How I Venture into Real Estate Industry?
Stepping into the Work Force
Reminiscing when I first started my career in civil engineering as a young graduate decades ago, without a clue of what to expect in working life, I held the belief that by putting in effort and being disciplined in accomplishing my tasks and responsibilities would enable me to excel in my career.
Nevertheless, being new to the job with little practical experiences and intricate understanding in the sector, I had to set aside more time than others to level up myself and in completing my tasks, in order to do things the right way and value add to the company.
In retrospect, my teenage experiences from working part-time in secondary school days had, indeed, developed my skills in handling multi-tasks. At that time, I had to plan my schedule efficiently and to be disciplined in follow it diligently so as to create spare time to earn extra allowance for my school miscellaneous expenses by giving tuition to children in my neighbourhood.
Despite being good in time management, setting up a family early in my twenties just 2 years after working did pose some challenges to juggle with the right balance between family and career. Due to my work commitments, I had to leave my first child under my mum's care and could only bring him home over the weekends.
Month over months had passed, blissful family life seemed only possible on Saturdays and Sundays. Unfortunately, these treasured family occasions were sometimes disrupted by ad-hoc meetings or urgent works to be completed.
Such disruptions, though necessary to fulfill the tasks, had been happening too frequently.
Even after mastering the right skills and knowledge for my job - works just appeared never ending. The same sentiments were also felt by my senior colleagues, who were experiencing long hours at work. I was very much wanted to in-tune with the company culture and would very much like to go in the same pace with them.
However, thoughts of what would be the repercussions of my family life with my prolonged absence, especially during that nascent stage of my marriage, began to sink in my mind. Years of tearing my heart between doing well in my job and spending time with the family, put me in deep thoughts about my career prospect.
Desire for Change
A mentor in NUS once told me that knowledge could be applied in other areas in our life and not necessarily applicable only in that specific field.
Earning could wait as long as I have the means and capability to put it aside but if I would to miss spending time with my son, especially during his first 5 years of upbringing - the most crucial developmental years of a child’s communication, behaviour, social and other skill sets, it would be irreversible.
Although many people were against my idea, especially my parents' generation who reiterated many times that it would be a waste for me to stay at home after years of hard work and money spent on obtaining an university degree. I decided to take a few years off from work to go full time nurturing my son and building a strong family bond.
When I made the decision to leave my career aside for the family, I had calculated that just by depending on my hubby's income to sustain our expenses, life could still get by. However, savings would not be enough to plan for our retirement in the future.
Therefore, despite being a full-time housewife looking after my son, I had been constantly looking out for ways to supplement the income. Much thoughts have been put in while I was sourcing around.
I realised that teaching could be a good option as the job nature of a teacher could accommodate the kind of working hours for me to also manage on my family end. But the concern if I had the right teaching subjects that the school was looking for in an Engineering graduate actually held me back.
A Teaching Career
After spending a few years looking after my son, he had grown to be independent and was about to attend school. I reconsidered my option for a teaching job that would enable me to continue overseeing my son's growing process.
As I had fulfilled the basic eligibility criteria, I applied for a teaching post with MOE. Out of expectation, I was offered to teach either in Primary or Secondary level.
I was delighted and passionate about the teaching job. Subsequently, I was enrolled in NIE for a post graduate diploma in education course before teaching in a Secondary School.
Working as a teacher was not an easy feat, but my physical presence in school was mostly confined to normal office working hours. Although I would need to bring my marking work back home, I was able to be physically around my son on weekday nights and weekends. This really meant a lot to me to strike a balance between family and career.
My school teaching journey went on for a few years. It came a point when I was given opportunity for management post in the school. However, my passion in teaching then was so great and I did not see reasons for me holding other management post instead.
The burning desire to expose myself to other areas in education also build up, I began sourcing for avenues to teach outside a public school.
Exploring New Area
Eventually, I decided to leave school and ventured into free-lance teaching. I took up teaching assignments for School Olympiad Mathematics enrichment classes, Secondary Mathematics in an International School and as tutor in private tuition centers.
Although apprehension did overwhelm me initially if I would be able to earn as much as before, I ended up finding myself packed seven days a week travelling around and teaching incessantly. There were moments of me missing home, though job satisfaction and remunerations were good. I was then wondering how long I could sustain.
Every day to me was a brand-new day, there was great motivation in facing the challenges ahead and learning new things in the process. I was very much on my own. It gave me the flexibility to select the assignments I was interested and to earn as much as my schedule allowed.
It was a very fulfilling and enriching experience, which had also greatly enhanced my teaching pedagogy that helped me in guiding my children in their studies subsequently.
Then, I also realised that being my own boss, there would be no limit to how much I could earn, as long as my time permitted.
