We sat down with Spencer Hsu of eXp Realty of California, Bay Area. Hsu was named a Top 1% Realtor, who incorporates his previous knowledge from tech industry into real estate business.
REAM: What originally got you into real estate industry?
SH: For over a decade, I worked in software sales. There were so many things I couldn’t control, including my compensation structure, the product I was selling and my boss. I wanted the ability to run my own business. My interest in real estate began when I started investing. I bought properties in the Bay Area and out of state. I also started renovating and flipping properties in the Bay Area. I met a lot of Realtors during that time and felt I had a good advantage to be able to help people with my background and analytical approach.
REAM: What is your biggest challenge to running a business? How do you overcome it?
SH: We are continuing to grow and need more agents to be able to help more people. We have no shortage of leads and opportunities, but we have a shortage of people willing to put in the work and the sweat equity to deliver an amazing experience for clients. Right now, we are actively hiring and bringing on agents – either new or experienced – so we can help them grow their business faster while delivering a world class experience.
REAM: How did you start creating your client base?
SH: I began building my client base by using social media and posting relevant, insightful content about the changing and progressing aspects of real estate. Certainly my YouTube channel has been a very popular source – even for other people in the industry – to understand and know what is going on.
REAM: What is the biggest difference between working in the tech industry versus the real estate business?
SH: Working in enterprise software was more limiting. You have to understand the stakeholders and how a company operates to be able to move the needle. You can use emotions to land a conversation, but ultimately everything runs through a very strict vetting process. In real estate, there are a lot more emotions. Plus, there is certainly a bigger demographic. The idea that at some point in their lives, everyone can be a potential buyer or seller multiple times was very exciting to me. I feel everyone I talk to can benefit from my knowledge. In software, even when selling a product to a company like Google, there were only a few people within that organization who you could speak with. It was a very niche process and dialogue.
REAM: Tell us about one of your most interesting sales.
SH: I had been working with this great couple for some time to help them find their first house. One of them worked at Tesla and owned company stock. It went up so much, they were able to have a lot more liquidity and buy a really nice house. We expanded our search and were able to find a great place for them. With recent changes, you could argue that was a wise move to not only find a home, but to balance their portfolio. It took us over a year and a half to find their house and we still get together all the time. They are an amazing family. It was fun to see how the stock of Tesla progressed and go through that search journey together.
REAM: How has the real estate industry evolved throughout your career?
SH: You need to be one of those individuals who see the companies and financial aspects behind purchases. You may have this wave of initiative ibuyers, then a wave of discount brokerages. You need to be aware if these purchasers are impacting your clients. This may be applicable in your area, it may not. If it is, you need to account for it and have the knowledge and tools to keep yourself and your clients updated. It is always interesting to see because there is no shortage of money in the PropTech arena, but there is a shortage of real adoption for it.
REAM: You rank in the top 1% of real estate agents in the United States. How do you maintain this success?
SH: At the end of the day, I cannot control how many people I ultimately help a year. I can control my effort. Am I delivering added value in helping people day in and day out? I can control my efforts to bring on more agents and grow our team. Those are the things that allow us to be successful. Success and production are byproducts of the basic things we try to do very well.
REAM: How do you incorporate technology in your business?
SH: Are my clients having a good experience? Are there tools and procedures that can help them? How do I help our agents streamline processes to be more efficient and effective? And for our support staff? Do they have the tools they need to be able to run marketing and content writing? ChatGBT was a big buzzword, and it certainly helped us create content and scripts, and improve what we were already doing. It is interesting to see how AI may continue to help the industry altogether.