Meet the ACTS team! You’ve stumbled upon an ACTS Team Member spotlight. These spotlights, published once a month, share what our team members do each day to make ACTS a success.
ACTS realtor Yeng Vang holding up a photo of a family at their home closing.
Yeng Vang, an ACTS realtor, is a ball of jingling keys, brisk walks to the copy machine, and home closings.
Last month alone he closed on six homes.
A part of his success might be his camaraderie and openness with families.
Yeng, 33, encourages his clients to text him with any questions or concerns they may have about the process of buying a home.
Follow-up with families often requires visits, and he stops by after work to answer questions or listen to concerns.
He doesn’t mind. He will tell you it’s par the course in serving the Hmong, Thai, Laotian and Korean communities in Milwaukee.
“When I was growing up people were supportive of me,” he said. “I just want to carry on with that.”
Through it all he says the families keep him grounded and focused.
“I take it one day at a time and think about the families,” he said. “They often come from war-torn countries and they’re just trying to find a place to live.”
Yeng can relate to their stories.
He came to the United States after fleeing his native Thailand in 1991 when he was six during the aftermath of the Vietnam War. He spent time in a refugee camp.
His family settled in Wisconsin, and he graduated from Hamilton Sussex. About two or three years ago, Yeng found ACTS when he applied to be an Assistant Realtor alongside realty champion Blia Cha.
She was his mentor until she retired last year.
Although he is immensely successful as a realtor, Yeng has a creative side.
He always wanted to be a graphic designer or animator.
“I’m here from a Third World country doing something I never thought I could do,” he said. “As I got older I realized the sky’s the limit.”
Marianne, her daughter Treesa and ACTS realtor Mary Leach-Sumlin.
Marianne’s home, on Milwaukee’s West Side, feels like anything but a previous foreclosure.
One could easily enjoy the four seasons there. The living room is perfect for escaping with hot chocolate on cold, wintry nights.
The porch, against the bright yellow siding of the house, feels Southern and genteel amid the crooked Milwaukee sidewalks, and would be perfect for sweet teas and colas during the dog days of summer.
The kitchen is small and cozy beckoning guests to get close during a Thanksgiving meal. Bright red peonies, planted by a previous owner, would charm anyone on a sunny, spring day.
Marianne worked with ACTS realtor Mary Leach-Sumlin and closed on the home in February. She paid $32,000 for the home and spent $25,000 in home rehab.
It had fallen into ill repair after being rented by irresponsible tenants. It sat for a while.
The neighborhood’s association, Alderman Bob Bauman, and the City of Milwaukee called a meeting with Leach-Sumlin to find out if ACTS could locate a buyer.
She found the perfect person in Marianne. Marianne, who works in hospital food service, was tired of renting.
Marianne wanted the freedom an owner has—free reign over her space.
“I felt like a child who couldn’t leave home, but you’re not old enough,” she said. “When you own you don’t have that authority over you.”
Marianne wanted to plant, wanted more space, and wanted to provide stability and security for her children.
Marianne’s first priority is and always will be her children. They were the reason she purchased her home.She is particularly concerned about how the relatively unstable job and housing markets will impact them.
“If she [daughter Treesa] leaves home, she could come back in three months saying her roommates didn’t pay their half of the rent. Can I have my room back?,” she said.
“There was no question in my mind absolutely. No alternative,” she said. “This is what I have to pursue.”
Photography by Fred Croen
Marilyn De Jesus
Meet the ACTS team!
You’ve stumbled upon an ACTS Team Member spotlight. These spotlights, published once a month, share what our team members do each day to make ACTS a success.
Meet Marilyn. Marilyn is often the first person you meet with or talk to when applying to become an ACTS home owner. She is ACTS’ Housing Counseling Assistant. In other words, our “get it done” team member.
She refers to herself as a processor.
Daily, Marilyn can be found answering ACTS’ phone line, processing homeowner forms submitted in-person and online, credit reports, scheduling homebuyer appointments, packaging referral documents to submit to lenders, and when the buying process is all over, closing out the files.
Marilyn is ideally suited for the role.
Marilyn previously worked five years at SELECT Milwaukee, on the West side of Milwaukee, where she helped prepare families getting ready to purchase a home.
“I really enjoy helping families through the home buying process. A lot of times people believe they can’t purchase a home or don’t really know where to go,” De Jesus said.
In her spare time, Marilyn cares for her mother and travels. She recently accompanied family on a trip to Cuba.
“I wanted to see how Cuba really was,” she said.
We are grateful to have Marilyn on our team to keep things moving and processing!