Updated: Sep 5
Becoming a property agent has always been one of the most popular entrepreneurial opportunities in Singapore.
For many people, it is also a viable mid-life career switch option that offers plenty of freedom and income potential; something that they seek after years of mundane employment.
The real estate industry can be really exciting and no day is ever the same.
Yes, i might be a bit biased - but how can i not?
Our job has great flexibility, we earn attractive commissions and have the power to determine what we want to do at any given moment.
But i am not going to lie, there is alot more to it, and if you are thinking of joining the real estate industry, here are a few things that you should know before taking the plunge.
1. Potential Sky High Earnings is Achievable but ….
Your monthly income fluctuates depending on how well you and the market is performing.
If you are familiar with how most real estate sales jobs work, you should know that real estate agents by and large do not get a monthly salary.
We only get paid when we successfully close a transaction.
On the bright side, the commissions that we receive typically surpasses the monthly income of an average desk bound job in Singapore and your length of time in the trade does not determine how well you will do.
In one of my rookie agent's case, he clocked in more than $700,000 (Yes, it is no typo error) commission in his 1st year of joining my team. Was he a top sales guy before? No.
He did not have much of a sales background before real estate sales.
In another case, my rookie agent who was an ex-teacher with absolutely no background in sales, achieved more than $300,000 in her 1st year just focusing on 2 condominium projects.
But does that mean everyone is able to achieve this?
That brings us to the second point..
2. Possibility of Zero Income
Rosy pictures of a 6 figures monthly/annual income that property agents can expect in their careers are attainable but we need to face the reality that there are times when the real estate market does not do well.
And when this happens, property agents end up with no income for the month.
The property industry’s fortune follows a cyclical trend, where there are periods when people rush to sell or buy properties, and a time when transactions slow down.
It is an ebb and flow of the market and follows a certain rhythm.
For example, the graph above shows sales of private homes in Singapore's Rest of Central Region for the past 4 years and seasonal spikes in volume can be observed every year during the 2nd to 4th quarters and sluggishness, during the 1st quarter.
On top of that, when global crisis strikes or cooling measures are applied by the government, volume usually reaches a low.
However, even during periods of lower volume, with the right skill sets, attitude and platforms, it is still possible to achieve phenomenal sales results.
Most agents fail not due to lowered transaction volumes but to lower activity levels from a negativity filled mindset.
Understand that no matter how bad the market is, property is a bread and butter aspect of people's needs and transactions will still happen. Whether it is rental or sale deals, people still need a roof over their heads even if the worst of crisis hits.
Hence, success only boils down to our daily activity of finding these people and serving them.
3. Monetary Investment is Required to Achieve Results
As a property agent, you have to get used to spending money before making money.
This mindset may not come naturally to risk averse personalities or those who have been employed for a long while.
Like most businesses, property agents are required to invest capital in certain areas such as marketing, in order to generate leads and market listings.
Unless you are born into a wealthy family with great networks, it is unlikely that depending on friends and family as a constant source of leads will result in much success.
You can expect to set aside a few thousand dollars annually for your marketing expenses to reach out far and wide for leads generation or to advertise for properties that you are marketing.
Top agents can easily spend tens to hundreds of thousands per year on advertising alone.
Of course, in the grander scheme of things, it is worthwhile in order to make hundreds of thousands to millions every year.
4. Work on Evenings, Weekends and Public Holidays
It is true that property agents have a flexible schedule as they get to arrange their appointments based on their availability and convenience.
However, most property agents are busy outside of regular working hours.
This is because the times most convenient for the clients are, more often than not, evenings and weekends.
Most clients work on Monday to Friday from 9AM to 6PM, and they can only engage their agent’s service when they are available - which means after working hours, weekends and public holidays.
Hence, there is a possibility that you will be showing houses at 9AM on a Saturday and doing up contracts even at 11PM on a Friday.
Not forgetting when there are new property project launches, property agents can expect to work longer hours than usual or even have to travel to market the launches.
Nonetheless, as you are your own boss, you get to plan out your own schedule without anyone dictating when you need to work and can take time off whenever you need.
Do bear in mind though that the more appointments you secure, the higher possibility of closing more transactions and the more commission you will make.
5. The Industry is Becoming More Competitive
According to the Council of Estate Agencies (CEA), the number of licensed property agents increased by 2%, from 28,571 in 2018 to 29,146 as of 1 January 2019.
Although the increase in the number of licensed property agents means that the industry is getting competitive, it is also due to a positive outlook on the real estate market.
As Singapore's population grows, it is expected that more agents will join the industry and hence it is important to constantly be improving and adapting to new marketing and lead generation methods.
To summarise, regardless of which industry you are in, there is no such thing as a perfect job.
Every job has its unique upside and downside and requires hard work and passion to succeed.
In today’s market, many property agents see their jobs as a long term rewarding career which also brings them knowledge and opportunities to become investors themselves ultimately.
Looking for great real estate career mentorship to shorten your learning curve?
Get a free 30 min new agent career consultation. Schedule one here right now.
Otherwise, drop me a WhatsApp if you would like to start your career with our team or attend our next Career Seminar!
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Stuart Chng, Senior Associate Executive Director of OrangeTee & Tie, is a renowned leader and personality in the real estate industry.
He adores music and can play a few instruments decently without upsetting his neighbours. When not doing so, he enjoys pillow fighting with his son and coming up with silly puns which barely amuses his wife.
Professionally, he is a licensed real estate agent, investor, team leader, speaker and columnist for several property newsletters and blogs and is often quoted in media interviews on 938FM, Channel 8, PropertyReport, PropertyGuru and other publications.
Throughout his career, he has helped many clients grow their wealth through selecting great property investments and managing their portfolios actively. Read his clients' reviews here.
P.S. Contact me to enjoy our 100% RES joining fee subsidies for brand new real estate agents.
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