#18: Arlene Chiang | Oakwyn Realty

with Matt Parker

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Meet Arlene:

Arlene Chiang is partner and lead managing broker of Oakwyn Realty, one of Vancouver's most successful real estate brokerages. Her expertise is in team building, leadership and negotiation. Always the first one in and the last one out of the office has earned her the reputation as one of the most trusted managing brokers in Vancouver. She is so humble in fact that she asked one of her staff to write this bio because she does not like talking about herself in a braggadocios way. She has won countless real estate and academic awards in her career and is a great friend, mother and leader for us all.

Arlene Chiang
achiang@oakwyn.com
604.897.0458

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Episode Transcript:

Matthew Parker 0:04

Hey Matt Parker here. Very excited, very grateful to have Arlene Chiang with me today. Arlene, thank you so much.

Arlene Chiang 0:10

Thanks for having me today.

Matthew Parker 0:12

little bit intro on Arlene's harleen is the partner and managing broker of Oakland Realty. And has been in the real estate world since the early 2000's and is a valuable resource for for us and just you know, we're very, very grateful to have her here. Arlene, I'd like to start off with more of a fun question then real estate based. What's one thing not many people know about you?

Arlene Chiang 0:44

One thing I think a lot of people don't know about me in the real estate world is that I used to be a collegiate volleyball player. And I'm not very tall but she'll play the collegiate volleyball. So that that might be a little tidbit that some people did not know. It must mean you're very

Matthew Parker 1:03

good if he will

Arlene Chiang 1:05

work very, very hard.

Matthew Parker 1:08

Oh, okay. Yeah, so that's where you gotta

Arlene Chiang 1:11

like keep trying, you can do it. I personally

Matthew Parker 1:15

it's a good movie. That's, that's cool. Thanks for sharing. Where did you Where did you play?

Arlene Chiang 1:20

I played University at UBC and I played Langara College.

Matthew Parker 1:26

Oh, very cool. Yeah, that's awesome. Yeah, that's awesome. So what what drew you to real estate? What got you started in this in the real estate world?

Unknown Speaker 1:35

Yeah. So you know, our family. I grew up in real estate. We grew up in Vancouver special and and my my whole family was doing real estate at the time. My uncle had a real estate development company running out of our lower basements. And so it was kind of the environment that I grew up in, but I actually never saw myself getting into real estate. I was going to go into education. I went to UBC to get you know, a job. degree, which I have and, or Bachelor of Human Kinetics to become like a PE teacher. And one thing led to another is working through in restaurants to kind of get me through school at the time and found myself really enjoying business. And so I was going to go to bcit and do business. And then all of a sudden, my brother and partner Michael was like, you know, he had started in real estate, he's like, you might really like it. And, and so I decided to change my focus and I that's how I got into real estate.

Matthew Parker 2:30

Oh, yeah, it's amazing how it all comes together. Right? It's It's, uh, that's, that's so cool. You like start out like, for me, that's, I always find it fascinating how everyone gets into the industry because I know for me, I grew up around the mortgage world having, you know, having parents that had a mortgage company and it just made sense and it was very easy transition, but to just to hear everyone's story of how they got here. And, and on top of that, what keeps you here because it's It's not, you know, it's a very dynamic industry is a very fun place to be. But I guess that that gives us to the gets us to the next question of why do you love what you do what has kept you, you know, doing this for the last 12 plus years and, and put all of that hard work into this?

Unknown Speaker 3:18

Yeah, I think it always has always come down to the people, right. I you know, I love people and I've never and I love. I think I love business too. I love creating and working with people who are excited about work and excited about what they're doing. And you get that energy with being surrounded by entrepreneurs, which I think sometimes, you know, realtors or even mortgage brokers sometimes you don't realize that actually what you're doing is starting your own business. And so, you know, what's kept me going is the people that I've always been really grateful to surround myself with just good people who are hardworking, who have fun and are pursuing goals and it's Some way that I can help them to do that that's kind of been the thing that that's been really

Arlene Chiang 4:07

exciting for me.

Matthew Parker 4:09

Yeah, obviously, I'd imagine being the managing broker of Oakland Realty, you're always dealing with people and interesting situations and a lot of fun things and just helping people achieve their goals. Well, yeah, I can imagine be very, very rewarding for you.

Unknown Speaker 4:26

Yeah, I mean, seeing, you know, when somebody starts and and, or if someone's actually been in the industry for a long time, and then seeing them make these incredible gains, because maybe it's the environment that they're with or, you know, they they feel supported in some way. You know, that's the best part of of doing this.

