Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Although the house-pickers appeared to be friendly towards each other, Li Du could feel that there was some tension beneath the friendliness:
“Hey, Cavan, long time no see. Heard that a dog bit you when you went to take over the house. Seems like you’ve recovered well.”
“I’m good. That son of a b*tch only bit through the skin. But Bryan, your presence here gets me even more surprised. Did you waste your money on that frilly villa? You managed to sell off that lousy property?”
“No hurry, the American property cycle is fifteen years. I should have some patience, right?”
“That house will not be easy to get rid of. You guys know that, right? More than half of the owners of this batch of houses are problematic.”
“Where did you get that information from? Buddy, are you starting to talk about the trashy news you found online again? Haha, but I believe you. I’m here just to look, I will not take action.”
“You’d be lying if you said that you won’t take any action. Don’t think that I don’t know you had wanted to go to Changning Street number 141 to check out the houses. In the end, you were found out and almost arrested by the police…”
Hearing their banter, Li Du found it quite useful and informative.
To be specific, he learned that the property trade in Santa Monica right now was not too popular. All these people had a few houses in their name. They were prepared to keep the houses for a couple of years before selling them off.
Theoretically, the longer one held onto a property in the United States, the more confident one would be of making a profit. If the investment was for the long term, one would have a sixty percent chance of making a ten-percent profit after waiting for five to six years. If one waited for ten years, the value of the house might even double.
Of course, only select houses were worth keeping around to make big bucks. It was still better to sell the regular houses and gain what profit they could fetch.
The best houses had a good location, school districts, transportation and more. These attributes were the key to making money from selling real estate. In other cases, it was good enough if the house-pickers could make up for their daily expenses by reselling the property.
Although the house-pickers were dressed casually and drove cheap cars, they actually had a high net worth of at least a few millions. Most of them were billionaires.
Their money was locked in their property. Every time they took down a house, they had to withdraw a huge amount of funds. However, each time they withdrew funds, it was almost certain that they would make big bucks out of it. Many houses could be sold for hundreds of thousands if not millions.
Li Du had been standing in the crowd. After some time, naturally, there were people who took notice of him.
Someone came over and asked, “Hey, buddy, are you a staff member here? I’ve never seen you before.”
In the property trade in the United States, there were many third-party agencies that would hire people to assist in real estate transactions. There were valuation companies, house inspection companies, paperwork companies, banks, real estate agents, title insurance companies, and so on.
These companies would arrange for their staff to be at the auction site. After the auction was over, if the house ownership was to be transferred, they would be able to help.
Li Du shook his head and said, “No, I’m here for the same reason as you guys. I’m attending the house auction.”
The man nodded and said, “Oh, I see. Which house are you interested in? Are you planning to move in yourself?”
Li Du smiled and said, “Yep. But if it’s possible, I would like to bid for other houses as well.”
After hearing his reply, two house-pickers scanned Li Du carefully. One of them said, “I seem to have seen you before. You drive a Ferrari?”
Those two men were the house-pickers that Li Du had bumped into at the villa previously. At that time, he had wound down his car window to enjoy the sunshine and breeze. The two parties had caught a brief glance of each other.
Li Du initiated a handshake and said, “That’s right. We’ve met before. Hello, I’m Li from Arizona. Very pleased to meet you guys.”
One middle-aged man shook his hand and said, “Hi, buddy, I’m Marcos. This is my buddy, Leroy. Pleased to meet you too.”
Leroy said as he checked out Li Du, “Were you a house-picker back in Arizona previously? You’re Li? I guess you’re Chinese? Somehow, I have not heard of any Chinese house-picker from Arizona.”
“Perhaps you’re not that well-informed,” Marcos laughed.
Li Du was about to speak when someone frowned and said, “You’re Li from Arizona? You’re a treasure hunter from the warehouse auction trade, right?”
Li Du looked towards the person who spoke and nodded politely. “Yup, I used to be in the warehouse auction trade. Now I just wanted to try out the real estate auction trade.”
As Li Du was the only new face in the crowd, quite a few people noticed him. Hearing his words, the house-pickers started to discuss him vigorously:
“Ha, we have one more rival. A Chinese house-picker, what a rare sight.”
“What rival? Didn’t you hear what he said? He’s a treasure hunter. Someone who sorts out trash. For the likes of him, to come and try out a real estate auction is quite a daring move.”
“Everyone thinks that this trade is full of profits, and everyone comes to join in the auction. I believe that he will back out of this soon. This trade, ha, it’s not easy.”
“Soon? He will back out today. How much money do warehouse transactions costs? A few hundred? A few thousand? Our bids will scare him to death.”
These house-pickers were acquaintances. Hence, they took care not to offend each other when communicating. They did not dare to be too offensive when they spoke.
However, Li Du was a newbie. He was a Chinese and in the past, he had been in a trade that those men looked down on. Hence, these house-pickers did not think much of him and out rightly mocked him.
Although it was true that there were masters in each trade, certain trades were considered to be less lucrative than others from the beginning of time. House-pickers looked down on treasure hunters – it was something that was obvious.
Li Du had long known about that fact and had prepared himself mentally. Hence, in the face of mockery, he only smiled in return.
Not all of them were mocking him, however. There were a couple who knew about his capabilities. After learning his identity, a house-picker looked at him cautiously and asked, “Did you come to Los Angeles with the purpose of specializing in the property auction trade?”
Li Du casually said, “I’m just here for a look. Actually, the warehouse auction trade is pretty decent too. Whichever trade I can make more money in, I’m ready to try it.”
“Then run for the Congress, there’s a lot of money in the bag there,” a house-picker laughed.
Some house-pickers were more careful and said, “Luke, you seem to have some fear of this Chinese man. What’s his background?”
Luke was the house-picker who knew Li Du’s identity. He said quietly, “He is the treasure hunting king of Arizona, though he only started out three or four years ago. During that period, all those who pitted against him landed themselves in dire straits!”
Hearing that, the house-pickers gasped. “This dude is such a bigshot?”
“Hmm,” Luke laughed coolly. “I’m not sure of the specifics. I have a cousin who is a treasure hunter in Phoenix. He used to sing praises for this Chinese man. In any case, don’t get on his bad side. Let’s keep observing.”
The official of the Housing and Urban Development Bureau had arrived. He was in charge of the auction. In addition, he had also specially invited a man in white gloves to host the session. When the men saw White Gloves entering, they started to get ready.
Everyone took out their phone and dialed their partner’s number. At this time, the phone bill was not a consideration. They kept the lines open so as to discuss matters related to the auction.