Welcome to Meet the Agent, an ongoing series profiling real estate agents from across Canada. With more than 150,000 agents, brokers, and salespeople working in 75 different boards and associations across the country, we thought it was about time they had a place to properly introduce themselves. If you or someone you know deserves the same chance, email email@example.com to apply.
Name: James Hau
Brokerage:faithwilson | Christie's International Real Estate
Personal website: jameshauhomes.ca
Social Media:Instagram | TikTok
Years of agent experience: 10
Areas of focus: Vancouver Westside and Richmond, BC
Where did you grow up?
I’ve grown up my whole life in Greater Vancouver. When my parents immigrated to Canada, we lived in the Edmonds community in Burnaby East. We had a small home, and basically started off our lives there. When I was 13, we moved to Richmond and spent the rest of my teenage years in Broadmoor.
What neighbourhood do you live in now?
I currently reside in Yaletown’s Marina Side, and I absolutely LOVE IT here. The people are incredible, food is amazing, and the sea walk is beyond words.
What made you want to become a real estate agent?
I recognized early on that I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I’m passionate about people, both in terms of being able to help someone, and also building meaningful relationships. With real estate, although it is very challenging at times, I’m able to express my creativity through marketing initiatives, and also meet so many incredible people -- many of whom I’ve become close friends with. It's such a blessing.
What’s the biggest challenge you see facing the market today?
Rising interest rates as well as the negative narrative that’s being propagated by the media. This has made many buyers and sellers quite apprehensive about taking the plunge forward due to this uncertainty.
What’s the single best advice you have for sellers?
Ensure you understand the conditions of your specific marketplace both on a macro and micro economic level. With that knowledge, we can create individualized marketing plans catered to your home. Every home is unique and, as such, deserves its own unique strategy. In tougher markets like this, it's more imperative than ever to have the most incredible representation in the marketplace. This can be done through beautification, brand management, and ensuring you have optimal exposure in the right avenues.
What’s the single best advice you have for buyers?
It comes down to understanding and research. Firstly, understand the hard asset itself. If it’s a detached home, what kind of internal mechanical components have been used, aka Poly B piping, copper, PEX? Are there any Restrictive Covenants, Right of Ways, or Easements on the title? If you’re buying into a strata, what is the projected maintenance schedule, history of past repairs, are the financials efficient and effective, and are there any special levies coming? Also, you must understand the development direction of a community, aka how is the city and area going to change in the next 5, 10, 20 years from now, and is your lifestyle in alignment with these changes? This will help you ensure you make the most informed decision.
What’s the best thing a realtor can invest in for their brand (a bus bench ad, a solid Instagram strategy, etc.)?
No matter what path you choose in terms of branding, it’s important to remain unapologetically authentic to yourself. More importantly, it’s about knowledge. In order to best serve our clients, we must learn and conduct research everyday of our lives.
Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
My idol and dear friend, Faith Wilson. Not only does she have an incredible story herself, both in business and in life, and not only because she's fervent, tenacious, and intelligent, but also because she's so kind, understanding, and always looking to inspire and build up the next generation of real estate professionals. She truly elevated the standards within the residential real estate industry and that’s something I aspire to do as well. Plus, she plays one heck of a squash game!
Is there anything you wish people knew or understood about realtors that you think they’re constantly getting wrong?
People think all real estate agents are the same, and hence, the results will be the same. In actuality, who you choose to represent you matters. The knowledge an agent has, their marketing system, negotiation skills, network, and character will have a tremendous impact on the final outcome of your purchase or sale. Who you choose matters.
Tell us about your favourite (or most memorable) sale.
I had a local Canadian buyer approach me, and at our first consultation, he remarked,“ James, honestly, I appreciate your time, but I don’t think a guy like me will ever be able to have a home in BC.” I was shocked to hear this, though it’s a common narrative. He was a hard-working young man that had the discipline to save up for a down payment. I asked him for an opportunity to help him build his investment portfolio. We ended up purchasing a small condo in Burnaby for just about $323,000, and after a few years of ownership, I guided him on how to update the home and sell it for an incredible price, over $150,000 more than he originally bought it for. After that, we went on to reinvest his profits into two more properties over the span of several years. Then, just a few years ago, when we had another one of our meetings over a nice dinner, and I started talking to him about our next opportunity, he said to me: “James, I actually would love your help to find a detached home in Delta. Also, this time, it's not so much an investment because my wife and I are planning to start our family there.” With the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on him, he said to me: “Thank you for everything, now we can finally have the home we’ve always wanted.” This really touched me. To this day, we’re very close friends, and I get a bit emotional about this because some people despise investing, but I feel like it's also a way for locals like us to have a chance of designing a life we want for ourselves and our loved ones.
What are the three words you hope your clients use to describe you?
Patient. Honest. Empathetic.
What’s your favourite thing to do outside of selling houses?
Sports and fitness. Snowboarding is also something I’m passionate about, too. But maybe it's because I’m also such a foodie, so I need to stay active, so I can keep eating. I’m a philosopher, so I love to learn about everything and anything. If I’m able to use this knowledge to help people and create meaningful relationships from it, then that brings me contentment also.
This interview may have been edited for both length and clarity. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of STOREYS.