Launching an international consultancy is daunting by any standards. But just three years in, JadeStone Real Estate Consulting is thriving and expanding while remaining true to its core foundation of a market.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Anne Chang, JadeStone founder and principal “We’ve gone from being the new kid on the block to a distinct, well-known, quality company in our community and industry, not just locally but overseas.”
Officially introduced to the community in September 2016, JadeStone offers residential and commercial sales and leasing, property management, and broker assistance with a particular focus on Asian investors seeking New York City properties. As many real estate firms do, Jade- Stone focuses on its niche to offer the best possible services.
The Taiwan-born and -raised Chang founded the company after a career in marketing strategies, sales management, business consulting, real estate brokerage and new development, giving her the business background and street-level knowledge of New York properties, as well as the nuances of working with investors from Asia, primarily from China. Naming her business for the Chinese gemstone that represents harmony, happiness, balance and satisfaction, which is associated with strength and wealth, she brought her knowledge and that philosophy to a thennew and growing sector of property buyers: affluent Chinese investors looking to diversify portfolios or purchase homes for family, such as children studying in the United States.
“We have been busy right from the start,” Chang said. “I’ve been in the industry since 2002, so I had knowledge to start with. With that foundation, people can feel connected. We didn’t really go through that period typical of startups, where you didn’t have instant stream of business. Our clients mostly came to us by word of mouth and often became friends. They trust us, as well as our knowledge and experience.”
“I want to build a team and company based not on size, but quality. I want to be happy doing this as we grow.”
Like any new company, she acknowledged, there were growing pains. She learned that quantity of agents did not necessarily equal her desired results. Through cutting back on staff and regrowing slowly, JadeStone now has a strong team and continues to attract quality agents, Chang said. She continues this recruitment process carefully as she recognizes the responsibility she has to the agents who give their trust to her.
“We have a quality brand they can feel good to grow a long-term career with,” she said. All of her team members are educated and multilingual, most having degrees from U.S. and overseas universities.
“I want to build a team and company based not on size, but quality. I want to be happy doing this as we grow,” she continued. “Everyone benefits from everyone’s commitment to quality work and professionalism.”
The team functions like a family, with great synergy, Chang said. The result is a group that is more than the sum of its parts.
“Our agents are our partners,” she said. “Our model focuses on empowering each of our agents and growing stronger together as partners.”
Chang is quick to note that the firm also works with non-Asian clients who want to reach Chinese buyers. Although over the past two years overseas Chinese purchases have declined for various reasons, local Chinese buyers remain a strong client segment.
The specialized knowledge, connections and quality reputation have also made JadeStone a sought-after partner with other brokerages and the development industry. Firms or individual brokers with a Chinese clientele often approach JadeStone for language assistance or cultural insight, Chang said.
“That’s always been a strength,” she said. “We can help bridge a deal.”
And JadeStone works with brokers and developers in other states to serve clients interested in other markets.
“We always connect with good resources for our clients,” Chang said.
Building a quality reputation is one thing — spreading the word is another. Chang continually promotes not just JadeStone as an entity but the individual brokers as well. “Inviting the market to know you” is her routine task. Livestreaming on Facebook, newsletters, frequent appearances on television, offering seminars to property buyers and agents as well as traditional advertising have quickly broadened Chang’s customer base and brand recognition.
“We are well-received by the industry, community and the media,” she said.
Her marketing and public relations efforts focus on efficiency, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, gathering resources together to create multiple impacts beyond real estate. The community knows Chang beyond real estate.
“I believe in sharing and giving, and I’m at a good point where I can create and give back, and hope we are all better as a result, with whomever I come across, however that works,” she observed. “It need not be business-related.”
One of the events Chang particularly felt touched by was in June, when she, expert hiking friends and Fu Generation Foundation (where she serves as public relations and board member) brought 28 special-needs students and 28 guardians to upstate New York for a hiking trip.
“We were so touched to see the joy and happy smiles the parents had,” Chang said. “The kids surprised every one of us!”
When asked what’s next, Chang replied with a smile. Her traditional Halloween birthday party will be one big, entertaining gathering to benefit local homeless organizations.
“Homelessness seems quite high, and winter is nearing,” Chang said. “I hope to bring people together for a good time and for a good cause.”
JadeStone continues to focus primarily in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island, but developments that are close to the city are also of interest, such as Jersey City. Jadestone would refer New Jersey buyers to other brokers but might consider licensing, as agents are inquiring about the region.
What’s most important, Chang said, is to build on JadeStone’s chief accomplishment — building a brand reputation for quality and integrity.
“The core values of JadeStone remain solid. We just grow stronger. We are the one they call,” Chang reflected. “What I feel most happy about in terms of our growth is that we’ve also become friends to our clients, community and our colleagues. We have their support and help. It’s absolutely wonderful.”