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September 20, 2014

5 Tips for Working With Asian Clients

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5 Tips for Working With Asian Clients

More than a quarter of all REALTORS® say they’ve worked with an international client in the past year. And according to the 2013 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, 6.3 percent of total existing home sales as of March 2013—estimated at $68.2 billion—were made by international residents and non-residents.  

Asian buyers are among the main purchasers, so it’s important to understand their needs, as well as help them learn the buying process in the U.S., which can be significantly different than their country of origin.

Cindy Fauth, the marketing and communications manager for the National Association of REALTORS® Commercial & Global Services division, attended the AREAA Convention in Los Angeles last weekend and said she was surprised to learn that affluent Asian buyers actually prefer to work with a non-Asian REALTOR®. During the panel “Understanding Asian Buyers Is More Than Correctly Handing Business Cards,” Danny Chang, vice president for Citibank North America, said Asian cultures are very private and don’t like to share their finance information with others in their community for fear that might be shared.

 “One of the hardest things for international buyers to understand is getting a loan/having a mortgage, and understanding the process,” he said. Thus, educating international buyers up front is essential.

Here are five tips for working with Asian clients:

1.      Explain the purchasing process and parts of the real estate transaction. Help clients understand that getting a loan isn’t necessarily about a personal relationship. Give examples of ways they can establish credit in the United States, such as with a car loan or similar lines of credit.  

2.      Print marketing still works, said Chang. Investors coming from Korea, for example, often first look for properties in newspapers like the Korean Daily in Los Angeles.

3.      Face-to-face communication works best. Hand-deliver documents whenever possible.

4.      Be professional. Real estate practitioners who have an office, hold designations, and are well-dressed tend to make a good first impression. And be willing to do some legwork. “Go the extra mile, do a little extra work, and negotiate on their behalf. Then they will trust you, and trust is very important in the Korean culture,” said Chang.

5.      If you are meeting an Asian client for the first time, bring a small gift such as a plant, flowers, or a box of specialty chocolates. This gesture serves as a token of appreciation for being welcomed into their home, Chang said. And don’t forget to take off your shoes when stepping into their home.

Source: “Things to Know When Working with Asian Buyers,” The Global View, NAR (Sept. 23, 2013)

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