Buyers from San Francisco in Sacramento
Working with non-English speaking buyers in Sacramento real estate is more common than you might think. It’s no secret that our lower affordable prices and close proximity to the Bay Area draws to Sacramento many foreign buyers from San Francisco.
One of the recurring hurdles we need to cross is to develop trust. Which is difficult when you can’t really communicate. I mean, how do you tell a buyer, hey, we Sacramento Realtors are in many ways like those from the Midwest, honest almost to a fault, accommodating, desiring to assist and help. We are not slippery-slope big city sharks.
In one escrow that just blew up yesterday, the buyers relied mostly on a family member to interpret, and she thought she knew everything. You know the type. Can’t share any information because they mistrust the agent and they have all the answers. The know-it-alls find dozens of things to complain about, even when nothing is wrong. The answer is really to spend extra time with non-English speaking buyers in Sacramento, especially the know-it-alls. To be patient, kind, understanding, even when they attack your integrity.
It’s really hard for many people to trust anybody. It’s even harder for many people to trust real estate agents. I find it’s easier to communicate in writing with ESL or non-English speakers. Like my Español, where I’ve got lo siento down pat, it’s easier for me to read and write in Spanish than to speak it. I can make a request in Spanish but I do not understand the reply. I sold several homes last year representing sellers who did not speak a lick of English. I never even met the sellers. I did, however, spend a lot of time writing emails that explained how things work.
It was a lot more work on my end. I could not treat these sellers like regular sellers who understand English yet they still don’t get it. I had to break down every single step, explain every action. But in the end, they adored me. Not everybody is like that, though.
Take a buyer from the Bay Area who called yesterday. We were ready to show him a home in Elk Grove last night, but the listing stated all offers would be presented at 8 AM today. That meant if he wanted to buy it, the buyer would need to write an offer immediately. That news was offensive and foreign to the guy. It made him angry, agitated. He accused us of making it up, of working against him.
From where he stood, he was right to harbor that viewpoint. In retrospect, it might have been more clear to say the home was unavailable. But just because there are communication challenges with non-English speaking buyers in Sacramento real estate doesn’t mean we can’t offer patience, kindness and understanding. And let me tell you, Google translation is also a big help. Under these circumstances, it just takes more time to develop trust and a fiduciary relationship.
And yes, sometimes there are situations when it’s best to refer the buyer to an agent who speaks their native tongue.