Being a property agent is an enticing career which many might have considered, for it seems to come with a lot of flexibility and a lucrative salary. According to statistics from the CEA (Council for Estate Agencies), there are 30,399 registered property agents as at 1st January 2021.
Property agents work closely with home buyers and sellers, providing their clients with services such as sales, marketing and advisory while making a commission in return. But apart from the dollars and cents, is being a property agent truly the dream job that you are looking for?
Part I – The Pros and Cons of Being a Property Agent
The ability to have complete control of one’s working hours is one of the key reasons why many people decide to be agent. If you work best in the afternoon, you can choose to get out of bed at a later time as compared to those holding a regular nine-to-five job. You can even choose to work only three days a week if you want to.
While you get to pick your own hours and control your day-to-day schedule, most agents tend to work through public holidays, weekends and even after typical working hours, as these are the time slots most clients prefer for property viewings.
Being a property agent is akin to being your own boss. You do not draw a fixed monthly salary and instead earn commissions from the properties you have transacted. While there is the chance to earn more during a booming period, you will also have to deal with the risk of making less than usual during slower months.
That being said, there is no limit to what you can make. A quick online search will reveal many agents who have made their fortune selling real estate, with some acquiring multiple properties in the process. If you are ready to ditch your structured monthly cheque and accept a variable income stream, perhaps the role of a property agent might be ideal for you.
Part II – Kickstarting Your Property Career
The following information serves as a reference regarding the criteria that must be fulfilled and the costs that may be incurred before you can work as a CEA-registered property agent in Singapore.
Since 2010, CEA has mandated that anyone who wants to become a property agent in Singapore must complete the RES Course conducted by CEA Approved Course Providers.
The course is intended to help new agents understand the rules and regulations governing property agency work and practices and Singapore's laws and guidelines in the buying, selling and renting all sorts of properties.
That’s not all.
Upon completing the RES Course, you’ll have to pass two exam papers within two years from the date of issuance of the RES course completion certificate before you can register as a licensed agent.
There are options to retake the exams if the results do not turn out as expected but keep in mind that you must pass both papers within the two-year time frame. Failing to do so means you’ll have to retake the course and exams all over again.
Once you pass your RES exams, you’ll be ready to register as a licensed property agent! Congrats!
The property agency that you decide to join will usually assist in the application via CEA’s e-services and it will take CEA approximately four to six weeks to approve an application. Upon approval, CEA will send a notification to you and your estate agency; your exciting real estate career can finally begin!
Joining the right estate agency that resonates with your goals is the first step to acing your career success.
The agency’s basic task is to arrange for in-house training and prepare the materials such as name cards, identity tags and startup packages.
You will also want to partner up with an agency that provides sound mentoring and advisory on matters relating to marketing, financial analysis, risk management and investment strategies, subjects that will help you go the extra mile in your property career.
Don’t take your agency selection process lightly. Make sure to do a background search and understand the agency’s business philosophy before jumping on board.
Now that you have all the information you’ll need to become a property agent, are you ready to venture into an exciting real estate career that offers a flexible work life and expansive income possibilities that a 9-to-5 may not be able to meet?
Of course this is not a get-rich-quick path, you’ll have to be self-motivated and self-disciplined before you’ll find the success that you seek. If you are ready to take up the challenge, why not sign up for a RES course to get started?
I am excited for the opportunities that lie ahead for you. May your journey become a fruitful and meaningful one.
Establishing a career in the real estate industry has always been a tantalising draw for many since it deviates from the boring 9-to-5. It also offers a ton of flexibility and the exciting potential of earning a five to six-figure commission in a single transaction.
But let’s be honest here, not all agents achieve what they set out to accomplish and there are countless of them who didn’t get past the first two years because they failed at some point in their journey.
If you’ve recently joined the real estate world as an agent or have been plodding along the path without seeing tangible success, here are some essential tips that may show you the way to becoming a successful real estate agent.
