My business motto is “hustle and heart, right from the start,” and I feel this sends a clear message of who I am as a person and a professional. I run my business and life with a philosophy my parents grew up teaching us: FAWTSY—find a way to say yes. I am committed to being a problem-solver in my business and other aspects of my life. I’m not only an agent for my clients, I’m someone they can rely on.
245
Having a sociology degree has helped me understand various barriers and cultural differences and how to best serve others. I’ve found that my human services background pairs nicely with the advocacy needed from a strong real estate professional. I don’t like to think of myself as having a niche or specializing in a certain market. I like to think I specialize in helping people feel informed and confident in their real estate transaction, whether they are my clients or my agents.
71
More than 95 percent of my business stems from referrals from my database of supporters, past clients, industry partners, friends, and agent referrals from other cities. I prospect my database daily for two hours from 9-11 a.m., do follow-ups from 11 a.m.-12 p.m., and then go on appointments and work on projects after lunch. Every week, my goal is to generate five new leads, make 113 contacts, set three appointments, do three “break breads,” and get five reviews or testimonials. The endeavor I’m most proud of is my involvement with the Alzheimer’s Association, a disease that has personally impacted my family. I donate $500 of each commission check after every closing. My goal is to donate $30,000 by October 11 of this year.
567
My parents immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico with very little money before I was born. They raised my four siblings and me in a two-bedroom apartment until they purchased the home where I spent the rest of my childhood. Although we didn’t have much growing up, we always had each other and a house to grow and thrive in. Some of the conditions in which people live sadden me, as I know there are many children who don’t have the luxury of having their own bedroom or backyard to play in. There’s nothing better than to see the expression on the faces of my client’s children when they realize their family will soon have their own home.
338
I grew up in Richmond, Calif., where the chances of becoming a victim of crime are one in 22. I wanted more for my life. My mom was one of 15 children. She grew up as a first-generation American with a pretty rough childhood. She overcame adversity, raised three daughters, and purchased her own home. My family doesn’t have much, but we do have a huge support system. Knowing how important it is to have someone to count on, I’ve made it my mission to be that person for my clients in their real estate transaction. The homebuying process was confusing for my mom, which inspired me to focus on educating my clients. I can break the entire process down so someone without experience can understand it. My home buyer consultation is enhanced by anticipating the questions my clients might have and making sure they feel comfortable asking anything, big or small.
820
Growing up, I always admired my grandparents, who were born into poverty but managed to make a very successful and comfortable life for themselves in real estate. As a child, I would spend the weekends in their model homes and pretend to walk people through and sell them on the desirable features. Service is core to who I am. But the one thing I am most proud of in my career is going on a mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico, last August to help build a home for a family of five who had been living in a tent in the desert. I cannot begin to describe the monumental impact this trip had on me. I am honored to have been part of helping them find happiness.
534
I started working in real estate when I was a pre-med student so I didn’t have to graduate with student loans. But after closing my first few sales, I realized I’d found the industry I love. I specialize in investment properties and first-time home buyers. I love working with investors because it utilizes my skills in business, and I love working with first-timers because there’s nothing like seeing someone light up when they get the keys to their first home. Early in my career, I was taught that no matter how big a city you live in, it becomes a very small place after you’ve burned a bridge. I have applied this idea to my business since day one and focus on leaving every situation better than I found it.
15
I started in real estate as a broker’s assistant with a firm that specialized in foreclosures. Coming into the market at a volatile time in 2010, I learned to navigate the particular facets of this type of transaction. It taught me the true value of our area and set the stage for the niche I would eventually carve out for myself in the luxury property arena. Today, I consider my team members mentors based on the scripture reference, “iron sharpens iron.” In every respect, they are leaders who challenge, support, and encourage me. I believe you are most successful when you surround yourself with people who fill in the gaps of your limitations. One of my career goals is to become known as a “leader of leaders.”
100
I am building both a brand and professional legitimacy through my writing. Over the past four years, I have been a frequent columnist with The Washington Post and Washington Blade, and I’m occasionally featured in other periodicals. My proudest achievement was a special that USA Today did through video and online content with me and a first-time buyer client. Over the course of one month, the newspaper followed us from offer to closing. I also wrote a year-end local real estate analysis of the D.C. area for the Post, using statistics readily available from my MLS.
