Total existing-home sales—completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops—rose 3.1% from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.00 million in January.
SPOTLIGHT ON: Kazuko Boylan
A ‘City Girl’ in the East and the West
The name Boylan Real Estate Group may evoke images of a Gaelic family business, but its owner is actually a native of Osaka, Japan.
Kazuko Hayakawa Boylan started her own firm in Manhattan at the end of October. With more than 12 years in the real estate business, she decided the time was right to strike out on her own. “I have a lot of clients—many of them from Japan,” she said. “I feel like I can devote more time to them and I like having a base in New York City.”
Boylan works with buyers and sellers looking for co-ops and condos in Manhattan, as well as singe-family homes in Westchester. She also deals with investors and commercial real estate clients seeking to sell or purchase rental apartment buildings or industrial properties. Her customers range from individual investors to large firms, and she often partners with Japanese real estate firms to find homes or investments for their clients in New York. “I was so excited to set up my own agency, and every day is something new,” added Boylan.
Describing herself as a “city girl,” Boylan was born and raised in Japan’s second largest city. “It’s a lot like Manhattan,” she noted. Eventually, her parents moved to the Osaka suburbs, and her father took a job for an American firm. “I grew up speaking Japanese, but I was always interested in learning English—and going to the U.S,” she said.
She got the opportunity to major in English at Indiana State University, where she studied abroad for a year. Her next stop in the U.S. was Hawaii, where she worked with a travel agency and served as a tour guide. “I met a lot of Japanese investors who owned homes in Hawaii and I found that very interesting,” she recalled. “I thought I’d get my real estate license and get into investments as well.”
Boylan began working in property management in Hawaii, then later she met her husband while he was serving in the U.S. Air Force there. Soon after her first child was born, the family moved to California. However, after just 18 months, they were on the move again to a small town in Western Pennsylvania.
In 2010, the family moved to New York, settling in Monroe in Orange County. Boylan initially joined Keller Williams Realty and spent the last five years with Furumoto Realty Inc. in White Plains.
Because she lives in Orange County, Boylan doesn’t commute to her Manhattan office every day. When she’s in the city, she’s usually meeting with clients to show properties. “Most of them are new to the U.S. and many are familiar with Hawaii since it’s so close. New York is typically their last stop,” she explained. “Also, some of them are not fluent in English, so we often do business in Japanese.”
The most popular Manhattan areas for her clients are Central Park and the upper West Side. “Many love the Plaza Hotel condominium residences, and they like being so close to shopping, restaurants and museums,” she added. A typical request of many of her clients is a building with a concierge. “Some of them are here already for a job and after renting, they want to buy something. Others are new to New York and are just excited about owning real estate here.”
Boylan had been involved with the former Manhattan Association of Realtors prior to merging with HGAR. Last year, she volunteered her time with HGAR’s Global Business Council and this year, while she’ll continue to serve on that council, Boylan will also be a first-time HGAR Director. “I’m really looking forward to serving on the Board of Directors, meeting new people and attending all of our events,” she added.
She also relies on a strong networking group for referrals and maintains membership in the Asian Americans Real Estate Association (AAREA). In addition, she is a member of NAR’s Global Business Alliance Committee.
Today, Boylan’s daughter is 20 and her son is in high school. Her mother and brothers are still in Japan and she travels to visit them a few times a year. As for Hawaii, Boylan likes to visit for vacation, but doesn’t miss living there. “I think New York is much more exciting,” she revealed.
In Manhattan, you’ll often find her at Broadway shows, the ballet, or at various restaurants. “It’s funny, I don’t’ eat much Japanese food, but I love Italian and French food,” she admitted. “Since I was in high school I’ve always dreamed about going to New York City, and now I can go there any time I want!”