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Agent of the Month: Lena Tan, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group

By Juwai, 05 September 2018
Agent of the month Lena Tan Berkshire Hathaway Home Services

Since its humble beginnings as a single office in 1959, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group has burgeoned into a full service organisation with 22 offices serving a 6-county area.

Having served the real estate needs of the Tampa Bay area for more than half a decade, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group now consistently ranks as one of the Top 50 companies within the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network. 

Offering a full complement of solutions to meet the changing needs of today’s consumer, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group aims to guide customers in making savvy real estate investments by adhering to four simple principles: Teamwork, Integrity, Passion, Excellence.

Last December 2017, Lena Tan represented Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group to attend the event in Shanghai, China, where she met a Chinese buyer introduced by Juwai.com.

Less than two months later, Lena successfully closed a sale with the above-mentioned Chinese buyer.
We reached out to Lena to find out more about her Chinese buyer experience, and Florida’s appeal to Chinese property investors.

 

Marketing to Chinese homebuyers

“I’ve only been in the real estate business for three years, but I’m moving along very fast," said Lena, who is fluent in Mandarin. "I went to the Shanghai event in December, and immediately we were closing on our first deal [with a Chinese buyer] the next week, and that’s the customer that Juwai introduced me to. It took us literally less than two months.”

With Florida being the third most-enquired US state on Juwai.com, it's clear to see its popularity with Chinese buyers. But why is Florida such a hot pick for Chinese? Florida’s appeal to Chinese real estate buyers is definitely wide-ranging, but Lena is inclined to believe it’s mainly due to the opportunity cost found there.

“For the price of the same house you purchase in California, you can actually buy five properties here in Florida,” she explained.

Considering most Chinese buyers have a keen regard for value, this certainly makes Florida a great catch in their eyes.

Value aside, she swiftly listed out several other factors enticing mainland property investors to Florida, including its stellar school offerings, enviable sunny weather, and the fact that Florida ranks fairly high in terms of clean air quality in the US.

Where are Chinese looking to buy in Florida, though? Based on recent trends noted by Lena, she believes that property buyers from China have shown a marked tendency to veer towards investment properties with higher returns, in terms of school zones, monthly rental and resale value.  

 

Winning tips with Chinese buyers

According to Lena, one of her key success factors with her Chinese buyer was being attentive and fast in responding to the Chinese buyers.

“I sent him information, all the pictures, and before he even got here, we were already under contract. He then came over here to look at the property, and I did the final walkthrough for him a few days later. It moved along so fast – just a little over a month.”

She further added that when it comes to working with China homebuyers, it’s vital to secure detailed information from them so you could understand what they seek.

In general, some of the most sought-after information asked by her Chinese buyers were regarding Florida’s return on investments (ROI), immigration-related questions, as well as Florida’s education system and school offerings.

“The trick is to know exactly what they want and then giving it to them,” said Lena.

"I was able to provide them key points, and then quickly narrow it down further to what they were looking for. This helps them with the decision to purchase quickly.”

Asides from that, Lena also revealed that she went the extra mile by offering extra services for Chinese real estate investors to aid them in getting better acquainted with the neighbourhood, as they were totally unfamiliar with a new town in a foreign country.

“I took them to banks to open their accounts, helped them with their ITIN#, and even arranged for a complimentary night at the vacation resort where the customer would potentially invest,” she shared.

“This really gave them a firsthand experience in their investment.”

 

Future success with the Chinese market

Moving on, Lena is buoyant about her future prospects with the China market.

“I’ve also met a lot of different connections from the event who have sent me numerous referrals. I’ve just got a customer who came over recently, and they were looking for a US$1.2 to US$1.8 million oceanfront property,"

"We’ve narrowed it down to two, so we’re getting ready to put an offer on it, so everything is moving pretty fast,” said Lena.

“On top of that, she has just introduced me to one of her friends in China who wants to invest [in Florida], so it’s like a snowball effect right now.”

 

Working with Juwai 

Lena disclosed that she originally marketed her property listings through a Chinese app, which failed to provide her with very good results.

She then relied on WeChat to help market her business before trying Juwai, following the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices marketing alliance with Juwai.com.

“Has Juwai helped me in marketing to Chinese?
Yes – Juwai brought a Chinese buyer directly to me at the Shanghai event,” she divulged.

“Juwai’s customer service is great, the team is friendly. I visited both Juwai locations in Shanghai and Hong Kong, and they introduced me to local real estate agents. The programme partnership offers additional online exposure to prospective buyers.”

“So far, Juwai has been a great resource,” she quipped.