Seoul to get more realtors for foreigners

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Seoul to get more realtors for foreigners

The Seoul Metropolitan Government will expand the number of “global real estate agencies” to total 258 this year, it said Friday.

Global real estate agencies offer accommodation-related documents and forms in foreign languages as well as help with the administrative process of purchasing land in Korea.

They are approved by the Seoul Metropolitan Government among local real estate agencies that fulfill specific requirements. In order to be recognized as a global agency, a realtor needs to have been in the business for at least one year and have an employee that has passed language tests composed of listening, speaking and writing sections.

Seoul City first started the project with 20 agencies in 2008. It currently has 223 realtors approved under the scheme.

“We’ve been expanding the number of global real estate agencies every year, and during this year’s first quarter, they offered services to more than 273,000 foreigners,” said the Seoul Metropolitan Government in a statement Friday.

Unsurprisingly, English is the most offered language: 193 out of 258 global real estate agencies offer services in the language. The next most frequent languages are Japanese, 44, and Chinese, five. Some agencies are capable of working with two languages. Among the languages to be added this year are Portuguese and Arabic.

Seoul City is trying to diversify the scope of languages offered at global real estate agencies.

Agencies that pass the process get a large sticker in their office window to indicate they are able to offer services to non-Korean speakers. They will also be promoted on websites run by Seoul City, such as the metropolitan government’s English website and an online information center for foreigners.

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