investment in layman’s terms[08:58] How Lauren learned to handle foreign investments[10:45 Importance of public engagement through social media[13:40] Why the US is primary target for migration[19:19] Immigration to investment programs[21:06] Lauren’s insight on the future of investing[23:10] Reliable resources for investingAnd many more!Resources:Websites: https://investingacrossborders.nethttp://ecouncilglobal.comFacebook:https://www.facebook.com/laurenesqFacebook page: https://www.facebook.com/eCouncilInc/Connect with Aaron Masliansky!Website: https://www.therealestatediplomat.com/LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-masliansky-4b937217/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/633849318025738Twitter: https://twitter.com/aaronmasliansky
Jan 14 2022
26 mins
Stephen J. Anderson-Commercial Attache' for the US Embassy in Japan
If you’re in Japan and are interested in investing in the US, or vice-versa, this is the episode you need! You’re in luck because for today’s episode we have Stephen J Anderson, the Commercial Attache' for the US Embassy in Japan, and he’s here to discuss how his line of work turn opportunities into realities, and make sure that the people beginning on their ventures are properly guided and aware of the details of the environment they’re entering for their start-ups, be it from Japan to the US or the other way around. This episode will give you a background on the Japanese setup, relationship with the US, and a glimpse of what ventures may be best to consider when targeting Japan as your businesses’ next location. Stephen also discusses how he entered the foreign service and what it's like representing the United States abroad.  Business Culture in JapanJapanese culture and technological advancements have always been hand-in-hand regardless of how fast the future comes for their country. In this episode, Stephen discusses some of the key points that investors need to be aware of when trying to strike a deal with Japanese businessmen. Say, for example, the fact that not having gone out for lunch with a Japanese businessman means it’s impossible to even scratch a deal with them. Aside from the cleanliness and punctuality, it seems the samurai values of honor and respect are also well-preserved as one of the key values that the Japanese look for in foreigners as a sign to do business. As much as the Japanese look very reserved with their culture, they actually are very knowledgeable about different cultures as well, most especially with their country of interest when investing.  Stephen also discusses how he entered the foreign service and what it's like representing the United States abroad.  The Big Mundane ThingsAs much receiving calls for help with missing passports can seem less important, it’s these “mundane” seeming things that are very important, especially in terms of national security, that make Stephen’s job  highly crucial. Although, even if he’s a part of the Embassy in Japan, his passion for businesses and being able to guide investors to what ins and outs they need to know about make his work feel less taxing. Even just having to get a document notarized may prove to be problematic for regular people and not much of a big deal for him, he acknowledges that this line of work is one of the biggest reasons why the Embassy is truly necessary. This line of work has allowed him to further polish his skills in realizing business opportunities that are only supposedly concepts or looking for potential markets that are not yet being targetted by other people/locals.  About Stephen J Anderson:Stephen Anderson serves as Commercial Attache at U.S. Embassy Tokyo. Qualified in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, he completed overseas tours in Asia at Beijing, Nagoya, Bangkok and Tokyo.   He also served at the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Baltimore, and had a 4-year posting as Commercial Counselor in Dublin, Ireland.  Prior to government with his doctorate from MIT, Anderson was a research professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and International University of Japan.  At the U.S. Department of Commerce, Anderson has been a global manager promoting U.S. trade and foreign investment in America.Outline of the Episode:[01:50] About Stephen J Anderson and his background[04:45] Point-of-contact for business in Japan[07:50] How to become a foreign service officer[10:15] Stephen’s background on overseas living[13:34] Angles to consider when choosing where to invest[17:14] How to navigate your investments through the pandemic [19:28] Importance of cultural clues when doing business[20:47] How a commercial attache’ supports businesses[21:58] The USA-Japan business relationship[25:19] Forecasts of which opportunities will open in Japan[27:38] Locality as a challenge to being foreign business-ready in Japan[28:59] Decongesting cities to economize rural areas[30:12] Small towns as startup areas for digital nomads[33:20] Where to start when putting up a business in Japan[35:16] The real function of a US Embassy officeResources:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenjanderson2012Article: https://web.mmac.org/events/Lunch-w-the-Japanese-Commercial-Attache-Stephen-Anderson-855/detailsConnect with Aaron Masliansky!Website: https://www.therealestatediplomat.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-mas...Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/63384...Twitter: https://twitter.com/aaronmasliansky
