A Working Mum's Breakthrough In Her Real Estate Agent Career
Updated: Aug 31
In this episode of the Breakthrough Series, we have our guest Ummairah Bakar (whom we affectionately call Mai) sharing with us her real estate journey as a working mum.
Mai joined the real estate industry in June 2022.
As a new mum to a 6-month old boy then, Mai shared the struggles she faced during the initial period of her real estate career.
An incident happened and this triggered her to set her mind to work on her property career. She has since closed a few deals.
In this episode, I recounted the day when Mai brought her baby boy with her on her work. It was a challenging day and the memories evoked strong emotions.
At the end of the episode, both of us shared our views on how a real estate career is a good career for women.
Q: You graduated with a Diploma in Real Estate Management in 2007. What were you working as before coming onboard as a real estate agent?
Mai: I was a valuation officer for 6 years after I graduated. After that I got bored and became a cabin crew. Thereafter I decide to start a family. So here I am in the real estate industry, so I can spend more time with my kid.
For Mai, she didn't have to go through these and can come onboard immediately.
This is because she is holding a Diploma in Real Estate Management, which is an academic qualification CEA deemed to be equivalent to a pass in the RES exam,
FYI, if you are a graduate with National University of Singapore (NUS), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) or Singapore Polytechnic (SP) with a degree or diploma in Real Estate, Estate Management or Building Management, you can skip the RES course and exam and come straight into the industry.
Q: You joined us in June 2022. The feeling you gave me then was that you were unmotivated.
Mai: Yes, I had just given birth last year and my boy was only 6 months when I joined the real estate industry. It was a new journey for me. I was not able to juggle, or rather I do not know how to juggle between motherhood and being a property agent.
I was struggling both physically and mentally, but it is much better now.
Q: I can see a huge difference in you between now and then. Can you share with us what happened that caused the change?
Mai: I showed a client a new launch but they were not interested. I know they were keen in one of the new launches that will be launched soon.
My thoughts then was since I have showed them units before, they will come back to me to view this new launch.
However, they viewed the project with another agent. I still remember the transaction happened right before me, cos the client passed the cheque to the other agent in front of me!
I realised that if I had done more, or have been more proactive, I would have closed that deal. That was like a slap on my face and my wakeup call.
Viv: But you know everything happens for a reason right?
Mai: Yes, if that situation hasn't happened, I will not be sitting here. If something comes along, I will take it... I will just go with the flow.
Q: So you said you want to restart your real estate career, and you start to have listings and closings. Can you share with us what has changed that you were able to close so many deals within a few months?
Mai: When we did the goal setting, it makes it very clear what I needed to do. There was a list of things that I need to do, and one of the first is marketing.
I force myself to do things that I didn't really want to do, like going for the booth (ie. road show). That is where i got my first lead.
I put up social media posts and stories. My siblings reposted some of my stories and their friends asked me to help them sell and buy and that's where my leads came from.
Viv: The thing here is about mindset. Once you decide you want to do something, you start to talk about it. Everything is about the 'want'.
Once you really want something, the solution will come.
Viv: I don't think I will ever forget that day.
Viv: So one night, Mai called me and told me she will be having her first and second closings, and also meet a new client the next day. As I have showflat duty which cannot be swapped, I ask her to meet me in the showflat the next morning so I can go through with her on the paperwork.
The next morning when I reached the showflat, I saw Mai with her son, who has already fallen asleep on the sofa. We then spent about 1.5 hours going through all the paperwork.
When we were done, she went to the sofa to carry her sleeping boy. She was also carrying her own bag on one hand, and her boy's bag on the other. And she don't drive!
As I walked her to her transport and watched the car go, I think to myself: This will be a challenging day for her!
Mai: Whenever you talk to me about that day, I get really choked up. I think its really difficult, being a mother and you don't have any caretaker. This job is like, if people say they want to close tomorrow, you have to close tomorrow. I have to plan my day with him along.
So that day I managed to do my closings and be a mother at the same time. I felt very accomplished at the end of the day cos I did what I set out to do.
Viv: I remembered many years ago when my son was about 5 or 6 years old. I brought him along for my viewings at Bayshore. I don't drive then so we took a bus. And after we alight, it started to rain! I didn't bring an umbrella so we have to run and we were all drenched. I felt really guilty cos I put him into this situation.
Mai: Yes, I would have felt guilty too.
What happened that day changed my mindset and my self confidence has also increased. Sometimes it's really difficult.
I would just say I am doing it for my son, and also for myself.
Q: One question I frequently received from aspiring realtors who are also mothers is: How do you balance being a realtor and a mum? Do you have any tips to share with them?
Mai: Time management is very important.
When my son sleeps, I will do all my work. Prospecting, checking with you on my work etc.
Whenever I can do something for myself, I will do it.
He is still young so he is always around. I follow 2 schedules now - my husband's schedule and my son's schedule. I try to work around them.
I think when he goes to school, it will be easier as I will have more time to do my work.
Viv: One person whom I really love to read and follow is Michelle Obama. In one of her books, she said:
You can have it all, but not all at the same time.
This really resonates with me. It is about priority.
But many times we as mothers always makes life difficult for ourselves. We try to be perfectionist in everything we do.
Mai: Yes i agree. Just like we as mothers with young kids, we know the house cannot be clean, but we still want the house to be cleaned!
We just have to choose our battles wisely.
Viv: After listening to your story. it reminded me why I started Team Building.
Viv: I have been in the real estate industry for many years. It never occur to me that I want to do team building until about 3 years ago.
When I first started in the industry, I was still single. And then I got married and have 2 kids along the way.
Throughout my whole journey, I am able to spend a lot of time with my children, simply because of the nature of this job.
When I look at my friends around me, they often feel guilty not spending enough time with their kids as they are working very long hours in a 9-to-5 job. When they go to work in the morning, their kids are still sleeping. When they come home at night, it's also bedtime for their kids.
That's the reason why i started team building and RealTeam.
I think real estate career is a very good career for women.
Mai: And this job builds your confidence and get you out of your comfort zone!
Mai: I'm so glad I found you!
Mai: All our teammates will say that you have really guided us a lot. Personally for me, you did a lot and I don't know how to thank you.
I was lost before I met you!
Viv: Looking at you now, I must say I am really proud of you!
Viv: It's not because it is our team and I say that. But I really feel the people we have on our team is different but similar in a way. Everyone has their own strengths.
Mai: I can get along with everyone whom I met along the way. They are really motivating and have so much to share.
I'm really glad I am here.
Viv: Thank you Mai for sharing with us your real estate journey. I am sure your story have inspire many and I hope they can also create their own breakthrough stories!
Watch the video here!
If you have inspiring stories which you would like to share with our readers, or you would like to explore a career in real estate, click on the below to make an appointment with me.
About The Author
While the real estate career offers lucrative income and flexible work hours, it also presents many challenges - financial insecurity as we do not have basic pay, time management as we juggle work, children and family all at one time.
Only those who have walked the same journey will understand.
It is her vision to see women achieving their dreams, and live their lives with purpose and passion through a successful real estate career.
Connect with Vivian at 98577714 to embark on this journey.