Lee Nelson is a freelance journalist from Illinois. She writes for several state REALTOR® association magazines along with LawnStarter.com and Nurse.org. She has written for Yahoo! Homes, MyMortgageInsider.com, and TheMortgageReports. Contact Lee at email@example.com.
Learning From the Past to Build a Better Future
Influenced by his tumultuous upbringing in Lebanon, one real estate broker draws from past experience to build a brighter future for himself and those around him.
May 12, 2022
While growing up in Lebanon, George Khoury, broker-owner and CEO of GK Realty Group in Fort Lauderdale and Coral Springs, Fla., lived through war every day.
“I moved to the capital in 2000. During those eight years there, cars were being bombed everywhere. People were being killed left and right,” says Khoury.
In 2008, he came to the United States by himself to meet up with an uncle who was already living in Florida. “I jumped at the chance to come here.”
Upon his arrival, he cycled through many odd jobs, and realized real estate might provide a stable and successful career. He jumped in and found that it wasn’t just a career choice, it was his passion to help others find homes.
Leading with Drive and Integrity
Now, 14 years later, Khoury’s life looks dramatically different. Every morning at 4:40 a.m., he wakes up to work out. He then plunges into a 38-degree ice bath.
“It puts my mind back on track and releases the beast inside,” he says with a laugh.
Khoury has managed his brokerage for the past four years and in that short time, he’s grown it at a quick pace. He now has 50 agents working with him.
He’s been able to grow his business so large and so fast, he says, because he stays focused and works hard. He also credits the love and support he receives from his partner, the mother of his children, to his success.
“I don’t allow external conditions to determine things. I focus on my goal and work extremely hard,” he says.
Khoury found that his determination reached new heights when he became a father. His two children serve as a reminder of his responsibilities and motivate him to keep moving forward in his business so that they grow up never having to experience the hardships he did while in Lebanon.
A Focus on Customer Service and Integrity
When Khoury opened his own real estate brokerage, he knew the one thing he wanted to stress to each of his agents: the importance of acting with an ethical mindset.
“You need to take care of your customers, do the right thing, and do the right steps without compromising your ethics. Then, the money will come,” he comments.
He also emphasizes to all of them that customer service is top priority in all circumstances and with every client.
Adapting to the Circumstances at Play
Although Khoury’s agency specializes in luxury markets, they still work with all customers, from those wanting a $100,000 home to those with $10 million to spend. However, he says it’s nearly impossible to find anything in South Florida for less than $500,000 in the current market.
Buyers continue overbidding for homes in Florida. For instance, GK Realty just recently sold 1,800 square feet for $1.4 million—$400,000 over list price.
Khoury believes that the market is cyclical and that conditions will eventually change. That doesn’t bother him, though. He keeps a positive attitude.
“The end is just a new beginning for something else. It’s a cycle,” he adds.
Sharing the Wealth
In 2018, Khoury started supporting the Food for the Poor organization, headquartered in Coconut Creek, Fla. FFTP helps 17 countries, mainly in Latin America and the Caribbean, by providing necessities like food, health care, clean water, and housing. Khoury has donated thousands of dollars to build new homes in Guatemala.
“People can’t do anything without shelter. You can feed them every day, but they can’t grow,” he says. “It’s powerful when you build a house and give them a chance to start a new life.”
He hopes his contributions offer families an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. In addition to his usual contributions, Khoury recently donated over $90,000 to FFTP to construct 12 more homes. These new houses will be built in El Tablon, a community of 1,400 people about 10 miles south of Guatemala City. Many of these families crowd inside a one-bedroom, dirt-floor hovel made of sheet metal, wood, corn stalks, or adobe blocks. The structures provide little protection from severe weather, and the downpours turn the dirt floors into mud.
Each of the homes that FTTP constructs using Khoury’s donations includes a living and dining area, two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a shower. They also offer a rain harvesting system to collect water and an eco-stove that filters smoke away from the kitchen. Khoury’s gift also includes a dollar-for-dollar food match, which provides nutrition for families in the countries FFTP services.
“This gift from George Khoury, along with GK Realty Group, will enable us to provide reliable, comfortable shelter for 12 families,” says FFTP President and CEO Ed Raine. “Their lives will change significantly because of his thoughtful generosity.”
Someday, Khoury hopes to make it to Guatemala to meet the families who are living in the new homes.
In the 14 years since he came to America, he still feels that “I can achieve anything I put my head to. Nothing is impossible in this country. This is the land of opportunity.”
“It’s still the best place to be in the entire world. This is it for me. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”