Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Tsang.
Amy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I think my story is relatable because it’s the classic tale of doing everything by the book until I realized I didn’t even like the book I was reading – so I decided to rewrite the story. Fresh out of college with a business degree, I started a job in retail management and operations with a Fortune 100 company. I was young and I had grit, so I worked my way up and help five positions in six years. During that time, my personal life and mental health went to hell. My mom had been diagnosed with cancer and passed way within my first two years of working full-time. My grandmother who raised me and who I felt closest to in my family passed away shortly after. Rather than processing it all, I poured myself into work and excelled, filling the emptiness I felt inside with external validation. The few times I had to spend with my boyfriend, friends, and family, I’d be physically there but never truly present. Finally, in 2017 I knew I was done when my boss asked me what position I’d like to be groomed for next, and none of the options sounded remotely appealing to me. The money and promotions had lost its allure, and all I wanted instead was to feel full again.
I didn’t know I’d become a real estate agent or investor right then and there. Instead, I decided what was non-negotiable for me in my next chapter and the #1 item on that list was the ability to control my schedule so that I could spend time with the people I love again. Several years prior, I had read Rich Dad Poor Dad, and it opened my mind to a few life-changing concepts such as: viewing money as a tool rather than a limitation, and that true wealth of time and money is achieved by acquiring income-producing assets. This spurred me down a rabbit hole of real estate investing books such as “The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (And Low) Money Down” by Brandon Turner and “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent” by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan, and Dave Jenks. Once I read that book, the path became so clear that I could not stop what was coming even if I tried. I knew I wanted to become a real estate investor. I also was fortunate enough to have bought my first home with my boyfriend in 2015 and loved the process more than any normal human should (according to my agent). I decided that the best path for me would be to become a real estate agent and learn everything there is to know about real estate investing by immersing myself in the industry. I landed on my brokerage (Keller Williams Pacific Estates in Long Beach) because it is the highest producing brokerage in CA, and I wanted to surround myself with not only the best agents, but agents that were willing to share and help others grow.
The national failure rate of real estate agents is 87% in five years. I knew I didn’t want to be a part of that statistic, but I also didn’t have a network of rich friends and family to tap into. I had to hustle and build my business from scratch by working other agents’ open houses for them every weekend, going to networking events, and lots and lots of lunch meetings (which quickly became coffee meetings because when you’re building your real estate business, your savings account depletes at a sickening rate). I had mentioned earlier that grit helped to propel me forward in my previous career. If there is one trait of mine that I am most grateful for, it is that. This business is not as glamorous as it seems, and you have to hear a lot of “Nos” before you get to a “Yes”. If I didn’t have thick skin – something I inherited from my immigrant parents and developed through the traumas of my mother and grandmother’s deaths – I would not be where I am today. Last year, I won the 2018 Rookie of the Year award at my brokerage for number of units sold, and this year was selected as 1 of 15 Rising Star Award recipients by the California Association of Realtors®. All the while, my original goal of investing in real estate never went away, and in April of this year my boyfriend and I were able to acquire our first rental property. I am now working on my second property – a renovation project in Downtown Long Beach and am learning a ton while having loads of fun.
Today, my business is two-fold. I have the sales business which brings me emotional fulfillment. A majority of my clientele are young couples or single women stepping into homeownership or selling their home for the first time. I love educating them about the entire process, and I pride myself on having empowered clients who will leave their first transaction feeling knowledgeable about buying or selling a house. The other side of my business is working to grow my portfolio of rental properties and always having a fix-and-flip project going to fulfill my creative itch. Because I love to share my experiences, several of my past clients have now added owning investment properties to their list of goals. My business purpose is to create a relationship beyond the sale that encompasses education, resources, and opportunity, so helping them build wealth through real estate is a natural next-step in our relationship.
