Every day I drive by an unsold house near my home. It’s been on the market for months. It’s not that the economy is stopping sales – the house next door to me sold in a week. The problem is that the house sits at the top of a T intersection – a house whose Feng Shui is unacceptable in my predominantly Asian neighborhood. This article from the San Jose Mercury News talks about a seminar that is designed to teach realtors in Silicon Valley how to better serve local Asian-Americans. One point from the seminar that I see every day: many Asians rely on feng shui principles when selecting and decorating a home.
Asian-Americans influence much of the real estate market in Silicon Valley, and dealing with Asian-Americans is becoming more important for realtors across California as Asian-Americans are becoming an increasingly greater percentage of home buyers there. My brother-in-law (BIL for short) who lives with me is a real estate agent, and he has told me about many of the points such that are made in the seminar. Some highlights from the article:
- Asians are very family-oriented. They appreciate your taking an interest in their family. Living arrangements may include extended family.
- Asians place great value on education, music and the arts.
- Asians are very value-conscious and like to feel they got a good deal when purchasing a home.
Some of the most prized houses are ones with a first story bedroom with full bath – usually for parents who make up an extended family. The Wife and I were shopping for one of these when we were shopping for our last house. BIL knows the API (California Academic Performance Index) scores for almost all the schools in the general area – many Asians shop for houses by looking at local school API scores. The last point includes not paying a lot of interest or reduced commissions, as many Asians often pay cash or have huge down payments and will demand credits from realtors, even when using them as a buying agent. “Many Asian buyers will save up to 50 percent of the down payment and/or pay cash for a home because to them, ‘interest’ is a dirty word,” says seminar leader John Fukuda of the Asian Real Estate Association of America. That’s the case even in expensive Silicon Valley.
Realtor Nicholas Pham sums it up well: “You may not always agree with these cultural traits, but it’s important to just accept them and keep them in mind when working with Asian clients.”