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Working with Chinese Buyers w/Michi Olson

December 14, 2017

Working with international homebuyers is a great opportunity in real estate right now. What is attracting Chinese buyers to the US market? What are some of the cultural differences you should be aware of? How is foreign investment affecting the San Francisco Bay area? On this episode, we talk with Michi Olson, the Vice President of Business Development and Relocation at Alain Pinel Realtors.

The most important thing is for you to be able to respect and understand the culture-- more important than being able to speak the language. -Michi Olson

Takeaways + Tactics

  • The top 5 countries that are purchasing in the US are China, Canada, India, Mexico and England. China is spending the most.
  • Clean air, lifestyle, weather and education for their children is a major draw for Chinese buyers in San Francisco.
  • For closing gifts: Avoid  clocks, knives, mirrors and the number 4. Give gifts with the numbers 6 and 8, which represent luck and prosperity.

At the start of the show, Michi shared how she got into working with Chinese buyers, and what factors draw Chinese investors to the US. Next, we talked about how much money international investors are spending in the US market and how low inventory is creating a bidding frenzy in the Bay Area market.  

We also discussed:

  • Why Chinese investors park their money in the US
  • Items to avoid as gifts for a Chinese buyer
  • How to ask for proof of funds without offending a foreign investor

Of the $102 billion spent in the US real estate market by foreigners in 2016, $27 billion was spent by the Chinese. This year they spent $37 billion. This shows how much of an opportunity there is in this market. You don’t have to speak the language to work with international buyers, as long as you respect their culture. Knowing the “do’s and don’ts” can allow you to serve international investors exceptionally.

Guest Bio

Michi Olson, SGMS, is Vice President of Business Development and Relocation and serves as Alain Pinel Realtors' primary point-of-contact for company-wide relocation services, including its affiliation with The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (LeadingRE), the world’s largest referral network for independent real estate services companies that formerly operated as RELO. In this role, she manages the brokerage's corporate relocation network and assists thousands of families annually when they move from one state to another for work purposes, or increasingly, to global destinations in job-related moves. Go to for more information, email or call 800.4445.1111