REACHING CHINESE BUYERS With more Chinese buyers searching Florida for affordable properties than ever before, there are great opportunities for sales. The key is knowing the best ways of working with the potential buyers. A broker-associate with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty in St. Petersburg, Kelly Lee Mc- Frederick, CIPS, is serious about connecting with potential buyers in China. That means reaching out to them through every possible channel: • She uses WeChat to communicate with her Chinese network. • She maintains a presence on the international social networking site Proxio. • She uses apps like Haiwaiyoujia (the first direct Chinese MLS system) to promote her properties. • She plans trade missions and attends global seminars at National Association of Realtors® meetings (where she collects business cards to add to her 9,000-strong database). • And she has become a board member of the Tampa chapter of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) to expand her knowledge and connections in the market. Recently, that hard work paid off when McFrederick helped a Chinese buyer acquire vacant land, purchase teardowns and sell new-construction homes. Now, she is helping another buyer scout possible locations for a boarding school for Chinese students who attend school in the Tampa Bay area. “My goal is to work with even more Chinese clients in 2017 than I did in 2016,” says McFrederick. If you’re interested in working with Chinese buyers and investors, as McFrederick is, here are her suggestions: 1. CREATE A SUPPORT STRUCTURE. Mobilize a team of local professionals who are knowledgeable about Asia, its people and their customs and buying habits. “Have a lawyer who is used to working with Chinese clients and a CPA who understands how visas and taxes work,” suggests McFrederick. 2. CONSULT THE EXPERTS. Expect buyers to barrage you with questions, but if they stray into legal or professional areas outside your expertise, Don’t try to answer them all on your own. When selling into neighborhoods that have homeowners’ associations, for example, McFrederick typically calls upon the HOA or a knowledgeable attorney to help her answer her Chinese clients’ questions. 3. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS. The way names are positioned on property deeds—and which names are included on those deeds—is a big deal for Chinese buyers. In fact, McFrederick says some buyers come to the closing table ready to make even more changes to the names on those deeds, typically to honor specific shareholders, as in the case of investment property. 4. DON’T BE LATE. This is a good rule for working with any customers. However, some cultures are more punctual than others. Chinese buyers are extremely punctual, and they’ll expect you to be as well. Time zones, be darned, McFrederick says. Clients expect her to answer email, deliver electronic documents and report deal updates on their schedules. “You can’t wait until the middle of the day Eastern time to respond,” says McFrederick. “You have to address these issues morning, noon and night.” Find out more about international marketing at floridarealtors.org/global SHARE THIS “Four years ago, a Chinese investor would have more likely opted to acquire a large home in a prestigious Seattle neighborhood like Mercer Island, but today he would profit far more by acquiring housing or portfolios of homes in emerging neighborhoods like Thornton Park in Orlando.”—Don Ganguly, Rewired on Housingwire.com 3 Apps for Connecting With Chinese Buyers China is home to 710 million Internet users, with 92.5 percent of the population regularly using smartphones and mobile devices to go online, according to Juwai.com, a Chinese property portal. Here are three apps that break through the country’s “Great Firewall” and its convoluted social media landscape: 1. WeChat—China’s equivalent to the popular Whatsapp mobile app. Web.wechat.com 2. QQ—This is an older instant messaging app that’s best used for email marketing or leveraging fan and follower networks. Https://en.mail.qq.com 3. Sina Weibo—China’s microblogging site similar to Twitter, but with more functionality. Weibo.com 4 Tips HOW TO GAIN TRUST For most foreign buyers, trust is everything. Here are four tips for establishing trust with such customers. 1. Answer all their questions. No matter how mundane their 101 questions may seem to you, remember that what may be familiar to you is totally foreign to them. Even if your Chinese buyers are asking (what you consider to be) strange questions, answer them clearly and honestly. 2. Be a good listener. Instead of talking, listen to what they want. If need be, ask the questions that help you better understand what they’re looking for. 3. Give them time and space. If your Chinese buyers remain hesitant, don’t push them to close the deal. Instead, find out what is holding them back or give them time and space to mull over the property. When reaching out, provide a useful piece of information each time. 4. Offer your time and advice. If you think the Chinese buyer lacks sufficient information, advise him or her to do more research before proceeding with any investment. TAKE 5 VIDEO ZOLA SZERENCSES BUILD YOUR INTERNATIONAL DREAM TEAM Serving international buyers requires your expertise in finding properties. You also need a team of experts with whom you’ve built a strong relationship to help customers with lending, tax, immigration and property management questions. Your ideal team includes a mortgage lender, a solid currency exchange company, an immigration attorney, a tax expert and a property manager. Watch the video for more tips. WATCH IT: FLORIDAREALTORS.ORG/TAKE5 TERESA KING KINNEY WHAT ATTRACTS CHINESE BUYERS TO MIAMI AND SOUTH FLORIDA Teresa King Kinney, CEO of the Realtor¨ Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches, talks with two global experts about the future of Chinese investment in South Florida and what to expect. WATCH IT: youtu.be/-kMuZgIrhaM
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