I decided to get my real estate license when my husband and I began buying and remodeling homes. After our third remodel, I discovered I truly loved the process and thought it would be something I could enjoy doing for the rest of my life. My specialty is helping people purchase and remodel homes. For example, I have a buyer who originally wasn't looking to be an investor or purchase a second home. I explained the process and showed him he could cover the expenses and make a little more to make it worth his while, he was intrigued. He has purchased three properties within the last year and has successfully made substantial profits from purchasing, remodeling, renting, and finally selling the properties at the right time for our local market.
As an undergrad at Stanford, I began performing in musicals on campus. I even took a yearlong sabbatical from school to perform in professional theatrical productions all over the Bay Area. Ultimately, I decided that although I loved performing, I hated the performer’s lifestyle. With my career as a performer behind me, I turned to video in real estate as my creative outlet. Video has become a staple of my team’s marketing strategy—both as a means to market our services and create brand awareness, and as a way to market our clients’ properties. For each listing, we create a commercial “sizzle” video, a “lifestyle” video showing highlights of the community, and a virtual open house where we feature every detail of the home. Our goal is to create a blanket of media content that satisfies the curiosity of any home buyer.
One of the core beliefs on our team is there's enough business for everyone, and in order to get better, we all have to get better. We will continue to openly share our methods, our ideas, and our strategies with other agents to help to improve the industry. I focus heavily on learning new things. There hasn't been a day since I joined this industry where I'm not learning something new. I actively network, ask questions and seek resources. In 2020, I redirected my efforts to being a resource for my community. I supported clean-up efforts during the civil unrest in Minneapolis and led a fundraising drive for RE/MAX Results to provide immediate supplies to the community. I listened to the concerns about systemic racism and learned more about how our industry has contributed to the disparities. I'm making a proactive effort to lower the homeownership gap and I'm proudly ending my year having successfully helping three new homeowners with down-payment assistance programs.
When I became an agent, my husband, a Marine Corps veteran, had been working overseas at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad as a security contractor. He spent more than four years at that job, and he could only come home every four months for about 30 days. We had a little boy who was starting school. By going into real estate, I knew I’d be able to have a more flexible schedule to make sure he got to and from school. I spent my first couple years working a lot of nights to grow my business and save money to bring my husband home from overseas so we could be together as a family. I was able to do that and I continued to work hard so my husband could go to college. Now we have two children, and we spend a lot of our weekends doing what we love—riding dirt bikes. There’s just something about being on two wheels that helps you unwind, and in those moments of riding, anything that was stressing or bothering you just flies into the wind.
I am a proud third-generation real estate agent. I so vividly remember my grandfather taking me to his brokerage where I assisted with small tasks, like printing flyers, organizing business supplies, and putting together folders. After retiring from the military, my stepdad founded a brokerage in Jacksonville, Fla., as a way to serve and give back to fellow military personnel through the avenue of real estate. While we serve each and every individual, we are passionate about serving and giving back to community heroes. These heroes are our military members, first responders, medical workers, teachers, and clergy. I also have a soft spot for first-time home buyers. I genuinely enjoy sitting down with them, getting to know them over a cup of coffee, and educating them with my homebuyer packet which includes all the steps and pathways to becoming a homeowner.
I operate in a market where the average residential property price is around $120,000. Last year, I completed more than 60 transactions. Moving to West Tennessee was hard for me, as I did not know a single person. In real estate, that puts you at a significant disadvantage, especially at the beginning of your career when you often depend on friends and family to list with you to get your business going. I had none of that. However, through sheer hard work and determination, I have become a pillar of the local community. I founded my own company, Rentality TN LLC, through which I provide affordable accommodations. Initially, it was for students, but I have evolved it to now offer this same service for families.