Jan 5 2022
38 mins
Alisa Roadcup from the Chicago Refugee Coalition
In this episode of The Real Estate Diplomat, Chicago Refugee Coalition Executive Director Alisa Roadcup talks about their work and how their operations adapted during the pandemic. Alisa also speaks what brought her to this field of work, and on what composes being a refugee, the effects of the pandemic on the lives of refugees in Chicago, how supporting refugees impact communities, and more. Aaron also pledges to donate a portion of his real estate closing in 2022 to the Chicago Refugee Coalition. As always, there's a lot to unpack in today's episode, so tune in and enjoy! An episode from The Oprah Winfrey ShowWhen she was in college, Alisa wasn't so sure about her career track until she she happened to watch an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. The episode focused on a Nigerian woman named Amina Lawal. What happened in this episode became a pivotal moment for Alisa. In the episode, Oprah had activists, human rights organizations, and women from Amnesty International talking about Amina Lawal's case. Amina was sentenced to death by stoning for conceiving a child out of wedlock. Because of the public outcry for Amina and the show calling out for urgent action against Amina's case, thousands of people took action on behalf of Amina for Amnesty International USA. That very moment sparked Alisa's spirit for service work. About Alisa Roadcup:Alisa believes when you empower a girl; you empower an entire community and generations beyond. She is a social entrepreneur and executive strategist passionate about creating a safer, more just world for girls and young women. Alisa's twenty-year career has focused on the human rights sector as an advocate for women and girls, namely refugees and asylum seekers, especially those displaced throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. From 2012-2018 she led RefuSHE, an award-winning international NGO. Alisa's leadership was honored as an International Woman Leader by Chicago Woman magazine and named a 2017 Emerging Leader by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. ​She has appeared on BBC Worldwide, WBEZ Worldview (NPR) radio, ​MSN, Refinery29, The Chicago Tribune, ABC7 primetime news, and NewsDeeply and frequently speaks on issues of forced migration and women's rights. Alisa holds certifications in Forced Migration from Northwestern and Oxford Universities, a BA in Humanities, and an MA in Comparative Religions. Alisa currently serves on Chicago Council on Global Affairs Women and Global Development Advisory Committee. Outline of the Episode:[02:32] How Alisa runs the Chicago Refugee Coalition during a pandemic[04:40] The effects of the pandemic on refugee families[07:05] What influenced Alisa's passion for humanitarian work[11:42] Having support nurtures your potential and courage[15:58] What's the difference between a refugee and someone simply seeking a better life in other countries?[19:57] Why Sullivan High School is so special[24:34] What makes Chicago Refugee Coalition different?[28:46] About Connor Mautner – The Founder of Chicago Refugee Coalition[32:48] A message to anyone who is against taking refugees[36:08] Our responsibility as Chicagoans and Americans… Resources:Website: http://www.chicagorefugee.orgTwitter: https://twitter.com/alisaroadcupInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/alisaroadcup/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alisa.roadcupLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alisaroadcup/ Connect with Aaron Masliansky!Website: https://www.therealestatediplomat.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-masliansky-4b937217/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/633849318025738Twitter: https://twitter.com/aaronmasliansky
Dec 21 2021
41 mins
Michael Cobb from ECI Development in Central America
If you like the warm and beautiful scenery of the tropics, you might want to consider adding Central America to your list. It’s your lucky day because, in today’s episode of The Real Estate Diplomat, we have Michael Cobb to discuss how they build communities in Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Michael is the founder and CEO of ECI Development, a residential resort development company. He shares how he started the company and what it was like moving from the United States to becoming a developer in Central America. And there’s a lot to take away from this episode, so stay tuned and enjoy the show! Condos in BelizeIt only took one call from Michael’s friend, to bring himself to Belize for a weekend. Michael at the time worked in the computer business, and his friend asked him to go with him for a vacation. The place took Michael’s breath