Kevin H. Nguyen, PhD

Kevin jumped into the world of real estate investing at the worst time—just before the market crashed in 2006—but he believes that is how he learned the most. He and his brother began buying apartments as the cost of properties dropped. Then they bought and renovated houses and businesses to sell or rent.

Eventually, Kevin’s broker encouraged him to get his real estate sales license to earn commission from both buying and selling. “At first, I didn’t think that sounded like a lot of money,” Kevin says. “But he helped me see how much commission I could make on each home.”

Kevin worked for his broker while also completing his PhD. During the week, he researched cancer and on the weekends he renovated homes and managed his rental portfolio. Before long, Kevin wanted even more flexibility and independence in his real estate career. After four years as a sales agent, he pursued his brokerage license.

“As a broker, I have more weight in my negotiations,” Kevin says. “Investors take me more seriously because my reputation is even stronger as an owner of a real estate company. I can manage not only my own properties, but others’.”

When Kevin graduated from his PhD program, he took a year off from research to focus on real estate full time. “When I made the shift from part time to full time, my business grew. It not only doubled—it tripled!” Kevin says. “I could focus my time on making better decisions and better deals. Investors trusted me more. My one year break turned into five years.”

Kevin and his brother now own a construction company to handle renovations, a real estate management company, and several restaurants. “At the end of the day, I don’t settle for mediocre. I try to be the best!” He says.

Advice from Kevin:

“Use what you’re good at to your advantage. I’m good at analyzing numbers, so I know what is actually a good deal. If you become a broker, first work for someone as a broker agent for a year. And make sure you advertise that you’re a broker—it’s the highest degree you can get. You will stand out!”