Along with real estate, travel has always been a passion of mine. The diverse cultures of the world are always a source of inspiration but more and more this travel has come to serve me well in selling real estate.
I woke up to the news this morning that Pauline Hanson will not sell her house to a Muslim or an Asian who lives overseas. I really don’t want to give her any more publicity and I do not want to get into a political debate on this, her views to me are so archaic. What I do want to point out is that we now live in such a small world because of globalisation and the Internet, and with Australia being such a multi-cultural society if you want to be successful at selling real estate in suburban Sydney today, you need to know about all these cultures that co-exist. It is the changing face of the buyer profile, it is the internet and social media, it’s a multi cultural, dynamic society that we meet when we sell real estate.
I have just got back from a holiday in Japan, I used to live there and I speak the language. When dealing with Japanese clients I know what to do and what not to. I have spent a month in China but I don’t know the culture as well and I definitely don’t speak the language.
Lately though I have had the opportunity of meeting several clients from mainland China. China is about to take over Japan as the world’s 2nd largest economy. (Pauline you have no idea what you are missing out on!)
Generally speaking, my knowledge of Chinese culture consists of Feng Shui, No. 8 is a lucky number and No. 4 represents death, so forget selling a house with No. 4 to a Chinese client (same in Japan and maybe all Asian countries)? I know that according to the principles of Feng Shui that it’s not good if you can see from the front of the house through to the back door etc. Really I don’t know much and I would like to know more.
So last week I had the opportunity to show a few properties to clients from China. Now I am not sure what Pauline Hanson’s agent would be able to do in this case as the client lives in China, does business in Australia and is an Australian citizen. His family (wife and children) live in China, his mother lives in Sydney but realistically he lives in China. He wants to buy a luxury home for his mother. We meet, I have several houses that fit the criteria. He is young and successful and speaks English, “should be easy” I think.
Well it is not easy and doing business is completely different. When showing the property the clients speak between themselves in Chinese so I am clueless, and the conversation I have with them is based on whether the house is good value or not. I had the chance to show a 2nd property to the same clients and an Australian friend joined them and he enlightened me on a few things. Firstly, whether they like the property or not is not important, it is whether the property represents good value. While a lot of clients I deal with inspect a property and say “I love the open plan feel, the CaesarStone kitchen etc”, you will apparently not hear that from a Chinese client.
The emotional impact that we seek from clients, (the basis of a good auction) is not so important to a Chinese client. When my vendor asked how the inspection went and if they liked the property, I had to say “Apparently that is not relevant”. I have a lot to learn and am respectfully curious and definitely up for the challenge!
Real estate agents deal with people of all walks of life and from all cultures. I feel sorry for Pauline Hanson’s agent, how is he going to filter these people? When he receives a call on her property is he going to ask if they are Muslim or not before he shows the property or ask to see their citizenship if they sound Asian? Anyone want to throw some money in for her airfare to the UK?