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Members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® packed the training room yesterday to learn more about working with Indian clients. Indians are a close second to Chinese as top foreign buyers of Silicon Valley property. Their cultural nuances, traditions and spiritual beliefs, were discussed by panelists at “Doing Business with Indian Clients,” a program hosted by SILVAR’s Global Business Council.

Sharing the information with members were REALTORS® Sue Bose with Referral Realty – Cupertino, Nomita Shahani with Alain Pinel REALTORS® – Saratoga, Umang Sanchorawala with Alain Pinel REALTORS® – Palo Alto, and supervising loan officer with PNC Mortgage Jimmy Kang. Mark Wong, chair of SILVAR’s Global Business Council, served as moderator.

The REALTORS® presented important information about vastu, the ancient Indian science of architecture. Vastu, which is the counterpart of the Chinese feng shui, can influence Indian buyers in their purchase of a home. According to Bose, the principles of vastu take into account the sun’s rays, earth movement and geomagnetic forces, with fire, water, earth and sky as important elements. Design and construction of buildings are based on vastu so that harmony is created where people who live and work.

Many homes in India are built in the shape of a rectangle or square with a courtyard in the middle, open to the sky, said Bose. Kitchens face southeast with the belief that the gods rule in the east. Winds come from the northeast, so doors and windows should be structured accordingly. Shahani added a pie-shaped lot with the front yard at the tip and the backyard at the larger portion of the lot would be attractive to an Indian buyer because the lot is likened to the shape of a cow, with the tip as its head. The cow is sacred to Indians.

Most Indian buyers “have it all mapped out,” said Bose. They have already done their homework about the home, the neighborhood and the school they want their children to attend. They can also be very aggressive in negotiation, and when their offer is accepted, they think they have overpaid and want to counter or want something more in return.

“It’s just their nature to negotiate,” explained Sanchorawala. “They feel better if they get something more in return.” He said paying for the cleaning or extra work that needs to be done can often appease the buyer.

Be patient with Indian buyers because it is hard to connect with them for the first time. They are not good at returning phone calls. The agent will need to follow up with them multiple times. Sanchorawala said many Indians feel they are important to their job, so they will not interrupt their work day by returning an agent’s phone call.
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