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The Real Deal Los Angeles

MLS launches Chinese translation of listings

Firm says plan is to offer additional languages on its site
By Subrina Hudson | February 23, 2017 06:34PM

MLSListings’ Chinese translation, Jonathan Genton and Thomas Hilal (MLSListings/Genton Property Group/Nourmand & Associates)

Chinese investors have made quite a dent in L.A.’s real estate market, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by real estate platform MLSListings Inc.

The company launched Chinese translation on its website Thursday. It’s the first listing service to offer such translation for agents and brokers, the company said in an announcement.

Chinese translation is the only language translation offered by the MLS, which does not yet offer Spanish, but will in the future, according to the company release.

“For many buyers and sellers, English is not their first language,”  Aaron Hyde of MLSListings said in a statement. “To support our agents and brokers even better, we are integrating translation into other languages, where we can…to help them provide listing information in the language most comfortable for their clients.”

The feature allows customers to send translated reports in simplified Chinese and auto-emails to clients.

Thomas Hilal of Nourmand & Associates said many Chinese home buyers work with U.S.-based agents who speak Chinese and English but the service can be helpful as clients often peruse listings online before visiting a property.

“With Chinese buyers, your listings get shopped online first,” Hilal said. “They’re just at the open house to confirm it works for them.”

Jonathan Genton of Genton Property Group, which is developing the Four Seasons Private Residences Los Angeles, said offering Chinese translation is great for business but many Chinese buyers looking at luxury properties prefer to work directly with brokers as opposed to checking a listing website.

“At my price level of $4 to $6 million, they want to understand the product more,” he said.

Genton said his firm will host live presentations and dinners in roughly 10 different cities in China including Beijing and Shanghai to connect with buyers and brokers. The company typically shares event announcements through social media platforms like WeChat.

Hilal anticipates the translation will impact on how brokers do business.

“Brokers will have to react – whether it’s having a team member speak a foreign language or translating their listing,” he said. “It’s a great thing for the broker community, but you’re going to have to adapt and seize that opportunity.”