On Building a brand, and growing a real estate company
Julie Han is an active Broker Associate at Compass and top producing Realtor® in San Diego with extensive experience in the real estate industry. For 20 years, she has utilized her real estate expertise as both an active broker and agent for residential brokerage and technology firms. She has also served as a Vice President of Business Development for two online real estate companies. She has been a licensed Realtor® in three states, including New York, Colorado, and California. Her detail-oriented nature allows her to identify the needs of her clients and effectively match her clients with the best resources to accomplish their goals.
Julie is a founding member of REALM, an international group of the most accomplished luxury real estate professionals. She also received the Circle of Excellence Gold Award from the San Diego Association of Realtors for being a top producing broker in 2021.
Julie is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University and has a Master’s degree in Finance and Management and a Bachelor’s in Natural Sciences. She spends her free time with Jasper, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix, who she rescued. She is also actively involved with fundraising for her favorite charity, the San Diego Humane Society, and participates and fundraises in the SDHS Walk for Animals and sponsors the annual Fur Ball gala. She is also an avid golfer and world traveler. Here is her success journey.
Tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to real estate?
I was born in the Midwest and later on I moved to Texas. I went to school on the East Coast at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Once I got into the pre-med program, my goal was always to be a doctor. Then, I soon realized that I wasn’t cut out for the job because I just couldn’t handle all the blood and physical aspects of the job. After realizing that, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in Health Finance and Management.
I worked in the health industry for about five years but got totally burnt out by the field for an HMO and I grew progressively more unhappy. It was all about cutting costs and not at all about patient care, but just the bottom line. I knew I needed a change. My start in real estate came when I took a job for a contractor who was in the business of building multi-family properties. I started really enjoying what I did and at the same time, my boss at the time, mentioned that maybe I should get a real estate license. One thing led to another and I got licensed in New York, and I ended up working for the number one agent in Western New York.
After a little while, I decided to move to Denver and got my license there too. After Denver, I decided to move to San Diego and start from scratch again. I moved to East Del Mar which is the Caramel Valley area. I first started working for what was then Prudential and now Berkshire Hathaway. After Berkshire I moved to a boutique firm called Willis Allen and at the end of that road, I decided to go completely into the commercial side of real estate.
I really enjoyed the commercial side of real estate not only for the negotiating skills that you learn but because being a woman is pretty rare in the industry. I got to co-own a brokerage firm with my partner. After that, I was recruited into an amazing position and was Vice President of Business Development for two online real estate technology companies. I learned all the back end deals and ways of real estate. It was an amazing experience. A little time after that, I decided to go back to residential sales. About five years ago, I was working for a firm until I got scooped up by Compass.
Compass really sold me with their ability to integrate high quality technology for the benefit of their agents and having the background to understand what they are bringing to the table so I couldn’t refuse. They really set the bar higher and really invest in their agents so they can provide a better client experience. It’s a win win scenario from top to bottom.
What made you decide to stay in San Diego out of all the states you lived in?
I’ve always wanted to live in California. I have relatives in LA, but never wanted to live there. Who doesn’t love the weather that southern California has to offer, you just can’t beat that. Of all the places that I’ve lived, San Diego offers the best in climate and lots of outdoor activities, not to mention the friendliness of the people.
Tell us with all the experience you acquired, what do you bring to Compass and your clients?
So Compass actually want feedback from their agents. Because they build the company around the agents, they want to strive to make the technology they offer better. So I usually give them feedback about the technology platform and what’s working and what isn’t working. And it’s been really, really helpful. And then we vote, we actually you can go on to the feedback form and vote on what features that you want in the system. Compass employs over 1500 developers which is huge and allows them to implement the new feedback almost immediately with is a big advantage over brokerages that either are slow or don’t even implement any technology specifically requested by agents.
As an avid investor, what are the type of properties or places that people should be looking for in San Diego in terms of investment opportunities or even personally?
San Diego has a very strong real estate market and is very competitive. The market values have risen 26% since last year due to the pandemic, and being able to work from home, everyone is investing heavily at the moment. We have had super low inventory this past year, just like the rest of the country, which has caused the prices to skyrocket with multiple offers coming on almost every listing.
So, for investors, it’s harder to find deals. It’s a seller’s market. So we have to look for off market properties for investors. There are certain pockets in San Diego, that are up and coming and those are the ones you should look for. These areas are good for long term, I would say for location, coastal properties have always held their value.
Throughout your journey, what has remained the one thing that you would give yourself as advice, looking back at everything that you have accomplished?
I always say to be true to yourself and showcase your abilities. Don’t try to be somebody else and follow in your path and what resonates with your happiness.
What has been one of the biggest challenge in real estate that you have had to surmount?
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. It was terrifying because I wasn’t able to work and had to go through surgery and chemotherapy while losing all my hair. I am a survivor and I remind myself that every day. I’ve been in remission for five years now but it was really hard. You know, it was a challenging for real estate because I wasn’t able to work and I really wanted to work. I was able to do a few deals, but it was just a huge setback. All that process made me realize what’s important in life. It’s not the number of deals you made or the amount of assets you can acquire, but truly the quality of life and the people in it that make life such a precious and beautiful thing.
What is your long term vision in real estate?
I started my team last year, and I am super focused on growing it organically. I’ll definitely still be in real estate and plan to have a thriving team. I love helping families in San Diego. I’m constantly stepping out of my comfort zone and always trying to go big or go home.
Tell us how do you keep balance in your life with work?
I do yoga and meditation which helps me to stay grounded, balanced and centered. So because real estate can be such a roller coaster ride, you really have to learned to just get everything done while maintaining your mental and physical balance. I always had a To Do list and always wanted to go through all of it as fast as possible but now I have learned to breathe and take life one step at a time. There is time to work and there is time to breathe. You have to enjoy the little things because that’s all that life is made up of in my opinion.
For more information visit her website.
Follow her on Instagram @JulieHan_SanDiegoCompass
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