If there is one thing that real estate agents love about their job, it’s flexibility. They get to dictate when they want to work and when to clock out. A word of caution though: doing everything on the fly without planning or structure is a disaster waiting to happen.
Without proper time management, self-discipline and self reflection, you can easily slip into a negative downwards spiral and lose control of your career objective and drive.
Start by exercising more discipline in creating a daily roster that includes a to-do list comprising activities such as periodic market study, cold-calls, property viewings and family time.
You want a clear view of your schedule so you can plan your way to achieving your career goals with little steps and a targeted action plan.
For any home buyer or seller to entrust their property decisions (that can amount to millions of dollars) to you, it takes a lot more than just a few viewings.
Especially in this era where most information is just a click away, clients are knowledgeable and they are likely to frown upon sweeping statements that are not backed by facts or looks too good to be true.
The best way to gain trust and establish faith is by equipping yourself with extensive market knowledge, expertise and experience and being sincere.
If you are new, consider starting with home valuations, local regulations and current market conditions.
For the seasoned brokers, researching property investment strategies and how the macro and micro economy may impact property trends could open up conversations with savvy property investors who are in the market for the long haul.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” These are wise words from Benjamin Franklin that are especially relevant to real estate agents. Without pre-defined goals and plans, you will start slow and eventually kiss your million-dollar property dream goodbye.
If you don’t know where to start, try listing your goals based on the five SMART criteria:
Specific | Measurable | Attainable | Relevant | Time-Bound
The more specific you are with your goal, the higher the chance you’ll accomplish it.
It is like losing weight - if you know how many kilos you want to shed and narrow down to a possible timeline and method, you are more likely to achieve the goal than trying a bunch of random recipes as and when you feel like it.
Whether you are choosing to distribute pamphlets at HDB estates or deploy digital marketing to generate leads, the crux of the matter lies in knowing who is your target audience and which marketing channel can reach them most effectively.
At times, agents stubbornly hold on to traditional channels they are accustomed to and fail to adopt marketing efforts that are more relevant to the current digital world.
While there is no need to relinquish traditional marketing methods that are working for you, why not explore alternative methods such as content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) to create a following that will further propel your brand to a wider network?
Being a client-centric agent will help you go the distance in your property career, especially in this day and age when almost everyone looks for some form of review or validation before hiring a person or buying a product.
If you focus on providing genuine service rather than making a fast deal, surely the positive reputation and word-of-mouth publicity will open up more opportunities for you in the future.
More importantly, communicate clearly so that your client’s expectation is in sync with what you can deliver. Any confusion in a million-dollar property deal is not only frustrating but is likely to cost you a fortune too.
Recognize that you are not just another salesperson but a personal brand that makes you recognisable to your clients.
A well-developed personal brand can lead you to a multitude of opportunities (that go beyond buying and selling properties) including interviews, speaking engagements, networking opportunities partnerships and more.
Here are some basic tips to building your personal brand:
If you are starting out new, working with a mentor will provide a great entry into the industry and broaden your knowledge outside of your Real Estate Salesperson (RES) Course.
Do not mistake mentoring as day to day leadership, it is a lot more intimate and it’ll help to shorten your learning curve through job shadowing. That means learning from an experienced person in the field who can show you the winning formulas and the pitfalls within a short period of time!
If you manage to find a mentor who is ready to guide you, be ready to learn rapidly and proactively. Don't be shy to ask questions and always keep an open-mind to what you’ll discover.
Rome wasn't built in a day and you shouldn't expect overnight success for your real estate career. But take heart that with the right goals, strategising and planning, you'll get up to speed in no time.
Who knows? Buying and selling properties could just be a start of an exciting career that will branch off into more reward ventures that are waiting for you around the corner.
If you have not gotten the result you are after, stay positive and resilient. Stick to the right formula and it will pay off in the end.
I look forward to your success. May you find great meanings in your career and change the lives of families that come to you by helping them find their forever homes.
How to Choose the Agency for Your Real Estate Career?
Passed your Real Estate Salesperson (RES) exam and wondering what's your next step?
