Oct. 27, 2017
According to the National Association of Realtors®, the number of international buyers of U.S. properties has surged in recent years, accounting for a record 284,455 homes that sold for $153 billion during the year-over-year period ending in March.
Of that total, Chinese buyers accounted for 20 percent ($31.7 billion), making it an important demographic targeted by luxury listing agents.
Michi Olson, vice president of relocation and business development at Alain Pinel Realtors, says agents working with Chinese buyers should consider using the WeChat mobile app.
"It's a great app," Olson said. "It is free – free phone call, free FaceTime, free audio message, free texting. And if you put your WeChat ID on your business card, they [Chinese buyers] will immediately feel a connection with you."
WeChat is the dominant messaging app in China, with 963 million users; however, it has yet to catch on in the United States, mainly due to the popularity of Apple's iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts/Google Chat, Slack, and basic SMS (short messaging service).
Even so, Olson says agents should still consider WeChat, noting that "we have a lot of Chinese agents working at our company … and if I send them a WeChat, I get a response no matter what time of the day or evening it is."