Matthew Parker 4:47

Yeah. And then having that education mindset from a previous early on before you got into the real estate world probably helps in terms of educating, educating the real estate agents. educating people in general in terms of how to get in grow and also sustain sustained growth long term and keep motivated. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 5:11

yeah, definitely. I don't think that there's any buddy that can stop learning. And in every single transaction, no matter how many times you might have done the same strata or anything, there's so many variables and there's so many things that you can learn every single time and I'm sure it's the same in the mortgage world that it's it's such an immense you know, industry that you can't know everything. And once you think you do, that's when you're going to make a mistake, right. So, yes, really great to be able to apply. I guess some of my passion for training or passion for educating into what I get to do now. So

Matthew Parker 5:51

yeah, that's so cool. kind of leads us again into the next question, but we we've touched on it a bit, but if you if you weren't doing this, do you envision yourself Doing anything else, maybe even other outside of the education realm?

Unknown Speaker 6:05

Yeah, I think I've always had a creative part of me as well. I think I've always have had an entrepreneurial spirit like businesses I think ingrained it's kind of in my blood or my parents were entrepreneurs. And, and so I think creating and doing something but in many different ways. I you know, for some time I thought, oh, maybe I would be a restaurant tour. I enjoy cooking. I love cooking. I love baking. I went through, you know, working through kitchens and everything like that. So that could be easily you know, Pappy would have gone and then you know, I love crafting. So you know, I like make these little dolls that just outer felt and it's just like nice pastime in hobbies. So I think anything that is creative, and gives an outlet to be in business. I think it's something that I'd be always interested in.

Matthew Parker 6:55

You know, it's interesting, I talked to I talked to quite a few people in our industries and Creativity and that creative side is very common. And I think is so valuable when dealing with certain situations like like real estate where you sometimes have to get very creative in just structuring the structuring the deal or, or thinking outside the box to accomplish something I know that Oakland has has achieved that with just your positioning in the marketplace just having that, that different feel to it.

Unknown Speaker 7:28

Yeah, we, you know, we tried when we started and thought about opening up our own brokerage, what was missing and what did we want? What did we crave as operating agents that we felt the industry was missing at the time and, you know, we really wanted it to be a collective of, of really strong entrepreneurs who had a spirit who really and kind of playing off of a tech kind of environment where everybody was willing to share. You know, this is very open and willingness to share information, willingness to share experience. So that everybody could get better. So it's like being the worst person on a hockey team. And but with all the best players, you will automatically get better because you're surrounded by all these great people. And these great people once they help you because as you know, if you teach a lot, you actually become smarter. You learn more, right? So when you help and share what you know, with other people, you often also accumulate knowledge, accumulate wisdom, and all these things. And so this is kind of what we wanted to create. When we started Oakland was this great collective of minds and energy, where people were feeling open and feeling like they could share and not this typical doggy dog, you're my competition. I'm not showing you my marketing material. That was really kind of, you know, the spark that drove us and we're like, we're gonna go with this and we're going to see if it works.

Matthew Parker 8:53

It's, it's, yeah, that's so cool. It's amazing how you know, be around people that are either, you know, higher achievers, or whatever the case is just a little bit more experience, it just brings you up to that next level, I remember, you know, growing up playing hockey, and so you play with the older older kids or whoever it is, and for some reason you're now playing at a higher level. So I think that that's, that's such a great analogy to, to compare it to, because being or I think it's so important to be around the right people in in anything that you do. It just brings out that that some level that you probably don't even know that you have until you're in around an environment of people that are achieving things that you want to.

Unknown Speaker 9:40

Exactly. So I was checking you out a little too. So you've got a team, or you've got somebody that works with you as well. So you guys do push each other as well or do you have something similar in the mortgage industry?

Matthew Parker 9:52

Yeah, because we have our family brokerage, so to do mortgage, so it's always been good to have that family dynamics. I've also personally worked outside of our brokerages at a younger age just to learn other looks at it, I'm in a mastermind with other top mortgage professionals in Vancouver with very, very, it's just always good to have ideas that isn't just up here in my own head, it's more of because I don't like you said it's always something to learn. I can always improve, we can always serve clients that much better. And how do we how do we achieve that it's while we have to become better every day and you know, it's ever changing. So great question. So yes, we do. Try to find ways just to continually make the process that much more simple. But it also save clients as much money as possible. So it's a very similar, similar way that we get up every day and be able to try to achieve that is always the fun part. which is which is so cool. We're in you know, mid April. So okay via that just because you know when we actually released this and everyone here We might be a little bit further on in 2020 than we are right now. So we're in the midst of, you know, the COVID-19 situation and just a lot of a lot of new uncertainty in the real estate market and just economic in general. Do you want to talk on potential advice for anyone that's looking to either a purchase a property or or list their home for sale, whether it's this year next year, just historically? What to what to look for? And just any advice in general on those on those clientele?

