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Fang.com: A cautionary tale for Chinese buyers
By Juwai, 21 July 2015
Chinese property website Fang.com (formerly known as SouFun) recently drew flak when news of a lawsuit filed against them went viral in Chinese media and social media.
A Chinese buyer, Ms. Qiu, purchased land in Florida via SouFun.com in 2013, only to realise she was duped after receiving the title deeds to another plot of land that was of lesser worth.1
Fang.com claimed to be similarly deceived and both parties eventually settled it out of court, but the story became a stark reminder to Chinese buyers – reinforcing their fear and lack of trust when looking to invest overseas.1
When you're looking to invest a large sum of money in a foreign environment, credibility and trust is ever so vital.
Why trust matters
Ronald Reagan once said, “Trust, but verify.” That's especially true today for international buyers – 90% of whom begin their property search online.
So, being able to trust the online property platform from which they're searching for property to invest is essential.
Chinese buyers must feel comfortable in believing the information provided on the website is reliable.
Because until they fly over to view the property in person, you – and your listings online – are their only viable source of information and photographs.
Making trust an issue
Imagine if, for one reason or another, you have to buy a property in Bulgaria or a far country where you don’t speak the language.
What questions and worries would you have? Now apply that thinking to your Chinese buyers – because that’s exactly the same things that they would worry about when they invest in overseas property.
As an agent, you play a big role in soothing such worries and providing confidence and assurance to your Chinese buyer. Here are some useful tips that may help you build trust and guanxi with your Chinese clients:
#1 Answer all their questions
No matter how mundane their 101 questions may seem to you, remember that what may be familiar for you is totally foreign to them. Again, put yourself in their shoes. If your roles were reversed and you’re buying property in China, wouldn’t you want someone to answer you patiently?
#2 Be understanding and broad-minded
Even if your Chinese buyers are asking (what you consider to be) strange questions, humour them by answering them. Seeing as they hail from a different culture, the way they perceive things may differ. For example, what you consider a pantry may be easily viewed as an extra room for other purposes instead.
#3 Don’t just hear, listen
Every Chinese buyer is different, so don’t presume to know what your Chinese buyers want. Instead of talking their ears off from the get go, listen to what they want, and if need be, ask the right questions that would help you better understand what they’re looking for.
#4 Give them time and space
If your Chinese buyer remains hesitant, don’t push them to close the deal. Instead, try finding out what is holding them back, or give them time and space to mull over the property. When reaching back out, try to provide some useful piece of information each time.
#5 Offer your time and advice
if you think your Chinese buyer lacks sufficient information, do advise them to conduct further research before proceeding with any investment. It’s the right thing to do. Walk them through if you possess the right materials and knowledge on hand.
Otherwise, you can always refer them to browse the Juwai.com editorial section, which contains in-depth editorial content on markets, price trends and market updates, as well as educational pieces on buying processes, taxes, and more.
Last but not least, if you’re ever feeling out of depth with questions from your Chinese buyers, feel free to send the buyer with their questions back our way – we’re just a call, an email or a WeChat message away, and we're always happy to help.
Sources: 1. OPP.com