So if you were a real estate broker looking to sell multimillion-dollar homes on Long Island's North Shore, where would you go? How about a Communist country?
That's what Shawn Elliott did only a few weeks ago. Elliott, president and founder of Woodbury-based Shawn Elliott Luxury Homes & Estates, spent six days last month in Beijing talking up some of the 250 North Shore homes in his current portfolio that sell for anywhere from $500,000 to $35 million.
A wasted trip? Not at all, Elliott said last week. Only days after his return to his Woodbury office, he got a call from one of his Chinese hosts, who came to see one of those homes. A sale has not yet been completed.
But why go to state-run China?
Elliott said that of five $10-million homes sold in Nassau County last year, four were to people originally from the emerging and powerful new China. His firm sold two of the five.
Elliott was keynote speaker at a conference in Beijing that attracted brokers from around the world.
"The idea was for me to take a proactive approach," Elliott said. "Instead of waiting for the Chinese to come to me, I decided to go to the Chinese."
Spencer Ross, president of the National Institute for World Trade, a business consulting organization in Cold Spring Harbor, said Elliott made a sound decision.
"There are individuals in China who have amassed a great deal of wealth, and I think Shawn would have a market there," Ross said. "The Chinese have built [housing] developments that are more luxurious than anything I've seen here."
Ross said he remembers the way things were in China decades ago, when he first visited. "We would sit around in cold, unheated gray buildings in the wintertime and engage with people who were all in the Communist Party," Ross said. Today, he and Elliott have found a different China.
In China, Elliott said, "I felt like I was right at home."