If you receive mail, you might be familiar with his face. He is the unforgettable image prominently displayed throughout the distinctively colorful, glossy, three-page flier with his cellphone in hand waiting for your call.
He's Stanley Lo at Green Banker.
Lo's image and availability are true to life. He dresses sharp as a tack and is never seen without his Bluetooth headset. Located in a historical building at 398 Primrose Ave. in Burlingame, his office resembles a museum decorated with gorgeous, grandeur, antique Chinese art and furniture, dark carpet, large windows and tall bookshelves.
Lo, with help from 26 employees, has a full-service operation with its own technology team, graphic designers and printing company. Green Banker always uses live people to answer the phones and Lo feels availability is paramount, hence Lo's cellphone pose on the flier.
Availability is an understatement, as Green Banker logged 22,000 client service hours in 2012. In Lo's eyes, the current housing market is a seller's market.
"This is the best time for seller to get top dollar," he said.
Due to the economy, there is lower inventory and lower interest rates. Also, many families are refinancing. And Lo is definitely in the mix when it comes to residential and commercial real estate and development. Beyond the glossy flier, there is a bit more gloss, but definitely more grit. Lo said he works 18 hours a day, seven days a week. He boasts $56 million in property listed or sold in the first 45 days of 2013. He has sold property from the Peninsula to Blackhawk and every place in between.
In 1984, Lo invented the term Green Banker. According to Lo, the term comes from the Chinese culture. Green means dollars and banker means pot. The term has become a business model in which clients save money for transaction fees, thus more green in the pot. By putting money in the pot for the client, the client gets top dollar for their property, he said.
Lo was born in Hong Kong and came from a successful real estate family, his father a high-powered official. Before the revolution in China, the communist fought to drive out the capitalist, he said. Many families like Lo's suffered. As a result, Lo saw his family go from one extreme to the next financially. Lo's family was forced to move to Taiwan for a better life. Lo's tenacity was evolving at an early age. He became self-sufficient and worked night jobs and in restaurants to support his family. In high school, Lo developed a fondness and knack for electrical design. In 1968, Lo moved to the United States by himself as a student with a double major in electrical engineering at San Jose State University.
While attending school, Lo said he struggled to make ends meet and ate hot dogs almost every day. He worked at night clubs and restaurants for low pay while also drawing electrical designs for another company. At that time, some of his co-workers and associates urged him to get involved in real estate. Early on, Lo began purchasing property with no money down and made substantial money while still attending college.
Now, every morning, Lo is motivated to work.
"I love real estate," he said. "That's my passion."
He loves to develop, make deals and manage property. Each deal gives him a sense of pride and achievement and fuels him for the next one, he said.
Lo prides himself for being loyal to his clients, and values the friendships that he's developed with them. He also draws inspiration from his father's hard work. Lo's goal has always been to sustain his family's successful roots because of their struggle.
Lo is literally an all work and no play kind of guy. For leisure, Lo said, "To play real estate is my leisure."
He enjoys staying in tune with the market by doing his own consumer research. He often visits shopping malls or restaurants to study consumer spending habits and said he loves to learn from the consumer.
Lo also loves listening to and singing Chinese songs from the '50s and '60s, as well as from classic American artists like Paul Anka, Chubby Checker, Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers, the Righteous Brothers and Lionel Ritchie. Lo is a collector of exuberant, antique Chinese art and furniture. There are several pieces that grace the entire office. And that style extends to his wardrobe. He admires clothes made by famous designers like Gucci, and enjoys wearing custom-tailored suits and shoes.
"When you look good, you feel good," Lo said. "It gives you confidence."