away, and that made him want to come back. So he did return a few months later, and that is when they purchased two condominiums. That became Michael’s first purchase of an investment property, and it was in Belize. The properties faced the ocean, which convinced Michael to buy it. From there, he wanted to expand his buisness, but realized they had a little problem: there is no financing for North Americans in Belize, and no bank there would lend money. So as a solution, they had to finance new purchases and developments on their own before selling it. Long story short, they became a mortgage company. It continued when they bought their first resort property as a developer and eventually came down to Nicaragua. Michael eventually loved the area so much, that he decided to move his family there. Looking back, if not for that trip with his friend, Michael might not have gotten into the business.  Acceptance Without AcquiescenceMichael believes that working in Central America is finding acceptance without acquiescence. When asked about his job, Michael would answer that he tames chaos. He loves and enjoys it because it is exciting and different every day. It is a matter of accepting the local culture of the place of work. Business and productivity cultures differ among countries, and Michael says one should accept or else it will drive one crazy. Regardless of the change when moving overseas for work, Michael still envisions what he wants to deliver to the consumers be done right and he understands the purpose and significance of the organization. So many people lose track of the sense of the quality of life and get hung up on the cost of living. Community ceases to exist in a physical relationship. The vision Michael has is to deliver that kind of community through the design of his communities.  About Michael Cobb:At the height of a successful career in the computer industry, Michael Cobb left to pursue more pioneering opportunities in the emerging real estate markets of Central America. In 1996, he and his business partner formed Exotic Caye International to provide loans to North Americans purchasing properties in Belize, Honduras, and throughout the region.  As the need for capital outstripped the supply, the mortgage company was converted to an international bank under the jurisdiction of Belize. It continues to provide mortgage services but has expanded its services to encompass the full realm of financial products. Michael also saw the need for a regional real estate company to serve the baby boomer consumer with a North American standard product for the next two decades. He led the group into real estate development and created a holding company for several properties, including a resort on Ambergris Caye, Belize. In August 2000, Exotic Caye purchased 3.5 miles of Pacific Beachfront property west of Managua, Nicaragua. This master-planned community hosts world-class infrastructure, homes, and condominium units. In February of 2006, the ECI Development group acquired 1100 acres and 3km of coastline in Costa Rica, setting the stage for expansion into this popular market. They recently merged their Belize property with a much larger parcel and have begun to develop 200 condominiums units on Ambergris Caye, Belize. Additionally, Michael has spoken at hundreds of international conferences about real estate financing and development. He has acted as a consultant to The Oxford Club and counseled various real estate projects throughout Central America. Outline of the Episode:[02:37] How Michael got into developing communities in Central America[09:35] Banks and lending when buying international real estate[15:06] Life in Nicaragua[20:53] How to be successful with developments in other countries[28:57] A great resource for listeners and future clients[37:14] Price ranges of the properties[39:09] Legalities of owning an international property[44:22] Smooth transition with the help of development staff[47:00] Government involvement in terms of approvals Resources:Website: https://www.ecidevelopment.com/Global Property Resource Kit: https://info.ecidevelopment.com/eci-info-new-gap-aaron-maslianskyLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelkcobb/ Connect with Aaron Masliansky!LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-masliansky-4b937217/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/633849318025738Twitter: https://twitter.com/aaronmasliansky
Dec 7 2021
51 mins
Catherine Tinker from Columbian Model and Exhibit Works
