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Posted by Ronilo Palama on May 19, 2020
  • Where are you from originally?

    Proud to be a native Houstonian! Besides growing up here all my life, I love this city and country.
  • What was your first job in the industry?

    The first job in the industry was as a REALTOR®. I was previously in architecture and commercial development.
  • What do you love about the industry?

    Being able to serve clients and look out for their best interests. So many consumers have no idea of how to navigate the legal documents, language, or market prices. Watching a client’s business grow and thrive is something that I personally love to see. Recruiting companies and jobs to Houston is something I’m extremely proud of. The countless opportunities to lead, give back, and volunteer in our industry is endless. There is always room to grow.
  • How did you get into real estate?

    My family saved and invested in real estate for their future while running a small family grocery store in Houston. I saw how hard it was for my parents to earn money, and how real estate helped my family. After a couple of deals, I realized there is a better way to do things for us. I started investing, and after working with commercial developers I decided being in the real estate industry put me closer to my goals developing my own projects.
  • How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents?

    Working at a high level to be the very best at what I do. I stay in my lane as a commercial expert. Constant training and watching over the market. I also spend a lot of time to understand my clients’ businesses and consider that when selecting locations. I also serve various organizations like the Asian American Real Estate Association, Texas REALTORS®, various community organizations. Last year I was honored as the Houston Association of REALTORS®: 2019 REALTOR® of the Year. For 2021, I’m running for the board of directors of the Houston Association of REALTORS® as a commercial member.
  • What experience would you repeat?

    Starting over. It sounds crazy, but this industry requires us to adapt constantly to new technology and disruption. We can’t get stuck on a certain way of thinking, because the market is constantly changing around us. Experience is great and has served me well. But a refresh and starting over with the tools new agents have now compared to 10 years ago gives them an advantage.
  • What is one of your favorite things to do in your city?

    Going out! Are we allowed to do that safely yet? Meeting up with friends and just enjoying the food and experiences this city has to offer. I love trying new places and experiencing different things. I like searching for good tacos with friends.
  • Which Home Builders have you had a great experience working with in the last 12 months?

    As the 2019-2020 Chairman of AAREA, we have a lot of amazing builders and community partners from the area. Since my practice is mainly focused on commercial, I have only worked with a handful of builders. I do have great experiences working with our community partners like Tammy McCall of Johnson Development and Monica Conchola of Rising Communities.
  • Tell us an interesting detail about you that many might not know?

    I don’t like seafood. I grew up in a family grocery store where we sold fresh seafood. Smelling it every day got to me.
  • In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry?

    Find your ‘why’ and get involved in your industry.
  • What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app?

    HAR app. The data and tools are robust and comprehensive.
  • What is your favorite podcast?

    I listen to a lot of commercial real estate and economic data most people find boring. It’s really hard to find some things local. Most of the commercial podcasts are nationally based.
  • What have you heard or listened to lately that has inspired you?

    I listen to a variety of things. Different church sermons keep me balanced. There are a lot of inspirational and motivational videos on YouTube. For a while, I’ve listened to Walter Bond. I had the opportunity to hear him speak last year at Texas REALTORS®. His story of his parents believing in him and his success through life is an amazing way to honor his parents.
  • What are 3 adjectives that describe you best?

    Servant. Loyal. Thankful.
  • Where do you predominately sell real estate?

    I cover most of the greater Houston area and have a diverse portfolio of experience with retail, industrial, office, land, medical, multi-family, and specialty properties.
  • What is the best advice you have ever been given?

    Work harder and don’t give up. We all face challenges over our lives and career. Following through is important, keep your word. It’s easy to quit and change directions, but in order to make an impact, you cannot give up.

  • Do you have someone in your life that has been an exceptional mentor? Who? Why?

    I’ve been lucky to have a lot of mentors. My Dad obviously influenced my work ethic and personal life. Dan Goon in my office was my first real estate mentor who taught me about the industry. My entire Asian American Real Estate Association Board of Directors who helped me on my journey in this industry to become a leader. Kenya Burrell has been an amazing friend and mentor who has encouraged and led the way for my continued growth as a leader in this industry.

  • What lights you up in life?

    I learned to appreciate the simple things: God, family, friends, my dog, food. Personally, making a difference for a total stranger. Volunteering, serving, donating, and seeing their sincere gratitude is something that can’t be explained in words.

  • What Charity do you support? Please tell us more about your involvement?

    Thank you for this opportunity to share and raise support! Each year I adopt families for the holidays. I focus on local victims of human trafficking and their families, by shopping for their family wish lists and hosting an anonymous dinner for them. I volunteer in an outreach ministry program to feed and reach out to homeless Veterans in our city. My dog loves to donate food to his local animal shelter and sponsor animal adoptions at the center he was rescued from. Each year one of my mentors asks me to commit my final commission check of the year towards a charity. This year instead of waiting, and because of Covid-19 so far I’ve been able to donate almost 30,000 masks and protective supplies to our first responders. I also volunteer at Habitat for Humanity,

    In my office, I worked with our leadership to create a 501c3 charity called R.E.A.L. Giving. Our intent is to help Realtors in our market area with hardships and emergencies. We could use some help in that group.

Mike Wong

Keller Williams Southwest – KW Commercial


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