My life’s work is
Around my gift
Speaking with strangers
About their interests
What got me into real estate?
My father. He loves to look for properties and on weekends we would always look at open houses growing up as a child in elementary school. He and his cousin have been operating a Commercial Janitorial business in Los Angeles for the past forty plus years, which has expanded into commercial painting and construction. My dad always worked, on nights and weekends and most of my memories with him growing up was visiting commercial buildings with various property managers, building owners, and business owners where I learned a lot about his primary job responsibility, making people happy. We used to go skiing with his clients and most of our family friends are in real estate related businesses. After I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2003 with a BA in Art Practice and my first job was stocking shelves at the local Target. I didn’t know what day it was because my schedule was determined every two weeks and I was working day and night shifts. After working on Christmas Eve, my girlfriend’s, (now wife’s) apartment was robbed by the on site apartment manager who was a drug dealer on Christmas weekend while we went to Mammoth to visit her family for one day. I called in that Monday saying I wouldn’t be able to go into work because we had to move out of the apartment, whose living room ceiling caved in due to water damage, and the sliding glass door would not lock. My supervisor at Target said I forgot to put up the next week’s sale tags, which completely escaped me after feeling the desperation of families buying anything the night before Christmas. My dad suggested that I get my real estate license, because over the years he would see Property Manager assist in the sale of commercial properties, but not receive any commission in the process. As an immigrant, he liked the idea of a license that entitled you to make a commission in his passion to buy real estate. He never graduated from college and grew up in a family that gained enormous wealth through real estate. His mother’s father grew up without a father and his mother died when he was a child. It is a custom in Korea to bury your ancestors on top of a hill or mountain and he had to bury his mother on the side of a dirt road. Promising one day to come back and give her a proper burial. He survived by selling beans and pots and pans from one village to another. He overheard of something that had smoke coming out of it from Japanese occupiers that would connect the ports where goods were imported to the feudal cities that were located in the mountains to protect them from invaders. He purchased farmland in the center of Korea for pennies and arranged the railroad to go through his land and become one of the wealthiest men in Korea. As a self made man, he did not listen to his advisors and in those times it was often customary to have families in different provinces. Upon his death the various families had a vicious battle for wealth that disgusted my grandmother who married my grandfather and did not participate in the land grab and with later land reform, war, and immigration to the United States the only thing left was an inspiring story and some photos. This story was the seed that was implanted in my memory back in college after seeing some photos at my Uncle’s house and asking who the other people in the family photo’s were and he would say they were the driver or servants. That was deep inside of me, that if my great grandfather could rise from nothing, in abject poverty without a family, and with an insight and a crazy idea become great in his own right then, I too would be able to follow in his footsteps to build generational wealth through another real estate empire.
- My father’s childhood home being remodeled by another owner to the left upside down is the Blue House, Korea’s Presidential residence. My great grandfather donated the land.
- Tour of traditional Korean home
- Photo of Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother
- My father’s family photos
- My mother’s family photo of her Great Grandmother’s family who also owned land. Her Grand Father was a rice farmer, which enabled her mother to attend university in Japan during Japanese occupation of Korea, which was reserved for the socially elite at the time.
- My mother’s father whose family was also from Korea also attended university in Japan in the 1930’s where they met. (My in laws met in a college art class, as I also met their daughter in an art class.)
- My mother’s father became Korea’s Postmaster General and he traveled the world attending various conferences in Europe, Asia, and the United States back in the 40s when he was in his forties. My mother was primarily raised by servants with her dad in a different residence than her younger brother and significantly older sisters and thus did not really know how to be a mother and her primary interests revolved around work. Having been one of the early flight attendants while in school and graduating from the best women’s university from Seoul.
- After my girlfriend, graduated from grad school we went to Korea to revisit some of the area’s that my great grandfather used to frequent such as the Kapsa Temple where he used to hike and where I proposed to Eva.
- Photos of traditional meal for royalty
- My wife’s family are avid campers and my wife grew up camping every year since she was around six month’s old.
- My wife’s father, Mark initially went to school as a painter, but made a living as a general contractor building architecturally designed custom homes in Rancho Santa Fe one of the wealthiest communities in the United States.
- Family photos of my wife’s family growing up at their modern home, which Mark built. Playing in the garden which is something very important to Eva to pass along to our two daughters.
- Family photos of me as a baby and my childhood. My first car in college was the same 1990 Cadillac Sedan Deville that I grew up in. One of my art major classmates from Europe would say that I am living the American Dream driving around in a Cadillac 10 years later.
- I was pretty fearless growing up as seen by the look of surprise from my sister running down a hill or jumping off the diving board.
- I got away with a lot at school primarily being the only Asian kid and looking like a bit of an angel.
- More recent family photos of my family
- Before and after photo of our kitchen remodel. Project managed and designed by Eva. Primarily Ikea cabinets with white Carrera marble countertops and backsplash from Heath Ceramics.
- Revisiting some of the same childhood areas around Mammoth with our family.
- My older one is drawing in the sand and it reminded me of Picasso’s light drawings.