Long & Foster Director of Asia-Pacific Initiatives, Eric Chen (left), and President of CRES, Pandra Richie (center), meet with Gene Shi (right), Homelink’s president of international operations, in Beijing in December 2016.

Long & Foster is Poised to Work with an Increasing Number of Asian Buyers

From April 2015 to March 2016, Chinese buyers purchased more real estate in the United States than buyers from the next four highest ranked coun­tries combined, according to the National Association of Realtors. That figure comes from NAR’s 2016 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate.

Foreign buyers are drawn to residential real estate in the United States for numerous reasons, including the feeling that American real estate is a safe investment and the desire to be close to excellent schools, univer­sities, cities or resorts.

In recent years, Long & Foster’s Corporate Real Estate Services division has been working to connect with buyers in Asia, building relation­ships with buyers and sellers across the globe. Those efforts began in 2015 when Eric Chen was brought on as Long & Foster’s director of Asia-Pa­cific initiatives. Here is a look at what else Chen and the CRES division have been working on.

Getting Overseas Exposure for Long & Foster Properties

Long & Foster has multiple partnerships in place with top Chinese companies to provide even more global exposure to Long & Foster listings. A new agreement was recently signed with 5i5j. com, adding to the visibility listings were already receiving through relationships with HomeLink and Juwai.com.

  • 5i5j.com: All of Long & Foster’s listings are syndicated on 5i5j.com’s website, and the com­pany is the second largest real estate company in China. The website sees about 185,000 monthly users, and the company’s app was downloaded more than 102,000 times in 2016.
  • HomeLink: This is the largest real estate com­pany in China, represented by 150,000 agents in 5,000 sales offices. The company employs more than 100 staffers who are dedicated to placing referrals, and in addition to Long & Foster’s refer­ral agreement with the company, Long & Foster listings are syndicated to their website, which receives about 500,000 page views monthly.
  • Juwai.com: Under Long & Foster’s agreement with Juwai.com, which receives more than 2 million page views per month, all Long & Foster listings are featured on the website with more photos than competitors.

Creating and Fostering Relationships Near and Far

Believing in the importance of global connec­tions, the CRES division has expanded efforts to build brand awareness and reach potential cus­tomers throughout Asia-Pacific.

Long & Foster has twice participated in The Luxury Properties Showcase, including in Bei­jing in April 2016 and in Shanghai in December 2016. The invitation-only events are exclusively designed for the Chinese real estate market, and they have allowed for Long & Foster to meet with international luxury buyers in person. Addi­tionally, Long & Foster has held seminars in major metropolitan cities to meet with potential inves­tors directly, providing them with insight into the process of buying real estate in the United States.

Membership and involvement in international organizations has not only helped generate referral leads for Long & Foster, but also helps the company stay up-to-date on industry trends and build brand awareness. Some of these organi­zations include Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (LeadingRE), the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) and the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA).

Building Brand Awareness Online in China

In addition to marketing Long & Foster properties in China and connecting with overseas investors, CRES has placed importance on the promotion of its overall brand. Due to access issues in China, Long & Foster created a landing page website that is hosted in China, so that potential buyers can get more information about the company, the process of purchasing in the United States and more.

Long & Foster has also made investments in building the company’s brand through cam­paigns on social media platforms that are popu­lar in China, including WeChat and Weibo. These platforms allow messaging on a massive scale, as well as transactional messaging, where users can buy and sell goods and services through the messaging platform.

As the popularity of American real estate contin­ues to grow with buyers in Asia, Long & Foster will work to pursue further opportunities to reach these investors.