Brian Smith of the Country Connection Makes Connections in Another Country

Brian Smith and Leslie Rouda Smith
Brian Smith and Leslie Rouda Smith

The global community grew more united last month when the World Cup soccer tournament began in Brazil. But Brian Smith, a Realtor with Dave Perry-Miller & Associates, got a jump on the competition when he visited Argentina.

Smith, who was appointed a President’s Liaison to Argentina by the National Association of Realtors, spent June 3-7 in the capitol city of Buenos Aires, meeting with industry leaders from all 13 of the South American nation’s provinces.

“It went really well; very good rapport, very relaxed,” Smith said. “We invited them to our November NAR meeting in New Orleans to continue our relationship. And I got invited back to go fishing, so it was a success!”

Anyone who knows Smith will recognize the importance of that invitation. He bills himself as the Country Connection, because he specializes in selling ranches and other rural properties. Consequently, Smith was a little out of his element in Buenos Aires.

“It was all concrete and steel. It was killing me,” he said. “I just wanted to get over to Patagonia or Bariloche, but those are three-to-four-hour flights. It’d be like me wanting to go to California because I was going to meetings in Washington, D.C.”

Smith, a Certified International Property Specialist, said the real estate business is much different in Argentina. There’s nothing like the Multiple Listing Service there, so properties are primarily marketed via word of mouth. But the bigger culture shock is that there’s no financing; all purchases are made with cash.

“There are U.S. dollars in the mattresses down there,” Smith said with a laugh.

This was not Smith’s first international business trip of 2014. In May, he and his wife, Leslie Rouda Smith, were part of a 25-person delegation that visited Cuba. The idea, Brian said, was to build relationships in advance of the potential warming of relations between the United States and the Communist island.

“If they lift the embargo,” he said, “there’s a lot of real estate to be developed down there.”

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