This week on The Real Estate Diplomat, we are joined by Catherine Tinker of Chicago based Columbian Model and Exhibit Works. The company builds scale models of buildings, mainly for the real estate development market. They have created many of the scale models of buildings that have been built within the last 30 years in Chicago and many throughout the United States. In this episode, Cathy shares her journey, from starting as a lawyer for the space industry dealing with the Space Shuttle Challenger accident, to creating scaled models of buildings. We discuss why physical representations are an important part of selling the invisible, in addition to digital representations. We also discuss her scale model of the Obama Presidential Library being discussed by former President Barack Obama on 60 Minutes.  The Humanity Behind Scale ModelsYou may wonder why developers invest in a physical model when virtual reality gear is available. Also, why do they even go through the trouble of showing what the project might look like? After all, cost-effective options such as pictures, whether printed and framed on the wall or projected from a computer screen, are available. In today’s episode, Catherine explains why scale models are necessary for anyone trying to sell a development project. One of those reasons is that models are often used to assure the client that the project is real. In other words, if someone can build a scale model of the project, then the likelihood of the project being made to a real-life scale is high.  Additionally, when you are selling a project, whether a condo unit or a single-family home, having a model can help you give potential clients concrete answers to their questions. Ultimately, it will naturally click with the client if they see the project’s space. It also entertains the client while making inquiries with the seller or the developer. Scale models help people better understand the project and its space. And like having an in-person conversation, there is just something so human about seeing and feeling a scaled physical representation of something you are looking to purchase.   About Catherine Tinker:Catherine Tinker has been a scale model and exhibit maker for over 29 years as owner and president of Columbian Model & Exhibit Works, Ltd. The company also spearheaded the creation of the Chicago Architecture Foundation's model of the City of Chicago. Their international client base includes real estate developers, senior living specialists, large corporations, museums, foundations, and attorneys. Prior to Columbian model, Cathy served as a litigation attorney for ten years. Outline of the Episode:[02:31] How Aaron and Catherine know each other.[04:46] Getting into the scale model building space. [07:21] The power of word of mouth when growing your business.[10:02] Working with different materials needed to build scale models. [13:08] The trajectory of pursuing a career in model making. [14:40] Why seeing a scale model is essential in real estate development.[15:53] Delivering large-scale models across the country.[18:56] Creating scale models for TV and movie productions.[22:40] The value of a scale model when selling a development project.[24:42] What Catherine sees on the horizon for model making.[26:51] How models provide entertainment and concrete answers for potential clients.[30:06] Her experience practicing law and a case involving NASA.[32:10] How to get in touch with Catherine Tinker and her work. Resources:Website: https://sites.google.com/site/columbianmodel/cmew/LinkedIn Personal: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ctinker/LinkedIn Company: https://www.linkedin.com/company/columbian-model-&-exhibit-works-ltd.YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/columbianmodelFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMEWmodels Connect with Aaron Masliansky!Website: https://www.therealestatediplomat.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-masliansky-4b937217/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/633849318025738Twitter: https://twitter.com/aaronmasliansky
Nov 30 2021
33 mins
Birgit Linnamäe CEO of Kodasema in Estonia
In this episode, we’re going to talk about Kodasema. They are an Estonian company that aims to provide affordable housing by creating modular, movable units called KODA. Prefabricated, sustainable, and available worldwide, these homes have various applications, and joining us today to explain some of them is Kodasema’s CEO, Birgit Linnamäe. She also shares with us her experiences, from how she rose to success in the construction industry by connecting with people, why it is essential to understand how people communicate, and how you too can grow your business even in the middle of a pandemic. As always, there’s a lot to take away from this conversation, so stay tuned and enjoy the show! Addressing Humanity’s Need for HomesHousing can mean different things for different people around the world. For some, a house could be a 4000 square foot house with a garage and front yard. Meanwhile, it could be as bare as a roof over their heads for others. When Kodasema started, Birgit and her team aimed to create a minimum viable space, which in engineering is a test version of something they would develop later. And eventually, the KODA unit was designed with multifunctionality in mind, where it becomes more than just a living space. So Koda became a tool to create whatever “space” you could ever want and need—a hotel, a shop, a clinic, and the list goes on. As for the architecture, designing such a versatile space proved to be less complicated than anticipated. In turn, Kodasema adopted a high-tech design for their units, which leads with simplicity. KODA units are cube-like in shape and built with modern materials that, again, allow their occupants to get as creative as they want to be. In the end, not only does Kodasema address humanity’s need for housing, but it also provides its need for homes, whether it be for people, businesses, or even ideas.  