Unknown Speaker 11:34

Yeah, I think I mean, you know, I think that's always everyone's questions, what's going to happen with the market? What's gonna, you know, is it a good time, bad time? No, I think that during this last month, we're in a state of emergency what what I've seen with a lot of people is just this incredible resilience. And that's not just agents, but that's just everybody in general who's who's, you know, affected by, by what we're going right now. And, you know, there's that resilience. And I think that for those who always think I always think of real estate in an optimistic light, because I think there's opportunity for people always in in whichever market you're in, and for real estate, so if you're a buyer, you might be looking and there's a good opportunity that seems just, you know, maybe they're surrounding the environment doesn't sound like it's the right time, but it's the right time for you. Right. So sometimes I think that's something that people forget. It's, it's really about what your specific situation is. And to generalize this a little bit more difficult. So, you know, what's your specific situation? What's your motivation? And at the end of the day, in my books, if you're going to hold real estate, three to five to 10 years, you're going to do well, you're going to do well in Vancouver because we're an international city. There's no place like London Hoover, and I think now more than ever, as people are spending more and more time in your home, you realize how important it is that home is to you. Right? So my advice for real estate right now is you know, keep your eyes and your ears open, you know, and don't necessarily close yourself to opportunities both in buying and selling.

Matthew Parker 13:21

Yeah, no, I agree I'd I talked to clients a lot about long term, you know, it's really be in the market grow with the market morph with the market and, and you know, and there's only so many times that the value of the home is up most important to you as a homeowner. It's when you buy it when you sell it when you want to restructure, restructure and refinance to get equity out of the home for other investment purposes. But you know, it'll do what it does and it's okay as long as you know it trends where we need it to trend. You know, today actually April 17, Robert Hogue, who is a an RV See economist released that, that he's predicting a summer revival of Canadian Real Estate once social distancing is just even alleviated slightly when they start to open up. So I think that, you know, consumer confidence will come back. I think there'll be slower transition, then it might not be I guess we all don't know. But if, if and when they start to alleviate that, I think that, you know, the real estate market wasn't a very healthy place at the, at the at the first quarter of 2020. So, hopefully, that can continue through once we get over this next turtle into the new normal that that we'll have in the next phase of this of this process.

Unknown Speaker 14:43

Yeah, I think there was, you know, I agree with that RBC statement there was, what we're seeing right before this started was just incredible pent up demand. And, and, you know, will some of that demand fall off because of personal circumstance or, you know, confidence in the market. Probably but there was there was a lot of activity happening, you know, with several multiple offers. And, you know, I just was I'm in the office today with not social distancing by myself. But another agent was in and he said, Oh, it was weird. I had to multiple offers this weekend. I said, What? He said, yeah, it was bizarre. Just it just happened. So, you know, things, you know, I don't know where it's gonna go. But for the most part, you know, I think if everybody does their part and stays healthy and safe, and you know, that's the most important thing right now, obviously. And, you know, the market is going to take care of itself and everyone's gonna be everyone's gonna be okay. There's gonna be good opportunity.

Matthew Parker 15:47

Yeah, and technology's allowed us to continue to do business and, and serve clients. And just recently, they release that. For a lot of transactions. lawyers can do it virtually As well now as well, which is which is great for notarizing. And those sorts of things, which, you know, was long time overdue, potentially anyways, just from a technology standpoint, but so I think there's always, always good that comes out of all these different situations. Hopefully it just makes it that much more attainable, achievable and efficient for homebuyers. Now, you've been around for quite a few years now and probably seen a lot of transactions especially being on the managing broker side of such a large operation. Is there one situation, either it's a property or a transaction situation that stands out is very memorable to you?

Arlene Chiang 16:41

Ooh, memorable to me.

Unknown Speaker 16:44

Well, this would probably be back actually in my in my buying and selling days when I was more of a transacting agent. But I always recall it because it actually makes me a stronger managing broker today and it's a funny story. It's a I had the opportunity of working with a gentleman and he was fantastic. And, and he let me list his property and little did I know, but he had five units in that building and so, but I listed his property and we got an offer. And he said, Okay, I mean, you're going to review this offer together, you're going to come over and we're going to do it together. And I said, Okay, great. Let's do it. And four hours later, because he forced me to read every single line, line by line out loud. He had a Red Bull in his hand, he put it down on the table. He's over Carolien. Are you ready? Let's do it. What is this, I've never done this before. And literally we read every line, even boilerplate, line by line out loud together, so that we had a very clear understanding of what what he was getting himself to. And that transaction was the most or those transactions were the most memorable because even every single one out there That I had to do the same thing. It didn't matter that it was exact same contract. It made me do it every single time. But it it just taught me this huge lessons that you know, you have to be careful because we're working for or, you know, we're transacting some people's largest investments, or purchasing for them their largest investments, and it's our, it's our duty to take care of them and make sure that we're very clear on what they're signing. And so now, as I review, you know, hundreds of contracts that are coming through, you know, that's the biggest lesson that I learned when I was, you know, early transacting, and it's really carried through how I practice right now.

