- Windermere Real Estate is in discussions about a strategic partnership with a new U.S. company targeting Chinese buyers to the States.
- Doorhu is a website and app that will give Chinese buyers and investors tailored information.
- Doorhu is looking for other broker partners on the West Coast and potentially in Texas.
When Chinese buyers are looking at overseas properties to potentially purchase, they want to know the capital gain they can expect in three years, the rental return and how many Chinese neighbors they can expect to have should they move there. But most portals won’t give them those details.
Doorhu, a new, well-connected U.S.-Chinese real estate portal, does give Chinese shoppers those options — and it’s now talking about making exclusive partnership deals with brokerages like Windermere Real Estate.
Bing Wu and his problem to solve
Doorhu is led by Chinese-born Bing Wu. It will have both a U.S. website and a Chinese equivalent and accompanying apps giving buyers listing information, agent contacts and areas where they can expect good rental returns.
Two websites will launch next week — www.doorhu.com, where (Doorhu approved) U.S. brokers and agents can sign in and manage their profiles, and the information will also appear on the Chinese website www.doorhu.cn.
The Doorhu website will give buyers five search options — the capital gain they can expect in three years, the median property price, the rental return and the percentage of Chinese living in an area. High school rankings will be another key indicator.
Wu stressed he won’t let just any agent in. “It will be invitation-only,” he said. “Once we have signed this contract with Windermere, they can give us a list of agents they want to participate with us.”
Doorhu will provide listing information through its agent and brokerage connections. Meanwhile, Doorhu will work on cross-marketing with Windermere in China, said Wu.
Wendy Kaye, currently an associate broker at Keller Williams in Los Angeles, is a founding member of Doorhu and will also be transitioning to the company as the chief revenue officer.
The idea’s genesis
The businessman, who owns two properties in LA and four in China and has helped Chinese friends buy in the U.S., said a change in buying trends from the Chinese triggered the idea to create Doorhu.
“Instead of buying expensive properties in the U.S., now the Chinese are thinking: ‘If I want to diversify my portfolio, I want to know that $300,000 can buy a very good investment property and give me a 10 percent rental return.’ That’s why I started this,” he said.
The entrepreneur felt there was a gap in the market after doing research of the real estate portals being used by Chinese buyers.
“We know what Zillow and Juwai.com offer — there are some significant gaps between what the Chinese are looking for and what’s on offer,” Wu noted.
“The first thing Zillow asks someone is to enter a city name or ZIP code. The Chinese are not coming over here to work, so they can buy in Texas or Northern California — they can buy anywhere. They don’t have the same limitations,” he said.
Houston or LA?
Chinese buyers are flocking to Texas, said Wu, because the market there gives them a very high rental return and the population is growing.
“We just toured Houston, and the amount of construction is comparable to LA. It reminded me of huge complexes of single homes in China,” said Wu.
“We have five friends who have already bought 15 properties in Houston. For a $150,000 property there, you can rent it for $1,300 –that’s more than a 10 percent return. Property prices are very low compared with LA.”
Wu said he is concentrating on four areas for strategic partnerships at this point — Washington, Oregon, California and Texas. He is currently in talks with another nationwide real estate chain based in Southern California.
VC funding on the horizon
At the end of the first quarter in 2016, once the business is operational, Wu plans to raise some venture capital funding in the US with companies who know the real estate industry.