As far as a great brand goes, I found mine when I joined Coldwell Banker 14 years ago. At the time I was working at a nonprofit in San Francisco. I was lucky to buy my first home through a Coldwell Banker agent. He recognized my drive and desire to make a difference. I saw how a career in real estate could help me be of even more benefit to the community, so I joined him at Coldwell Banker.
In 2007, I was a few years into my real estate career when the downturn hit. My office offered a ton of support, but I knew I needed to expand my personal network or consider leaving the industry. That’s when I found AREAA, and my world expanded.
The Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) is a nonprofit professional trade organization that promotes homeownership opportunities in Asian American communities. I joined to learn new things about REOs and tips for growing my business, but I quickly found that there are many more reasons agents should join a group like AREAA.
So what are they? And how do you make the most of your experience?
1. Continual growth. I joined AREAA to learn new skills, go to conferences and gather information to help my business. I took incredible courses in commercial real estate, residential analysis, and negotiation. As I attended seminars around the world, my network evolved and I became better at converting leads. Eventually, I was asked to speak at these conferences, which bolstered my confidence and elevated my business in the eyes of my peers.
2. Grow an international network. In 2015, I attended a Hong Kong and Macau Trade Mission with AREAA, where I built relationships with developers, real estate agents, and government officials while learning more about international business. Over time, I created a global database for promoting listings and gaining or giving referrals.
Remember that referrals can come from anywhere! Don’t limit yourself to just meeting fellow agents — loan agents and title reps are also great contacts.
3. Build relationships. Coldwell Banker has been a long-time corporate sponsor of AREAA, so I started with some connections in the organizations through the brand. But I was able to expand further. Gaining mentors locally and abroad helped grow my business and created an international support system. At AREAA events, you are with the same people for up to a week, so relationships are cemented quickly. I’ve been very fortunate to have this community in addition to Coldwell Banker.
Make the most of the AREAA National Conference and Global + Luxury Summit by meeting new people and building a national network to grow leads. I’ve found that at conferences away from home, people are more open to sharing business insights and secrets to success.
For example, I became friends with a Korean agent from Boston who referred me to a Korean buyer in San Francisco. Because my friend was in Boston, she had no issue passing along the referral and I eventually referred someone moving back to Boston to her.
4. Give back. Now that I’ve been in real estate for 14 years, it is my turn to give back to newer or struggling agents. I share my personal experience and ideas on how they can grow their business, or I give them a needed push of motivation. I love getting coffee or lunch with agents new to our brokerage, and I encourage them to call me when they have problems or strategy questions. I encourage newer agents to attend organized real estate events and join groups like the San Francisco Association of Realtors, CREAA and AREAA, to expand their own business.
Constant support from my office helps, too. Giving back to the community is a priority at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, plus they were there for every event when I was installed as the Chinese Real Estate Association of America president. There’s a reason I’ve been with the same company since starting my career!
I’ve spoken in the past about my journey, and I love the opportunity to pass to others the wisdom I’ve gathered. I also love that Coldwell Banker supports AREAA through national sponsorships and community support. Our presence as agents is also important to show that Coldwell Banker cares.
To find out more about how Coldwell Banker can be the place that supports you and your business, visit our Careers page.