Born in Hawaii and raised in Seattle, Melvin Leon Guerrero returned to the islands to attend Hawaii Pacific University with $300 in his pocket and a longing for an island lifestyle. After a few years in the tourism industry, Melvin found his calling in real estate (which he believes may have been his destiny all along, as his mom introduced him to the world of title & escrow when he was 16 year old). Today, Melvin is the first and only REALTOR® in Hawaii to have earned a Master of Real Estate and has experienced first-hand that with hard work, a little support from friends, lots of love from family and the right work environment, the sky truly is the limit.
Q: How long have you been in real estate?
Melvin: I started as a part-time agent 11 years ago while working in the mortgage brokerage industry. I became a full-time agent when I joined Locations 6 years ago.
Q: Why did you join Locations?
A: After being on the opposite side of a transaction with Dolores Bediones, I realized that if I wanted to get serious about my career in real estate I had to align myself with a firm that’s dominant, recognizable, the buzz around town and had the best training available.
Q: Joining a new firm can be daunting; what was your first impression of Locations?
A: I was shocked how welcoming my fellow agents and admin were. Without even knowing me, people greeted me with open arms. I immediately felt like I was part of the family, and for the first time ever I felt comfortable in what can be a big, lonely industry.
Q: In your first year as a full-time, REALTOR® you had two transactions for less than $1 million. In your second year, you had 14 transactions for more than $5 million. What influenced your quick turnaround?
A: After my first year I was called into my coach’s office to have “the talk.” Not wanting to be seen as a failure, I worked with my coach to identify areas of skills improvement while adopting the right prospecting programs and educational tools. My coach played a big part in my success as I became more accountable and developed the confidence to prospect and maintain a real estate relationship through the close of a transaction and beyond.
Q: You mentioned Locations training earlier…what role did that play in your growth?
A: Locations training brings real-life situations into the training room. From this experience we were taught how to properly prospect, how to speak with clients and how to apply our skills in the field. My aha moment came in my third year at Locations when I realized I was able to easily talk to clients and could lead them down the next steps with full confidence. I haven’t looked back since.
Q: In 2016, you became the first REALTOR® in Hawaii to earn a Master of Real Estate…what made you pursue such an ambitious goal?
A: I’ve always enjoyed education, and I was driven to learn more about an industry I was passionate about, so I told myself, ‘just go for it.’ Plus, it is the highest credential one can receive in the real estate industry.
Q: How has earning your master’s degree benefited you?
A: I have the confidence and knowledge to handle clients on different levels. From seasoned sellers and buyers to older demographics to military members, my client base has expanded greatly. I’ve also dabbled in commercial real estate, investing and development. I’ve also become a better peer to my fellow REALTORS®, as I love to share what I’ve learned from a national scale, especially different ways to solve problems.
Q: How do you approach your business?
A: My goal is to bring more knowledge than the client will have access to. By researching problems and identifying issues early, even if they do not become a problem, I am able to earn a client’s trust by showing them that I have their best interest in mind.
Q:You are involved with a few organizations outside of work…can you tell us about them?
A: When you love what you do, you can’t stop thinking about it. As such, I am board member for the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), where I help Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders learn about real estate. I am also a member of the Honolulu Board of REALTORS® Community Service Committee, where we encourage and support REALTOR® volunteerism across Oahu. Outside of real estate I enjoy tennis, drinking various wines, cooking, and now, international traveling.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
A. Family, family, family. Family is the most important thing. Learn how to plan your time and share your goals with your family. Learn from veteran agents how to find the balance and to not feel bad when you can’t meet a client because of a family function. Find your balance, and keep it. Learn how to use your significant other and peers to maintain that balance. It’s a must.