However, I could not avoid the fact that there were times when my son was home alone while I was teaching other students elsewhere. I cut down on my teaching assignments after his school teacher complained about his misbehaviour in school and his apparent drop in academic results.
Rather than no income, I accepted less income while having more time to spend with my son and toddler daughter.
Venturing into Uncharted Sector
Finally, my son passed with flying colours, topping 5% in his PSLE cohort and enrolling into a secondary school of his choice. The whole family was happy and felt proud for him.
Meanwhile, my daughter was starting Primary 1 and I managed to enroll her into a after school care programme. With my children growing up and every aspect well taken care of, I was, in fact, happy with my status as a self-employed and to continue with my teaching assignments.
Looking for a stable and secured full time job had never crossed my mind.
I was contented with my current state until a secondary school friend approached me to join him in real estate career. My key considerations following bis invitation were as follows:
I could expand my current earning portfolio.
It did not interfere with my current teaching assignments.
It's time to pick up skills and learn about property investments.
I could work from home.
Many learning opportunities in marketing, managing and understanding people.
I could keep myself abreast with prevailing market conditions.
Furthermore, my hubby and I were no difference from the general mass, we were very conservative and cautious in putting huge sum of money in property. Should we had access to the right professional advice, we would likely have hold on and not sold our second property that resulted in a loss at that time.
Coupled with the fact that many tycoons profited a lot from their property assets, I would very much want to learn the intricacy of property markets and its related investments. So that I could grow our wealth and assets through our own property investments.
In addition, the prior good experience of being my own boss, and the idea of expanding my teaching business into another sector enticed me. Hence, after some careful considerations, I readily accepted the invitation and became a real estate agent.
Sustaining Financial Stability
As I was still having some teaching assignments, being a real estate agent did not affect my existing schedule. Opting for a part-time nature in real estate would be my ideal option.
Moreover, without any clientele base while stepping into real estate, it is therefore important to ensure financial sustainability in the first 6 months. It was a good choice to begin as a part-timer while testing the depth of the water before plunging in.
Starting from Scratch
Despite not having the thought of ending up in sales, I was never concerned with how my friends and relatives would perceive, especially where I was surrounded by a group of peers who were practicing as professional engineers.
Instead, I started to approach friends and relatives to announce that I was a real estate agent. Not so much to source for business from them, but just to provide another option for them to engage someone whom they were familiar and comfortable to deal with their properties.
At the onset, I really did not know which marketing method would work and kept trying out different ways that were possible while learning from others' advice.
Along the way, I picked up the skills gradually from my agency's training, seasoned investors whom I met and through face to face interaction with co-broke agents and fellow colleagues.
With the right marketing, on-the-job training and hard work, my sales turned up to be good as a new rookie in the first year.
I decided to go full time in real estate, to be fully committed and be fair to my clients who entrusted their property matters to me.
Dedication and Passion Paid Off
After a decade in the real estate industry, apart from the knowledge acquired, I have also picked up and gained a lot in terms of marketing, interpersonal, negotiation and analysis skills in property markets.
From a green horn by just selling properties at a price client asked for, to an experienced agent who could advice clients on the price they should sell, and now a consultant on how clients can increase their properties portfolio leap by leap.
Having experience my own success in property investments, I have also shared my advice and experience with clients, especially those who show trust in me. With so many rounds of property cooling measures, it is especially important these days, to be able to advise my clients appropriately on property investments.
My greatest satisfaction in real estate is after helping my clients acquire the property they desired and, importantly, seeing them gain from the transactions.
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No Looking Back
My journey in the real estate has opened my horizons through the interactions with people from all walks of life. This career is able to fulfill what I envisioned myself to be - carrying out work with dignity and integrity. Dealings and processes that aligned well with my principles are crucial.
The sense of satisfaction after helping someone find that perfect home or making a good property investment is always worth the efforts. Notwithstanding, I may also earn a nice commission after the deal. Sometimes, things seem to work out so nicely and piece up so perfectly in a realm of real estate.
More importantly, I have learnt to grow my own investment portfolio in the course of my real estate work over the past 10 years, positioning myself not too far from financial freedom.
I really want to thank all my clients who have trust in me and those who also recommended their friends for me to handle their properties.
If you need assistance in handling your properties, please feel free to contact me and arrange for a sharing arranged session at the following click :
If you share the same sentiments and have the same aspiration in wanting to take on real estate as a career, give me a ring or arrange a session with me at the click below:
I have been a real estate agent for more than a decade, waking up everyday looking forward to solving people's property concerns. The unique issues which I may encounter are able to challenge my inner curiosity and the satisfaction from helping my clients keeps me motivated. I am looking forward to work together with like-minded individual.
If you are looking for a career in real estate industry, feel free to contact me for a sharing session @+65 94742623