Weinberg Choi Residential
Keller Williams ONE Chicago
Years in business: fourteen
The size: 3 offices, 450 agents
Regions served: Downtown Chicago
Sales volume in 2020: $ 84 million
Transaction volume in 2020: 151 pcs.
Tommy Choi’s first job after college, a local Chicagoan, was selling IT services in the healthcare industry, where he made hundreds of cold calls a day. Although he was doing well financially, he was unhappy – and this led him to a career in real estate.
Born out of a desire to do something different and meet people face to face, Choi turned to real estate. Drawing inspiration from his immigrant grandfather, who taught him that you need to work hard to own your home, Choi saw real estate as a way to both honor his heritage and help others achieve this important life goal.
An RISMedia 2021 newsmakerChoi is the owner and co-founder of the Weinberg Choi Residential team and the owner of the Keller Williams ONEChicago chain.
How has the pandemic affected your market?
Tommy Choi: I mainly work in the downtown Chicago market and in the more densely populated high-rise areas such as River North, Gold Coast, Streetville and South Loop. COVID had a big impact on them in the sense that they were about 17 months old at one point last summer. Of course, part of that is new construction, but even without that, you had a year of inventory. In the midst of COVID, amenities such as indoor pools and gyms were largely closed. These neighborhoods are the heart of the city’s culture – dining, shopping and nightlife – and none have been open. Many of these people wanted a change of scenery.
Have there been any positive effects on the market?
TC: Yes, on the other hand, COVID has had a positive impact on the isolated single-family luxury market in Chicago. People needed more space inside as well as more open space, so the market really flourished.
How has all of this influenced your strategy for 2021 and beyond?
TC: In fact, nothing has changed. Even last year, when local asylum orders were in effect, we were still running a relationship-based business. We continue to deliver more value to our customers. This means teaching them what the market looks like. We constantly communicate with our clients and understand very transparently what the market looks like and how it affects what they want to do.
What makes someone a good team member?
TC: Whether they are new to the industry or have experience, team members need to be willing to learn and adapt. Even when we see success, we constantly ask ourselves why we do what we do. We are looking for the best ways to improve ourselves.
How important is technology to your success?
TC: We look at technology as a way to improve our efficiency and effectiveness. We still need to take a hammer and know where that nail is and know where to hit. After all, technology is important to help you do what you do, but I never see it as a substitute for what I do.
Please share some great advice someone gave you.
TC: One of my mentors owned the oldest T-shirt printing business in North Chicago, and he told me to put on blinkers and focus on my journey. Don’t worry about who is driving next to you or who has passed you … just focus on your journey and where you are going. This is great advice for the industry.
Keith Lauria is a contributing editor for RISMedia.