There’s nothing in the world as powerful as a great story. From Aesop’s Fables to Hemingway, great stories help us make sense of a complicated world and grow as human beings.

When it comes to learning, stories become even more powerful tools for growth. Whether it’s the compelling nature of stories themselves or the personality that shines through them, learning by example is the fastest and easiest way to learn hard lessons.

After being in the business for more than a decade and interviewing hundreds of top-producing agents and teams, we decided to put together their stories to help you grow and learn as an agent.

Today we talked to Douglas Elliman Manhattan agent Sangmi Park. In two short years, Sangmi went from the nonprofit world to closing more than $23 million in gross commission income (GCI) in one of the most competitive markets on planet Earth.

Here’s Sangmi on how she got started in real estate, advice for new agents, and how she generates leads in 2021.

From Nonprofit to $23 Million GCI: Douglas Elliman’s Sangmi Park

Name: Sangmi Park
Brokerage: Douglas Elliman
Location: New York City
Niche: Foreign investors/buyers/sellers
Years of experience: 2.5 years
Lifetime GCI: Net Sales Volume: Approximately $23 million


1. Why did you get into real estate? What were you doing before & what were your first impressions of the industry?

“I have always been interested in real estate, even since I was a young child. I love making my living space beautiful and have always been intrigued by gorgeous home interior design and architecture. As I got older, this translated into a desire to learn more about real estate investment. So I decided to get my license, although not initially to switch my career but rather to expand my knowledge of the field. Eventually, I decided that the best way to pursue my interest would be as a real estate agent. At that time, my fiancé and I were looking for an apartment to purchase together and I fell in love with beautiful apartments in New York City right away.

“At that time, I was working in a nonprofit educational organization and also was involved with professional business/medical interpreter (Korean-English).

My first impression of the industry came from the Million Dollar Listing New York, a TV show. I expected the glamour of selling fancy listings; however, I found out fairly quickly that this is not always the case.

“But regardless of what type of real estate, the common success factor I learned was the need to serve my clients’ needs, whether buyer, seller, or renter, as effectively as possible.”


2. What advice would you give to a family friend just starting out in real estate?

“Find your niche, be persistent, never give up. Always go beyond your clients’ expectations and build a strong relationship.”


3. Which deal are you most proud of & why?

“A commercial deal I closed at the General Motors (GM) building (767 Fifth Avenue) in my first year in real estate. The GM building remains one of New York’s most recognized and expensive office properties. This deal was a 10-year office lease for my international client.”


4. What’s your favorite real estate software?

Spacio for open houses and Urban Digs for market insight.”


5. What’s your favorite charity & how can Close readers donate?

“KCS (Korean Community Services) exists to assist and empower Korean American individuals, families, and the greater immigrant community. I was especially impressed by their KCS Mental Health Clinic program, as their clinic treats and raises awareness of mental health in our community as well as combats the stigma and fear of receiving mental health-related services in Asian culture. You can visit their website and donate. https://www.kcsny.org/donate/


Your Turn

Work with an agent you think deserves to be highlighted as our Agent of the Week? Send us an email along with responses to the questions above to: agents@theclose.com.

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