Updated: Jun 2
When I Bought My First Home!
We remember when we bought my first house (we weren’t realtors then) which was an HDB flat, everyone told us to be careful of renovation contractors. We’ve heard many scary stories on house renovations and that really kept us on our toes. We spoke to many contractors and true enough not many could provide us with a sense of security and trust. Ultimately, we chose to work with someone who was referred to us by our friend. We felt that it should be safe since our friend had worked with the contractor before and there must be something good and that is why he is referring to us. Fast forward to many years later when we decided to step into the Real Estate Industry, we realised that it is exactly the same as the renovation industry! People are also very fearful and skeptical when they speak to property agents. So, the next challenge was, how to become the realtor that every home owner wishes to engage or whom people wants to refer.
So, What Are The Important Attributes In A Realtor?
We always share with our team mates, a house is probably the most expensive item that anyone will buy in their lives so we must always handle the deal with utmost responsibility and care. Being sincere will definitely have to be the top of the list in our opinion. Regardless whether is it selling or buying, the most important concern to be etched in the realtor’s mind, must be to assist the clients to move on with their future plans. Every piece of advice that is given have to be at the best of the clients’ interests and every action taken will also have to be the best of the clients’ interests. We should never sway the clients’ decisions so that we can make the deal easier or so that we can earn just that little more. So, we will always need to be sincere, not just towards clients but to everyone around us.
Being knowledgeable is something very important as well. Selling and buying a house is really not as straightforward as it seems. Sometimes we really need to know a bit of everything. We often joke that other than being a real estate salesperson, we also need to be a banker, a lawyer, a renovation contractor, a fengshui master, an education officer and sometimes even a counsellor. Everyone starts off as a rookie and no one is equipped with all the real estate knowledge when they step into the industry. So, the desire to learn must be strong. We should always be hungry for knowledge and constantly seeking to learn and improve ourselves. Especially when we are handling transactions for clients, we must make sure that we are well equipped with the knowledge to handle the transactions without misses. Many times, issues arise because realtors take things for granted and did not spend time and effort to familiarise themselves with all the rules, policies, restrictions and financial calculations.
3. Friendly & Empathetic
Next will be friendliness and empathy. It is very important to treat our clients as our friends and constantly put ourselves in their shoes. Clients are only clients on the first day and subsequently they become our friends. As we put down the client-agent relationship, we will realise that the whole process can be filled with fun and jollification. House selling and buying is already quite a stressful process. First of all, it involves huge financial commitment regardless whether is it in the form of cash, CPF or taking up a loan. Secondly it also involves a huge change in their lives. Some may have stayed in their current houses for many years and it is not easy to make a change. For many, it may even be their matrimonial home with many heartwarming memories forged in the house. Under such circumstances, we will need to empathize with them and walk the journey slowly with them. When we treat our clients as our friends, then everyone will enjoy the whole process and the whole level of stress will be reduced as well.
As we face our clients, we also need to be meticulous and detailed. Paying attention to minute details will go a long way. Always make sure to note down every requirement that the client has and remember them by heart. This will help us to find the house that resonates with them. If we are meticulous enough, we might even be able to observe certain requirements that they do not even know exists within them. Financial calculations have to be comprehensive and we cannot afford to miss out any figures. Not trying to exaggerate here but sometimes missing out even one figure can be detrimental to the whole transaction. We have seen before many cases where sellers thought that they have a handsome profit from selling their place but it ends up being a negative sale. For buyers, it is also not enough to just evaluate their loan eligibility and purchase affordability. We also need to factor in factors like reserve funds to cater for rainy days and much more.
One attribute that many may not even think about - Impartiality. This attribute is especially important when we are handling divorce cases. Quite commonly in divorce cases, the house needs to be sold and usually, the ex-husband will look for his agent and the ex-wife will look for hers. It is during this time that impartiality comes into the picture. Whoever is being engaged to handle the transaction, must constantly bear in mind not to takes sides. Only when one does not take sides, then one can handle the case with an objective mind in a professional manner. We will also need to be clear that no matter who engages us, ultimately both the ex-spouses are our clients and we have a fiduciary duty towards both parties. Never divulge plans of one party to another if they trust you enough to share it with you. Actually, a realtor handling a sale transaction for a divorced couple has a much bigger responsibility and deeper meaning than it seems. Usually when a couple reaches a stage where they need to move on with their own lives, the house could be the last thing that is holding them back from leading that new life. If we handle it in a well and professional manner, we are helping them to move on to their new lives.
One of the last attributes that I am going to list here, is nothing surprising and it is hardworking. A very simple word but it is often easier said than done. When we serve sellers, we need to do research to find out selling points for the house that sometimes even sellers themselves do not know. All the way from photography of the house to the actual showings and subsequently negotiations and sealing the transaction, lots of hard work is involved. When we are walking the journey with buyers, again lots of time and hard work are needed to filter and search for houses that suits our buyers. And this involves thinking deeper and looking beyond the mentioned requirements by the clients. This process is indeed tedious but it cannot be neglected. Sometimes, our buyers may not have thought of certain concerns and it is our responsibility for think it through for them. After working hard throughout the weekdays, weekends are very precious to our clients. Hence a proper search and filter will not waste our buyer’s time, viewing houses that does not resonate to them at all. Having long viewing schedules, looking at many houses that does not appeal to them, really takes a toll on the buyers and this does not help them in the selection process at all. We have heard of buyers who had viewed 10-15 houses in a day and they still cannot find a house they can fall in love with, after multiple viewing sessions. Yet there are some who views less than 10 units in total and they can find a house that they can call home.
The real estate industry was never an industry that deals with bricks and mortars. It deals with people. People’s lives, people’s dreams and ambitions, people’s memories and security. We have to remember that when we sell someone a house, it is not just a house. It is also a home that is used to contain the many happy memories of the family. That house might be the most expensive thing that our clients have ever owned or will own in their lives. If we are given the opportunity to walk the real estate journey with them, we will need do our very best to give our 100% and we will realise that we would have made a friend for life.
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