PropNex Picks

April 13, 2022

Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Real Estate Salesperson?

PropNex Property Frontrunners Series Featuring Lim Yong Hock, Key Executive Officer

By PropNex Research and Editorial

As the real estate industry evolves, the role of the salesperson has also changed. PropNex Picks spoke to Key Executive Officer Lim Yong Hock on what it takes to thrive as a real estate salesperson in today’s ever-changing property landscape. In addition, being quite the expert on HDB resale market, PropNex Picks asked Yong Hock about the impact of the cooling measures on resale flat demand and investment advice for home buyers.

1. How long have you been in the real estate industry, tell us about your experience and when did you join PropNex?

I started a real estate business in 1994 and later joined PropNex as a chief trainer in 2006. Since then, I have achieved a lot of personal growth and career development at PropNex, working alongside the management and staff to take the company to greater heights. PropNex has hit one milestone after another – including being listed on the Singapore Exchange - and it is now the largest real estate agency in Singapore.

In 2013, I was appointed as the Key Executive Officer (KEO) at PropNex, largely responsible for the proper administration and management of the agency business as well as the supervision of the salespersons. As at February 2022, PropNex has over 11,000 salespersons in Singapore and we are confident of further growing our footprint here. Presently, I am also overseeing the training of property agents in our overseas markets – Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia. At an industry level, I am also a Member of the Council for Estate Agencies’ workgroup for Ethical Advertising and Regulations review.

In the course of my work, I also regularly offer property market commentary to the media and participate in talk shows on radio programmes. By presenting our insights to the media, I hope to help consumers make more informed decisions when it comes to buying residential properties.

2. As a KEO, what would be your advice for those who are looking at a career as a real estate salesperson (what attributes are most important)?

Those who are looking to start a career in real estate have to consider themselves very lucky today because the industry has changed a lot, with a big shift towards digitalisation, as well as consumer engagement and education. It is little wonder that we are seeing younger, more tech-savvy and highly educated people join the business.

Many salespersons are now well-versed in social media marketing and are using these channels to share their real estate knowledge and to market properties. Technology has really been a game changer in how properties are being marketed – very different from the early days when I entered the real estate industry.

More importantly, people must understand that real estate sales and marketing is a professional career and it should not be taken lightly. A real estate salesperson handles the one of the biggest – if not the biggest – investment that many home buyers make in their lifetime which could be in the millions of dollars. It is a heavy responsibility and a salesperson need to have extensive knowledge.

If you are looking at joining the real estate industry, my advice is to learn as much as you can. Today, you are not just a salesman, you need to be a professional consultant to help people build their wealth through buying and selling property. Do not take this job lightly. I would say the money is good provided you live up to the standards of being a professional consultant.

3. You are very familiar with the HDB resale market. Given the recent cooling measures, would you think 2022 will become more of a buyer’s market for HDB resale flats (with potentially lower prices)?

I do not think the tide will shift so quickly. Looking at the December 2021 cooling measures, I do not think they are targeted at the HDB resale segment. Even the reduction in loan-to-value limit for HDB loans from 90% to 85% may not have a big impact on home buyers, as many of them use their CPF or the housing grants to purchase a flat and may not need to take up such high loan.

The HDB resale market should continue to do well in 2022, supported by strong demand from Singaporean households. Coupled with the tight supply in the HDB resale market and the fairly long waiting time – up to 5 years – for new BTO flats, many buyers will still enter the resale market to look for their dream home.

4. What is your advice for those looking to buy a resale flat and those looking to sell and upgrade to a private home?

Financial prudence is still the key advice that I will give all home buyers. Buying a property is a long-term commitment and home buyers should take note of the rising interest rate environment as well. It is about right-sizing your home and working within, your budget rather than chasing after pricey properties or those in popular locations. It is still possible to find good buys and nice properties in the resale market as long as the buyers are ready to settle for location beyond the hot ones.

5. Apart from COVID-19, there are other risks on the horizon: rising interest rates; inflation; and impending GST hike. How do think these factors could potentially impact the residential property market?

A key risk would be the impending interest rate hikes. This would push up home financing cost and prospective buyers may want to rethink the loan quantum (loan to value) they wish to obtain from the bank as well as the tenure of the loan.

Under the total debt servicing ratio framework, banks currently use an interest rate of 3.5% in assessing the monthly debt obligation of the borrower. This based rate for the TDSR will likely be adjusted upward should the prevailing interest rate rise above 3.5%. We estimate that every 1%-point increase could mean that the loan amount that the buyer can obtain may drop by more than $100,000 or more. This means the buyer will have to fork out more cash.

Contact PropNex today to find out how we can help you to become a successful real estate salesperson.

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