My specialty is relationships. I start each day checking in with past clients for an hour and a half. I try to have lunch with three people every week and I have a sphere of 200 people who I mail to monthly. We also drop off Christmas presents and first-year homeowner anniversary ornaments for our past clients. Before COVID-19, I held a 300-person party at my house for all my customers. It included a bouncy house, live band, and pig roast, and we had fishing in the ponds on my property. We also gave away prizes, including a cruise and a stainless steel fridge. People still talk about it today. To me, it's never about real estate, it's about the person in front of you. A person can pick anyone to sell their house and pay 3%. So, if they pick me, I look at it as a great responsibility.
I began working with developers early on. Currently, they make up over half of my client base. The other half is first-time home buyers. I love the combination of buyers and developers because working with one side of this business also helps the other. While I am touring properties with my buyers, I am constantly asking them what finishes they like, what they’re drawn to, how this floor plan could better suit their needs, etc. I give that information to my developers when we’re working on the next project, hoping to attract the type of buyer who is in that market. It works in the other way, too. Because I am constantly walking through construction sites, advising on finishes, and learning where corners can be cut, I’m able to better advise my buyers on the quality of a property and how it can be improved. If I see a quality issue, I will make sure they see it too. Being honest with my buyers and not just trying to make the sale is of the utmost importance to me.
When COVID-19 made its debut, I was anxious but prepared to see deals slowly start sliding off the board. But to my surprise, I didn’t miss a single closing. The biggest bonus for me was learning more about why these buyers and sellers were making their decisions, and more important, sticking to the decision they made before COVID-19. I started looking at things less from a sales perspective and more from the eyes of my clients. I dug in a little deeper to what made them tick and what influenced their purchase or sale. Knowledge is power and understanding my clients and their needs is constantly helping me evolve my business. This is our slogan: “We are hunters, farmers, conservationists, landowners, and habitat managers, just like you, operating a real estate brokerage for you.” I know the challenges farmers face. I speak their language. I’m a triplet, one of three boys raised on a fifth-generation farm that my grandmother has managed for over 50 years and still runs today.
I got into my real estate career right out of college and worked my butt off to become a top producer in San Francisco. Along the way, I continued to build not only a profitable real estate business but also a successful coffee shop, the Rise & Grind Coffeehouse, with two locations in San Francisco, and The VA Hub, a booming virtual assistant company with more than 200 clients. In addition, I’m growing a beautiful family with my wife, son, and a new baby on the way. I admit, I have a lot on my plate. However, coming from an immigrant family that once lost everything, I am making sure that I do not take this opportunity for granted.
No one is more excited than the person who is being handed their keys on closing day after buying their first home. There are some challenges that come along with first-time buyers, but to me, it’s such a rewarding challenge. I have found that first-time buyers (and younger buyers in general) love to be educated, so I have made it a priority to host several homebuying seminars and videos with lenders to send to my potential clients. It’s about more than buying and selling houses to me; I want to have a personal relationship and friendship with my clients that will last a lifetime.
When I was 13 years old, my dad taught me the concept of competitive advantage. Competing in the shot put at half the size of other athletes, my speed and technique were my advantages that lead to two state championships in high school. I apply those same principles when working with home buyers to help them beat out other interested parties. The market here is competitive, we saw five to 15 offers per property in 2020. This discouraged most buyers, but I saw it as an opportunity to stand out. When our buyers make an offer, we look for every little advantage even if it is as small as having the lender call the agent when we make an offer. If a client does not win the offer, we search the tax record to find similar properties in the neighborhood and we call the owners to see if they are interested in selling. In 2020, we helped 51 families buy a home. I really feel like I made an impact on each and every one of their lives.
