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DCE Magazine

Alumni Spotlight: Doug Miyaki, Staking His Claim in Real Estate

Winter 2018

DCE alumnus Doug Miyaki found his true calling as a star realtor

Like so many lifelong learners, Doug Miyaki's journey is a path of passion, curiosity and a drive to succeed at every stage of life. He's a people person and dream facilitator, so it's no surprise that he recently transitioned to a career in real estate — a move made possible by the Real Estate Specialized Studies program he completed last summer.

“The Division of Continuing Education program gave me the formal education I needed to stand out in a very competitive market,” he said. “And it provided the flexibility and structure I needed at the time.”

Sinking into a comfortable rut has never been an option for this former Marine. After spending 15 years as project manager for Intel, he became a workshop facilitator, then an independent business consultant.

Working in real estate had always been a dream job. A friend of Miyaki's, a successful real estate agent, noticed his engaging, easy way with people and suggested that he would make a great agent. It got him to thinking.

“I saw how she was winning, and having fun, in real estate,” he said. “When I left my high-tech position, my favorite client said to me, ‘These things usually work out for the better.’ That encouragement, and seeing other's success, were like signs from above.”

Now part of Elite Realty Services in Silicon Valley, Miyaki found time to discuss his interesting career arc — and how the DCE helped position him for success.

You've had quite a bit of success in a short time, building a reputation for finding unique and creative housing solutions for your clients. Can you speak to that?

Well, that's kind of a secret. [laughs] I can't tell you or others would steal it. Like any agents we search properties to meet clients’ requests, but let's just say we do it in a different way. I can say I've always been a good listener, so that helps me get into the mindset of the client, to better understand their needs. Maybe we haven't reinvented the wheel, but we're spinning it in a unique way, and it's working; investors return, and our clients refer us to their friends. My partner Suzanne Bakhtiari is a big part of this. She has an amazing ability to connect with people. Together we're home matchmakers!

What's the best part about closing a sale?

The passion comes when a client is truly delighted, and it shows. They light up, and that light energizes me.

Did your experience as a project manager help shape your approach to real estate?

Yes, I managed high-impact, high-visibility projects for over a decade, and that definitely helped prepare me. The stakes are high in real estate; you don't want anything falling through the cracks. There are a lot of moving parts, each one potentially affecting something down the line, so organization is key. Also, there are a lot of stakeholders — sellers, buyers, other agents, inspectors, title companies — and somebody has to balance all of this and watch that schedule. Agents are that focal point.

When did you decide to change careers and become a real estate agent?

Back when I still worked at Intel, Suzanne suggested I try to become an agent. We knew each other in our community — our kids played together — and she saw how I interacted with people as a baseball coach, Boy Scout leader, and in other roles as a community volunteer. She said I had the right personality for real estate. Suzanne's a top agent, and I started working as her assistant, then later, when I got my license, we became partners. Now we're handling properties ranging up to several million dollars.

There are so many options out there. What attracted you to UCI?

Real estate in the Silicon Valley is very competitive. I wanted to stand out from my competition with a more formal education, and I wanted to take the exam with high confidence. So I went with a UC system school to give me the best chance at success. My career counselor would only recommend UCI, so I searched the website and there it was: A licensure program that meets all the state requirements, is instructor-led, and offered online. Perfect!

Tell me about your experience in the Real Estate Specialized Studies program.

The program offers flexible scheduling, and I wanted to finish quickly, so I set mine at two semesters. Once the courses started, all the content was delivered through readings, audio presentations, exercises, quizzes, online discussions with other students — the variety kept it interesting. And the instructors are very friendly and experienced. They communicate through UCI's web-based tools, which give each lesson the feel of a live lecture. The online discussions felt like labs, seeing other students’ viewpoints and then giving my feedback.

How did it prepare you to pass the exam?

An optional two-day Test Prep course given on campus at UCI really set me up for success. I had the opportunity to meet Joel Carlson, one of my instructors, the weekend of my Test Prep course, and he encouraged me to keep taking practice exams, closed-book, until I was scoring 90%. That was the best advice ever and led to me passing the exam on my first attempt.

So let's end at the very beginning. I suspect your time in the Marines might have helped prepare you for your career success.

There are Marine qualities that have really stuck with me — always being ready, able and first. Marines can be anywhere in the world in 24 hours. So today I'm pretty much ready for anything, I have business clothing standing by, my vehicle is clean, my phone and laptop are charged, and I'm alert, looking for opportunities all around me. Marines are often the ‘first to fight,’ and in real estate, first often wins. You might be first to respond to an email from someone looking for a host for an open house, or the first to respond to a prospect on a website. Minutes could mean the difference between earning a listing over another agent.

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Doug's tenacity and commitment, coupled with formal education have helped him realize success at every stage in his career. He was not born with the ability to pair someone with the home of their dreams, but he took the steps necessary to change course and turn his vision into a reality.

Learn more about how to go from curious to invested in a Real Estate career at