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Real estate agents given advice on Chinese culture to help with sales

ONE of Australia’s largest real estate agencies has begun giving sales staff lessons on how to sell to Chinese investors and migrants.

Those running the classes believe concerns over foreign investment in Australian property are being exaggerated by cultural and language barriers.

Ray White, which has about 80 Chinese speaking real estate agents in Victoria, will shortly open an office in Beijing but last week ran a seminar including what may help and hinder sales to Chinese buyers.

Wayne Tseng, director of the Access China consultancy, was among the speakers at the seminar attended by the Herald Sun and said they often preferred properties local buyers were not so keen on.

“The houses they are likely to buy are not the kind that the local Australian’s are likely to buy … (like) a $600,000 condo opposite Doncaster Westfield,” Mr Tseng said.

Other sales tips given to agents in the seminar included:

  • HIGH voltage power lines nearby are a turn off;
  • BLACK and white photos could be associated with death or tombstones;
  • KITCHENS in the middle of the house are undesirable because Chinese cuisine uses a lot of oil and smells can be trapped inside;
  • WOK-burners and rangehoods are desirable;
  • PROXIMITY to Asian precincts and the best local schools should be highlighted;
  • T-INTERSECTIONS are undesirable locations due to higher risks of a road accident on the doorstep;
  • PRONUNCIATION of the word “four” is similar to the Chinese word for death, but other addresses, such as 111, could also be undesirable;

Agents were also told to consider feng shui, with desirable features including a door to the south and plenty of natural light in the main bedroom.

Negatives could include having a bathroom or staircase too close to the front door, or obstructions between or to the front and rear doors.

Last week, a popular Chinese real estate website listing property for sale in Australia, was redesigned to adhere to feng shui principles.

Marcus Ng, who will head up Ray White’s operations in China, said the recently announced parliamentary inquiry into foreign investment was unlikely to concern Chinese investors and Australians shouldn’t be afraid of them.

“People shouldn’t be scared of the Chinese coming in and pushing up prices,” he said.

“I do see this (concern), but it’s not really the case — I think the Australian government has been doing a really good job not to stop them, but to put in some barriers.”

Mr Ng noted some Chinese might have an aversion to second-hand property, because of potential negative history.

“If there’s been a murder in a property they actually display this on the Hong Kong Land Registry … and this will have an impact on prices,” he said.

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