I grew up on a farm outside a small town of 300 people in northern Iowa. The focus on the family in farming communities shaped who I am today. I learned how to be a team player and work toward something greater than myself by taking care of the livestock and doing chores. After college, I found that my thirst for entrepreneurship combined with my passion for real estate could lead me to a career. I wanted to be involved in acquiring investment properties, have a property management arm, and create a successful sales business. The evolution of my business over the past year has been profound. All aspects essentially worked in harmony and I reached a personal record in sales volume. As I started buying more investment properties, I became a more valuable resource to clients looking to do the same and they often hired me to manage their properties. I have built the foundations of my business that I know will be important to long-term success. I will continue to work hard, intent on a life where my professional success keeps helping my clients, team, family, and community.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound effect on me and my business. People around me were losing their jobs and family members. I couldn’t bring myself to call my sphere and ask for business, so my lead generation calls became care calls: “How are you?” “How’s your family doing?” “What can I do to help?” The people in my life had supported me and my real estate business, and now it was my turn to return the favor. It was rewarding as I quickly realized that a joy shared is twice the joy and a burden shared is half the burden. I became whoever my network needed me to be during those conversations. Some people needed words of encouragement and others just wanted to vent. I became more solutions-oriented and resourceful. I spent the past few years building a social media platform to sell more homes and I’ve able to use that platform to help raise money and elevate personal causes.
Over the past year, I have grown from an actively selling agent and career development director to a franchise owner and president of a 70-agent, $5 million gross commissionable income—producing company. This has been a huge, life-changing transition, especially through a pandemic. I had to quickly find my leadership style and pivot to the ever-changing environment. This year, my concentration is to target younger agents to build the next generation for our office. As far as increasing sales, our focus this year will be on relocation. We are a proud benefactor of the Choose Topeka program that gives incentives to workers to move to Topeka. Our plan is to partner with local corporations to help their new recruits obtain homes in Topeka and the surrounding area. I attribute my competitiveness and leadership skills to sports. I rowed all four years of college even though I had never done it before.
I knew I wanted to become a real estate professional in high school. Even then, I knew that I could be a great salesperson just by being myself, being honest, and making each client feel comfortable and special. My main goal was to help people in the community build wealth through ownership. Buying a house is such a special investment and huge accomplishment, and I like to go all-out for my clients. I work to make sure my clients will never forget the experience of purchasing or selling their home with me. That has allowed me to continue earning their business as well as their friends’ and families’ business. Throughout the past year, I have been working on my systems, follow-up, real estate knowledge and expertise, and marketing. I’ve also developed fierce negotiating skills in this growing market. Since being licensed in 2016, I have never seen such a fierce market as 2020’s. That helped me step up my game and fight for my clients.
When the coronavirus hit, I felt determined not to let fear win. I knew I would have to get creative and pivot my business. I started by becoming much more educated about social media. Although I am a millennial, it was not something I got very easily. I hired a social media team that helped film videos, take photos, and put up engaging posts to help market my business. I started hosting a podcast called “Real Life and Real Estate.” I think turning to a more digital approach, while keeping my core values like excellence in service, allowed me to have a successful year despite the pandemic. I was hand-selected as one of 10 agents in the North Bay area chosen for “The American Dream,” a TV show about lifestyle and real estate. I film once a month and the show airs nationally on cable and streams on Roku, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV.
Growing up, I did not know many people who owned homes. One of my best closings was helping my mom become a first-time homeowner in 2014. This was when I truly realized that much of my community did not own a home. It wasn’t because they couldn’t buy, but because they did not understand the power of homeownership. No one took the time to explain it to them or help them understand. This is my specialty and how I feel fulfilled. Being an agent has truly changed the trajectory of not only my life, but my entire family’s lives. As soon as I turned 18, I took one of my paychecks from my job during high school and signed up for the real estate course. While attending my first year of college, I sold 12 homes. I still fumbled through college a few more years. After switching my major four times, I was done. Boldly, and against my mother’s wishes, I dropped out of college and became a fulltime agent and haven’t looked back.
My community is special to me. I still live in the neighborhood where I grew up, and I always think about its future. I believe in being a “go giver”—getting involved in community events, giving back to community causes, and participating in the local chamber of commerce. When New York was hit with COVID-19, I saw my community begin to shift downwards and knew I had to take action. I partnered with a handful of other agents to organize a fundraiser via Zoom to support local restaurants that were in financial hardship. Beyond that, every year I raise money to fight autism and Alzheimer’s. I also partner with other REALTORS® on clothing, toy, and food drives. Food drives are particularly important to me. Growing up humble, we did not have food on the table every night. We spent many nights in hunger, and I want to help others avoid that.
