Three things smart real estate agents should follow to increase their Chinese client base

2014-07-09
Finding Chinese real estate buyers

Real estate agents in the U.S. are finding themselves suddenly caught up in the dawn of a new era. With the foreign investors taking the country’s otherwise sluggish property market by storm, the agents are on a roll as their phones are buzzing and email inboxes are flooded with enquiries from overseas buyers. What has caught many agents napping is the growing interest of Asian buyers, particularly Chinese, in the U.S. real estate.

As the Chinese investors are all over the market, accounting for over 12 per cent of all transactions made by foreign citizens last year, many agents are struggling to rise to the challenge, just because they are often unaware of these buyers’ needs, cultural and lingual differences, and behavioural patterns. Here are three tips smart agents who want to have a finger in the pie would like to keep in mind when dealing with their Chinese clients:

Why are they buying?

The stories about the recent slump in China’s property market have led many agents to believe that investment is all these buyers are looking at. There may be a shred of truth in it, but investment can’t be the only force driving these buyers. If it had been so, they would have got other countries on their investment checklist. Countries like Australia and New Zealand provides better equity on real estate investment than the U.S.

So, the idea is to understand why a particular client from China is buying a property in a particular U.S. city or its neighborhood. Is it better education opportunities that have drawn him to this city? If so, show him properties in a good quality school district or areas which are near reputed universities. Another myth among real estate professionals is that these buyers always want to cluster and prefer neighbourhoods habited by population from their country. Overseas buyers come with a broader mindset these days and some even love to mingle with locals, curious to have a better understanding of the western culture.

The same old trick of lead nurturing

Unaware of the laws governing real estate investment in the USA, buyers from China often find themselves flying blind. Smart agents who have done their homework jump at the opportunity when they get a simple query from a Chinese buyer about how the property transaction process works in the USA and how it’s different from his country. Clearing their confusions on small things like home inspections and open house visits would make it very easy for them. Besides, agents can go the extra mile and can help them get in touch with attorneys and immigration experts, so their clients can settle down more comfortably in an unknown country.

Getting their finances in order

Though most Chinese buyers are still buying with cash, more and more banks in the US are now willing to relax their norms. Being armed with the knowledge of how the Chinese buyers can avail mortgages can help agents boost their client base to a great extent. Besides, agents should be willing to help their clients deal with additional paperwork and other formalities if they wish to finance their property deals.

Home buying is anyway a long and tedious process. It proves to be more cumbersome in the case of a foreigner. A smart agent will try to feel his already stressed-out client at home. 

Chinese buyers of US real estate

In the Media

Forbes
Bloomberg
South China Morning Post
CNBC
iMoney
Shanghai Times
Squarefoot
Shanghai Office
Capital Weekly
The New York Times
TheStreet.com