Michelle Wong, a founding member of The WYM Group, a Real Estate Investment & Development Firm, talks about the innovative way she uses to approach clients and its benefits.
SBT: Welcome to the show. This is Ole Didriksen, your radio host. Today my guest is Michelle Wong. We’re going to talk about how she helps her clients. I’m very excited to hear about what you do and the types of customers you help. Please tell me more about that.
Michelle: I help homeowners and buyers. Homeowners who are in financial stress and are looking for another outlet instead of going into the traditional route to a real estate agent. We look for ways to compromise, I provide options for sellers to be able to sell their homes. On the other end, we also help buyers who might not have good credit and are looking to purchase a home. We would give these buyers the option of renting out first, building up their credit and then from there, being able to make the purchase and have a mortgage.
We also aim to create win-win deals. For the seller, win-win means selling their home very quickly and be very satisfied with the amount of money they’re getting in return. For us, it’s also a win-win when the buyer who’s also looking to make a purchase for a home, might not have the financial status in place.
We also do developments of properties which are solar-efficient and hence cost-friendly. Meaning the consumer, the person who’s making the purchase, is not going to pay a lot of money for electricity.
SBT: I’m very interested in the innovative way you use to sell homes. Can you tell me more about how you apply it when working with home sellers?
Michelle: We do direct mail and we also, at times, speak with agents who are real estate investor friendly. They understand how we operate, so we get some assistance from them in regards to potential properties that are available. Then we contact the seller. Basically, we give them a rundown of the options that we can offer them. And they make their decision from there.
SBT: How do investors benefit from the deals?
Michelle: We approach it in this manner, the closing is much quicker than it is in a traditional deal which sometimes can take from 3 to 6 months because there’s a mortgage involved. However, if we approach a buyer who is interested in making a purchase, it usually ranges between 30 to 45 days, sometimes 50 days. So the process is a lot quicker if we do it under real estate investing than doing it using the traditional real estate agent services.
Moreover, you cut out the 6% commission. We get a finder’s fee for it, but it’s not as costly as a 6% commission. This is the reason why sometimes real estate agents are a little reluctant. The other thing is that sometimes the real estate agent doesn’t understand exactly how we do things outside the traditional sense. Sometimes we do have a little bit of an issue there. But the ones who are investor-friendly, they understand that because they too are investors and they like to join ventures or partner up on projects.
SBT: What led you to this field?
Michelle: I started in the medical field where I worked in business administration for about 11 years. Then 3 or 4 years ago, a friend of mine who’s a broker approached me and advised to try to pursue my career in real estate because of my skills. That’s what I did; I went with it and followed through. Then after that, I was introduced into real estate investing. From there, it peaked my interest. I have a big interest in anything with real estate, architecture and design.
SBT: What is the biggest obstacle that homebuyers and home sellers are facing when selling or buying a home?
Michelle: One of the obstacles that I see on both ends is that they’re not familiar with the market and what the value is in that particular area. Sometimes the sellers are very attached to their home. They want a certain price that might be the standard price range, or they might think that the house or property is valued higher than what it’s supposed to. So sometimes you have to level with them and tell them, “This is actually the value. This is what you can get”. It’s also the same thing with buyers. Sometimes they have difficulty purchasing a home. Most of the time, it has something to do with their finances. If they try to get a mortgage, they might not be approved for the full amount; they might not have enough capital to make a down payment.
And one of the other things that I’ve noticed is that sellers are a little skeptical when it comes to dealing with someone who is trying to help them sell their home. Not just an agent, but also an investor. They’re a little skeptical because they’re not too sure. Sometimes, they’ve had bad experiences. So for them, it’s also being comfortable working with someone who would be able to assist them.
SBT: How can you help both home sellers and buyers overcome those problems?
Michelle: For me, I don’t approach them as a number or just being a deal. I approach them on a one-to-one. I ask them what exactly they’re trying to accomplish and achieve, either selling a home or making a purchase on a home. From there, I give them options of what I can do to assist them. And it’s up to them after that because I already put in the factor of making them feel comfortable to be able to work with me. In addition, you have to be personable with them. Any of us can make a business transaction, and we can make thousands or millions of dollars out of it, but the approach of being one-to-one and showing them that we do care about what happens afterwards, that’s something different.
SBT: Can you tell about an instance when a buyer or seller became positively surprised with how you delivered your service, and the results they got from working with you, the innovative way and not the traditional way?
Michelle: There was an instance where I had a seller who came in very skeptical because he had been through multiple real estate agents. I went in being innovative, letting the client know what I could do for him and what the options were to help him sell and sell quickly. In the long run, the transaction went through quicker than anticipated because I had a buyer in place.
Not all stories are going to be like that. It’s a case-to-case. Each scenario is different. I’ve had clients who have been very difficult, but you have to be very patient with them.
SBT: What would be your best advice for homebuyers or home sellers who want to sell or buy a home by themselves, or doing it the traditional way without your kind of service?
Michelle: If they’re trying to do it themselves, and I’ve seen some clients do it that way, that’s perfectly fine. You have to basically have a checklist of the type of people that you want to encounter. What I mean by that is if you’re selling a home, you want to know if this person is financially secured.
There are websites out there that can provide you with some information about them, but you have to investigate to see that the information being provided is accurate. If you needed to know, for example, whether they have a good credit, there is a site that you can go to and check that out. There’s another site where you can do a background check to make sure that particular person doesn’t have any criminal activity and so forth, which is still within your rights to be able to investigate to make sure you’re securing someone who will be able to pull through with the transaction and with the closing. That’s on the sellers’ side.
On the buyers’ side, they basically have to have everything in order. If they’re looking for a particular property, some people recommend Craigslist. I’m a little iffy about Craigslist. That’s something you have to do a lot of research on. But you can do market analysis and see which particular property is worthwhile; meet up with the seller and try to find out if you can do some type of negotiation with them in regards to the prices and so forth.
SBT: Is there anything that you would like to add to the conversation?
Michelle: For me, it’s just being able to approach clients in a more fashionable way compared to being too businesslike. You need to have a happy medium between the two. Additionally, you have to have an understanding and be patient with the clients.
SBT: Thank you for sharing these insights with us.
Michelle Wong is a real estate innovator who focuses on win-win solutions while working with her clients. Her company, which is based in New York, but as well reaches out nationwide, invests in you being satisfied when selling or buying a home. Michelle’s secret is the innovative and personable approach which brings successful results for all the parties involved.
You can find out more about Michelle Wong and The WYM Group, a Real Estate Investment & Development Firm, at:
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