Quality Transient Housing Anytime AnywhereNowadays, anyone can travel anywhere around the world and work simultaneously. And while being a digital nomad is not new, more people’s minds have been expanded to it, especially in recent years. But, when asked about the possibility of bringing our homes with us when we travel, Birgit explained that, while it is not sustainable to do so, KODA units can at least provide digital nomads today the ease of finding a quality place to stay. And unless we see it from an urban redesign standpoint, taking our homes with us is not the way to go.  Birgit also proposed that if we want to make cities and even the countryside more livable and loveable, we need to design spaces and housing to match the current generation’s expectations. That being said, what Kodasema expects digital nomads to experience with KODA units is always to be reassured that they have a home anywhere in the world, regardless of how transient it can be. After all, housing is often our main concern when traveling to faraway places. But with Koda parks and stay hotels in different cities, whether you are in New York, Paris, or London, you can rest assured that you will have more than just a roof over your head. About Birgit Linnamäe:Birgit Linnamäe is an accomplished strategic advisor and trainer with more than 24 years of interdisciplinary experience in business development across industry sectors in complex and multilingual settings (11 languages). In 2003, she co-founded the Nordic Vision Group, a business development consultancy engaging in many international growth projects in 15 countries. They also serve as a valuable hands-on partner in training individuals and teams, just as in strategic and market expansion in Europe and Asia. In addition, Birgit provides global and board-level strategies, transforming complexities of issues and people into clear, practical, and mindful terms. Outline of the Episode:[02:30] How networking has grown beyond local events.[04:00] Growing a global business amid the pandemic.[08:10] Birgit’s journey into design and construction[11:13] Marketing Kodasema and Estonia on a global scale.[14:35] Learning a language to understand people better.[15:57] How Kodasema addresses humanity’s need for housing.[18:39] The thought behind a KODA unit’s multifunctionality.[23:26] Sustainability as a founding principle for Kodasema.[27:52] Why collaboration is essential in Kodasema’s success.[30:24] How ADUs are solving the United States’ housing problem.[34:08] Working through the supply chain issues as a global company.[37:32] How Kodasema has changed housing to a service.[39:40] What to know about Estonia when planning to live or travel there. Resources:Website: https://www.kodasema.com/Twitter: https://twitter.com/kodasemaInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/kodasema/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kodabykodasemaYouTube: https://www.youtube.com/kodabykodasemaLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/birgitlinnamae/Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kodabykodasema/_created/ Connect with Aaron Masliansky!Website: https://www.therealestatediplomat.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-masliansky-4b937217/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/633849318025738Twitter: https://twitter.com/aaronmasliansky
Nov 23 2021
44 mins
Cambodian Real Estate with Agnes Yang
When people think about Cambodia, they usually only have pictures of a third-world country that used to be under civil war and a rogue government. Typically, people would have the common concepts of poverty and underdevelopment attached to the country whenever it is brought up. But is that narrative still valid up to this very day? From the eyes and experiences of Agnes Yang, it most certainly is an outdated view. And that’s because, in this episode of The Real Estate Diplomat, Agnes Yang shares her experience as an endorser of the Cambodian real estate industry in Japan. She speaks about how Cambodia reinvented itself throughout the years, how it manages to attract interest and support from multiple countries, how its friendly and positive culture influence the love of foreign tourists, residents, and businesses, and how Agnes’ company, GCC Japan, sees the budding opportunities of real estate in the country.  