Real estate was my dream job from a very young age. I studied the local market and knew who all the top producers were. I would scan the newspaper ads and home books and point out the signs everywhere my parents drove me because I thought For Sale signs were cool. I even pretended to ride my bike around my yard and stick makeshift For Sale signs all over the place. Societal pressure pushed me to go to college, but I felt lost and hopeless there. I left the University of Pittsburgh after three semesters to pursue real estate. Everyone thought I was crazy, and several people told me I’d never be successful without a college degree, but there really was no other job I could see myself doing. Today, I wake up every day proud to be a REALTOR® and full of compassion for my clients and my work.
When an executive order in Michigan required everyone to stay home for three months last spring, I could have chosen to sulk because I could not be out and about showing homes. Instead, I chose to take the time to work on my business and streamline my systems and processes. I created email templates to offer the same level of service to every client. I worked alongside my broker to create challenges within our brokerage to encourage our agents to post on social media, get reviews from past clients, and keep momentum going while we were “off.” I even sold three homes through setting up Zoom walkthroughs while we were working from home. When our state’s executive order was lifted, I leaned into the new agents at my brokerage to help me with showings and getting my clients through homes. Learning to ask for help has been a game-changer this year.
In our office, and in our market in general, I have made a name for myself when it comes to marketing on social media and to For Sale By Owners sellers. I’ve been able to show my followers how I’m a local expert while helping FSBOs see there is more to selling a home than just the sign in the yard and the listing on Zillow. I strive to be a positive light every single day. I am really passionate about the “boss babe” mentality and sharing positive vibes through social media. My director of operations and I have planned and executed quarterly “boss babe” events where we invite women to engage with one another, make connections, and get inspiration to reach their goals regardless of what industry they’re in. We host a brunch in person (and on Zoom), a motivational guest speaker, and a vision board workshop. Our “boss babe” events build relationships in the Greater Omaha business community. While it’s geared toward women, we never turn away guests from our events—all are welcome.
In 2021, blended or other nontraditional families are increasingly common. My niche is being flexible so I can serve people however they need us to. Being a mom to three children under the age of 6, and a military wife whose husband experienced two one-year deployments, I understand the lifestyle of a busy family. To me, that means being there for my clients when they need me, whether it is meeting early mornings, nights, or weekends. Some of my favorite transactions are the ones where I am filling out listing paperwork while having a tea party with a client’s 3-year-old at a dining room table. Or meeting a husband on his lunch break to view a property after I just met his wife there before her weekly barre class and half-day school pickup. Bringing my clients home brings me joy, and I’m here to embrace the lifestyle of most modern families.
When I first looked into real estate as a career path, I thought I would get into fixing and flipping properties. During my hunt for the first deal, I quickly realized that having an effective agent is essential and invaluable. I decided to get my real estate license so I could help other investors buy and sell instead. I was drawn to the idea of finding opportunities for others to make money. And I was excited to help my friends with their first home. It’s an overwhelming task for some first-time buyers, so I wanted to be the guy my friends could turn to for honest advice and guidance. It didn’t take long before I fell in love with the process and wanted to help as many people as possible, not just friends and investors. Over the last seven years, I’ve built strong relationships with my clients that go beyond just business. I believe getting my real estate license was the best decision I could have made.
I used to be the type who preferred to handle everything himself. While I always enjoyed team sports, I loved the pressure of solo competition. I excelled in taekwondo for 18 years, earning my third-degree black belt—most notably placing third in the National and Junior Olympics for sparring. I aimed to achieve similarly in real estate. During my first year full-time, I sold more than $15 million in volume. It was then that I realized that the way to grow was with people, not by yourself. I started a team. My brand and persona as the “Bright Blazer Broker” led to the “Bright Movement,” in which we inspire and encourage ourselves and others to “Be Bright.” Now, I have more than 80 different blazers that I wear daily that are neon, animal print, sequin, and holiday or seasonal themes. Being bright is more to us than standing out as agents—it’s a way of life. It is a positive way to reflect and believe in a better future that the tiniest bit of light can make darkness disappear.
