Which Real Estate Agency Should I Join (Updated 2023)?
Updated: Sep 8
Just received the good news that many who took the recent RES exam have passed their papers! Big congrats!
For those who need another attempt, go for the next one while your memory is still fresh! Don't give up!
I met with a number of real estate agents-to-be recently. Speaking to them reminds me of what made me decide to join my first property agency when I started my real estate agent career.
For many looking to enter the industry, one of the first few questions is always:
Which property agency should I join? Who is the right person to guide me in my real estate agent career?
I always like to share my experience, whether it is with someone new to the industry or veterans who has loads of experience under their belt. Sharing is a way of self-reflection. I learn from sharing my experience as much as listening to others sharing theirs.
So I have decided to put my thoughts into writing. Hope it benefits you and I am sure at the end of my writing, I will find new inspiration and ideas for my real estate career too!
Evolution of Property Agencies Over The Years
According to the Council of Estate Agencies (CEA), there are 1,102 property agencies and 32,414 property agents in Singapore as of 28 Dec 2o22.
Below are the Top 10 largest property agencies according to the number of agents they have:
For 2023, Huttons is the third largest agency in Singapore.
Through my years in the real estate industry, I have seen how property agencies evolved. The real estate market was not as regulated when I first joined. There was a low barrier of entry to become an agent.
The Estate Agent Act was passed in 2010 and CEA was established to regulate and develop the real estate agency industry in Singapore. Its mission is to raise the professionalism of the real estate agency industry and protect consumers' interests.
Stricter measures were put in place. Salespersons are required to pass the Real Estate Salesperson (RES) examination before they can conduct real estate works, Estate Agencies are also required to adhere to stricter criteria before they can apply or renew for their license.
This in turn saw many smaller agencies shutting their agency and head to the bigger agencies. Looking at the Top 10 largest agencies chart above, as of the beginning of this year, more than 80% of the agents come from the top 5 largest agencies.
This brings me to the point. For someone new to the real estate industry, is it true that joining one of the larger property agencies is better?
Which Property Agency Should I Join?
There are a few criteria that I think are important for a new real estate agent to consider when deciding which property agency to join. I have summarised the following few points:
When I decide to join the real estate industry, I only wanted to join the larger and more established companies. So sometime in the year 2002, I walked into a Success Seminar held by my previous company ERA, and not too long after, I became a Real Estate Agent.
Does brand name help? I would say yes.
How much of my career today is attributed to the brand of my company? I would say while it helps to a certain extent, a lot more is down to myself and the people around me.
And what defines a brand?
As a real estate agent running our own business, does a brand constitute only of the company you belong to? Or are we our own brand?
Through my years in real estate, I have come to realise it is more important to establish myself as my own brand.
I cannot emphasise more the importance of training. Not only does it gives us the knowledge to conduct our business, it also gives us the confidence that we can do a good job.
In the modern days of real estate, the following training is especially important for a real estate agent to survive and stand out from the rest.
Basic Real Estate Training
Once a new RES passed their exam, they should be given a comprehensive basic real estate training.
The training syllabus should include practical day-to-day real estate skills. Some of these topics include how to prospect for leads, HDB and private property financial calculation and timeline, how to secure exclusives to sell, marketing and negotiation.
In NAVIS, we run regular bootcamps for RES who have just passed their exams or need a refresher course.
Check out this video on what our RES said about our bootcamp!
Advanced Real Estate Training
Once an agent learnt the basic skills needed to conduct their real estate business, they should attend more advance training to up their skillset.
With the increasing trend of DIY transactions, real estate agents must move beyond our transactional duty and into the advisory role. And without comprehensive advanced real estate training, we will not be able to upgrade ourselves to such an advisory role.
Property Wealth Planning (PWP) imparts agents with systematic real estate knowledge on how to build wealth through property investment. We can then value-add our clients by advising them on how to use property for wealth building.
Agents learn advanced real estate methods such as creative mortgage and financial strategies, property holding and structuring techniques as well as long-term timeline and exit plans for property investments.
When choosing an agency, be sure to find out if they offer similar training.
Digital And Social Media Marketing
Equally important is the training on digital and social media marketing - for the properties that we are selling, as well as for personal marketing.
How do we make use of digital marketing to enhance personal branding and bring in leads consistently at the lowest possible cost?
How do we use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Whatsapp and Wechat etc to reach out to our target audience?
In an era where almost everyone is on social media, it is important that property agencies provide extensive training in this area.
