Real estate agents across the country are leveraging their second-language skills to get ahead in their local markets, particularly as the number of international homebuyers grows in the U.S.
About 15 percent of real estate professionals report speaking a second language, according to the National Association of Realtors.
In a study by Trulia, the most commonly spoken languages by real estate agents in addition to English is Spanish at 12.2 percent and French at 2.5 percent. Russian, Mandarin, and German are close behind. The study searched nearly 83,000 agent profiles in the U.S. to compile their findings.
Agents report that even though international clients are fluent in English, they're more comfortable speaking in their native tongue.
Michael B. Soon, an agent with Coldwell Banker who speaks English, Cantonese, and Mandarin, says that understanding the same language as your client can also make a transaction go much smoother.
"You have to look at what they have in China," Soon said. "Nothing is more than 20 years old," which is why he says many Chinese buyers tend to be interested in newly built condos.