Kim’s Personal Story
I first came from South Korea to the United States, The Land of Opportunity, in December, 1998, looking for my own American Dream. I knew my dream would be very hard to achieve back home, but in America, I knew in my heart it was attainable. This is the story of how I went from having next to nothing and not knowing anything to having my own successful business.
My first memorable experience in this great new land was when I first arrived at LAX with $300 in my pocket. As I was finally passing through Immigration, the Inspector smiled at me, stamped my passport, and greeted me with two immortal words: “Welcome home.” From this moment, I knew I had definitely found my new home.
Once I finally got settled in Houston, my path to my dream became clear and simple: work hard, establish good credit, follow the rules and pay taxes on time. Even though I had nothing more than minimum-wage jobs, I set out to work on my dream. First, although it took me six months, I managed to secure a credit card, my first step in establishing credit.
After a few years of working hard, I was hired to drive a city bus. I really loved this job, because I got to meet so many different types of people. It also allowed me to get to know the city intimately. Plus, I was now earning a higher wage, which allowed me to put more money aside for my dream of having my own business. A few years later, with established credit and some savings accrued, along with a healthy dose of entrepreneurial spirit, I sought a loan for a restaurant franchise. Much to my chagrin, I was denied the loan. I thought I had all the pieces of the puzzle in place, but I learned that I still needed collateral. I also learned that I still needed to know a lot more about the process of obtaining either a business or home loan. Accordingly, I took it upon myself to learn everything possible about the loan and credit process. I became a credit expert.
In 2006, I was finally afforded the opportunity to purchase my own home. Coincidentally, other friends and acquaintances were also interested in buying their own homes, and asked me for guidance. Having just gone through this experience myself, I was more than happy to assist my friends. I discovered that I enjoy helping other people immensely, and thus decided that this is what I really want to do.
Then, in September, 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall over Galveston, essentially destroying everything in its path, including many people’s homes. I knew some of these people personally, and I wanted to help. Even though I wasn’t yet licensed, I did everything I could to help these people get into a new home. From this moment, I knew what I was destined to become—a Real Estate agent.
A Real Estate agent was the perfect role for me in many ways. First, I genuinely enjoy meeting and helping a wide variety of people. Second, I have come to know the city on a street-by-street basis. Next, I went from having virtually nothing to being both a business and home owner, and love it so much I want to assist others in accomplishing their dreams. Also, I truly have acquired a thorough knowledge of the industry and want to impart this knowledge on others. For instance, I have become an expert on credit and loan issues, know how to negotiate the right deal, and truly enjoy helping others.
Thus, I decided to become a Real Estate agent. At this time, I still had my job driving the bus, but acquired my Real Estate license, and started y business on the side. This was in 2009, right during the fall out of the housing crisis and economic crash. It was a really tough time to be in the Real Estate industry, especially for a new, relatively inexperienced agent. Nonetheless, I still worked very hard to grow my business, essentially from scratch.
All the while, I knew in my heart that people need a place of their own and a place to grow their own family. The market will have its ups and downs, but the basic need is still there. I also know that this country has a limitless supply of houses. Additionally, it has the best financial system in the world, with low down payments and easy credit. My goal was just to help them achieve this goal and make this system work for my clients, and to show them how to navigate the system. So, I persisted, and eventually built by business to the point where I could leave my job behind and dedicate all of my effort in doing this full time.
One of my most memorable success stories is a lady I will call Miss Pam. Even though she had horrible credit, she still wanted her own house, and sought my services. “Mr. Kim, I need a house for me and my family. Would you please help me?” I replied, “I’d be happy to help you, but you do understand you have bad credit, don’t you? This is not going to be easy. Are you ready?” “Yes sir, she responded, and we began the process. After I successfully helped her repair her credit, we applied for a mortgage loan. However, the bank denied the application multiple times and that she became discouraged, and was ready to give up. Nevertheless, I persisted, and eventually was able to get the bank to approve the loan. It took almost three years from the day she came to me until the day she walked in her own home, but, we did it! Because of all my hard work and experience, she said to me, “Kim, you’re amazing. You should call yourself ‘Amazing Kim.’”
My initial instinct proved to be correct, that people will always need their own abode to grow their families and dreams. With persistence and diligence, I was able to develop my own successful business, based on meeting the needs of my clients. If you need help, who better to help you than someone who has been in your shoes, someone who knows the industry and the market very well, and someone who is more than happy to help you? After all, I am looking forward to greeting you with those two immortal words: “Welcome home!”