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Burlingame Properties Website Now in Chinese

August 4th, 2014

I am excited to share my updated website with you. All of the same great content is now readable in Chinese. To access it, in the upper left corner of most pages, just click the drop down menu where it says "English" to choose either simplified or traditional Mandarin.

The Back Story

What I love the most about selling real estate, in addition to negotiating, are the people. I work with all types of buyers and sellers. Those buying their first home at 28, empty nesters downsizing, siblings selling their parents' former home, families buying a larger home in their current neighborhood, and more. Many of my clients are tech executives, young doctors, finance analysts, PhD researchers, startup entrepreneurs, law enforcement, small business owners, designers, venture capitalists, nurses, attorneys, engineers, advertising and sales executives, et cetera. But perhaps most important, is that they are all nice people.

What I have found consistent among my clients in my nearly decade of helping them achieve their real estate goals is that over half of the buyers I have represented are foreign born, and Western educated. Many have come to the US or Bay Area for undergrad or graduate school and stayed, or their companies have recruited them from overseas. Our market has become international and many of the best and brightest folks around the world are consistently drawn to the San Francisco peninsula. But before they move here, as it is such an important decision, they often do heavy online research.

I recognized this a few years ago and sought to put out the best, most insightful analysis and detailed information on all the communities I serve. I built a team of researchers, photographers, and videographers, and an economist to help present helpful information about my local towns and each of their neighborhoods. I added lots of my own color and insight and directed it all. My website launched about four years ago with quite a bit of local content. Last year, I was fortunate to collaborate with the incredible team at Manifold to reinvision my website.

At the same time, I had two listings in a short window sell to overseas buyers from Hong Kong and Shanghai. One of the buyers spoke fluent English, and the other did not. I trusted that they did extensive research and understood the buying process well, and fortunately they had excellent representation. I was also reminded about an experience I had three years ago with a young Asian American couple who were about to meet with me at the office to discuss purchasing their first home together. While both are native English speakers, they wanted their parents to participate in our initial meeting, despite them only speaking Mandarin Chinese, so that they could make a connection with me, their real estate agent. So that they would feel included in the meeting, I translated some of my materials into Chinese for them to read. They were pleasantly surprised and since then despite my lack of speaking their language, I always get a warm smile from them when I stop by my clients' home and she is there.

After these experiences, and doing some further research online and talking to my Chinese speaking clients, I realized that it would be pretty helpful to have quality location neighborhood and real estate information online in Chinese. For example, one Taiwanese client who I had recently sold a home to in Burlingame (and works at Google) told me if would have been easier for her to understand all the neighborhoods if she could have learned about them in her native language, and her excited family in Taiwan would have better been able to understand what she was talking about more too.

How We Did It

I ended up putting together an expert team of translators to translate my entire website into both simplified and traditional Mandarin (simplified is used mostly in mainland China, and traditional is mostly used in Hong Kong and Taiwan). It was not an easy process as I had numerous questions from my translators about context, proper nouns, and how to interpret data. I also enlisted Manifold again to do the heavy duty back engineering work to make my existing site compatible with multiple languages, and they expertly figured it all out while moving my site into the Amazon cloud to give us faster site speed and data center access in Asia. Even inputting both types of Mandarin into the website proved a challenge with all the links I wanted to point to other helpful content. After many months of translating and translating, we finally did it.

I hope you will enjoy the expanded access to content in Chinese. I am proud that the BurlingameProperties.com site has continued to grow in popularity and I believe it is now the most visited real estate agent website in my marketplace. Last year, my site was called "the most impressive content effort by an agent" by an industry blog and my branding won a national award from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. I hope by offering my site in Chinese even more people will be able to learn about our special communities and why so many of us in the diverse melting pot of the peninsula call it home.