1. Why did you decide to obtain your real estate license?
When I was in college, the most important goal for the future was to make money. Other things such as enjoying the job, work/life balance, or making a difference in society paled in comparison to securing myself a competitive salary.
After college however the grind of “Corporate America” swiftly began to change the criteria I was seeking in a career. The more important values from college that I so quickly dismissed to make money suddenly began to matter. In late 2008, when most people were scrambling to find or hold onto jobs, I decided to take the plunge and leave my very secure accounting job for an opportunity to find happiness in Real Estate. Not once have I regretted my decision or thought about doing anything else.
2. Describe your educational background.
I was born and raised in Queens, NY where I attended all public schools. I then attended the business school at SUNY (State University of New York) Binghamton where I graduated with honors.
After college I went to work for a Big 4 Accounting firm, Deloitte & Touche LLP.
My real estate education came predominantly from the office in which I chose to work. While this may not be a formal form of education, there is no substitute for hands on teaching from an experienced mentor and trustworthy colleagues. Our office works as a team and my broker/mentor consistently instilled the values of being a successful Realtor into me. I also credit Howard Brinton’s Star Power Program as it helped me learn the basics of being a successful Realtor.
3. What previous experiences have helped you to become successful in real estate?
Coming from a financial background has definitely helped me communicate the advantages of homeownership. I am able to use my knowledge to explain the different tax benefits that affect buyers and sellers.
I am a native to the area in which I work, an attribute that has helped me tremendously. It is much easier to sell an area when you are truly passionate about the benefits that come with residing there.
4. What sets you apart from other real estate pros?
One of the most important aspects of a Realtor's job is to be able to communicate effectively. While it is important to have the skill set to answer people’s questions, most importantly you need be able to explain things in a way that really gets the point across. Not only does this make people aware of all pertinent information, but it also helps build loyalty.
Successful communication includes understanding that different people have different personalities. How you would talk to one person doesn't necessarily mean you would talk to someone else the same way. A Realtor needs to be able to adapt to the personalities of the people they work with.
5. What is your business strategy? Has it changed over time?
Real estate always has and always will be a business of prospecting. Whether it’s prospecting a list of open house attendees, or prospecting past clients and asking for referrals, I am never too busy to work on future business. In the economy we are in today it is more important than ever to farm your database.
Bring buyers into the office for a “consultation” before showing them a house. This was a habit I developed early in my career and has paid off in every way. It allows you to differentiate from other agents and also to build loyalty.
6. What has been your greatest challenge in real estate and how did you overcome it?
In addition to the perception of youth in our industry, there is even a larger obstacle I’ve had to overcome. I am of Chinese origin, but because my parents were born in the United States, I do not speak a word of Chinese. In a heavily influenced Asian buyer market this is viewed as a negative, buyers expect me to speak their language.
However through market knowledge, my ability to tap into my financial knowledge, and having a warm personality I have been able to overcome these obstacles. While it is very difficult for me to communicate with buyers that speak no English, most Asian buyers can communicate with me. After I prove my skills and benefits to them in working with me, I manage to endear them.
7. How do you incorporate technology into your business?
At the age of 26 I am at the stage of my life in which many of the people I grew up with are starting to look for homes. I use Facebook to post our teams listings, not necessarily to sell those actual listings, but to remind everyone that I am in real estate in a friendly way. Already I have had friends, many of which I have little contact with, reach out to me to let me know they were looking.
There is a great website called TourFactory that automatically posts the virtual tours of listings straight to Facebook.
I also have been working very closely with an IT specialist to help develop a buyer tracking system in order for our team to better organize buyers so no leads get lost.
8. What is your involvement in your local or state REALTOR® organizations?
I am an active member of the Long Island Board of Realtors. Every year I also attend the Triple Play Convention, a program I highly recommend. They offer some great classes and tips from successful Realtors all over the country.
9. If you were president of the National Association of REALTORS®, what changes would you try to implement in the real estate industry?
In Queens, the lack of knowledge realtors have on buyer brokerage is very frustrating. I know there are many areas in the country where buyer brokerage is very common, but unfortunately there are also many areas where it is not. I would try to implement a mandatory detailed class on different agency classifications, and especially on the aspect of buyer brokerage.
I also do not like the perception many people have of Realtors. I think we need to do a better job of making sure we do more charitable work to help bolster our reputation.
10. How are you involved in your community? Describe your charitable contributions.
I am very involved with the youth group at one of the local churches in the area. The youth group does many charitable events including volunteering at soup kitchens and going across country on mission trips. The youth group keeps kids off the streets and doing something positive that really helps the community.
11. Where would like to see yourself professionally in the next five years?
In 5 years I would like to see a significant increase in my business being generated by referrals. Referrals are very pleasant to work with and will help allow better work/life balance. More importantly I would love to move to a more managerial position. I am currently the Buyer Sales Manager in the office and I really enjoy working with other agents and helping develop their skills and seeing them succeed.
12. How would your colleagues describe you?
Colleagues would describe me as having a very easy going personality, someone you could always go to for advice either business or personal related. Most importantly I am always there to help, if anyone is ever in a bind and needs me for something everyone knows I am always there. I have a great sense of humor which always acts as a great ice breaker or helps lighten the mood.
I am a very hard working, diligent worker, and I do not take shortcuts. My colleagues can always count on me to be one of the first in the office and one of the last out.
13. Tell us something unique about yourself.
I work hard and am very serious about my job, however I am also a fun loving guy that my clients and customers enjoy being around. This quality has allowed me to develop long lasting relationships with past clients, in fact some of my closest friends are people I’ve worked with.
I will honestly say developing relationships and actually feeling appreciated is what makes this job so great, and what keeps me looking forward to each day of work.
14. Please add any pertinent information we've missed and explain why you feel you deserve to be named one of REALTOR® magazine’s 30 Under 30?
I am an educated young adult with many options available to me as a career choice. I choose to practice real estate because I love the business, I love making a difference in people’s lives, and I’ve also excelled at it. I would like to think of myself as an example that other young professional’s can look to that shows that if you are energetic and diligent you can succeed in this business. This isn’t a business that needs to be looked at as a last option, it’s a business that can be looked at as a first option.