Matthew Parker 18:42

Yeah, I'm sure a lot of a lot of paperwork comes your way. He can be very, very efficient at that now, but again, yeah, that's that's an interesting story that every single, every single word every, you know, some clients really like that and you know, it's it's everyone's different. Everyone has their own way of doing things and that is probably a great learning experience because it teaches you patience teaches you, you know, whenever some deals could take a lot longer, some can be a little bit less time but it all averages out in the end so at least you could you know, help serve that client the best you can. That's that's a great story. Thank you for sharing.

Arlene Chiang 19:19

Yeah, yeah, it was a fun one.

Matthew Parker 19:23

Now, I talked to clients, I just for fun term house rich. You know, a lot of people when they think of Vancouver real estate, a lot of people think it's a little bit unaffordable. You might have too big of a mortgage, it might be challenging from a livability standpoint to afford your lifestyle and those sorts of things. In in low in Vancouver, especially, on average, most of my clients, that's not the case and we positioned them in a very cashflow positive situation by looking at it more of how do we create an investable asset from real estate versus just having you know, you know, speculative investment that who knows if it'll go up in value, ideally, it will over time, but more of creating something that we can make it tangible have an investment stretch strategy, and creating more of that cash flow house rich kind of philosophy. When I say that to you, the term house rich, what comes to your mind? What do you think of

Unknown Speaker 20:21

house rich philosophy? That is a very good question. And I think it's very relevant right now, I think as everybody is spending time in their house, and I think house rich is you know, a couple of things. There's some intangibles, just in terms of that, you know, host riches is surrounding yourself with your family or the ones that you love and you're you feel secure in your shelter. I think, at the end of the day, you know, real estate and housing are is a great investment, but it's really about shelter and it's really about feeling safe in the in the environment that you're in and you know, creating This great space around you. So you can be productive so that you can go to work so that you can come home and feel recharged. So I think house rich is one part of it is, you know, this element of shelter, just the bare bones of what it is. And then that kind of leads into the next it's like, you know, why wouldn't you invest in your shelter? And own that shelter for yourself? If you can, right, and you could start in very, very small and keep on rolling and rolling up into a point where you end up with your dream house because you're never going to start like I don't there's no, there's nobody in Vancouver unless you just really inherited or you know that you can start with your dream house. You have to start with these little bite sized pieces and make sacrifices but once you make those sacrifices, you know you you can become immensely house rich because you can build equity. You can have you know in terms of rich and financial gains. You can buy and sell and then make, you know, huge capital gains or you can continue to roll your equity and have a huge retirement plan for yourself. One of the biggest tips my uncle's ever told me was, if we can in your lifetime or lien, if you can own your own principal residence in two properties, you can retire. Like that's, that was a principal. And I think it's and they don't you don't have to invest in so you don't have to do anything else. But if you can do that for yourself, or then you're going to be able to retire. Right? And I was like, Okay, so, you know, I've always tried to have that as my goal, but I'm gonna have my principal residence and two properties. And that's going to be enough for me to retire. So at all of those three things, is house rich to me.

Matthew Parker 22:45

Yeah, no. Yeah, I agree. So I agree very much. You know, we don't usually see 15 to 30% overnight drops in, in real estate values or things like that. So I think it's a, you know, long term such a stable investment, what you said Reminding me a lot about our own our own personal situation of owning two you know Yaletown units and then finally selling those off to get into that, you know detached house in Vancouver which is sort of that next jumping stone is just by allowing the equity to grow by allowing the properties to appreciate and values by keeping one as a revenue property to get us to that position. Having someone else help maintain and pay down that that mortgage on the other property I always talk to clients of theirs that we need it mortgage and then there's the you know, leverage side of things where Let's pay off that we needed mortgage that's the amount we need to actually get the home to purchase the property. Let's get rid of that. But if we can create revolving leverage ability to further position us going forward, I think there's there's so much benefit that can be had by doing it that way. So the I agree, hundred percent think and you know, Arlene, thank you. grateful to have you with us. If there's any agent out there that's looking to talk to ocwen or any homebuyers home sellers wanting to reach out where would be the best place to find you.

Unknown Speaker 24:12

Yeah, you can reach us at info at a wind calm so I nfo at a W y en comm you can check out our agents, check out our philosophy and connect with us there anytime.

Matthew Parker 24:28

Perfect. Well, thank you again, stay safe during this time and we really, really appreciate you being here.

Arlene Chiang 24:35

Thanks so much. I really appreciate the invitation.

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