In NAVIS, we have 2 teammates, William Lee and William Tan, who are extremely well-versed in Facebook marketing. They run 3 full-days FB training classes for our NAVIS team mates.
This is a highly recommended course for all realtors who want to use FB as one of their prospecting methods to generate leads.
Technology has greatly changed how we conduct our real estate business.
I remembered when I first join the industry, a lot of my marketing was done via newspapers and flyers. Nowadays, most of my ads are done on online property portals like PropertyGuru, 99.c0, SRX and EdgeProp.
Submission of documents used to be a chore, with stacks of papers needed to be submitted manually to the office. With technology, all these can now be done in the comfort of our home.
And how can I not mentioned the super apps that NAVIS has developed? Check out the reviews for the Huttons Analyzer App in the video below!
Most agencies offer technology support like an interactive website and app where agents can use to perform basic functions. However, technology has advanced so much and it can help us in many more areas!
It is therefore important to choose an agency that offers powerful technology support. It can greatly reduce our workload so we can work more efficiently.
(4) New Project Launches Opportunities
Sometimes I hear real estate agents declare:
I am a resale agent.
I understand where they are coming from, In fact, I was one of them not too long ago!
Back in the early days when we entered the real estate market, project launches were not as popular. We were trained from the early stage of our career to do resale transactions for both HDB and private properties.
Humans are creatures of habit. It is easier to stick to what we are used to doing than to venture into a new area altogether.
However, project launches are getting popular with property buyers and it is a profitable segment not to be missed.
Thus it is important to choose an agency that has a good pipeline of project launches. Being a developer-appointed agency means we have access to the most up-to-date information and pricing from the developer.
I have chosen this as my last point, as I feel this is the most important criteria when choosing which property agency to join.
Though out my real estate career journey, I am blessed with good people around me.
When I was in my previous agency, my mentor emphasises the importance of being ethical while carrying out our work. He also inculcates the culture of sharing within the team.
In an environment where a lot of emphasis is placed on the amount of sales an agent can bring in, being around people with the same values is of utmost importance. It keeps us grounded and make our working life more enjoyable.
This is especially important for agents who have just started their real estate career.
When I moved to the NAVIS group, I am again blessed with a group of wonderful teammates. The 3 things that I like most about NAVIS are:
1) Leaders are generous in sharing their knowledge and experience.
2) Teammates are helpful and caring.
3) Positive energy and vibes within the team
People make up the team. It is important for everyone in the team to uphold the team values so a culture can be created and passed down.
I cannot stress more the importance of having a good mentor. Having a good mentor can help you greatly in your real estate business.
I like the definition of a mentor by Demetri Argyropoulos, CEO of Avant Global.
A great mentor is someone whose qualities make up a much better version of who you envision yourself to become.
Personally, I think a good real estate mentor is someone who guides you on your property career. Many real estate mentors are good at training agents and help them when they meet difficulties in their careers. This is important especially for new agents.
However, a great mentor goes a step further to help agents not only to reach their short-term targets (eg. yearly sales target) but also inspire them on their long-term real estate careers.
A common mistake new agents made when looking for a mentor is to simply look at the sales of the potential mentor.
A top salesperson may not be the best mentor, neither might be the one with years of experience under their belt.
In my opinion, a real estate mentor should be knowledgeable, resourceful and be genuinely interested in your professional growth. He or she should be empathetic, caring, and is generous in sharing their knowledge and experience.
Most importantly, a mentor should inspire and challenge you to be better.
It is thus important to find out more about the potential mentor you will be joining before committing.
I hope what I have shared is useful. If you think my article benefits any of your friends, please feel free to share it with them.
As a new real estate agent, it is important to choose the right agency and be in a team with like-minded individuals. Being in a team encourages learning and improvement, it also provides support and camaraderie.
In short, TEAM simply means Together Everyone Achieves More.
If you would like to find out more about how myself, together with NAVIS, can help you kickstart your real estate career, drop me a WhatsApp or schedule an appointment with me using the link below.
See you soon!
About The Author
Vivian joined the real estate industry in 2002. Having been in the real estate business for almost 2 decades, she knows the rewards and challenges that a real estate agent face.
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.
Vivian would now like to pay it forward by mentoring fellow agents, especially women who want to build a real estate career.
It is her vision to see women achieving their dreams and live their lives with passion through a successful real estate career.
Connect with Vivian at 98577714 to embark on this journey.