Long Fan Hu is the CEO ofBafre, a Spanish-Chinese real estate agency that has been operating in Madrid for 15 years. Initially focused on Chinese customers already resident in the city, but later on

they opened to all kinds of national clients and, since the launch of the Golden Visa in 2013, they also addressattract non-resident Chinese investor client. They currently have seven offices, but the forecast is to reach twenty at the end of 2020 in the community of Madrid, and they do not rule out expanding to other cities in Spain.

Fotocasa: What were the origins of Bafre?

Long Fang Hu: Bafre is a Spanish-Chinese real estate company that operates in Madrid since 2004. The company was created to satisfy the demand of resident Chinese customers who already lived in the community of Madrid: people who already resided and worked here but who, due to culture and language, had difficulty understanding the owners of the houses, with the banks or with the administration. Bafre could offer that service: help them find housing that matches their demand, process all documentation for financing and purchase, We accompany them from visits to the apartments to the notary.

Fotocasa: And once the purchase has been made?

Long Fang Hu: We have also worked after-sales from the beginning, that in this sector, and especially in second-hand housing, practically no company offers it. For this group of Chinese customers, we process the ups and downs of the supplies, You can consult us in case of doubt regarding your bank movements or the taxes you pay, and we help them if problems arise in housing, like leaks or the like, because the language barrier can be a difficulty between neighbors. We will send you an after-sales person to solve the problem, we call insurance, we mediate with the affected neighbor, etc. All this after sales is free for our clients, it is included from the moment they bought the house.

Fotocasa: Are you only dedicated to the client of Chinese origin?

Long Fang Hu: No, in 2012, in full crisis, We also began to target the national market and residents of any nationality: Spanish people, south americans, Moroccans, etc. In 2013 we started to open offices in different points of Madrid and, in fact, we keep expanding: we currently have seven and the idea is to reach twenty by the end of 2020. But we are not only addressing the buyer, but above all to the owner, which is our strength both for the sale speed and for the service we give them, because we offer you a broader and more diverse portfolio of clients than you might expect. And we also target Chinese non-resident investor customer.

Fotocasa: What is the weight of the Chinese non-resident investor client in your business right now?

Long Fang Hu: The Chinese non-resident investor client right now is a strong point thanks to the entrepreneurial law that was passed in 2013 and that offers a residence permit with the purchase of real estate assets for more than 500.000 euros, what is known as the Golden Visa. Right now represents around the 20% of our business, and we aspire to make it much more.

Fotocasa: What role does the Golden Visa play in attracting this type of customer??

Long Fang Hu: I believe that the Golden Visa has not yet contributed enough to the Spanish market, but I think you can do it. Why, also, this route encourages people to come to Spain and consume, they come to generate. They don't just invest in housing, they also have bank charges, home insurance, etc., which are benefits that remain in Spain. Together with other colleagues in the sector we try to promote the Spain brand, and we must remember that we compete with other countries that also offer Golden Visa, although the requirements of each other change. It must also be taken into account that, in our case, non-resident investor clients encourage non-speculation, they don't buy to speculate.

Fotocasa: For what purpose do Chinese customers not resident in Spain buy?

Long Fang Hu: Some buy to live or for their children to study here, but most buy houses to rent. But, unlike other private owners who always seek the maximum possible profit, or the funds that have to balance their large numbers, these investors, who already have their own profession or company in China, what they want above all is to avoid problems. They prefer to rent for a below market price to a serious long-term tenant, solvent and stable. And we also do that tenant selection management rigorously, we recommend that owners purchase payment protection insurance, and with this they rent with total tranquility.

Fotocasa: What types of real estate are these types of clients interested in??

Long Fang Hu: There are three main types of investor clients. Some are pure and hard investors, and regardless of whether or not they are given residence in Spain, they come to buy houses that offer profitability. In this case they look more at what they can get than the type or initial price of the house. Right now, in prime areas, can get returns from 2%, and in areas of medium quality it can reach 5-6%.

Another profile is that of the investment client that comes to live in Spain, who decides to leave China due to pollution, population overcrowding or for legal security and wants to settle in Europe. They are usually older than 45 The 50 years, with great economic stability, they can live abroad without working. These types of clients usually buy a single home from, the least, 500.000 euros, but it can be much more. They come to stay and buy what will be their residence.

