Adler Ho makes going after a million dollar listing seem as effortless as ordering a coffee (or his beloved Pinot Gris). The fresh-faced Sydney businessman has amassed quite a following in Hong Kong, where his amusing plastic bobblehead cheerfully adorns the desks of more prestigious players. Ho suddenly counts CEOs and high powered executives among his network – so how did this boy from Sydney’s North Shore break into Asia’s property and finance elite?
For a start, connections don’t hurt, and Ho hints at family ties that extend into the who’s who web of Hong Kong’s old society. However it’s the calm authority and unflappable tenacity that have enabled Adler to make a splash – and last – on the Hong Kong and Singapore competitive business scene.
Two years ago, Adler Ho Property Consultants was launched to assist both local and overseas clients buy real estate in Sydney. Whether clients were seeking their next investment property or looking for the perfect home in Sydney, Ho and his team were on-the-ground to ensure that buyers are well-represented in the sale process.
Positioning himself as a specialist buyers agent, Ho sources hard to find, often off-market Sydney properties and homes to Asia’s leading expat movers and shakers. Whether it’s looking for a $100m+ commercial property, scouring development sites, negotiating JVs with local developers or sourcing that lavish family home with the obligatory boat ramp, Ho and his team of Sydney insiders will hunt, scour and gather until his clients are satisfied with the space.
“When looking to buy back in Australia, expats have the obvious issue of not being physically in their desired location,” he explains. “While you can browse properties online, it’s not the same as someone working exclusively in your camp to articulate your needs and follow through with the groundwork that ensure a seamless and stress-free buying process.”
Looking to buy a home is different to buying an investment property, for anyone who’s tried. For investments, it’s easy enough to merely look at return on investment (ROI) – capital and rental yields. A home purchase, on the other hand, needs to factor in school commitments, vocational travel, proximity to friends and other extra-curricular activities. As such, Ho travels to meet with his clients in Asia at least once a month, maintaining a bespoke personal relationship that puts demanding clients at ease.
Typical buyers are time-poor Australian expats, usually in financial services, tech and investment banking. They don’t have time to fly back to Sydney due to their work commitments, and crave to find a property without pressure.
“We don’t want a client to feel rushed by agents in making a decision within 2 weeks. We can negotiate a purchase over a 3-6 month period, negotiate terms and even do private 360 tours specifically for that one prestigious buyer.”
So why does he travel to see his clients direct if everything can be done with the aid of technology?
“With a lot of money being exchanged, clients need to know that I’m acting in their best interest. If a client is not comfortable with me, they should talk to someone else. It’s very much a trust-based, people business. We’re not in the game of buying property, but rather understanding requirements and making educated decisions on buyers’ behalf.”
For now, the business is concentrated in Hong Kong and Singapore, although Ho has some clients from Malaysia and mainland China. He makes quarterly trips to Singapore and travels at least monthly to Hong Kong, enjoying active relationships with AustCham and other local organisations by sponsoring events and being a regular at high-brow industry dinners.
I’m curious about those goofy plastic bobbleheads.
“It’s better than a business card! I’ve built my relationships by presenting myself from a professional stand point, ensuring people know what I do and getting a foot in the door. A lot of business comes through referrals and in order for people to refer you their friends, family, colleagues and clients, they have to trust you and the service that you provide. It has taken immense time and effort to build these solid business relationships but clients and potential clients can see that the referrals are genuinely in their interest. Furthermore, I have the expertise to follow through with what I am promoting in selling property, having worked with developers in all aspects of property development from acquisition through to project marketing and having the contacts to access off-market properties from studio apartments to $100m+ hotels.”
Looks like a bobblehead is a cute way to remember his face?
“There are definitely other agents who have tried to enter this market – but I am maintaining a genuine presence overseas and locally with personal relationships with numerous business, financial and social contacts.”
With such regular travel to Hong Kong, I would be remiss not to gather some recommendations for Asia’s most thriving party hub.
“Ho Lee Fook (yes, it’s a play on words) is a fantastic Chinese fusion restaurant in the middle of Central on Elgin St. The Woods and Iron Fairy are fun local bars, while Foxtrot is a hidden speakeasy.”
For lunch, Ho recommends Dragon-I – a hot nightclub that by day does killer all-you-can-eat Dim Sum; as well as The Verandah at Repulse Bay for a casual Sunday seafood buffet.
“I’m grateful that I get to see the old-school Hong Kong too … The Hong Kong Club, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the Cricket Club are all private member clubs that the same circles hang around. But when I spend time with a younger crowd, it’s all about the latest bar and restaurant openings (like HQ by Terrace Concepts that’s just opened this month with Beer Pong tables).
In Singapore, I don’t get the time to go out at all, unless it’s with clients. My trips there can be as short as a single day trip where I have client meetings lined up back-to-back before flying out.”
Something tells me that Ho will soon be just as versed in European, Canadian and US based attractions, where he hopes to expand his service in mid-2017…. Just don’t expect a mega-agency any time soon.
“We would rather deal with a handful of clients we know intimately, rather than pursue a mass-market service. We need to do it well.”
If you’re Asian-based and looking to move back home or invest in Sydney without fuss, http://www.adlerho.com is an amazing start.
Ho Lee Fook – http://holeefookhk.tumblr.com/
The Woods – http://www.thewoods.hk/
Dragon-I – http://www.dragon-i.com.hk/main.html
The Verandah – https://www.therepulsebay.com/en/dining/verandah/
HQ by Terrace Concepts – https://www.facebook.com/HQbyTerraceConcepts