A new black Porsche Cayenne GTS zips through the gray streets of Seattle and rolls up to an old building in downtown's booming Denny Triangle neighborhood. Behind the wheel is a woman with big plans - for both herself and for Seattle.
A native of China, Cassy Wu had a hand in the recent $25 million sale of the old building. She represented the buyer, a Chinese developer who plans to build a residential high-rise on the nearly half-acre site at 1916 Boren Ave.
While it's hardly remarkable that a site in one of the hottest development areas in the country sold for so much, what is notable is that Wu brokered the deal. After all, she has only had her Washington state broker's license for four years. It generally takes much longer to gain the experience and connections necessary to be part of such large sales.
"She was great to work with," said veteran broker Tim Foster, a senior vice president with Kidder Mathews.
He listed the property for sale, and Wu brought in the buyers, Chinese developers Ming and Yuan Lin. The transaction hit a few snags, though, and took 10 months to close. Still, she managed to shepherd it through.
While new to the Seattle area, Yuqin "Cassy" (pronounced "Casey") Wu is not new to real estate. She owned and operated a brokerage in Beijing, working with a developer and managing a staff of 50. The connections she forged in China, along with her drive, have made her a rising star in Seattle's real estate scene.
Wu came to the U.S. in 1999, but then moved to Canada. She later married an American citizen who suggested she get her real estate license.
It was during that training that Wu learned that to make real money in the U.S., you have to land listings. She knew hardly anyone in Seattle, so she made up to 60 cold calls a day.
"Every day I told myself, if I don't make an appointment for tomorrow, I will not go home," said Wu.
"She's got a lot of grit," said John Hansen, president of Meydenbauer Group, a Redmond general contractor who learned of Wu's moxie before he met her.
Hansen was looking into buying a Mercer Island house to perhaps subdivide the lot. Unbeknownst to him, Wu already was on the scene with a prospective buyer.
"She succeeded in closing the deal and took it right out from under my nose," said Hansen.
Ten months later when Hansen needed to hire a broker to sell 14 houses he was building near Woodinville, he immediately called Wu.
Wu is an atypical real estate broker. She socializes little and lives in a small house. Her Porsche? That's merely to project confidence, she said.
But you can't just think about the money, she said. You have to work with your heart as well as your head - people can sense that, she said.
"I want clients to be happy to pay the commission," said Wu, who is currently working with a handful of commercial real estate investors from China.
She thinks the residential real estate market will peak in two years but expects the commercial market will continue to expand.
"Just look at downtown Seattle," she said.
- Company: Windermere Bellevue Commons
- Title: Broker
- Previous job: Re/Max Eastside Brokers
- Education: Studied English at the Beijing Foreign Language Institute and international trading at Beijing University
- Hometown: Handan, China
- Lives in: Redmond
- Project confidence.
- Lead with your heart and your head.
- Be a problem solver.
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