clients live here for maybe half the year. Some
are buying second homes or vacation homes.
Many are investors, and we’ll manage their
properties. We’ll get them cleaned up and
rented out. Recently we got a call from someone who wants to buy 15 houses for investment purposes. People around the world see
the U.S. as a safe, secure place to put their
money in real estate. Even if [a property] is
not the cheapest price, it’s a good value.
Leading the Way
To build our international connections, last year we traveled to
five European countries, Beijing, and Taiwan and met with real
estate pros and relocation companies there. We knew some
people in China, and they put together a list of who might be
interested in talking with us. We found some other prospects
on the Internet.
Our goal was to introduce ourselves, our services, and our
location to them and their clients. It’s often very hard for people
coming here to find assistance in their native language. We
wanted them to know they’d be welcome and prepared.
There’s a knowledge gap to fill. In China, most real estate
brokers are independent. A broker finds people who want to
sell their houses and then tries to sell them. So when Chinese
citizens come here, they often think they need to go from broker
to broker to see what each one has to o;er. We tell them we have
a multiple listing system and they don’t have to hunt around.
We also talk about quality of life issues. The air quality is
so bad in parts of China, for example. When we point out that,
in Southern California, it’s 75 degrees and sunny every day,
We look for many ways to communicate. On WeChat, which
is a phone messaging app popular in China, we join conversa-
tions and tell people about real estate in our area. The Korean
equivalent is Kakao Talk. We have sold properties that way,
some sight unseen.
Staying in Touch
For us, the sales process is just the beginning. We stay with our
clients as they settle into their new lifestyle. We have helped
them get children enrolled in school, sign up for utilities, shop
for furniture and cars, and find plumbers. We show them where
the ethnic restaurants and grocery stores are. One client had
a Chinese GPS that didn’t work here. We got him set up with a
new one so he could get around. Last summer, we had a dozen
barbecues for 30 or 40 people so we could introduce them
to each other. We wanted people to make friends and build
We are getting six to 10 referrals a week from all di;erent
sources. Many people who bought a home from us and are
comfortable with the process tell their friends, family, and work
associates. We get invited to their social events, and they introduce us around. They know we look out for them.
We are literally marketing to the world, although the laws
make it challenging to target our marketing. The REALTORS®
Code of Ethics does not allow us to target specific ethnic groups.
We have to, and we want to, help all clients. Locally, our marketing begins with our name, International Realty, and our tag. Our
website can be viewed in six languages, and we are adding more.
We do door-knocking with two people to a team, one a bilingual
agent in case translation is needed. We also put on seminars,
send direct mail, and participate in community events. Our marketing strategy makes us stand out. It makes us a destination.
We would be eliminating a huge part of the market if we didn’t
speak their language.
Right now the Asian market is very hot. It might all switch
in a couple of years to where we won’t need as much Chinese
language translation. We might need Urdu or something. We’re
small enough that we can adjust. We want to help people realize
their ownership dreams. We don’t care where they come from.
As told to Pamela Dittmer McKuen
“The sales process is just the beginning. We help them
get children enrolled in school, sign up for utilities, shop for
furniture and cars, and find plumbers.”
Company International Home Realty
Number of o;ces: 1
Number of sales associates: 10 and recruiting
2015 gross sales: $45 million on 40 transaction sides
2016 estimated sales: $100 million–plus on 150 transaction