204
Ninety-two percent of my business is generated from the videos I post on each of my social media platforms. I created a show on Facebook called “#CommunityConnect” where I showcase local businesses in my market in two- to three-minute interviews. These short videos help newcomers to our area understand what our community offers, while also showing that I’m the community leader who helps others generate business.
891
I was born in Manila, Philippines, and moved to the United States when I was 8 years old. My family struggled financially, and I grew up on free and reduced-cost lunches at school. But this experience gave me the mindset to take advantage of every opportunity. In 2017, my first full year in real estate, I connected with clients primarily through open houses and building up my sphere of influence. But consistent posting on Instagram and Facebook has given me the opportunity to meet many more clients. I still maintain my buyer and seller base, but now I also work with some of the top real estate developers in Philadelphia. My team assists developers with acquiring land, underwriting deals, and recommending architects, attorneys, and general contractors. I never thought I would achieve what I have since graduating college. I want to inspire others to believe they can do the same.
175
My dad has had a huge impact on all aspects of my real estate career. As a kid, I tagged along on countless open houses and remember listening to him talk with clients on the phone everywhere we went. I remember when I was first licensed, my dad and I went to a listing the day of closing and, in the pouring rain, filled a 15-foot trailer with garbage that the elderly owner wasn’t able to pick up. He said, “You always go above and beyond for people, and that karma will come back to you someday.” I’ve learned to navigate difficult situations—plenty come with the territory of owning a brokerage—and I look at my dad as an example.
217
My niche is representing buyers in Boston’s strong sellers’ market with a large and highly competitive buyer base. Seven of my deals last year involved multiple offers and sold well over the asking price. One listing that I fought for on behalf of my clients had more than 15 offers. To best position the buyer, I got them in before the open house for two private viewings, arranged a pre-offer inspection, and submitted the buyer’s best and final offer right off the bat. It paid off, and my client won.
151
As a former Marine, I truly feel the need to protect the interests of military families in their pursuit of real estate, whether buying or selling a home. I understand the unique lifestyle the military brings. I work primarily with clients who are using VA loans, and I coach them on how to maximize their investment potential using the product. I also guide them after the transaction by providing free consultation on any improvements, maintenance, and preparation for their next investment.
445
Just as the real estate industry evolves to become more innovative and efficient, so do I. However, I’ve learned that it’s not about always having the latest and greatest technology. It’s about getting back to the basics of providing exceptional customer service. I am fascinated by people. I love discovering what makes people tick, mental processes, cultural differences, how people interact, and how people develop into who they become.
1110
“Bringing clarity to a convoluted industry” is the mission statement for my business. As a business practice, I develop a 30-year plan for the property of each client who closes with me. My clients always have choices in real estate. My job is to provide options and to help them understand the action and potential result of each decision they make. I also strive to help new entrepreneurs get on their feet. I’m most proud of being the first sponsor for an individual who started a local newspaper, which has taken off. He reports news online and mails more than 6,000 papers monthly, and it has greatly impacted the local community.
341
I struggled with homelessness and poverty for most of my childhood, and I have worked since I was 6 years old. Because my family emigrated from an oppressive regime in Vietnam when I was young, my mother was forced to rely on others for her real estate needs due to her education level and lack of English proficiency. After seeing her cry out of frustration because an agent was not listening nor explaining the paperwork to her understanding, I picked up a purchase agreement for the first time. Since then, I have vowed to always do the right thing for my community. I have found a career that I truly love, and being able to provide homes to families is my dream come true.
730
Unless we remain visible to the public as experts in the field of real estate, websites like Zillow and Trulia will become fully automated and eventually remove the personal touch from every transaction. We as professionals know that a website will never be able to provide the full representation our clients deserve. If we don’t promote the value of our licenses and our capabilities to protect our clients’ interests, we are one online search away from being fired.
414
My real estate specialty is helping buyers find their dream second home in the Lake Tahoe area. Lake Tahoe is a unique place with special circumstances: The lake is 22 miles long and 12 miles wide, split down the middle between California and Nevada. I hold a real estate license in both states so that I can be an asset to my clients no matter where they want to live on the lake. It’s my job to educate them on everything about Lake Tahoe, such as the fact that we get anywhere from 300 to 500 inches of snow per year. I care about my clients and want to gain their trust for a lifetime—not just one sale. Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laketahoe_realestate/.
245
I donate a portion of every commission to an organization of my client’s choice. Although each individual donation isn’t huge—my median home sale tends to be around $250,000—everyone has taken the time to write a thank-you note. It makes me happy to help these organizations. My clients feel proud that the purchase of their home helps nonprofits. Also, I founded a staging company that donates a piece of furniture for every property we stage to a local organization that helps less-fortunate families in our area.
