Something About Ken Kho
Every July 1, I mark another year as a Realtor, with the latest – in 2019 – being my 13th. Real estate has been a most fulfilling and enjoyable vocation. I like to look back at my journey, chuckle on the troughs I hit, and celebrate the crests I rode. Allow me to bring you along for a quick surf through memory lane.
I was born and raised in the Philippines, a Filipino-Chinese with the enviable opportunity to grow up in a multi-lingual and multi-cultural environment. I am the third child and the first son in a family of six siblings. My parents were teachers for a long time, and they eventually ventured into business, initially retailing, and later real estate.
I can remember all of us children sitting around the dinner table listening to my Mom and Dad discuss property deals and investment opportunities, and I always thought it was so fascinating. When I got older, I even helped by typing out the purchase contracts on typewriters with carbon paper. That was before PCs, so things were obviously much different then!
Even though I was very interested in Real Estate from such a young age, I did not pursue it as my first career. When it was time for college, I did not know what I should choose as a major, so I decided to ask my Dad for advice, and I will never forget that conversation. He told me, “It doesn’t matter what you study, just do well and graduate. Once your studies are complete, work for a few years and then start a company for the family.”
I got accepted into the University of the Philippines and quickly finished BS Electrical Engineering. After graduation, I decided to take not only the board exam for Electrical Engineers, but that for Real Estate Brokers as well. I passed both but registered to get the license only for RE Brokers. I decided I didn’t really want to work as an Electrical Engineer; instead, I went to work for a company selling microcomputers, then a very new concept. After a couple of years, I left to establish – with the help of my younger sister – a computer company for my family. We negotiated and obtained the distribution rights for a line of microprocessor-based multi-user computer systems built by a San Francisco manufacturer. Our company provided small businesses with an affordable way to harness the emerging computer technology to optimize their operations.
Subsequently, my younger sister moved to San Francisco to run the buying office we had set up. A few years later, with our two older sisters having joined the family business, I made the move as well. Our company today – more than three decades later – is still in existence and has been ably managed by my two older sisters to a secure position among the recognized and reputable I.T. firms in the Philippines.
In the mid-1990s, I was in Fremont, witnessing the Internet become commercially popular. I decided to set up an Internet firm. First, my firm provided hosting and server colocation business.
Later, we shifted to the development and deployment of database-driven web-based applications. Around 2005, after more than two decades in high-tech, a field which I believed favored the young, I decided it was time for a change. I knew it was time to enter the career that had always called on me since I was a young child: Real Estate. I told my parents my plan to follow in their footsteps and they told me how proud they were of me, and that it felt good after how hard they had worked to provide for my siblings and me. My Mom was quite excited at the prospect of giving me advice on my new career!
Even though I had finally found the career for me, most people thought I was entering the real estate field at the wrong time. My broker at that time, however, opined that the recession was the perfect time to get into the industry, because before that, deals were easy to come by and I wouldn’t have learned much, but during the economic downturn, I had to learn how to do things the right way, without resorting to shortcuts.
I not only persevered but even thrived during the challenging recession and became a competent Realtor. Now that I have been in this field for over a decade, I can look back and identify the factors that have contributed to my success as a REALTOR®.
The first is that my time in the technology sector has given me an unmatched grasp of and comfort with technological advances. It is with ease that I wade through the plethora of technological tools to identify and adopt the ones that will help me improve my level of service to my clients.
There are two more factors, and more important ones. One is the fact that my family was in real estate. Perhaps by being in a household where real estate was discussed daily, I learned by osmosis, and a lot of the important real estate concepts come across as intuitive. Time and again, I have been able to help my clients and impress my colleagues with my problem-solving ability. And of course, I have my Mom to lean on.
The other factor is that I enjoy very much what I do. I relish the excitement in my buyer’s voice when he steps into a perfect home; I cherish the joy in a little girl’s giggles as she lays claim to her very own bedroom; I bask in my investor’s triumphant feeling as he closes an escrow; I rejoice in a family’s relief as they make a transition; I savor the appreciation of my client as we complete a beautiful makeover. I am thrilled and honored to be a part of my client’s real estate endeavors, but even more than that, I am grateful to be a part of their lives. A part of your life!