After getting a History degree from NUS, I became a property agent.
I kid you not:
It was SO long ago!
And there was no logical reason why I’d want to join the real estate line. I’ll usually lie when people ask. Because I’m afraid of them knowing that I became a property agent simply because my first boyfriend, who had dumped me, was at that time, a property agent.
It probably ranks as the lamest reason to enter the real estate line. Ever.
What was I thinking of achieving by following in his footsteps, career-wise?
Was it an (ultimately futile) attempt to get him back? Was it ‘cos I was angry he dumped me and wanted to beat him at sales?
I guess I was just not prepared to walk away from the relationship. I desperately wanted to get him back, and I foolishly thought that having something in common with him would help. When we are young, we are “allowed” to do dumb things, I suppose.
Though I did not get him back, and I had one really unethical manager, I can look back now and say that SOME good came out of the entire experience.
I became a salesperson.
The real estate industry transformed me from a nerdy student to becoming a savvy salesperson.
Think about it. After selling property worth AT LEAST half a million dollars (back then), was there anything I could not sell after that?
Pens? Cars? Watches? Training programs? You name it, I could very likely sell it.
This set the stage for my third job: a sales position at a local (and famous) training company. My real estate job paved the way for me to earn S$114,000 at age 24 from my sales job.
I could possibly have earned even more if I had stayed in the real estate line, of course. But my heart was not in it.
Firstly, my manager wanted me to split my commissions with him, on top of his receiving “over-riding commissions”. He’d promised to share a portion of his commissions from certain sales, but he did not. He had obviously thought that a fresh graduate was someone he could cheat and get away with it.
Secondly, it is *not* easy to succeed in the real estate line. You will not believe this – as a graduate, I went out (under the hot sun) and ventured into open air carparks and left flyers on windshields. I went door to door to give out flyers. I also spent many hours in showflats waiting for that “walk-in customer”. I tolerated the agent queue system – and even had an old agent cut my queue once.
Thirdly, my heart was just not in it. I did not have a burning passion for what I was doing. My intention for joining the industry was wrong to begin with.
And if you don’t already know. The real estate industry has its own dark side… for agents.
Some of the things that my manager taught me back then included:
1) Writing his name on the registration list even though he had not arrived at the showflat, so he can get a better agent queue number
2) Sneaking into condominiums to drop flyers into letterboxes by pretending to “drop off” something when queried by security guards
3) During the balloting for units, to give my buyer a higher chance of getting the unit by submitting separate applications (which is not allowed, by the way).
4) To use ‘fake’ numbers when filling in buyers’ details in showflat guestbooks to prevent other agents from contacting my buyer and “stealing” him by offering gifts and other incentives.
In the real estate industry, only the fittest survive.
I have met many ethical agents, of course, who earn an honest and not-too-bad living.
In subsequent blogposts, I will be featuring a couple of people from the real estate industry. Hopefully, they will be able to provide you with an insight into real estate trends, offer tips and strategies for becoming a real estate agent or manager, and help you understand the real estate industry a little bit more if it is of interest to you. 🙂
So stay tuned!