American education and real estate from the eyes of a Chinese business man


Mr. Henry Lu is a business man in Jiangsu Province of China. He runs a textile company exporting textile products to the US. His business has been growing rapidly, and he has been getting much more busy with business affairs that need his attention almost 24h per day. His son has been studying in China but he has not been an outstanding student. As a result, Mr Henry Lu would like to try a different education path for his son. He bought a house in the US and plans to send his son to a high school there.

Below are the details of how a Chinese business man thinks about the US education system and how it is linked to his interest of purchasing a house in the US:

Q:           Do you like to send your kid to America to study?

A:            Yes, I very much like to send my son to the US for school.

Q:           What are the reasons?

A:            I’m not following any trend. I decide to send my son to study in the US because he prefers to study in the US himself. When he was in elementary school, I sent him to study in the US for one year, and asked him to compare the US education with that in China. After getting exposure to education in both countries, my son told me he definitely likes to study in the US more than in China and he feels more happy in the US. I respect his feeling. I think the education in the US is better than the system in China, and I believe sending my son to the US to study will bring him a bright future.

Q:           For what level/grade will you send your kid to America –elementary, middle or high school?

A:         I plan to let my son again to the US for high school. As I mentioned before, my son received one year education in the US during elementary school, and then he returned to China. In order to help him be more competitive in the US education system, we applied for EB-5 immigration and we successfully got green cards for our family. During this greencard application process, my son is studying in a middle school in China. Now we plan to let him re-start to study in the US from high school.

Q:        What area in the US are you looking for to send your child to for studies? And why?

A:         Actually I don’t care about which area that my son will go for his high school. The only criteria is where is the best for his education. If sending him to a very poor/terrible area to study can be helpful for his future education, I don’t care and I’ll just send him there. After doing some research about some schools for my son, I selected the San Francisco Bay Area because of some great high schools there.

Q:        Do you like to buy a home for your child? Why or why not?

A:         Yes, I just purchased a property assigned to a very good public high school in the US. With a green card at hand, my son is eligible to study in good public schools in the US as long as he lives in a property assigned to that school, and I’ll have my family member to be there as well to take care of my son. Regarding renting vs. purchasing, I decided to buy a property, because firstly, owning a property is not a bad investment; secondly, I have money; and thirdly, my family are US green card holders now and we feel the US is also our home.

Q:        If you like to buy for your kids, what kind of home would you like to buy?

A:         As I buy a property for the purpose of my son’s education, I don’t really care much about the property itself, but I care about the school it is assigned to.

Q:        What other factors do you look at when you are thinking about buying an American home?

A:         My top consideration for my property is that it should be easy to sell in the future. I did some research and consulted my real estate agent about what type of properties in my target area is popular for sell. I will sell it in the future when my son no longer needs it and then I may buy another home in the US depending on my needs at that time (e.g. where will our family live…). However, I found finally that there are not many properties for sell in my target school district. I didn’t have many choices and just picked a 4-bedroom beautiful house within the few options that were on the market.

Q:        How long will you keep your American home before you sell it?

A:         I won’t sell it until my son finishes his study in high school. But once my son doesn’t need it in the future, I will sell it.

Q:           What do you NOT like about American homes?

A:            America has quite high property tax rates. This is unbelievable in China. This is why I put assigned school and education as top reasons for buying a property. For investment return, with holding costs much higher than in China and uncertain future appreciation, I cannot make a bet on buying a property in the US for pure investment reasons.

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