Translating Real Estate Contracts for International Buyers

Translating Real Estate Contracts for International Buyers

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Translating Real Estate Contracts for International Buyers

Individuals from many countries are interested in buying overseas property, especially in the US. It may come as a surprise that Chinese, Mexican, and Canadian citizens are investing in real estate in America. Similarly, British, Australian, and Israeli investment in local real estate has also increased in recent years. However, this foreign investment often requires real estate translation.

Statistics from March 2020 show that the foreign investment in the US real estate amounts to a massive $53 billion! But not every investor bothers to learn to English to sign off on real estate contracts. That’s why local realtors need property document translation services to keep this investment going.

In this article, we’ll explore the world of property translation. You’ll learn how to translate contracts and attract foreign investment into American real estate, expanding your property business.

Many Americans buy overseas property, such as in places like Dubai and Singapore

Benefits of Translating Real Estate Documents

A recent legal dispute taking place in Ontario, Kazakevich v. Sychev, illustrates the importance of writing real estate agreements in the buyer’s native language, especially if that person doesn’t speak very good English. In this case, the seller communicated with the buyer in Russian (the buyer’s native language) to sell a piece of property in Ontario. The agreements were in English, however. However, when the real estate transaction fell apart, the buyer claimed non est factum (“it isn’t my deed”) because the contracts bearing his signature were in English. When the seller proved in court that they had, indeed, vehemently explained the terms of the contract in fluent Russian, the judge gave a verdict against the plaintiff. 

One may argue that, even though the seller won the case, they could have avoided it altogether simply by providing the buyer with real estate documents translated into Russian. After all, data shows that more than 86,000 homes were sold to non-resident buyers between 2022 and 2023. The average value of US-based properties bought by foreign investors lay at $400,000! You can learn that the best way to secure this investment is to provide non-English-speaking buyers with translated paperwork. Let’s share more reasons why you should translate real estate documents for international buyers:

Real estate translators must have ample experience in this niche
  • You can prevent disputes in the future by giving clients their contracts in a language they speak
  • It helps clients clearly understand the terms and conditions instead of blindly signing on a paper in the English language
  • When a client read their real estate contract in their native language, they will be less hesitant about agreeing to it and may sign it right away
  • You can save money on foreign counsel fees by providing your clients with an agreement in their preferred language
  • Translated contracts are a great way to expand into international markets and attract real estate investors from diverse backgrounds

Challenges in Real Estate Translation

In 2011, a judge gave a verdict in favor of Vadim Statsenko and Marina Statsenko, a couple emigrating from Russia and buying their first property in the United States. Vadim and Marina didn’t speak good English and claimed that their buyer had failed to explain the terms and conditions in their native language. This case shows that realtors may be in hot waters if they’re providing their clients with translated contracts. In this section, you’ll learn the challenges faced by real estate agents and property owners when they’re doing business with international buyers interested in buying overseas property.

Many foreigners are buying luxury real estate and agricultural land in the US
  • Objectivity of languages: Languages are always subjective to certain contexts and environments (even in real estate). A word carries several meanings, so a translator may not be able to explain complex terminologies properly to your clients. Not all translators understand these concepts or grasp real estate jargon. So, they may end up mistranslating stuff for the foreign investor.
  • Legal system differences: Many legal systems are there in the world right now, such as the Civil Law in France and the Common Law in America. This means that a real estate contract that is legitimate in one country may be invalid in another country. You must localize such contracts by in-country lawyers and hire translators to work their magic on these documents.
  • Legal term consistency: Another problem lies in keeping the legal terms consistent. Sometimes, a translator doesn’t understand that a certain word capitalized in the document is an important legal term that needs to be translated just like that. It creates inconsistency in translation, and an agreement may end up being invalid. That’s why you must work with certified translation services to maintain consistency throughout the document.

How to Translate Contracts? Tips and Best Practices

Translated real estate documents can help resolve disputes between local sellers and international buyers 

Recently, Christie’s International Real Estate released a new version of their Luxury Defined report that shows that 75% of Dubai’s real estate is owned by foreigners. On the other hand, foreigners own merely 43.4% of US farmland! Data shows that around a million people immigrate to America every year. Many students, tourists, and businesspeople not only travel to the US but buy properties and live here as well. That’s why there’s a growing need for property document translation to attract international buyers.

Just as passport translation is a growing requirement in the United States, realtor translation has also become a major trend. In this section, we’ll explain how to translate contracts related to real estate. You’ll learn the best practices to get your property documents translated so non-English-speaking folks don’t have any qualms about buying real estate from you later. Follow these simple tips, and you’ll easily see a boost in your real estate business:

Understand Your Target Audience

Real estate document translation services are transforming the industry

Translating realtor contractors isn’t merely about finding out which language your clients speak. You will have to do your due diligence and look into their complete background. Which country are they from? It is important to know their country of origin. Don’t assume that just because two clients hail from Spain and Mexico, you can use the same Spanish translation for them; these countries have different legal and judicial systems. So, you’ll have to make separate Spanish translations for both countries.

Communicate with Your Translator

Always hire a qualified translator to work on your real estate agreements. However, you must provide a translator with the proper context behind the document in question. What will it used for? Is it only for an internal review? Do you want to match redlines? Once your translator understands the context, they can deliver a good translation.

Insert a Prevailing Language Clause

You can add a prevailing language clause in your agreement. It simply states that if two versions of your real estate contract exist, the English version will prevail to resolve a dispute between the buyer and the seller. It’s not actually about translation; it’s something your translator can put in the translated version of your agreement.

Realtor translation has become important for bringing foreign investment into the United States

Keep it Legally Valid

You have to make sure that the translator is preserving the legal concepts accurately in translation. It’s a very important task to keep the translated version legally valid. For that, you should hire translators who have real estate experience and understand the jargon used by realtors. Consistency, as explained in the lines above, is also important here. A legal contract doesn’t offer different translations for a single legal term.

Find Alternate Resources

We don’t want you to start using Google Translate as an extra resource; don’t rely on AI tools to reword your real estate documents. You must always work with certified, experienced translators to get the job done right. However, you can still make use of alternate resources like these:

  • EPA’s lead-based paint disclosure (available in a dozen languages)
  • Many REALTOR® associations provide translated forms and contracts
  • Spanish-language resources are available at NAR en Español and similar sites
Buying international property gets easier when you have the contract in your language

Final Words

Hopefully, now you understand the importance of translating real estate contracts. Don’t forget to hire a professional, experienced translator to sprinkle their vernacular magic on your real estate paperwork. It is better to work with certified agencies like TranslateSwift to get the translation work done right.

You can order a swift translation of your real estate documents starting at $27 per page. Get the docs back within 24 hours so you can communicate with your clients with transparency and confidence.

FAQs – Translating Real Estate Contracts

What’s the importance of translating real estate paperwork?

Translating these contracts will help you communicate with foreign buyers and real estate investors. It’s a great way to dispel any confusions or misunderstandings between buyers and sellers. Translating such paperwork will prevent legal disputes down the line.

What sort of real estate documents should be translated?

These real estate documents have to be translated as rental/purchase agreements, property management contracts, zoning regulations, title deeds, prospectuses, etc.

How long does real estate document translation take?

It depends on the length of the document and the complexity of the language involved. A translator may work on 2,000 to 3,000 words per day. Normal real estate documents shall take several days to be fully translated.