At this point, it is about selecting and joining a real estate agency that can help kick start your career. Not just any agency, but an agency that resonates with your goals and renders you the support to go the distance.
Contrary to what some people might think, real estate agencies are not just entities to submit your license applications to and print your name cards from. Joining the right company can mean a world of difference to your career.
To help you make the right decision, here are four factors to consider:
Branding differentiates an agency from another. A good brand name gives clients a peace of mind and comes with it, trusted service quality and implied accountability. It also shows that the agent comes from a place that has a reliable business structure.
Much like you are more willing to trust an Apple iPhone than a brandless smartphone with ambiguous origins, joining a reputable agency with an established brand name can lend you more recognition and negotiation power when you’re pitching a deal.
If you’ve been researching the market, you might have come across different agencies that offer real estate support but with distinctively different brand identities. Before signing up with any agency, take time to understand the brand philosophies, market perception and clients’ review. The information will give you some indications of their brand direction and how it resonates with your career goals.
2. Strong Business Foundation and Leadership
Joining an agency with a strong foundation, solid track record and large network offers long term stability and opportunities for advancement. Such agencies usually have strong leadership led by a sturdy management team that is dedicated to developing the business. This naturally translates to more support programmes, product launches and even sales & marketing channels for agents to grow their business.
How do you determine if an agency has a strong foundation?
Quick checks on how long the agency has been established, the size of the sales team and its regional and worldwide network may be indicative of how well the agency is holding up in the market.
Similarly, finding out more about the agency director and top executives at the helm will also provide hints of the leadership style and how well it blends with your professional goals.
3. Training Support
As a new agent, you’ll need all the training you can get. A good agency will offer dedicated guidance to orientate you into the industry and ensure that you are well aware of the tips and tricks that’ll get you started in your real estate career.
Besides training for new entrants, the agency that you shortlist should also provide ongoing advanced training to keep their agents abreast of industry practices and develop relevant skill sets for further professional growth.
For example, training such as digital marketing, sales closing techniques, financial analysis and financial strategies are some programmes that agencies will regularly roll out to their agents to help them navigate the market more effectively.
4. Staff Benefits and Welfare
While working as an agent is pretty much like running a business on your own, it’ll still be encouraging to know that your agency cares for you as a team member and is willing to provide benefits and welfare support that will help you thrive.
No man is an island, however independent you are, an agency that has your back will most certainly drive you to venture further and with more confidence. Researching the agencies’ websites will often reveal some aspects of their benefits and welfare but nothing beats getting the information from the horse's mouth - speaking to agents who are already in these agencies can be so much more revealing!
Why Propnex Is the Preferred Real Estate Agency
If you are searching for an experienced and well-established real estate agency to kick start your real estate career, ‘PropNex could be an ideal match.
PropNex has been around for nearly two decades and it is currently active in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. With numerous accolades and awards from various independent bodies and a listing on the mainboard of the Singapore Exchange, PropNex is probably the most trusted real estate agencies in Singapore.
A big draw for joining Propnex is its dedication not just to building a real estate business but also to building and caring for people. Besides rolling out countless world-class training and development programmes to grow agents, the agency also manages the team with a great deal of compassion.
It’s not just about the outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes that PropNex has been championing since early 2000 (but that already tells you how big-hearted this agency is!), the agency puts a lot of efforts into looking after staff welfare too.
Let’s take the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 as an example. PropNex swiftly introduced a $7.3 million career enhancement package to help its agents tide over the period when the Circuit Breaker was announced. The package comprised a series of subsidies, skill training and digital transformation, all to sustain the livelihood of the team and create more opportunities for future development. If this gesture is not big enough to prove PropNex’s dedication to its agents, what would?
Take the Leap
Ready to take the leap into a brand new real estate career? Make sure to keep your eyes wide open when making your agency selection. What’s most important is to establish a list of your career goals and seek out an agency that has all the right support to help you achieve them. From there you’re more likely to see tangible results that’ll lead you to a successful real estate profession.
May 5, 2021