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Commercial Property Insider

Broker Spotlight Julie Chu

2 Minute Read

Meet February’s Broker Spotlight Julie Chu

Founder and Owner | City Commercial

Julie Chu founded City Commercial to provide small business owners peace of mind when selling or leasing their industrial real estate. Our team gives business owners the level of attention that all business owners deserve, regardless of their size. What particularly motivated Julie was that these business owners were just like her own father. Her dad was a farmer, an honest, hard-working man who worked extremely hard to provide for his family. Regardless of the weather, regardless of how long his days were, the work got done, and his word could be trusted. The idea that people like her dad weren’t getting the level of representation they deserved at some of the large international brokerages inspired her to design City Commercial with the small business owner in mind. We are committed to doing right by our clients. This means providing exceptional quality services and a high level of accountability within a structured professional approach.

Q&A With Julie

Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career. Why was it important for you?

When I first started in this industry, nothing was given to me, and no big-name brokerages would give me the time of day. My pivotal moment was when I was taken out for lunch by someone I respected. I was explicitly told that because I was a woman, I’d have to work twice as hard as any man to be taken seriously in this industry. AND that I should just quit.

Instead of letting that advice tear me down, I took it to heart. I did the 14-hour days, I paid for my own professional coaching, I listened and adapted to my client’s needs. Now I have a plan to take City Commercial national. I am competing against those same brokerages that wouldn’t give me the time of day, and I am winning business because I earned the right to be at that table.

This was my defining moment- I was given the opportunity to choose whether I was going to accept defeat or spend the rest of my career striving to be great.

What do you think the CRE industry needs?

I’m seeing a market trend that property owners view real estate representatives as interchangeable salespeople. Nothing could be further from the truth! When deciding which representative (commercial realtor) or brokerage to work with, the best thing a business owner can do is to evaluate the individual that is representing them. There is a high level of variability in the performance of individuals in the industry. There is even variability within brokerages. In addition, there is an alarming lack of communication about the level of attention you could receive based on a property your size and the quality of marketing you can expect.

It is our responsibility as brokers or associates to help our clients see us differently so that we can earn their trust. Much the same way that their accountants did. As an industry, we need to maintain professional standards:

  • consistently act with our client’s best interests in mind
  • have a high level of accountability,
  • commit to lifelong learning to offer credible advice.
  • and most importantly, return the darn phone calls.

How has the industry changed since you started?

The industry has changed, and we must embrace change and technology to remain competitive. Technology is, in essence, building off of the knowledge of someone else, allowing us to start at a higher and more powerful vantage point. In today’s changing business environment, we need to constantly push ourselves to adapt to the trends that we face to come out on the other side stronger.

What are the biggest revenue opportunities you are seeing in CRE today?

I foresee a lot of mergers and acquisitions in the upcoming decade as consumer demands shift. Technology and the global economy will impact property owners looking to acquire buildings at favourable prices, brokerage firms and the business community. Companies that can utilize foreign talent, technology and a system-dependent approach to business will outperform their counterparts that don’t.

Share some tactics you’ve used to establish yourself as a trusted CRE professional?

Earning the right to be our client’s trusted advisor is our most esteemed goal at City Commercial. We understand that for our clients, commercial real estate often represents a significant portion of their life’s work. Becoming a trusted advisor involves a structured plan of property value analysis, understanding macroeconomic trends, and business development coaching- to respect the role that we play in our client’s decision-making process. This is a structured part of our on boarding program for associates joining our brokerage.

How has Spacelist helped your business?

As a business owner, I spend a lot of marketing. I track which service providers generate leads and Spacelist consistently delivers.

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