Exacerbated by COVID-19 delays, more and more young couples are turning to resale and rental units for housing options.

With the property market booming, is now a good time to enter this industry? What does it take to be a property agent? How do you become successful in this industry?

Adrian Lim (44) and Melvin Lim (41) of PropertyLimBrothers (brothers, but not by blood) shared 16 years’ worth of industry insight.

You can also catch them on Episode 5 of our #BehindThePaycheque series, where we hear from professionals across different industries as they answer burning questions crowdsourced from our readers.

The pros and cons of being a property agent

One common misconception about real estate agents is that they have a lot of freedom since they are self-employed. However, that isn’t always the case.

“A lot of people fail to realise is that your calendar is actually reversed from everybody,” Adrian explained.

“Sundays are your busiest time; night times are busy as you have to meet clients for presentation viewings.”

Time away from family can also add to the pressure, Melvin continued.

“Your phone can ring anytime because of negotiations, enquiries, new replies, new updates from your clients… so I think it’s actually a very ‘maxed out’ kind of work.”

That said, Melvin enjoys the freedom to innovate that comes with the job. There are always opportunities for him to find new ways to pitch to clients and market a property.

For example, the PropertyLimBrothers were one of the first to use home tour videos to sell houses back when video marketing was relatively new in the real estate industry.

“If you’re somebody who is very creative and want to try new things, you can have the opportunity to do that as a real estate person and try the full spectrum of the business,” he pointed out.

For Adrian, seeing through the entire process of selling a property gives him a sense of satisfaction.

Revealing that there are a lot of nitty-gritty details that go into selling a property which not many people notice, he shared that their “highest record” was conducting over 200 viewings for a penthouse.

While the process was tedious, the pride of closing a deal was worth it.

“From meeting the owners; to planning out their finances; to the staging of the house; to doing a home tour video; and then closing the deal at the end… once this whole lengthy process is completed and we successfully help our customers to move in, our team feels grateful with a sense of accomplishment,” Adrian said with a smile.

What makes a good property agent?

One challenge that most property agents face is balancing between meeting a sales target and working for the interest of the buyers.

How does one be upfront and honest about a property while closing a deal?

Melvin acknowledged this tension: “Many salespeople, when they are showing a home to a potential buyer, try to not talk too much about the cons.

“But over the years, we realised that there is no such thing as a perfect property.”

As such, Melvin and Adrian do not shy away from acknowledging cons or telling buyers that a property is “facing the expressway” or has “afternoon sun”.

But in doing so, they also make sure to suggest creative solutions to these issues.

Melvin continued: “Through the years, we realised that when we are upfront about pros and cons, it actually brings a lot of satisfaction to both sellers and buyers.

Adrian agreed: “People will appreciate it if the agents highlight the cons and also give a recommendation.”

Being honest in all dealings and transparent in communication are signs of a trustworthy property agent, he said.

Besides being transparent, a good property agent should also be a “good leader” by giving proper guidance and direction to their buyers.

“There are so many blind spots and potential roadblocks to selling or investing in a property,” Melvin explained.

Do you foresee that this route is good for my family? Are there any pros and cons that you can highlight to me in advance? Questions like these are upon the hearts of their clients.

“So during the first few meet-ups, consumers need to see that kind of leadership guidance that the agent can provide,” said Melvin.

Faith at work

“Before we knew Christ, one of my biggest weaknesses was actually a fear of losing my licence,” Melvin revealed.

“Back then both of us were always thinking about doing well, being able to survive, providing for our family and kids.”

Fears and focuses like these are especially common in an industry where the competition is tough and the line between right and wrong is very thin.

Melvin’s biggest fear came to pass when their company was fined for a business mistake they made in 2012.

Sales remained low for the next four years, and the duo had to start from scratch.

But it was also during this “drought” period that he learnt what it truly means to trust in God.

“God made me realise that, actually, He is the one who gave us the opportunity to serve in this industry,” Melvin elaborated.

“And that reversed my thinking: If He is the one who gives us the licence, why are we holding on to this fear of losing it?

“If He decides to remove our licence because of the incident, I think He will have another plan for us. That liberated me to trust Him and know that He would provide for my family as well.”

Learning from their mistakes, the company has since implemented action review plans every time they encounter a “sticky situation” like a misunderstanding with a customer or a conflict between teammates.

“Sticky situations give us the chance to grow and learn. At the same time, it also reminds us that there’s no ‘forever smooth’ route,” Melvin elaborated.

“Challenges are there as we progress, to grow us and also remind us that we have to always be on our toes.”

Adrian affirmed that sentiment: “We always want to do the right thing for God and also to honour Him in our business.”

Hearing Melvin and Adrian share their experience reminds me that having a good work ethic is more important than achieving sales targets.

We work because godly work brings impact and value to someone else’s life.

We labour because this is how we can serve God and His people.