Emily Sachs Wong has always been drawn to the service industry. She began her career in hospitality, working for Lettuce Entertain You at the iconic original Bub City, then the Rock Bottom Brewery. Not surprisingly, she found herself working literally all the time. “I was working as hard as anyone possibly could, all day and all night.”
Ultimately, she wanted to get into a business where she could have a little more time to do other things. After encouragement from her family (her father was a developer and her sister was a broker), she decided to give real estate a try.
Of course, the irony that she thought she’d have more free time as a broker is not lost on Wong—but she absolutely loves this field and has never looked back.
Part of what led Wong to become one of the top brokers in the city is a true passion for all things real estate.
Wong says she “loves the history of old houses and the neighborhoods—I’m just a huge history buff. That’s what really attracted me to real estate.”
What keeps her there and is one of the true keys to her success? “I love the psychology that goes into real estate, from all different aspects. It’s a very emotional time for people and I understand that and it makes me very attuned to their needs. Either you get psychology or you don’t. I happen to get it. Small details, hints that people are giving you about how they’re feeling. A lot of brokers just blow past that and don’t understand it, but it’s probably the biggest part of why someone does or doesn’t buy a house.”
Wong is Lincoln Park’s number one luxury broker and has formed a team of women that she works with to cover the entire Chicagoland area. While her main specialty is Lincoln Park, her subspecialties include the Southport Corridor, Bucktown, Wicker Park, and the Gold Coast. If a potential client comes to her who is interested in a different area of the city, Wong refers the business to associates.
Wong said it’s just by chance that she has formed this strong all-female team. “I’m not opposed to working with men in any way. I just happened to have met some wonderful women brokers over the years and other women have started with me and kind of used me as a place for training. And it’s worked out really well because I have a team of very educated and knowledgeable women and we’re able to help a variety of customers.”
Wong says that her business has grown and changed quite a bit over the years. “When I first started, I was not a luxury agent. My first sale was a tiny studio in an apartment building. But over time, sellers become buyers and they grow and decide to get nicer houses. I’ve been lucky to have relationships with them and grow with their families.” Wong estimates that 90 percent of her business is a combination of repeat customers and word-of-mouth referrals.
Obviously, Wong works hard to keep these relationships strong. “I love sending gifts and treats to my clients, all year long, not just at the holidays.” In addition, she does a lot of mailings to keep clients filled in with what’s going on in the market.
Wong has made giving back a priority. There are two causes that are especially meaningful to her. One of her favorite causes is the elderly. “I feel like it’s a forgotten group of people. I’d like to help everyone.”
She is also very involved with Care for Friends, an organization that helps the homeless and people facing food insecurity.
“One of my favorite reasons to work is to be able to give more. I really like helping others and I feel that the more I work, the more I make, the more I can give.”
Emily Sachs Wong’s @properties office is located at 1211 W. Webster in Chicago. For more information, call 312-286-0800 or visit eswchicago.com.