We also speak with her boyfriend Michael Donzella, who is an American living in Japan. We get to hear about his experience as well. As always, there’s a lot to unpack in today’s episode, so tune in and enjoy! Who loves Cambodia?In media and in the perception of far-flung countries, China is the only country that supports and sees interest in Cambodia. But for Agnes, that is definitely not true. Aside from the country naturally giving a home to so many foreign tourists and residents, Cambodia has good relationships with multiple countries around the world such as the United States, Japan, South Korea, France and England. As Agnes said herself, it’s rare for a country to have that much support coming in for itself from so many varying cultures and neighboring countries. Everybody sees opportunity in Cambodia, and not just in its real estate industry. In the past, Cambodians did not trust the government but todaythe new generation is rediscovering its own homeland and what it means to be from Cambodia. That spirit has brought many Cambodians back to the country. About Agnes Yang:Agnes Yang is a CFA® (U.S. Securities Analyst), Certified International Real Estate Specialist (CIPS), and a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). After about five years of practical experience in the legal department of a major Japanese automobile manufacturer, she participated in the Cambodian real estate business at a Japanese real estate company.Agnes is involved in a wide range of operations such as buying and selling Cambodian real estate, leasing management, building management, market research, etc., and has a deep understanding of the Cambodian market. In 2021, she established GCC Japan Co., ltd. and assumed the position of representative director.Agnes specializes in market analysis, international business development, and overseas negotiations and provides comparative proposals to customers, and advises on optimal overseas investment.  Outline of the Episode:[03:01] The upsides of the pandemic on networking[04:22] How Agnes Yang got into real estate[07:01] What comes to mind when you think of Cambodia[10:13] Michael’s experience in Japan and future plans for investing in Cambodian real estate[14:50] Why does Cambodia use U.S. Dollars?[17:55] Cambodians and Asian countries are rediscovering Cambodia[21:11] The typical returns for an investor in Cambodian real estate[25:34] How the Cambodian government takes care of its foreigners[29:22] Everyone sees value in Cambodia[31:39] Cambodians always look forward Resources:Website: https://www.gccjpn.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/agnes-yang-069aba59/?originalSubdomain=jpFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/agnes.yang.gcc/ Connect with Aaron Masliansky!Website: https://www.therealestatediplomat.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-masliansky-4b937217/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/633849318025738Twitter: https://twitter.com/aaronmasliansky
Nov 16 2021
35 mins
Dominican Republic with Barbara Warren
Imagine sitting on a beach, looking out into the ocean with a cool beverage in hand, palm trees swaying in the wind. Now, you may be wondering, what’s with the sudden visual experiment? Well, that’s because, in this episode of The Real Estate Diplomat, we have Barbara Warren from Noval Properties, building luxury developments throughout the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean. Sounds like a great getaway from the cool fall time in Chicago, right? Not only that, but Barbara will also be taking us on a journey, sharing her life growing up, her experience learning about different cultures and her rise to success as the Director of International Business Development. As always, there’s a lot to unpack in today’s episode, so tune in and enjoy! How Starting from Zero can be Worth ItWhen asked about her move from Saint Martin to the Dominican Republic, Barbara shared her struggles starting from zero. She had a beautiful life in St. Martin, having worked there for seventeen years in the hospitality industry. Barbara even had a television show. And while the island was small, the Saint Martin community was open-minded and respectful. Not that the Dominican Republic was not but the community there was, as Barbara described it, very settled in their ways. And so, upon moving there, it was challenging for her to start from zero. “Nobody knew, nobody cared” is what she believed for a while. But eventually, she stumbled upon a beautiful opportunity at Noval Properties. There, Barbara met their outstanding CEO, who was also from the hospitality real estate industry. She felt blessed, believing once again that everything happens for a reason. To think, Barbara crossed paths with her boss, who hired and believed in her, and even now, she still learns a lot from Noval Properties. And while it was hard in the beginning, having found an excellent professional system to go by helped get her back on her feet. In the end, her taking that leap to live globally helped her find a fresh new perspective in life.Take that Leap to Live GloballyFor Barbara Warren, global living allowed her to reinvent herself. And with each time she moved to a different place in the world, she takes what she learned from there and willingly starts anew. Sure, it can be challenging to make that transition, especially with the ongoing pandemic, but it was always worth it to Barbara. And so, when asked about how she helps other people make that same leap, Barbara shared an anecdote on her sales at the beginning of the pandemic. To give us an idea, she scaled it down to having 12 luxury villas on sale at the start of 2020, but they only had two left towards the end of the year. Again, they sold out projects during the pandemic, which means there was a need for luxury vacation properties even then. With this example, Barbara explained that the pandemic created many needs, from fresh air, sunshine, walking space, and of course, passive income.Then again, when we look back at our lives before the pandemic, these needs were always there. But now, a lot of people’s minds have been reset, often spiritually. They realized that we are not living forever, so we must enjoy the now.  