For real estate professionals, particularly those in Southern California, it pays to understand the diversity of your community. Specifically, the influx of Korean-American investors, buyers and sellers is a sign of the dynamic nature of our industry. But too many brokers, many of whom pride themselves on quality of service and knowledge of the marketplace, fail to make inroads with this community for a simple reason: a language barrier between both sides, compounded by differences in culture and an overall sense of miscommunication.
Full disclosure: my firm recently opened an office in the Mid-Wilshire section of Los Angeles, a vibrant source of business for Korean-American residents, based on our recognition that this community should be part of any real estate firm's commercial and residential activities. And secondly, we now have a better appreciation of the nuances and customs, which influence business decisions, and are a source of pride within this area. This advice is just as applicable to other communities - in the Mid-Wilshire district there are approximately 120,000 Korean-Americans - so it is imperative for real estate brokers to educate themselves about these facts.
The point here is simple: without a presence - without multiple locations throughout Los Angeles, which encompass a multitude of languages, tax brackets, business transactions and politics - real estate professionals cannot achieve their maximum potential. The same principle holds for, say, the robust Chinese- and Vietnamese-American communities that continue to be major purchasers of commercial and residential properties in Southern California. We, and here I write for my profession as a whole, need to take a more proactive approach that welcomes these citizens - many of whom want to work with experienced brokers and agents - so we can reflect the strengths of our city as a whole.
This tactic also gives brokers more flexibility to become specialists within a specific part of Los Angeles, where their expertise - as real estate experts and members of the community - enjoys the respect of influential buyers and sellers, landlords and tenants, as well as bankers and mortgage lenders. This spirit of connectedness is the foundation of trust, meaning: residents of a community, from first-time owners to established investors, want the reassurance that comes with being part of something; that you will immerse yourself in the activities of a place, that you are both in and of the area you oversee. And yet, not enough firms heed this advice; they try to create shortcuts or avoid the cost of opening offices in the very places where real estate transactions are on the rise.
Again, we need to look at the demographic changes that define Los Angeles. Other cities are in the midst of similar developments, where Asian or Hispanic communities add a new level of energy and attraction to major urban centers. Hence the importance of recruiting and hiring native speakers, who also have broad knowledge of the overall real estate market in Los Angeles. These professionals have the credibility and influence - along with the ability to rapidly respond to queries from buyers and sellers - that are a hallmark of success.
The real estate industry should welcome these events, since they are a reminder of the exciting changes underway in Southern California and elsewhere. This news is a positive development in an otherwise challenging economy, something worthy of our attention and respect. Those facts, translated into any language, are confirmation of success and leadership.
|James Huang is the Principal and Founder of BRC Advisors, Inc . BRC Advisors is a full service commercial real estate company, headquartered in downtown Los Angeles with additional offices throughout Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. BRC Advisors combines a wealth of brokerage and advisory experience within a strategically aligned network of programs. With its dedication to training and innovation, BRC Advisors is competitive in all market conditions and changing circumstances.|