Smart brokers know the value of a good contact list when you need to close deals. But not many are clever enough to use their WeChat contacts to sell $13 million in homes to clients they have never met before and live half-way across the world in China.
According to a story on New York magazine’s website, Manhattan-based broker Ryan Serhant has found a way to make WeChat, a messaging app which dominates the Chinese market and is similar to What’sApp, nearly as lucrative for him as it has been for the app’s creator, TenCent.
Serhant’s team apparently received an inquiry via WeChat from an investor in China who was interested in buying a home in the swanky Baccarat Hotels & Residences on New York’s West 53rd Street.
And Serhant apparently replied with just the right combination of smileys and pictures of what he’d had for lunch, because the interested party agreed to buy two units at the Baccarat – a $10 million three-bedroom and a $3 million one-bedroom – without even coming to New York. (Although Serhant added that the deals may not be entirely closed just yet).
A New Way to Monetise Your Social Presence
While TenCent’s stock may have been sliding lately, Serhant, who also appears in a US reality TV program about real estate brokers, appears sold on the value of its products.
“This price for a deal that was done and initiated 100 percent through social media and across the world?” Serhant was quoted as saying in the New York magazine story. “A complete stranger who learned about us via social media and basically gave us $13 million and change to invest in something that’s not even been built yet in a city they’ve never even been to? I don’t think [anyone else has done that],” he added.
Chinese Buyers Become the Darling of New York
When New York’s high-end residential complex One57, where homes go for as much as $90 million opened in 2012, Chinese were among some of the earliest buyers, with one woman famously buying a unit for her two-year-old daughter. One of China’s wealthiest women also made waves in Manhattan’s luxury housing market last year, when Zhang Xin beat out Brad Pitt for US$26 million town house on East 74th Street.
For now, Serhant seems sold not only the WeChat, but on the power of social media for reaching Chinese buyers, and says his twin sales at The Baccarat are his biggest deal yet. And what next for the budding social media superstar? Apparently the New York broker plans to expand his Chinese social arsenal by adding an account on Weibo, the Chinese Twitter-style social broadcasting network.