I obtained my real estate license to create a life for myself that I didn’t grow up with. I chose this career path so there would be no cap on how much income I can make for my family and future children. Lastly, I wanted to ensure that I can wake up and love what I do each and every day. I am the first in my family to join the real estate field, and I take a lot of pride in the fact that I have received no handouts while growing this career. Mainly, my lead generation comes from past clients who have referred me to friends and family. But I also receive a massive amount of business from social media. This year alone, I closed on five homes from people I met via Instagram and two others from Snapchat posts. I do believe that the industry is evolving, and we agents under 30 are going to benefit from it immensely if we take advantage of it.
Over the past year, I have evolved in ways I would have never thought possible. My business more than doubled through all of the disruptions, lockdowns, and other challenges created by the pandemic. Through it all, I stayed positive and conveyed positivity to the people around me. I believe there is always a solution to a problem, and I can’t say that enough this year. I have dealt with more emotion from my clients in the past year than ever before, and it’s nice to know that I can be a strong shoulder for them to lean on. I have grown professionally and as a family man. My wife and I welcomed our first child in November 2019, so learning how to balance my work life and personal life has helped me become a better person for my clients and my family.
I connect well with single female buyers, who accounted for 19% of home purchases in 2020 according to NAR. I’m passionate about wanting single women to have independence and I understand that working with these buyers takes patience, understanding, and guidance. I’ve never thought of myself as a salesperson but more of a matchmaker and an advocate for my clients. Once my job stops being about making money, that’s when the money comes. As a single woman who went through the process of purchasing my own home, I strive to give other women the rewarding feeling that I felt—and that I still feel—when I walk through my front door.
I grew up in the business and started working for my father at age 12. I knew then as a preteen what I was going to do and never looked back. I loved the business strategy and the thinking that goes into the process of buying and selling, but I also loved working with people and the social aspect of it. I focus on architecturally and historically significant properties. I’m more interested in properties that are a challenge and buyers who think outside the box and want a home to match. A large portion of my business right now comes from networking with other agents from across the country. In 2020, 48 percent of my business came from agent-to-agent referrals, largely due to suburban agents referring their city clients to me. In many cases, these referrals were from networking groups, suburban agents I’ve built relationships with, and panels I’ve been a guest on. Business also comes from my philanthropic and community involvement, the neighborhoods I farm, and open houses.
My mother has been a local REALTOR® association executive for 30 years, so I grew up in the real estate business. While I was in college, a large broker asked me to come work for her and the rest is history. At this point in my career, most of my business is direct referrals, word of mouth, or repeat customers. I've always treated my customers well and appreciate them so much. My sphere trusts me with their family and friends, and it means a lot to get a referral. The pandemic has changed all of our daily lives and that carries over into real estate. More than ever, it has been essential to be the calm in the storm for my customers. It has been a crazy year, but also a successful one.
I always wanted to be in real estate. I was fascinated by how architecture, design, and personal aesthetic could turn a house into a home. Selling homes and investing in real estate, owning rental properties, and flipping homes was my ultimate goal. I help make neighborhoods better by renovating homes. The neighbors are always so happy to see the homes change for the better—to see properties sell high and increase their home values. They’re also happy to get an awesome new neighbor. Bringing light and life back into homes is how I love to give back. I believe owning a home is one of the best long-term investments anyone can make. I love helping people realize they can own a home—especially for those clients who believed such a thing was unattainable. Real estate is my absolute passion: the beautiful homes I get to sell, the ones I get to fix up, the challenging clients, the clients that I love like family. There is nothing I’d rather do.
Throughout the pandemic, I have sent my past clients two gifts to create an experience and help them make memories. Before July 4, when most indoor and some outdoor activities in Boston were canceled, I sent a branded multifunctional grilling tool and included the message: “When I was growing up, cookouts were one thing that brought my family together.” Even though there were things we couldn’t do because of COVID-19, this would be a great way for people to come together with their loved ones. During the holidays, I sent a branded mug with the phrase “Home is Where You Are” as a reminder they will always be home wherever they go. Throughout the year, I also sent sports game schedules and bottles of wine for major life events. This type of follow-up has allowed me to close multiple deals with the same families over the years.
