Over the last couple of decades the Real Estate market has had to adapt to some drastic changes. The Internet had become an essential platform for business and in Vancouver the increasing Asian market required a new understanding.
For this spotlight entry we thought it might be interesting to get the perspective of a young realtor and be able to see the industry through the lenses of a member of the new and emerging generation of realtors.
Multi-faceted, enthusiastic and focused, Kevin Chen has been a realtor for a little bit over 2 years. We sat down with him to ask about his experience so far and how his website has helped him standout from other realtors.
How did you get started in Real Estate?
After realizing, that banking was not a career I was passionate about, I started learning how to sell condos and follow by selling Luxury Houses in West Vancouver. As an assistant of two top realtors and job in the bank. I had to opportunity to learn about the foundations of good service and the components of marketing, financing and sales.
It’s so important to do what you are passionate about and in Real Estate I found my passion.
After two years I decided to pursue my realtor’s license. The first six months after I got my license were dedicated to thorough market research. I wanted to understand and really know what to expect and what I was getting myself into. It was during these six months that I learned about Ubertor, I knew from the beginning that to have success I was going to need a good website.
How has your Ubertor website helped you?
My website is my main marketing tool. Because of it, people have reached out to me from abroad with inquiries about buying homes in Vancouver; I even made a sale to a client in Toronto and few sales to clients from China. A great feature about my site is that it’s mobile friendly. This is so important these days because when you think about it, most people access websites from their tablets and phones, while they are on the go. Having a site readily available to them is very helpful.
Many Asian realtors don’t use websites, why do you think that is?
Personally I think websites are mandatory, they are a demonstration of organization, skill and market knowledge. Most Chinese realtors, however, feel, that they don’t need websites because they manage their clientele differently. They rely heavily on networking and referrals from friends and family.
How old were you when you made your first sale and what was that experience like for you?
I was 26 when I made my first sale and it was actually surprisingly easy. It sort of just came to me, through my website. I have really good search engine optimization when people search for me I’m the first one on the list. I get a lot of traffic on my site, that is how I landed my first sale, someone saw a listing on my site, contacted me and I took it from there.
I make sure that people can find me every where, I want to build momentum and become people’s go-to realtor guy, that’s why I set up all my social media accounts and included a bar code on my site’s landing page.
What is your favourite part about being a realtor?
Freedom and flexibility are probably the biggest perks about being a realtor. I basically create my own schedule and have the freedom to dedicate time to other things that I care about like my family. For me it’s so important to have a career and still spend quality time with my family.
I also really like the variety of homes and clients that I deal with. Each house is different and fun. I package each home differently and each sale is a huge accomplishment. I enjoy studying the market. There are so many variables locally and globally that can affect the Vancouver real estate market. I have to stay up to date and alert; ready to adjust the way I do things if necessary. I’m never bored.
You successfully cater to both Asian and Canadian clients. What makes this dynamic possible and what would you say is the biggest difference between the two clients?
I think my background plays a big role in this particular case because I was basically raised in Vancouver yet come from a traditional Taiwanese family. Because of this I understand both markets extremely well and am relatable to both types of clients.
Additionally, my website is in three different languages, it gives people a sense of comfort and gives me legitimacy with both clients. Working with both Canadian and Chinese buyers is a very unique experience. I’ve had to learn how to best fulfill both their needs. Canadians are very straightforward. They are usually already familiar with the housing landscape and know more or less exactly what they are looking for. Chinese clients like to be very well informed, they like to have all the details and check facts, so in many cases you can safely assume that they are working with more than one realtor.
What do you think are some advantages and some disadvantages about being young in the Real Estate industry?
I’d say that some advantages to being new and young in the industry is that you have so much energy, everything is a learning experience and there are so many firsts. Young realtors offer a fresh perspective. We push the envelope. It helps that we are up to speed with the technological tools required to help a business succeed. I grew up with the Internet, for me it’s intuitive. I also have the advantage of speaking English, Taiwanese, Cantonese and Mandarin. These languages are extremely important in Real Estate.
At the same time though, I find myself constantly having to prove my skills and expertise to people. When people ask me why they should hire me over someone with 20 or 30 years of experience my answer is always the same: take a look at my website!
Your site is a direct representation of you. Because I am so young I needed my site to show that age was relative. My professionalism and the quality of service that clients can expect from me can be clearly seen by they way my site it set up.
Based on your experience so far, what advice would you give any new comers?
Plan ahead and treat it as a business not a job. Before you do anything, make sure that you do a lot of research. It’s so important to understand not only the ins and outs of how to sell a home but also how the buyer’s market thinks. Make sure that you manage your time, prioritize, plan, and work hard. Create a weekly, monthly and annual business plan and aim to reach your sales goals.
Plans change and you always run into new and unexpected variables but nevertheless business plans are key for organization. Give yourself a marketing budget and dedicate time to this aspect of the business, getting your name out there will open so many doors for you. Lastly, as probably with any business, I think it’s so important to have a mentor.
My mentor Clarence Debelle and Michael Uy were a great influence on me and are people I can always rely on for advice and help. It’s comforting to know you are not in it alone.
Our team at Ubertor would like to thank Kevin for taking the time to meet up with us and share his experiences and advice on Real Estate and what it takes to be successful in the business.
If you would like to share your personal insight or business perspectives (or both) and would like us to feature you in one of our Realtor Spotlight interviews, don’t be shy and let us know – we’d love to meet and learn from you!