You could say Daniel C. Eng was born into real estate. Ethnically Chinese, Eng’s grandparents lived in Hong Kong and invested in real estate so they could afford to send their children to school abroad. Their work paid off, and in 1956, a boat from Hong Kong arrived in the U.S. carrying Eng’s father, whose only valuable was $50 in cash.
His father ended up settling in Dallas, Texas, and by the late 1970s, when Eng was born, he and Eng’s mother owned and managed several apartment buildings and rental properties.
“I may have been a baby, but I was there when my parents were collecting rent,” Eng remembers. “When my parents did construction on the properties, my brothers would be pouring the concrete, and I’d be playing in it. I grew up in this industry and fell in love with it.”
So much so that in 2012, Eng partnered with longtime colleagues Kelley Liu and Trang Dang-Le to start their own real estate brokerage in Plano, Texas, serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area. As equal broker/owners of the firm, the trio catered to the market’s Asian American population and saw business boom.
But with growth came growing pains, as the partners struggled to equip their agents with the advanced technology tools they needed to gain listings in Dallas’ hot real estate market, which was attracting not only the local Asian community, but also Asian investors and new immigrants.
So, last July, after several talks with ERA Real Estate, Eng welcomed his agents into a meeting room and announced the big secret he’d been keeping for weeks: the company had joined the ERA Real Estate family and would now operate as ERA iRealty.
“When we opened the curtains and our team saw their new name tags, business cards and all the ERA signage, they were thrilled,” says Eng. “One of our agents joked that she’d have to buy a whole new red and blue wardrobe—and I told her to go ahead!”
And ERA iRealty was born. Just half a year after joining forces with ERA, the brokerage has already come away stronger, having drawn up a strategic five-year growth plan for the business.
Part of that plan was agent recruitment, and with the help of ERA’s recently launched TopRecruiter program, which helps brokers recruit, close and retain agents, Eng and his partners were able to bring 12 new agents in-house since July, bringing his total agent count to 37. By year’s end, he, Liu and Dang-Le hope to have 60 agents, and by 2022, they hope that number grows to 80.
“TopRecruiter helped us recruit, but so did ERA’s other technology offerings,” says Eng. “One of the biggest advantages was Zap, the CRM platform that helps agents get leads—and it’s no extra cost to them, so they love it.”
Franchising also gives Eng more time to invest in training and mentoring his agents, or “family members,” as he refers to them. But in the case of iRealty, that family isn’t nuclear. Instead, they’re a mosaic of ethnicities speaking 14 distinct languages and serving a large swath of Dallas’ unique communities.
ERA iRealty agents speak Vietnamese, Cantonese, Hindi, Teochew (a Chinese dialect), Shanghainese, Taiwanese, Mandarin, Korean, Khmer, Japanese, Laotian, Spanish, Tagalog (a Philippine language) and English.
“Oh, and Texan,” Eng laughs. “Almost forgot that one!”
For more information, please visit www.era.com.