How Chinese buyers link American education and American real estate


Chinese buying American houses

As more and more Chinese consider overseas education and overseas real estate together, it is important to understand in more detail how Chinese view the process of buying a house in the US.  Understanding the way how they think is crucial for American real estate agents in order to offer valuable insights, build trust and end up closing a deal with those Chinese buyers.

Today we interview Ms. Qin, a Chinese buyer who illustrates how she thinks in order to have her son and her daughter succeed. Her story is very similar to other Chinese buyers who have plans to study and buy a house in the US.

Three years ago, Ms. Qin sent her son to study in the US after he had graduated from middle school in China.

Q:          What do you feel about your son’s study in the US?

A:          I feel it’s absolutely the right decision. My son was not considered a good student in China. He didn’t perform well in the high school entrance examination, and was even not able to be accepted by any high school in China. There were two options at that time: one is to study in a technical secondary school and then become a worker; the other way is to study in the US. He selected to study in the US. Now he is a good student in the US high school and he has been accepted by a pretty good university in the US. This is unbelievable for a Chinese student who even fail to attend a high school in China. This is partly because of my son’s characteristics – outgoing and his love of sports, which is very good for American life but not quite recognized in China. His success is also attributed to his high school – a private boarding high school in the US.

Q:          Do you have some tips for US high school selection?

A:          Yes, I do J I compare my son with children of some of my friends who also sent their children to study in the US, and I have some findings:

Go to a high school with very few Chinese students! Many Chinese students who went to American schools where there’re many Chinese students only learn to be snobbish and compare brands. Some of them cannot even speak any English after spending three years in the US because they only live within their Chinese students group. While my son went to a high school with very few Chinese students, so he has to communicate with Americans in order to live. You can’t imagine how good his level of English is now!
A high school in a small or not well-known area could be amazing as well! Many Chinese students who went to American schools in popular areas in big cities cannot focus on study, especially for those kids who do not have self-control. They spend much time playing around because there’re so many attractive places around. My son’s high school is in a very small and boring area. Many other international students don’t want to study there because the life there is so boring. But the school itself is very good in local area, and wealthy local people send their children here to study. It turns out the school is very good. It only has over 100 students, so the teachers can look after them very well. The teacher lived together with my son and several other students, taught him English for free in order to help him catch up, and cared about them in every aspect of their study and life. This is not common to see in some well-known and popular high schools. And the tuition fee is much cheaper than those in big cities, while the quality of education is actually quite high. If you want to see the life in major cities, you could apply for a US university in popular area later.

The above information are her tips for private high school selection purely from the perspective of children’s study. Now Ms. Qin would like to buy a house in a good school district assigned to a good public high school for her younger daughter because she has applied for EB-5 immigration and her family will get green card soon, so her daughter could study in good public school if she lives there.

Q:          Do you have the same criteria for school selecting for your younger daughter?

A:          No, it’s different. Although my criteria for a good house is also based on the school, I have some extra requirements because I need to consider both education and living environment:

Direct flight from China. I prefer a city with direct flight from China as as I will need to live in the house while my daughter is studying there, and I might fly from time to time back to China.
Job/career opportunities. Right now I don’t have a plan to sell the house, so an area with ample job/career opportunities will be beneficial for my son in the future.
The overall wealth level and comfort level of living in the area. We want to immigrate to a better area, not a poorer area – right?
Not too expensive area is preferred.

After considering all the above factors, I decide to buy a house in Seattle.

There are multiple factors that Chinese consider when buying a house in the US but this interview with Ms Qin indicates the importance of the understanding the role of education and schools in the decision making process. This answers a typical questions from American real estate agents: “ What is important for Chinese buyers when looking to buy a house in the US?”

In the Media

South China Morning Post
Shanghai Times
Shanghai Office
Capital Weekly
The New York Times
Financial Times