As a Japanese American, I value the Asian Real Estate Association of America for providing guidance in my career as a real estate professional. The commitment of AREAA is to promote sustainable homeownership opportunities in Asian American communities. As the president-elect of AREAA L.A. Coastal, I am responsible for empowering and educating the upcoming generation of agents through professional training classes and education summits. I also serve on the MLS Committee of my local board the Palos Verdes Peninsula Association of REALTORS® and as the 2021 YPN chair. Within these real estate organizations, I am able to connect with like-minded and like-motivated young individuals who strive to become powerhouses, which always gives me a spark of inspiration to be the best agent possible.
At the office, I’ve been coined the “seller contribution king,” and I believe this is my specialty. In 2019, I helped buyers obtain more than $70,000 in contributions toward their closing costs. These results led directly to many referrals for me. Although 2020 saw a strong seller’s market due to high demand and low inventory, I still managed to help secure $40,268 in contributions for buyers I represented. I worked with a client who wanted a fully remodeled home in a particular neighborhood. Unfortunately, their qualifications did not allow that to happen. Rather than having them settle for something less, I was able to locate a distressed home that was going through probate. They loved the home but hated the condition. I helped them negotiate an $11,000 seller contribution credit and they signed. Five weeks later, I received an invitation to visit. In total, they spent about $14,000. The husband has a home he loves, and the wife is obsessed with the new kitchen.
My specialty is selling lakefront properties. Over half of my sales this year were lakefront. Each lake is different. Some are deemed quiet lakes; there are fishing and recreational lakes, lakes with bars or restaurants, and lakes with public landings or water clarity concerns, as well as various sizes of lakes, all of which affect properties. My diverse clientele and their needs vary almost as much as the lakes do. I've continued to improve my skills by becoming a certified resort and second-home property specialist. I've also continued to take courses, like those provided by My Flood Status, a resource center that tracks flood risk. With my added knowledge, I was able to get the status of a property in a flood zone amended when it was under contract. When I'm not selling real estate, my other hobby is being a die-hard Rolling Stones fan. Over the years, I have always tried try to coordinate my vacations with the locations they happen to be touring in.
When I first got into real estate fulltime, my mentors advised me to pick one area and dominate it, then expand from there. I started heavily farming my local area, and in just three years I have managed to outperform entire teams and become a top agent for units sold in my area. As a result, my business has been able to expand outside of that area, and in 2020, I was fortunate to sell more real estate in the 11772 ZIP code than any other individual agent, all without paying for any lead-generation service. I have spent a lot of time branding myself by getting involved. For instance, I am a sitting board member for the local chamber of commerce, a board member for the Village Business Improvement District, a board member of the local Kiwanis club, and a founder of the Patchogue Young Professionals.
I remember when I was younger, my family lived in an apartment. When we moved into our brand-new house, it was one of my family’s proudest and happiest moments. I basically get to relive that moment weekly with the families that I help now when they move into their homes. My dad and mom sacrificed so much as immigrants to give me a brighter future and better life. My parents moved to the United States in 1984 from India, and my dad has worked very hard. He went from making burgers to driving a taxi to working on cars to eventually opening his own dealership. Along the way, he became a real estate investor and general contractor. What he has instilled in me is to work hard and be an honest man. I started working with him at the dealership when I was 13. I remember selling my first car when I was 15. My life definitely revolves around my family. I lost my sister when she was just 17 and I was 19. She is a big reason why I am so dedicated to my family. One of my big goals is to make her proud.
Connecting with people has been an integral part of my business from the start, but the unprecedented challenges in 2020 changed how I do that. As is the case for so many, I have had to rely much more on technology to connect with others. Despite this challenge, my business saw great growth. I have a 100% referral-based business, and for the second year in a row, I experienced a 50% increase in my total transactions. In support of my mom, I give 5% of my commission checks to organizations that research Parkinson’s disease, and I have dreams of opening a nonprofit one day to continue supporting this cause.