322
Real estate is addicting. It’s insane how passionate I am about it. I wake up every day craving negotiations and client interactions. There’s nothing that scratches that itch other than real estate. Although I’m young in the business, I haven’t thought about a dollar since the beginning. I’m just taking care of people, which is amazing. I have created an environment that fosters a community of movers and shakers in the Twin Cities. We focus on health, wealth, love, and impact—the four pillars that I believe make a well-rounded, successful person.
8
I love putting my marketing degree to work. I spend a very large portion of my revenue on marketing because I know that every dollar is an investment in myself and my brand. I do subdivision mailers and postcards by the thousands. I try my best to have a strong social media presence. I truly enjoy keeping an open mind and not sticking to one particular neighborhood or type of client. Every client—and every area you might work in—can lead to growth and development.
634
My town has exploded in growth and change over the past 15 years. With our population climbing, new construction is vital to our town’s success. I have educated myself on the building process to become a new-construction expert, and I’ve obtained listings from several local builders. I represented four communities for one builder. Besides meeting new people, I actively stay in touch with past clients, as they are my biggest cheerleaders. One way I nurture connections is by hosting cocktail parties for my clients who are new to the area. For existing clients, I use coffee meetings as a time to catch up, discuss the market, and talk about new happenings in the community. My goal is to be the concierge of Bend.
224
Prior to real estate, I was helping clients design the custom-built home of their dreams. Once we had a rough idea of the bones of the home, the clients would go with their agent to find the lot. Oftentimes, the lots they bought were not compatible with the design of their home. Then I’d have to tell them we’d need to change the home to fit the lot. There was a disconnect in the process. I began going to showings with my clients and their agents, floor plans in tow. I realized I needed to take the lead to best help my clients and my business. I became a real estate agent to help build their dream homes from start to finish.
452
I have resolved to never reach a point where I think I know it all. It’s folly to think that you can keep up with an ever-changing industry without taking the time to keep learning. One way I do this is by attending the many lunch-and-learns my office hosts. We have speakers who help keep us up-to-date on local government issues and developments, national real estate trends, tax changes, and the constantly evolving real estate forms. Today, I generate business the same way I make friends: I go out and seek connections.
63
I’ve always been fascinated by the real estate industry. I was drawn to the idea that you get what you put into it—that you can determine your own success and there’s unlimited potential. “Your property, my priority” is my mantra. My specialty is being able to realize that every client’s needs are different. Thus, I have tailored my business to meet the various needs of my clients on a case-by-case basis. My previous experience working with the county public defender and in a private investigator’s office gave me the necessary tools and experience to handle all types of people and navigate the intricacies of each situation.
150
I specialize in international clients, and I know the future of real estate will revolve around technology and globalization. I am constantly testing out new technology. Coming from an engineering background, I use a lot of charts and diagrams to relay information to my clients about the San Francisco market. International buyers come to me because I understand their investment strategies. I’m also developing an app that is focused on improving communication and transparency during real estate transactions. This was my first year as a full-time real estate agent, and I was able to complete 12 transactions and list a $3 million commercial property.
193
All of my past clients know that once I’m involved in the transaction, there is nothing I won’t do to help. I have vacuumed water out of a client’s basement. I have turned my car around when leaving town on vacation to show a home that just hit the market. I have ordered pizza and sodas for my buyers and their families while they unpacked in their new homes. My entire focus is making sure my clients know that when they work with me, they have someone in their corner going above and beyond.
657
In this industry, we tend to base our success on the number of deals we close. However, I base my success on the lives I change. One of my recent deals was a 14-unit, mixed-use building with 10 apartments and four retail spaces. This building is located on a block on the south side of Chicago that is underserved by retail. My client came in, updated all the units (while keeping rents affordable), and is opening a restaurant and bookstore in the retail corridors. My client bought the building for $225,000, but if it were located in a more affluent neighborhood, it would have cost well over $1 million. That said, my goal isn’t to thrive in the luxury markets; I’m doing what I do because I have a sole focus on community impact.
284
After purchasing a short sale in 2012, I decided to become an agent. I was 21 at the time—a nervous, single, first-time home buyer. But the agents who represented me made the five-month-long short sale process appear seamless. I loved every minute of the transaction and sought to understand it all so I could help others with their homebuying or homeselling journey. Since then, I have purchased a total of three distressed properties; two are currently single-family rentals. With prior experience in mortgage servicing, I can answer many questions related to the mortgage process for my buyers. This combination of experiences is a real differentiator that sets me apart in this industry.
