Second Careers Are Sweeter

Many people find their way into real estate as a second career after realizing how much they love houses, people, and helping people with their home buying dreams and home selling goals. Melissa Chan, Broker/Owner of Help-U-Sell Alpha Paladins Realty in San Jose, California, is exactly that person. 

Melissa received her college degree in Canada, majoring in sociology and administrative studies. After many years working for IBM as a Purchasing Manager, Melissa found her position eliminated and she was downsized out of a job. While casting about for her next move, she was contacted by a friend who was an insurance agent. She began working full-time in the insurance business and procured her license to sell insurance. 

By selling insurance out of a pre-existing Help-U-Sell office, Melissa’s interest in real estate grew organically. Equipped with her own ample home buying and selling experiences, she began to quickly see the benefit of being well-versed in both real estate and insurance, and saw a good opportunity for not just a career, but for a business.

“My husband and I always enjoyed looking at open houses together. We have moved a couple of times, and I had a lot of relevant experience with the questions that came up. I like to talk to people, and I was happy to help with questions about home buying and selling. So I got my license in 2007 and became an Owner of Help-U-Sell Alpha Paladins Realty at that time,” she explained.

In order to have a broader, organic reach, Melissa still maintains her license to sell insurance and runs both businesses together. Melissa explains, “There is a lot of crossover from one business to the other. My insurance clients will usually have real estate questions and vice versa. When they are ready to move with the purchase or sale of a house, they are already thinking about me because I’ve been an ongoing, trusted resource.”

Since the pandemic, Melissa has been exploring other means of marketing to spread awareness of her business and started testing a different internet marketing program. “We already know more people than ever before are looking at their cell phones and computers for their home searches, so my partner and I wanted to try that out. I think it is important to experiment with new tools, partially because we’re in such uncertain times and not as many people are willing to list their home. We have ridden the wave of dramatic market shifts before, it just means we make bigger efforts to compensate for the phone ringing less than normal. However, the calls we are getting are more serious inquiries. I am using this time effectively by spending more time calling all of the leads we do have and checking in on past clients,” she added.

One of the other attractions of being a franchise owner for Melissa is the name recognition, branding,  and reputation Help-U-Sell Real Estate. “I believe the name of Help-U-Sell is important. People don’t always know me, but they have heard about Help-U-Sell before, especially here in California. Home sellers here are not afraid to comparison-shop, so the trusted name helps. I would say 70% of the time I make a listing presentation, I win the client. We get a lot of compliments and people are often impressed with our work.”

While California is a notoriously higher-end market, San Jose is particularly more expensive compared to some other California cities. Melissa elaborated, “We are in an incredibly tough market for first-time home buyers because single-family homes are generally in the $1-2 million-dollar range. It is simply out of the question for many potential buyers. Brand new, 1600 s.f. townhomes are going for $850,000, I am helping a friend buy one right now. Venture into the west San Jose market and you won’t find anything for under $2 million. We still have helped a lot of people, because I do everything I can from staging to taking pictures to hosting individual open houses.”

The Help-U-Sell Alpha Paladins Realty office has four people including her spouse, her business partner, and one agent. Although business has slowed down because of the shut down, Melissa’s office recently ranked in our Top Producers list, so her diligence is paying off. “I have been spending a lot of time with my mother since the quarantine, helping her with daily life. I’ve also recently learned to bake banana pecan (or walnut) bread, which I make while I am calling all my clients.” Sounds like a sweet way to run your business! 

For those interested, we convinced Melissa to share her newly perfected recipe below.

Banana Walnut/Pecan Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

1)  1/3 cup sugar (or light brown sugar) – (you may increase the amount of sugar, but I prefer less to be healthier)

2)  1/3 cup unsalted stick butter (at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, best melted and cooled)

3)  1/2 teaspoon salt

4)  1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5)  2 large eggs

6)  3/4 to 1 cup whole wheat flour

7)  3/4 to 1 cup all purpose flour

8)  1/2 cup shelled walnuts or pecans coarsely chopped

9)  1 teaspoon baking soda

10)  3 to 4 large overripe bananas (use fork to mash)

11)  1 teaspoon olive oil

12)  1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

1) Preheat Oven to 350 degree F and lightly grease your loaf pans (I use 2 of the 8’x4′ loaf pans), set aside