COVID-19 has not changed my opinion on innovation and technology in my business. My real estate career has always been about mixing innovation with traditional success tools. I am often an early adopter and love to try new technologies, but the tech must allow me to grow my relationships with my clients and enhance their experience. I want to cultivate repeat and referral business, making raving fans out of my past clients. To achieve this goal, I’ve really increased my contact with my past clients. I have two rescue dogs who I prominently display on Facebook, Instagram, and custom postcards with funny quotes about social distancing, leading to high response rates. I also use many small, personal handwritten notes to solidify relationships. I also hosted a client family photo day, hiring a professional photographer to take family photos for them. Again, the response was tremendous and appreciative, and we had a lot of fun, too. I’m proud to say that my efforts have been successful. Repeat and referral clients made up 35.7% of my business in 2019 and make up 52.6% of my business this year.
Being a ninth-generation Texan (and seventh generation from my hometown), I know the community’s wants and needs and I see its potential. I’m invested. There’s something to be said about breaking free and moving away, but there’s also something to be said about coming home. I have pride in my hometown people. I only want to see them thrive. Last year, I created the Gilmer Independent School District Clothes Closet for local students in poverty so they don’t have to worry about clothing. I recognize knowledge is power. I made a goal to gain one new designation per quarter. Along with designations, I am an avid reader. For 2021, I am reading one professional development book and one book for pleasure each month. Before COVID-19, I made a rule that I would attend one social event per week. During COVID-19, I have really focused on social media. I am proud to have a significant following on Instagram (over 10,000) and Facebook (over 3,000). I enjoy sharing a “day in the life of a REALTOR®,” along with blogging on my personal website.
I went all-in on YouTube in the past year, creating one or two videos and doing one or two livestreams every week. The results have been dramatic. My subscriber numbers jumped from 16,000 to 65,000. I believe videos are the future of real estate, especially now that people are home more, buyers are doing more research, and Zillow and other tech-based companies are expanding. Real estate professionals, now more than ever, need to demonstrate authentic value, and I feel like I do that at a high level through videos on my channel. I have never spent a dime on advertising—my growth is all organic. And because so many people watch me, I have to present a clear picture of market trends. I target the messages in my videos to be most relevant to people who want to learn how to buy a home.
I know firsthand the importance of addressing housing instability and affordability. Growing up, I lived in a number of different housing situations—foster care, manufactured/mobile homes, government-assisted housing, and even homelessness. As a freshman at the University of Washington, moving into the dorms was the first time in my life that I felt like I had stable, secure housing—a place that I could call my own. I love that my work in this industry affords me the opportunity to recreate that feeling for my clients. I firmly believe that being a REALTOR® entails a lifelong commitment to the communities I serve. I aim to match my career success with an equal dedication to supporting and investing in the people around me.
My business and I have grown exponentially in the past 12 months. Personally, I have learned how to maximize my productivity by blocking out time in the morning for my most important tasks, writing down my goals every single day, exercising every morning, meditating, and practicing gratitude. Creating these habits and applying them into my daily schedule have paid immense dividends for my mental health and my real estate business. I was able to increase my sales volume by 325% from the previous year and better service my clients.
My family is in the homebuilding business. Growing up, I would ride around with my dad to go check his houses and was always excited to see the new homes he was building. Seeing how every day was different for him always intrigued me, and that’s when I knew I would never want a typical eight-to-five desk job. I started working for my dad when I was 15 years old. Sometimes I would visit the open houses at his developments. This is when I knew I wanted to become a real estate agent. I have a dog named Kiah and she is my sidekick in business. Everyone loves seeing her, so I often take her to my open houses and showings. Parents love this because their kids can stay outside and play with her while I show them the house. I mesh well with first-time home buyers because I was one myself a few years ago. It has helped me know what steps in the process someone might not understand about buying their first home.