613
I often think about my grandpa’s stories of being an immigrant from Ukraine. In 2015, I fulfilled a dream to finally visit there. I saw how fortunate we are to live in the U.S. and be able to pursue the American dream. Understanding the immigrant experience has helped propel me to fight through the often-lamented “first-world problems,” put my head down, and do the best job I can for my clients. My husband and I always say we’re living the life we love while creating the life of our dreams.
171
When my parents were getting ready to sell my childhood home, I realized the important impact four walls can have on a life. I want to help my clients find a home they’re going to be able to make memories in. I like working with first-time home buyers because they have a different energy about them. Most are a combination of anxious, excited, and nervous. They each bring with them a different scenario, which gives me the opportunity to think fast, work hard, and perform well. Being able to take my experience and share it with my buyers and be a part of a new chapter in their lives makes my job that much sweeter.
631
Two of my greatest sources of business are repeat and referral clients. Here’s why: Ashtabula County has three micro-markets—lakefront property, farmland, and in-town or city living. I offer specific marketing initiatives for each. For example, I’ve found a majority of the target market for my lakefront property listings comes from neighboring cities. I advertise online and in local print media in those cities. Also, all of my listings receive a comprehensive marketing book, including information that covers almost any question a buyer normally has when they’re at their peak interest on a showing. Buyer’s agents and buyers alike have complimented me on providing such comprehensive information and it’s provided additional seller leads.
160
I work closely with clients of Iranian heritage, many of whom learned English as a second language and find it easier to communicate in Farsi, which I’m able to translate. I guide them through the buying or selling process, helping with lenders, inspectors, contractors, and title companies. It’s fulfilling to be able to tie my roots to my profession and give these individuals the opportunity to become homeowners—a seemingly impossible goal for many.
70
At a young age, my parents taught me to “treat the janitor with the same respect as the CEO.” I take this saying literally and practice it by treating all my clients as if they are on the same playing field. The effort I put into helping a client buy or sell a $2 million house is the same effort I put into helping another buy or sell a $70,000 house. The money does not dictate how I handle each transaction. They all mean the same to me, and I take a lot of pride in helping each person.
235
I remember the various real estate agents my parents worked with when I was a child; I knew they were an important part of the process. I wanted to be that for others. I also have a very entrepreneurial mindset, so I love that real estate gives me the ability to create my own business with no ceiling placed on what I can achieve. Social media—especially LinkedIn and Facebook—have provided me with a wealth of business opportunities. I truly believe in the power of social media marketing.
328
My market of South Arlington is also my neighborhood. I run into clients at the grocery store, the park, the local watering hole. I make doubly certain that they have the best homebuying or homeselling experience. That way, when I see them out and about, I’m able to greet them with smiles and hugs—and whenever they can, they are motivated to give me referrals from their circle of friends and family. My integrity, work ethic, and servant’s heart have helped me build a successful career.
510
To best represent my clients, I focus on selling in the area I know well: Central Maui. It’s where I was born and raised and where I live currently. Most of the properties I sell are within a two-mile radius of where I grew up. These neighborhoods are my stomping grounds, and on a small island, that means a lot. Several times in multiple-offer situations, my clients have won simply because the listing agent has worked with me and knows my work ethic. When emotions are high and everything is at stake, I’m there to insulate my clients from the noise, cushion the impact, and get everyone back down to business to focus on their end goal.
49
After my parents immigrated to the U.S., they rented many places until they could afford to buy a home. Constantly moving from school to school and always having to start over in a different house was difficult. When my parents finally bought a home, it was an indescribable feeling of joy. I obtained my real estate license soon after I graduated college in hopes of helping others create the same feeling. I think it’s very important to help buyers and sellers with every aspect of a transaction. I’ve helped elderly clients with tight finances move bulky items into their garage. I’ve recommended buyers meet with financial experts to help get their credit and budget in order. If the trash isn’t taken out by the previous occupants, I take it upon myself to do it because the little details matter.
761
I participate in things that I am extremely passionate about. Community involvement is not just part of my business model, I’m also the artistic director of Leawood Stage Company, a local 501(c)(3) community theater company that puts on three or four productions each year. I feel like my performance background has prepared me to have a high tolerance for rejection. The pool of real estate business is much larger than the pool of opportunities to perform. This allows me to genuinely operate under a mindset of abundance, as I know what true scarcity feels like.
