- The boots-on-the-ground hustle in real estate can lead to big rewards.
In real estate, the search for top producers’ “secret sauce” won’t close deals. That’s what Twin Cities-based Amanda Le would tell you.
Given her March 2015 entry into the industry, you might call Le a rookie, though her track record says otherwise.
In her first 10 months, the Keller Williams Realtor sold 18 houses as part of a team. After becoming a single agent in 2016, she did over 75 sides, largely on behalf of buyers, a sales volume total of $15.9 million.
A process-driven agent, Le excels at the sales methods others may consider beneath them: door-knocking, cold-calling and holding open houses. So it’s with sweat on her brow and a thick skin for lead generation that she has risen above the expectations for a new agent to the field and set an example for others finding their footing.
“By learning good habits early on, the most important thing is you have to learn the right way, and otherwise do the work,” Le said.
At the beginning of 2017, Le immediately started building her own team: The KW-affiliated Picture Perfect Home Team, which currently includes an in-person admin, buyer’s agent and inside sales rep, with two buyer’s agents coming on and Le as team lead.
After earning the Rookie of the Year title in her office and the Rookie of the Region nod in a six-state Midwestern stretch, Le celebrated the grand opening of her own team’s storefront office — known as a Mega Agent office — in Northeast Minneapolis last month.
Business in the blood
Le’s family has owned businesses all her life.
The 30-year-old sociology graduate and first-generation Vietnamese American grew up working after school in her family’s restaurant business in Des Moines, Iowa.
In Vietnam, Le’s grandfather had made his fortune flipping homes and owning a wholesale bakery.
The University of Minnesota alumna was working at a nonprofit helping people with disabilities find jobs before starting in real estate.
The role actually had a surprising amount of real estate overlap: Door-knocking, cold-calling and lead generating were all part of the gig.
You could say Le had her real estate plan mapped out since the beginning.
Starting at the Keller Williams Integrity Lakes office in Minneapolis with a Keller Williams expansion team, 14 Moves led by Sean Goerss, Le learned all the systems and tools.
In 2016 she became a single agent with a virtual assistant — and found herself very busy.
Her business includes single-family homes, condos and multifamily residences in the seven-county metro of the Twin Cities, where her buyers’ average house price is $200,000.
Squeezing productivity from every minute
Le describes her typical day, which begins at a 5:30 a.m. with a workout.
By 7:30 she’s doing role play calls. She’s in the office by 9, lead generating ’til 11.
Then, she’s texting past and present clients, looking on Facebook for client activity and going to appointments in the afternoon. Generally speaking, the rest of the day is “handling fires.”
“I try to wrap up by 9 or 10 p.m.,” she says.
Her motivation? For one, Le would like to double her production to 150 sides, totaling $30 million, this year.
Le is applying herself to Keller Williams’ training schedule, the BOLD (Business Objective, A Life By Design) program, a seven-week course that focuses 90 percent on mindset and 10 percent on real estate.
“It’s about identifying your big why; it encourages you to think bigger,” she said.
Make your background work for you
When it comes to relating to and building relationships with buyer clients, Le has a leg up.
Before starting in real estate, she bought her first home at age 23 at the urging of her mother. She was paying $1,000 month for a one-bedroom apartment at the time.
“Buying a house was the best thing I ever did,” Le said. “My mortgage is $800 a month, and I have about $60,000 in equity in just seven years.
“It has been very helpful when I share my story to other young buyers to take the next step in buying a home.”
Since becoming an agent, Le has been ushering people around her age into homeownership, those she knows from college and their friends and family, many of them from immigrant families themselves.
“A lot of my sphere is [first-time] homebuyers,” she said. “Given that I’m Asian, I have a lot of Asian friends, so I’m helping immigrants and minorities.
“If I post a sold sign with clients on Facebook, it goes to all of their friends who think: ‘If they can buy a house, I can buy a house.’”
Le’s level of service
Le works closely with her potential clients, educating them on homeownership and getting them ready to buy. She’s happy to go beyond the call of duty and invest her time.
Le had a personal friend, for example, a single mom with two kids, who was interested in buying a home.
“I helped her build her credit; I coached her on how to get a raise at work. I was helping her for six to 10 months to get ready,” Le said.
The house she bid on had multiple offers, and her heartfelt buyer letter won the day.
Indeed, Le is getting increasingly adept at helping clients succeed at winning bids in multiple-offer situations.
A couple of weeks ago she had nine offers accepted in one week from a variety of listing agents.
What’s her strategy? Le points out that buyers who show how much they love the house are the least likely to get cold feet and renegotiate once their bid is accepted.
In addition, brought up to be a problem solver, the Minneapolis agent will seek out ways to solve issues related to the home ahead of time and get quotes, so she remains up to speed about what it will cost to sort it out.
Where does she find leads?
Call it old-school or savvy — but Le is not interested in paying for leads online. Seventy-five percent of her leads come from her sphere, friends or family.
The millennial is on Facebook, but doesn’t pay for advertising. She sees it more as a way to get in front of her sphere.
She would rather invest in client appreciation events, group visits to the cinema or barbecues.
Le also loves open houses and always door-knocks the neighborhood of the marketing event running up to it. Her goal with each one is to come away with five buyers and two sellers.
She actively welcomes neighbors to pop in, which isn’t typical protocol for those who’d rather close the door to any potential Lookie-loos.
“I love it when neighbors come to my open houses,” Le said. “When I door-knock, I say, of course you aren’t going to buy this home, but this is an opportunity to pick out your next neighbor, or maybe you are a nosy neighbor and you want ideas for how to update your home.”
Looking to the future
Le’s former Keller Williams new-agent coach, Julia Israel, says everything is a negotiation with Le; she is an expert at it.
Israel, who says Le has “outgrown” her, gives the rookie agent kudos for her ability to rise above any challenges she has come against being a minority female agent.
“Being a minority is a little more of a struggle; people have a preconceived notion of you as a minority woman,” said Israel. “It’s a hurdle, but Amanda’s not letting that bother her or interfere with what she is doing.”
Le is settling in nicely to her new space, a 650 square-foot office in a “super cute” brownstone building in Minneapolis, which has attracted a handful of walk-in clients already.
So far this year, she has closed 15 transactions and has 15 under contract.
A number of established agents have said to her that she has inspired them to open up their own store front, too, she said.
Le also says she has the support of her boyfriend, Anthony Dew, who encouraged her to get into real estate in the first place. He also leads a team at KW.
“He’s my biggest confidante,” Le said. “It’s great having someone in the house who lives and breathes real estate like me, but we run our businesses separately.”
What are his player stats?
“Oh, I am a super freak,” Le said. “He does well, but he’s not got my numbers, no.”