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October 1, 2018
On the record

Augusta real estate broker says she's 'living the American dream'

Photo / Maureen Milliken
Photo / Maureen Milliken
Hoa Hoang's Hoang Realty is based in a former 7-Eleven on Western Avenue in Augusta. When she was growing up, she would stop there to buy penny candy.

Hoa Hoang, owner of Hoang Realty in Augusta, is quick to point out that she's living the American Dream. Hoang, the youngest of six children, came to Augusta in 1976, a year after her family came to the United States from Saigon. She still owns the home her family bought on Augusta's Chapel Street in 1978, as well as several other Chapel Street properties — her first foray into real estate, which eventually led to her career.

Hoang worked at MBNA in Belfast and Camden and then Coldwell Banker Rizzo Mattson in Augusta. In 2013, she started her own agency, which now has 10 full-time agents and six part-time, at 63 Western Ave. in Augusta. Earlier this year, she was called a "leader in her field" by Thomas College, when she was one of five entrepreneurs featured in the Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation "Pardon the Innovation" event. Mainebiz talked with Hoang at her Western Avenue office recently.

Mainebiz: What was it like to come to Augusta as an immigrant from South Vietnam, and what lessons from that do you bring to your real estate career?

Hoa Hoang: I was 5 years old and I remember that people were really nice. We moved to Sidney, Maine, initially. I remember a lot of people were kind to us and helped us with donations during our resettlement. In my real estate career, I try to take the approach of helping people either make money or save money when they sell or buy. I try to watch out for people the way they watched out for us when we first came to America.

MB: How did working for MBNA help your real estate career?

HH: It was one of the best experiences of my working background. They taught me how to collect money, analyze credit worth and value, as well as how to handle customer service issues along with managing teams of people. I try and implement what they taught me daily. But my mom is my biggest inspiration. She taught me how to maximize a dollar and how to negotiate because she owned a storefront in Vietnam, so I think that I have inherited some of her skills. She is the most amazing woman that I've ever known and will ever know.

MB: What prompted you to open your own agency?

HH: I wanted to create meaningful, satisfying and stable job opportunities for my community. Also, the location that I bought [a former 7-Eleven that was most recently a florist shop] was screaming for a real estate office.

MB: What's it like to have your own successful business just blocks from where you grew up?

HH: It's quite an honor that you think that our business is a success. Honestly, I feel so happy inside that I'm sitting in the old 7-Eleven convenience store that I use to buy penny candy from after school. I never thought that I'd be in this position, because we were the poor kids, but my mom always said to work hard. She's usually right.

MB: What are the pros and cons of the Augusta-area market?

HH: Our housing inventory is older and I'm happy to see that there are some new housing developments that have been very successful. I wish that we had more great builders that would invest in our community. I'd like to see more city development to encourage artists, musicians and entrepreneurs, with grants to build businesses.

MB: What would your absolute dream listing be?

HH: It's actually not the listing but my ideal seller would be someone who has maintained his or her home (no deferred maintenance); stages the home perfectly; no crazy painted wall colors; takes suggestions about pricing; communicates well; acts upon good advice; trusts his or her agent.

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