What I love most about my story is that I actually found happiness again through the process. A lot of people thought I was crazy for leaving my well-paying, stable job with benefits for a zero-salary, zero-benefits career in real estate. By doing so, I proved to myself that I am capable of anything I put my mind to – as long as my actions follow. I’ve replaced failure with opportunity, taking on new challenges fuels me now, and I’ve learned that as long as I’m growing, I’m fulfilled.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Absolutely not, and I try to debunk that image every chance I get. Building a business from scratch takes time, and even though I had several months of reserves saved up, it wasn’t enough. Remember that first home I was fortunate enough to buy in 2015? Well, we decided to sell it so that I could focus on serving my clients on their timelines and not based on when I needed the commission checks – a terrible symptom we call “commission breath” in the industry, and I was NOT interested in having it. I also took on dog-walking as a side hustle to supplement my non-existent income those first several months. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs more than I love humans most days, but that is a humbling experience to be picking up other people’s dog poop after having had your own office and 200+ employees to manage just months earlier. And that’s just the financial struggles. In this business, I AM my business, so in order to gain clients I have to emit the type of energy I want to attract. That meant I had to truly believe in my ability to help people and that I was the best agent for them. That’s a lot of “faking it ’till you make it” if you don’t have high self-esteem. One of the biggest challenges I had to overcome is figuring out how to believe in myself and my abilities. It’s taken thousands of dollars in coaching, countless hours of reading books and listening to podcasts, and researching the real estate market first-hand to get to where I am today – and it’s something I continue to work on every day.
Alright – so let’s talk business. What else should we know about you and your career so far?
Simply speaking, I’m a South LA County and North OC Realtor®, but I’ve serviced as far south as Oceanside and as far north as Sherman Oaks. If I really connect with someone and they need to sell their home in Riverside, I won’t say no because for me the beauty of what I do is in the relationships I get to build with people. If I vibe with you and truly feel like we’re a good fit, I will go to the ends of the earth to represent you in your home sale or purchase.
While I work with everyone from experienced sellers to investors, I specialize in working with first-time home buyers and sellers. These are people that are scared because they don’t know what the process entails, and they usually require extra work because I have to guide them through each and every step. Luckily for me, teaching and communication are my thing. I hold 1-1 consultations with every buyer and seller before we commit to working together – it’s kind of like speed dating. People don’t realize how much your agent can affect your real estate experience, so I never skimp on that opportunity to get to know their goals, communication style, expectations, etc. If we’re going to be “dating” long-term, I’m going to make sure you have a damn good experience.
What I’m most proud of is the amount of women I’ve helped buy their first home. There are few things more empowering than watching a single woman buy a house on her own and start investing in her future. And even though I have an amazing partner, I’ve also ventured into real estate projects that are all my own. If that becomes my niche, I won’t be mad about it.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
As a real estate agent, my current goals tend to surprise people. It’s really trendy right now to build out these huge teams of agents and to just oversee the business from a managerial standpoint. I’m not interested in all that (for now). I really enjoy the interaction with my clients, and I like that when they call, they get me. So for now, my plans are just to hire a Director of Operations to manage anything that requires me to be in front of a computer so that I can be out in the field doing what I do best – consulting people about real estate.
Long term, my plan is to have enough passive income from my investments coming in so that I can free up energy for passion projects. I’d love to have a coaching business for women that are looking to start their own businesses. We’ll not only focus on business tactics and systems, but also on mindset. I want to help people break free from the negative programming we all have that keeps us from achieving our goals and becoming the best version of ourselves. A lot of people have goals, but most people never achieve them – not because they don’t want it, but because they don’t truly believe they’re worthy. I want to help change that.
- Initial Buyer and Seller Consultations: FREE
- Home Buyers: FREE (Did you know that the buyer’s agent’s commission is already negotiated to be paid by the seller before it ever hits the market? So don’t be silly – hire an agent. )
- Sellers: 2-3% listing commission based on marketing package (not including buyer’s agent commission)
- Address: 2883 E Spring St. #100, Long Beach, CA 90806
- Website: https://calendly.com/amyjtsang
- Phone: 626-474-4231
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amyjtsang/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amytsangrealtor/
- Other: https://www.zillow.com/profile/amytsang/
Tim Krueger, Tim Krueger Photography, Ray, Rancho Photos