And so, after learning how important and precious life is, there is no better time than the present to give ourselves the chance to live globally. After all, only in living globally will we see ourselves with a fresh new perspective and even reinvent who we are like Barbara always did. And so, if you are sitting on money in the bank, take it out, buy something, and live the life you always wanted. Take this as a sign to make that leap and live globally.About Barbara Warren:Barbara Warren is best known for curating magical lifestyle experiences via international luxury real estate investments throughout the Caribbean.Barbara has over a decade of international luxury experience within new developments and within the high-end real estate sectors. Her”parcours” has transported her from California to Paris France where she was Director of International Accounts for Starwood and Rezidor to the magical Island St Martin where she founded LADYB Production dealing In PR Marketing & Sales while orchestrating the elite island events for all things Chic and Real estate.She is a two-time recipient of the Crystal Pineapple Awards for Best Sales Manager in St Martin which celebrates the achievements amongst the who's who of the St. Maarten tourism Industry. The event is hosted annually by the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) to recognize outstanding performance across the industry. And is a member AREAA GLOBAL . She received her certification from Cornell University in Hospitality Digital Marketing.Further Hurricane Irma Barbara was obliged to relocate like many islanders to other countries and now lives and resides in Dominican Republic where her family is originally from. As Director of International Business Development, she brings her multicultural sales and marketing background to Noval Properties, Dominican Republics most trusted and experienced Developer of Tourism Investment Properties managing sales for multiple new development projects, real estate listings and Broker Relations. She has established a tight knit team of international brokers working together to sell and promote Punta Cana. And is always on the lookout for the next super star to add to her stellar team.Barbara is fluent in Spanish, English, French. And passioned by all things culinary which brought her to produce and Host the Show” Bon Appetit with Lady B ” which aired throughout the Caribbean and led her on a gastronomical journey throughout the world interviewing and highlighting top chefs and their love for good food and the islands.Although she has resided in major metropolitan cities during her international career, she considers herself an island girl at heart and is Happiest, you guessed it, On the beach with an ice-cold glass of champagne. Because She is a fervent believer that Life’s better at the Beach. In Punta Cana.Outline of the Episode:[02:10] Barbara Warren’s journey to global living[04:06] Moving from Saint Martin to the Dominican Republic[06:26] How fitness helped her overcome life’s challenges[09:07] Helping people transition to living globally[11:35] What it is like living in the Dominican Republic[13:38] Where the people who buy properties there come from.[16:15] Property management and financing options in the Caribbean[18:54] How  to become a citizen in the Dominican Republic[19:49] What kind of developments do Noval Properties invest in[22:45] The current trends in property development in the Caribbean[26:21] Working with realtors from around the world[28:52] How Noval Properties deliver deals as they promised[32:53] Getting in touch to learn more about Barbara and her work Resources:Website: https://novalproperties.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/barbaraawarren/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ladybsxmContact: bwarren@novalproperties.com  Connect with Aaron Masliansky!Website: https://www.therealestatediplomat.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-masliansky-4b937217/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/633849318025738 Twitter: https://twitter.com/aaronmasliansky
Nov 9 2021
35 mins
Global Real Estate with Jakeeva Lee