253
My wife, Roxanne, and I live in a home built in 1928 in a historic neighborhood. We love attending estate sales and garage sales; it has become a family weekend activity. We find everything from furniture and tools to clothes and china. Many people don’t know this, but the majority of my attire comes from these sales. I explain it to people like this: Much like a quality home, if you find something in good condition after many decades, there is a good chance it will remain in good condition for decades to come. Hence, my love for older homes in established areas.
89
I’m your typical West Virginian. I grew up “clogging”—an Appalachian form of tap dancing—playing the dulcimer, riding horses, and whitewater rafting. But it isn’t an easy place for young professionals. The average age of state residents is around 65. We are losing population every year, mostly among younger generations. I got involved with an organization called Generation Charleston to try and recruit and retain young professionals in the area. I think the first step to committing to West Virginia is homeownership. I love helping young professionals plant their roots here.
57
I have a well-rounded clientele who shop for homes in many price points; however, people know me mainly from flipping luxury homes with investor clients. I work with an all-cash investor who specializes in purchasing investment properties in the $300,000 to $500,000 price range, rehabbing and selling them for $700,000 to $2.5 million. Many people follow my videos that I call “Investor Diaries” on Facebook. I keep my audience up-to-date from the time we look at a home to demo day, and all the way to listing and closing.
160
Instagram has become a major source of business for me and my team. Not only have I built my brand to become recognizable on social media in the Cleveland area, I’ve also built relationships with other successful agents around the country—many of whom have sent me referral business. In addition to social media, I encourage my team to work their spheres and hit the pavement hard. We do “power hours” three days per week, making cold calls to expired listings, FSBOs, and older leads. We door-knock and network constantly. In fact, I require my team members to attend at least one networking event per month and have at least four “breaking breads” per month.
341
One of my specialties is working with real estate investors. As an investor myself, it’s exciting to go over the details of an opportunity and discover whether or not it will work for a particular investor. I enjoy working with landlords looking to build their portfolios, as well as property flippers. It’s fun to review the potential income of a property and figure the necessary costs to get a job done efficiently and effectively. Due to my strong relationships with vendors in the area, I’m able to help investors find value-added projects for their properties when it’s time to sell.
151
I love doing commercial real estate. The complexities, negotiations, and creativity involved in putting together a deal are exhilarating. My niche is commercial development. I’m never bored with this kind of transaction because each one is so unique and presents its own set of challenges. Each new venture is a giant puzzle. There are so many moving parts to a transaction, and I’ve learned to rely on the quality people around me to make this giant puzzle a completed masterpiece. I have my father as a mentor; he has been in the industry a long time and taught me to be persistent and creative and have ethical principles.
196
At the age of 23, I purchased my first home in South San Francisco and rented out the remaining rooms. Before I knew it, I was making money and had equity. My parents are my big “why.” They immigrated from China in the 1980s. I watched them work long, 14-hour days, and after years of dedication, they were able to buy their own home. I witnessed my parents go from having nothing to owning a home in the U.S. I saw what real estate did for them, and I decided to learn as much as I could, get my license, and help others figure out how real estate could help them.
173
Coming into real estate at such a young age and knowing nothing about houses, I began shadowing other agents during showings and inspections to ask questions. I wanted to become the agent I never had and lend a voice to the biggest and newest generation entering the market: millennials. My specialty is being able to connect with all of my clients. It’s all about learning, understanding your “why,” and having an open mind to continue to grow in life and in business.
247
I’m often asked what I’m good at and what makes me different. I always say it’s my ability to see people’s talents and help them grow into a career they never imagined. There are many people who are better at certain parts of the transaction than I am. Nothing excites me more than to see individuals on my team meet their goals, provide for their families, and do things they once did not imagine possible. I owe so much to them, as they keep me going daily. It’s a rewarding feeling when you’re no longer working to serve yourself but to serve others—your clients and teammates.
354
My specialty is selling equestrian properties and homes with large acreage. I knew I had a calling for a career in real estate early on in life, and because horses have been a passion of mine, this niche ended up being the perfect combination for a successful business venture. Oddly enough, some of my biggest mentors in real estate have been my horses. I’ve learned so much from those amazing animals that has translated to my career. When you fall off, you get right back on. It’s like when a deal falls apart, you keep persevering because success is always around the corner.
295