The third profile is that of those who do not plan to come and live here immediately, but yes later. They are especially families with young children who want them to be able to study in Spain in the future.. Often they buy a house of about 350.000 euros, close to schools and where they will live later, and another of 150.000 as an investment, so that the sum of both allows them to obtain the Golden Visa.

Fotocasa: What is your marketing plan for each type of client?

Long Fang Hu: We have a very defined marketing plan for the three types of clients: chinese residents, residents of any other nationality, and foreign investor clients. For the Chinese resident client we have specific advertising in areas where there is more population of this nationality and we also obtain very good results thanks to word of mouth for the services we have carried out since 2004, including after sales, that has made us a brand of leadership. For the rest of the residents, we are very well positioned in real estate portals and in Google, and we have good feedback from satisfied customers, both buyers and owners.

Our customers from China, our collaborators there who work with people who want to invest here, and our two offices in Beijing and Shanghai receive very complete dossiers of the homes we have in our portfolio. But, especially, what we offer to these clients before coming is a help service in the preparation of all the necessary documentation to be able to buy here: visas, prevention of money laundering, demonstration of no criminal record, etc. We are very demanding in that regard.

Fotocasa: How is the visit of non-resident investor clients organized?

Long Fang Hu: The client who comes has already passed the documentation filters and has seen the dossiers of the available flats, including virtual reality videos. When you arrive you have already selected some apartments and come directly to buy. It usually lands Sunday, we pick you up, we take you to the hotel and show you Madrid. And on Monday first thing you are seeing the selected homes. He usually visits Monday and Tuesday, to homes that have previously interested you, and the possibility of success is very high, of a 90%. Neither owner, neither buyer nor we waste time. No one travels 10.000 kilometers not to buy. Normally wednesday they give the signal, or continue to see flats in the event that they have not fitted what they have seen. With the provisional NIE sign powers with our lawyers, who are the ones who will process the sale of the property on your behalf, they open an account in a Spanish bank and on the weekend they go home. In a week everything is resolved. Later, when the funds arrive and the deed is signed, We also process the application for a residence permit. And all that accompaniment is included in the price of the house.

Fotocasa: What do you offer from Bafre to the owner client and how do you prepare the dossier of each house?

Long Fang Hu: We are clear that, the property is sold or not, the client-owner must be satisfied with the service we have provided, including the marketing plan and the choice of clients that we take to the visits. Our marketing strategies generate more clients, more visits and the house is more likely to sell in a short period of time. Also, if we don't sell the property, we do not generate any cost to the owner. Everything we offer is specified in writing, with maximum transparency.

For each home we send a professional photographer, we also make a virtual reality video, very useful for the customer who is in China, a face-to-face video of the property and we order all that digital material and we accompany it with a broad description, both in Chinese and Spanish. In the Chinese version, also, We include information about the points of interest in the area where the house is located. And all that for a second-hand flat.

Our goal is to always sell at the best possible price and in the shortest possible time.

Fotocasa: How long do you usually sell the houses in portfolio?

Long Fang Hu: Our average sales time is 20 days. There are properties that are sold on the same day, others in a week or fifteen days, and one that takes longer. We have orders for a maximum of three months: if it doesn't sell in that time, comes out of our portfolio, and we explain to the owner what he can do to increase the sales possibilities, be reforming the house, doing a good cleaning and tuning or lowering the price.

Fotocasa: Do you plan to work outside Madrid?

Long Fang Hu: At the moment we work in Madrid because it is where we started and because we have very good knowledge of the market in this area, both second-hand and in commercialization of new construction. The goal is to expand, but as long as we are well settled here. We get many requests from owners who want to sell in Valencia, in Marbella, in Alicante, in Barcelona, in Bilbao ... But we will only do it when we can offer a quality service in other areas.

Fotocasa: How are the professionals working at Bafre?

Long Fang Hu: An important part of our staff arrives by recommendation, and another by the usual selection methods of any company. To work with the investor client or in specific areas of Chinese resident clients, we require that they be bilingual Spanish-Chinese., or who speak other languages ​​to work with other nationalities, but it is not an essential requirement for all positions. Right now, more or less, he 30% of our commercials are bilingual Spanish-Chinese and also speak English. The other 70% he does not need it.

When selecting, we are looking for professionals who are noble, that have a vocation for customer service and that serve people well. We offer initial and continuous training throughout the growth process within the company.. I would encourage people in the sector to know how we work and, if they share our philosophy, contact our human resources department.

[Source: Fotocasa]