2) In a large bowl, combine sugar, butter and olive oil either with stand or hand-held electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk or hand mixed with a rubber spatula

3) Add the 2 eggs, one at a time, beat well after each addition, set aside

4) Mash all 3 bananas in a separate bowl by using a fork, then add vanilla extract, hand mix well with the spatula

5) Add above 4) to the number 2) a large bowl, mix well either with the electric mixer or hand mix with the spatula

6) Get a separate large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon, hand mix well with a spatula

7) Combine number 6) to the original large bowl until no flour pockets remain, either mix well with the electric mixer or hand mix with the spatula (no need to overly blend)

8) Fold in the walnuts or pecans with the spatula

9)  Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans

10) Bake from 50 to 60 min at 350 degree F (A toothpick inserted into the bread will turn out clean when the bread is done)

11) Cool in the pan for about 10 min before turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing

April 2020 Top Producers

Welcome to the April edition of our Top Producers report. We hope that this message finds you and your loved ones healthy throughout the quarantine. 

With many of the states slowly easing up on the restrictions, we are pleasantly surprised to see the numbers posted in light of the lockdowns. We have shared several articles on the naturally downward numbers of spring home sales, and it’s nice to see that the alternative methods put in place did not create  much negative impact on the numbers our Broker/Owners were able to achieve.

In our top spot with an impressive 14 sides for the month, is Patrick Wood and his team at Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties, from Chino Hills, CA. Patrick’s team had an incredibly productive month with nine home sales and five buyers on the board. Clients were clearly able to adapt. 

In second place from Yuma, AZ, is Mike Bowling, and his team at Help-U-Sell Mike Bowling. Also having a very strong month with ten sales, Mike’s team had eight buyer sides and two seller sides. With Mike’s extensive background in real estate marketing, he has been a regular staple on this report since he joined us in January of last year.

Third place is a tie, of course. Jack Bailey and his team from Help-U-Sell Greensboro, in Greensboro, NC and Debra Schmidt and her team at Help-U-Sell Heritage Real Estate in Owatonna MN, both had seven for April, with precisely five sellers and two buyers each.

The top ten list once again gets extended to 11, because of another tie. Kimber Regan of Help-U-Sell The Smart Choice, Karen Detwiler of Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty, and Maria Powell from Help-U-Sell Galleria Realty all closed the month of April with four sides.

It is heartening and inspiring to see your efforts paying off in these strange times. Congratulations to all of you and your respective teams. 

OfficeBuyerSellerTotal Sides
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties5914
Help-U-Sell Mike Bowling8210
Help-U-Sell Greensboro257
Help-U-Sell Heritage Real Estate 257
Help-U-Sell Bakersfield Equity Savers336
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties235
Help-U-Sell The Smart Choice325
Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty224
Help-U-Sell Galleria Realty224
Help-U-Sell Keystone Realty224
Help-U-Sell Sims Realty224

Here on our Gross Sales Volume report, naturally we find Patrick Wood of Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties taking the lead with $7.5 million in sales. When one also has a month that included 14 transactions, it’s not surprising to be first place here also. A huge virtual high five to Patrick’s team.

In second place is perpetual eagle, Richard Cricchio of Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties, closing the month at $4.1 million. 

Third place brings a new face! Melissa Chan, Broker/Owner of Help-U-Sell Alpha Paladins Realty. Located in San Jose, California, her  office cleared $3.7 million for April, and she nearly made our side’s list also! We are definitely hoping to see more of her here over the summer.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning the fun fact that six of the offices that made our Sides list also showed up on our Gross Sales Volume list – which is twice the cause for celebration. Cheers, everyone! Please have a safe, happy, and fun Memorial Day weekend, and our thanks and reverence as always to honoring anyone who has served our country and does so today.  

OfficeGross Sales Volume
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties$7,543,220
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties$4,184,750
Help-U-Sell Alpha Paladins Realty$3,771,000
Help-U-Sell Tri-Valley Homes$2,318,000
Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty$2,250,000
Help-U-Sell Bakersfield Equity Savers$2,024,100
Help-U-Sell Mike Bowling$1,828,300
Help-U-Sell Greensboro$1,655,999
Help-U-Sell Sunrise$1,405,000
Help-U-Sell Sims Realty$1,302,400