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5 tips on how to sell ultra-high end properties to wealthy Chinese buyers
By Juwai, 09 September 2019
Whether it’s a mansion-in-the-sky or a multimillion dollar mega-home, ultra-rich Chinese buyers have preferences. Here’s what to look out for to close that big home purchase deal.
Novelist F Scott Fitzgerald said "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” As if we needed telling.
This truism has relevance, though, in the real estate world because to find a home (better yet, an estate) for a billionaire requires a different kind of thinking. It requires an agent to look at every potential property through the eyes of a person who has limitless funds but who is not so foolish as to squander them. It requires an understanding of a lifestyle enjoyed by very few. Bear in mind you are dealing with people who make mega-deals for a living. They know and appreciate value for money.
1. Know Your Client
The more you know - about habits, about family, about recreations, about anything and everything - the better your chances of finding the perfect property. Bear in mind, you cannot waste this person’s time.
Think in detail. How many staff members need to be accommodated? How many cars need to be garaged? Does the client travel by helicopter - if so, is there a helipad or the potential to build one? Should there be a billiard room? Does the family ride horses? Just keep asking questions until you can refine your list of specific requirements.
2. How is the feng shui?
If the feng shui is not right, there is no point in even short-listing a property for a billionaire’s (or his minion’s) inspection. You may not be able to do an in-depth feng shui analysis but you can look at certain aspects.
For the initial impression, the house and grounds must be very clean and uncluttered. If there is water - in a sea view, a pond, an aquarium - this is good, especially to the southeast. Pay attention to the southeast corner of the house as well - this is the money spot. Plants, indoors and out, should be healthy and auspicious colours such as purple and green make a good impression.
For immediate impact, a house number with 8 and/or 9 would be great, and a front door which is attention-getting i.e. a strong colour such as red, or an outsized entrance, could ensure that opportunity knocks.
3. Location, location, location
Another real estate truism. In this case you are not looking for the worst house in the best street but the best house, in the best street, in the best suburb or the best countryside. The location must carry prestige. If there are neighbours, they must be in the same stratum of society. If a yacht is involved, a private mooring or an exclusive marina must be nearby.
Whether it is a mansion or a penthouse, the views from the property should be pleasant and unobstructed and conversely, there should be no views of the property which could compromise the owner’s privacy.
Security of the grounds and the building are of paramount importance.
4. Legacy with luxury
Like great works of art, some ultra-high-end homes have history. Familiarise yourself with the provenance. When was it built, for whom, and even by whom? Who has lived in it before?
In Europe, historic houses may have been built for nobility and have a colourful backstory, may even be famous. It all adds to the cachet of living in a house with a past.
Perhaps it is an architect-designed home. We live in the era of Starchitects so you should know names such as I M Pei, Ignasi Mas i Morell and Peter Marino. Inger Stringfellow of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty says legacy houses by the great architects may command as much as a 50 per cent premium.
A home may have been lived in by a celebrity from the world of film, television, music or literature. That’s a big bonus for a trophy home buy.
5. Monetary considerations
Return on investment must be a consideration. In a normal situation you know the relative market value of the property judging by recent sales. You won’t have that guideline now as multi-million dollar properties don’t change owners as often. You shift your focus to a global scale and see what is on offer, for how much, around the world.
A number of markets have cracked the US$100 million mark already. Look into the tax implications of investing in property in the particular location, as well as any immigration issues or any restriction on foreign buyers.
You need to have a much wider view as ROI could be influenced by the economic outlook and political demeanour of the whole country or region. Check risk management studies as part of your research.
Finally, be fast and be responsive. These are not people who wait around for an outcome. Work quickly and always, always respond the minute they call. Be fully informed at all times; be ready to go at all times. In communications, don’t sugar-coat - anything - a savvy HNWI Chinese buyer can smell deception or procrastination a mile off. And know your power - don’t be afraid to drive the negotiation hard. A billionaire would.
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