I shifted my focus to finding clients that I do not have a relationship with and found success in open houses. Knowing that open houses are the greatest source of first-time buyers, I focused on entry-level price points and held two to three open properties the weekend prior to COVID-19. I am seeing it come full circle from my sphere—those first-time home buyers I helped are now turning into move-up buyers or first-time home sellers. The other largest piece of my business is new construction where I work with individuals who come through our communities or find our websites. Within the last two years, I have had the opportunity to launch four new construction communities totaling over 79 homes. I am a firm believer that learning from others is one of the greatest ways to sharpen your skills. One of those ways is getting heavily involved in the REALTOR® community and attending various real estate conferences.
When I transitioned from the Army to civilian life in 2016, I found that the skill sets I developed as an infantryman had little place in the civilian sector. The exception is that the leadership skills and tenacity I learned do come in handy. A barrier to getting into real estate is that most agents don’t make money in the first few months. After a lot of deliberation, planning, and back-and-forth with the Air Force, I started an approved internship program with my team to help soldiers on active duty become real estate professionals. I am the only one I know of in Colorado Springs with this arrangement, and I have already had one airwoman, with approval from her command, come on board. I hope to extend this program further as I grow my team in 2021.
The pandemic nearly forced me to halt construction on my new office. Since the company is new, I was not able to qualify for any of the government resources for help. However, I chose to invest 100% of me, and all of my savings, into my vision—a vision that is now reality with 13 agents. My specialties are first-time home buyers and investors. As a first-time buyer myself, I had a horrible experience. Miscommunication with my agent made my family and me live out of boxes for three weeks. After having that experience, I devoted myself to making sure every buyer I help is informed every step of the way. It has to make sense for the consumer because, at the end of the day, this is a business sustained by referrals. Outside of real estate, I am a hardcore “reefer.” We actually have an 80-gallon reef tank in our office with clownfish, a bubble tip anemone, hammer coral, and more.
I connect deeply with the people I work with. On July 2, 2020, while struggling to open a lockbox, I got the news that my home inspector, Chris, passed away. Chris was my right-hand man, like a business partner, the one constant in this ever-changing business. When I got the call, I sat on the front steps of my listing and cried; I was devastated. It was then I realized how important Chris was to me and how heavily I relied on his opinion for everything I did with my buyers. Toward the end of July, I wrote a summer letter to my clients and dedicated it to Chris. I never got the chance to tell him how much he meant to me and I wanted everyone to know. I made sure to send one to his wife, Stacey. A week later she called me in tears and shared how much he loved working with me and how bright he thought I was. My letter made her day and, equally, she made mine. It reminds me that selling real estate is more than a career; it’s a way of life.
I have a degree in journalism with an emphasis in advertising and public relations, which has given me the tools to market properties. I use newspaper ads, social media campaigns, and radio broadcasts to help reach potential buyers and sellers. My goal has always been to provide marketing material that a person without real estate expertise can understand. One of the impactful things I was part of in 2020 was helping lead the South Metro Denver Association of REALTORS® YPN Tech Talk series. When the pandemic started, our YPN committee was eager to find a way to help our members through the trying time. We highlighted apps and technology helping us stay connected in the new virtual world COVID-19 brought us. It's very important to me to give back. I am also a foster care respite volunteer for my county, providing relief for foster families by helping with childcare and house chores once a week. And I’m also a “senior shopper” through my county—I grocery shop weekly for the elderly.
One of the reasons I enjoy my job is the feeling of joy I get when I introduce a home buyer to their community for the first time. It starts with a simple introduction to the schools in their area, the local businesses and shops that they haven’t heard of, or the places of worship they may be interested in exploring. I’ve been a resident of Grand Rapids my entire life and this community means everything to me. Understanding it is at the core of my job. I’ve also had the privilege of volunteering with several organizations like the Grand Rapids Meal Center, delivering meals in the Grand Rapids area. I’ve also led two mission trips to Guatemala focused on building homes in remote villages. More importantly, I’m focused on training the next generation of leaders in our community and teaching them the benefits of service.