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Real estate is a decidedly different profession in Russia, where there are no title companies or licensed real estate agents and people use cash instead of mortgages to buy properties.

But the eagerness of agents to learn more about their craft and become more successful is just as keen there as in the United States.

When an 11-member delegation of Russian real estate professionals visited Middle Tennessee in 2007 their questions were direct and relevant. This particular year they were in experience hands. Realtor/Instructor Jim Gibbs – Director of the Career Institute taught another Russian group five years prior taking on real estate subjects that were totally unknown to the eager students., While most of the Russian delegates had good grasp of English, two bilingual translators accompanied the group. Gibbs had worked with both in the past and had actually become personal friends with them.

“What are the statistics for sales by property owners?” “Do commissions vary on rental contracts?” “How do Internet listings work?”These are the type of questions they have said Gibbs. “Although I am the instructor, I enjoyed a learning process also especially when it comes to their culture and more importantly realizing people Considering my age, I have been taught to hold in Russians in suspicion and it is nice to realize they are no different than you or me.” He added.

During this particular session was hosted by  Wendal Guarnty  Trust  who provided classroom space, mortage experts as gust speakers and lunch

The Murfreesboro Rotary Club members hosted the Russian professionals as part of the Productivity Enhancement Program (PEP), sponsored by the San Francisco-based nonprofit Center for Citizen Initiatives. The program selects people from different occupations each year.

Gibbs, who is the principal broker of Ideal Realty, said the Russians and Americans were discovering how they do business differently.

“We have all the systems in place here to do business ethically and professionally,” he said. “That’s what they are learning.” Five years ago one of my Russian students was totally amazed when exposed to the vast amount of public information available at the Registrar of Deeds Office. He said it would take weeks of applications to government officials to discover the same information.

Elena Poliakova, St. Petersburg the Russian group’s facilitator, said many PEP graduates go on to build business relationships with U.S. companies and some start Rotary clubs upon their return.

Program delegates are selected based on their business success, interest at building international relations, and reputation for integrity.

Delegation members stay in the area for a couple of weeks and their work days last between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and include information sessions on business organization, strategic planning, sales and marketing, real estate finance, business ethics and conveyance of ownership rights.

Besides visiting local real estate, insurance and business organizations, delegation members go sightseeing and enjoy our culture as will as sharing what it is like to live in Russia.  –



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Russian Delegation 2007

Class of 2007, From left to right:  Slava Stepashkin, Interpreter,Moscow, Russia - El Paso, Texas;  Pavel Orlov, Stary Oskol, Russia;  Yekaterina Pakhomova, Perm, Russia;  Larisa Bogdanovskaya, St. Petersburg, Russia;  Jim Gibbs, Instructor/Director, Career Institute, Murfreesboro, TN;  Olga Kudelenko, Novosibirsk, Russia;  Wendell Mandrell, President/CEO, Guaranty Trust, Murfreesboro, TN;  Agafonov Evgenie, Chelyabinsk, Russia;  Bair Orbodyev, Ulan-Ude , Russia;  Irina Polyakova, Vladivostok, Russia;  Sergey Vronskiy, Perm, Russia;  Vladimir Chernyavskiy, Rostov-on-Don, Russia;  Aleksandr Ginovker, St. Petersburg, Russia;  Konstantin Olafinskiy, Vladivostok, Russia;  Elena Poliakova, Facilitator – Interpreter, St. Petersburg, Russia

Russian Real Estate Industry