Have you ever heard of “global real estate”? No worries! Most people weren’t even aware of it until working with international clients became more accessible. And you’re in luck because, in today’s episode of The Real Estate Diplomat, we have Jakeeva Lee, the External Affairs Manager for the Chicago Association of Realtors and Manager of Industry and Global Relations for Illinois Realtors to share her experience connecting realtors and consumers worldwide. She has also helped countless professionals work with clients in acquiring and managing properties globally. So, whether you are looking to buy for investment, retirement, or remote work, global real estate has plenty of opportunities that you may want to look into. And there’s a lot to take away from this episode, so stay tuned and enjoy the show!Why People Should Invest in ChicagoAccording to Jakeeva Lee, now is the best time to invest in Chicago, especially downtown. It is one of the most culturally diverse among the larger cities in the United States, with its natural, cultural exchange hubs and colorful communities. Not only that but Chicago also attracts new construction from foreign countries worldwide with its impressive skyline and other infrastructures. Additionally, Illinois has just as much potential with its vast farmlands as industrial spaces, attracting more international companies. That being said, Chicago and Illinois’ greatness and potential are often missed due to negative messaging about some of the violent acts occurring in the city. But thanks to international property specialists like Jakeeva, Chicago and Illinois get to work with global partners as they put out positive messaging through the realtors and consumers in the community to prove it. Furthermore, the increase in migration to the suburbs in the past year has confirmed that the real estate space is alive and well. And with real estate going in cycles, homebuyers and former renters would be able to take advantage of the migration rate by providing spaces to invest in, whether short-term rentals or long-term residentials. In the end, Chicago, and to an extent Illinois, provides plenty of opportunities for international investments. And so, there is no better time to invest in these spaces than now. Seeing the World as Global CitizensJakeeva Lee said, “living globally is something everyone should try.” When we go to different countries or try to explore a new culture, our eyes are opened to how different and similar we are to people across the globe. In turn, we also realize that the world has so much to offer, even within our community or city. And so, before you work with clients looking to invest in a foreign country, it is best to explore that country yourself. Even if you only went there a couple of times, those experiences reassure your clients that you know where they are investing in.  After all, knowing that you love the place they are investing in goes a long way for both you and the client. However, when exploring a different country, always be respectful of the nuances of their culture. But, again, you are still a foreigner, a representative of your own culture who should only work to be a good example. And to do so, we need to see the world and empathize with it as global citizens. In the end, we as humans should understand each other’s perspectives. And with how the world is today, it is imperative to feel for someone and understand their point of view. And so, when we travel internationally or interact with a foreigner, we have to put forward that part of us that is willing to give and is open to receive to expand our breadth of global knowledge. About Jakeeva Lee:Jakeeva Lee is the External Affairs Manager for the Chicago Association of Realtors and the Manager of Industry and Global Relations for Illinois Realtors. And as an association professional, Jakeeva has vast knowledge and a strong passion for DEI initiatives, member engagement, growth strategy, and philanthropic structure. Not only that but, she is also known for being an influential thought-leader with over ten years of relationship-building management skills to cultivate vibrant, strategic, external, and global partnerships. Outline of the Episode:[02:47] Jakeeva Lee’s journey into global real estate[05:22] How people are missing out on Chicago’s beauty[08:11] The best time to invest in downtown Chicago[11:27] Jakeeva’s experience in Thailand[13:12] Why everyone should try living globally[15:00] Seeing the world and empathizing with it as global citizens[17:05] Training to be a Certified International Properties Specialist[19:17] Which countries to look into when planning to invest internationally[23:27] How international investments dipped during the pandemic[26:46] Understanding the impact of the global economy[29:17] How global real estate brings communities together[30:56] What places Jakeeva would love to have as second homes Resources:Jakeeva Lee’s Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jakeeva-lee/Chicago Association of Realtors Global Real Estate Council- https://chicagorealtor.com/groups-and-networks/global/Illinois Realtors Global Business Council- https://www.illinoisrealtors.org/membership/realtor-communities/global/Connect with Aaron Masliansky!Web- https://www.therealestatediplomat.comLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-masliansky-4b937217/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/633849318025738Twitter: https://twitter.com/aaronmasliansky
Nov 2 2021
34 mins