Realtors: Have You Embraced a Culturally Diverse Clientele?

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Real Estate Broker/Owner with Buyers' Choice Realty

 

Realtors: Have you embraced a culturally diverse clientele?

 

As an immigrant to the United States at the age of 15, I learnt that I was indeed welcomed here with open arms.  No one made fun of my thick accent.  No one ridiculed my cultural idiosyncrasies, or the many words that seemed entirely out of line.  Take for example the time I told my American friends:  “I’ll be back within twenty minutes.  I’ll just go take a quick douche and get ready”.  “Douche” in Romanian means shower.  That’s what I thought I was saying… 

 

There are several Romanian words that sound entirely inappropriate for the “G” rated blog here.  Suffice it to say, that I’ve made every cardinal language mistake in my “Americanization” process, and I’ve learnt the rules the hard way. 

 

Back to my story…  The wonderful thing about America is that it embraces all of its people.   I felt accepted here and I consider this country my true Mother, the one who raised me. 


There are many possible reasons for my affinity for diversity.  Perhaps it’s my wonderful adoption process in America, or maybe my nomadic habits (I travel a lot), or perhaps it’s just my innate curiosity.  The fact is, I have many clients from different cultures: Filipino, Arab, Chinese.   I enjoy observing and learning from them.  Being able to speak basic words and phrases in Arab and Chinese are some of the perks I’ve enjoyed in the process.  My clients tell me that my pronunciation is perfect, but I think they’re just being nice.  I very much enjoy learning bits and pieces of their language and habits. 

 

I am now working with a young Chinese family.   In the process, I’ve learnt that to the Chinese it’s bad luck to have your home facing West, North or North West.   According to Chinese culture, the front of the home should face South, East or South-East.  The number four should not be in the address or in the amount paid for the home. 


Greeting an Arab with “As-Salāmu `Alaykum” is not always appropriate, since not all Arabs are Muslim; many are Christian.  Showing the proper respect by bowing your head when dealing with Japanese people is well known.   Using the proper pronouns when speaking German, French or Romanian is very important.  You can be entirely inappropriate by simply choosing one form of “you” over another.   (English is such an easy language; is it any wonder that it’s so popular?)

Realtors: Have you embraced a culturally diverse clientele?

 

I would love to take a “Cultural Diversity” course to learn all the ins and outs of proper communication with people of all nationalities.  After a long struggle to uncover a cheat sheet for quick access to the World’s cultures, I finally found something I’m happy with.  Here it is:  International Trade on Suite 101.com

 

Have you embraced a culturally diverse clientele?  What have you learnt by working with various ethnic groups?  Please share your knowledge here, so we can all benefit! 

 

Mirela Monte, Your Myrtle Beach Real Estate Connection               Join The Optimist Group!

 

 

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Ambassador
530,235
Mirela Monte
Buyers' Choice Realty - North Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach Real Estate

I can't wait to hear from you on this!  I hope we can exchange many tips here!

 

Dec 19, 2009 01:14 PM #1
Ambassador
530,235
Mirela Monte
Buyers' Choice Realty - North Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach Real Estate

By the way, have you read "The World is Flat"? 

Dec 19, 2009 01:15 PM #2
Rainmaker
645,948
Susan Mangigian
RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches

I am so happy to hear that you were welcomed with open arms.  I am sad to think that this is not the case for everyone.  I love to learn about different cultures and different customs.  Have a wonderful holiday Mirela.  I miss you!

Dec 19, 2009 01:20 PM #3
Ambassador
530,235
Mirela Monte
Buyers' Choice Realty - North Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach Real Estate

Susan:  Thank you!  Same to you! 

We are going to get together on the SMG soon.  We will do it impromptu and I will e-mail all of you an invitation.  I miss you too!

Dec 19, 2009 01:31 PM #4
Rainmaker
1,737,515
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Feng Shui is a very tricky concept - my understanding is that each person's feng shui varies depending on when they are born - so what works fo rone client might not owrk for another - that is what keeps us coming back for more - each client is different.!

Dec 19, 2009 01:31 PM #5
Ambassador
530,235
Mirela Monte
Buyers' Choice Realty - North Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach Real Estate

Lise:  I don't think my Chinese clients were referring to Feng Shui; I think it's more a cultural superstition type thing...  Being Romanian I know all about that from my grandmother, who had so many rules and regulations on so very many things.  Like not working on Sundays.  That is considered very bad luck and it may bring illness to the person doing the labor or to a loved one.   Another one:  once you leave home to go somewhere, it's bad luck to return for something you forgot to take with you.  It's best to just go without it, rather than go back for it.  Do I still follow the Romanian rules?  Sadly, I do - or at least I try to.

Dec 19, 2009 01:38 PM #6
Rainmaker
596,993
Jim Hale
ACTIONAGENTS.NET - Eugene, OR
Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website

Many Americans do not truly embrace people from other backgrounds.  Too many forget that, not too long ago, someone in their family tree stepped off a boat.  Mine, except one Native American, stepped off the boat before the Revolution. Even my Irish ancestors arrived during that period.  But, having some kinship with Irish who came later and were among those terribly treated for generations, I try always to remember what a great thing coming here was.

Today's Latinos are just the latest to face resistance in our long history.

Dec 19, 2009 01:47 PM #7
Rainmaker
596,993
Jim Hale
ACTIONAGENTS.NET - Eugene, OR
Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website

Mirela -

BTW - That picture in your post of the clasped hands with the global map painted on them may be the best piece of art I have ever seen.  It is clearly the most imaginative.  I've never seen it before.

Do you know it's source.

Dec 19, 2009 01:50 PM #8
Rainer
66,362
Guy Thomas
WR Starkey Mortgage - Colorado Springs, CO

Mirela, This piece is from an interesting perspective. Your background gives all of us a way to see this from different eyes.

I have read The World is Flat. That was quite an eye opener for me.

Dec 19, 2009 02:01 PM #9
Ambassador
530,235
Mirela Monte
Buyers' Choice Realty - North Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach Real Estate

Jim:  I got the picture from Photobucket.com

I know what you mean.  I've observed it, but I don't tolerate it. 

I have been very fortunate to have such a warm welcome here.  I have been very lucky to be accepted in the many places I've called home throughout my life.  My sister lived in Germany for many years and never felt accepted there.  I only lived there for a short while, but loved it and felt like the Germans thought of me as one of their own.  Learning the language, or at least trying to, has always improved my chances of success.  When I'm in France, people think I'm one of theirs when I only speak a few words (that's all I know).  My accent is very good.  I can do the nasal "N" and give that guttural "R" like no foreigner...    I love languages and wish I could perfect all the ones I'm dabbling in. 

When you respect a culture by working hard to understand the nuances of it, including the language, people respect that. 

My son is now fighting the war in Afghanistan.  The main gift I gave him when he left was an iPhone with 12 pages of applications on it.  Several of the pages contained information about the Arab culture, Arab language lessons with various dialects and other pertinent items.  It is easy to hate people you don't know or understand.  It is not so easy to hate them when you understand them.  Education is the best barrier lifter between people. 

Colors, religions, languages and customs...  they are all mere dressing of the substance.  The substance is our humanity.  Inside we are all the same.  We bleed the same, we hurt the same, we love the same.  We are all brothers and sisters.  When one hurts, we all hurt...

I wish we worked harder to understand one another, instead of fighting each other...

I'll end this with two quotes I love:

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."  Benjamin Franklin

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend” ~Martin Luther King

 

Dec 19, 2009 02:15 PM #10
Rainer
7,904
Katyna Bunn
Go Realty - Holly Springs, NC
Experienced Realtor

Interesting article!  Many do not embrace other cultures, yet I think times are getting better.  Diversity of culture and background is what makes America the great nation it is.

Dec 19, 2009 02:18 PM #11
Ambassador
530,235
Mirela Monte
Buyers' Choice Realty - North Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach Real Estate

Guy:  Thank you!  I'm glad to hear that!

"The World is Flat" was an enlightening book, wasn't it?  It should be mandatory reading.

Have you checked out the link to the International Trade Info provided in the blog?  Excellent information I know you'll enjoy.

Katyna:  Thank you!  Yes, I agree; times are getting better.  Education has a lot to do with it.  The information age is duly impacting our world.

Dec 19, 2009 02:24 PM #12
Rainmaker
596,993
Jim Hale
ACTIONAGENTS.NET - Eugene, OR
Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website

Mirela -

I agree completely with your response to my comment.

 

And I don't put up with it either.

I wrote a local op edit on immigration a couple of years ago.  Put me on the outs with my party...of which I was once chair.

Dec 19, 2009 06:14 PM #13
Rainmaker
135,339
J Perrin Cornell
Century 21 Exclusively, Wenatchee, WA - Wenatchee, WA
Broker, ABR, VAMRES

If being accepted and assimilated and have opportunity is important to you then as a emigre you will be welcomed... and should be!

About 15% of my client base are foreign born. It is a learning experience for both of us and one I have enjoyed...

Dec 20, 2009 12:56 AM #14
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