From education to real estate

By Amy Tan / EdgeProp Singapore | May 31, 2019 7:30 AM SGT
PropNex’s Rayne Chua transitioned from a 16-year career in education to real estate sales and advisory
When Rayne Chua, 41, associate group director at PropNex, was considering a career switch two years ago, one of her key considerations was renumeration. Back then, Chua was a sports specialist at the Ministry of Education (MOE), where her job entailed education policy drafting and devising the syllabus for physical education and training teachers.
“It was not easy because I was moving from having a fixed salary to being fully commission-based, but it has been worth it,” says Chua. She joined PropNex in 2017. By 2018, her sales numbers placed her within the top 1% of PropNex agents as well as seventh in PropNex’s team at its headquarters.
Chua currently leads a team of nine associates that focuses on marketing new launches. She also markets luxury properties in the Core Central Region under the guidance of Dominic Lee, head of PropNex Luxury Team.
Advising and assisting clients from different walks of life is one of the things that Rayne Chua has grown to love about her job as it requires her to be dynamic (Picture Credit: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
In hindsight, Chua notes that she should have made the career switch sooner. Although she had always been interested in real estate, she hesitated to switch lines as she also enjoyed her previous role at MOE. “The more I delayed the switch, the more hesitant I became, because my salary increased and so did the opportunity costs,” she explains.
Training and mentorship
To facilitate the career change, Chua started budgeting her expenses to ensure that she had enough savings to tide her over the first few months at PropNex. “Being a real estate agent is akin to running your own business so it is always good to budget,” she states.
Chua quickly realised that her concern of not being able to match her previous salary was unfounded. Through sheer hard work and with the guidance of her mentors – Alan Lim, PropNex executive director; Ray Teo, senior associate district director; and Ken Lam, division director – she managed to match her previous salary within three months.
“The open sharing culture at PropNex helps too. Everyone is willing to share, so I had no problem getting help when I needed it,” she says. “PropNex has also put together a very comprehensive training roadmap to equip agents with specialised skills in the different market segments, so we can add value to our clients.” To expand her network, Chua joined project teams that were involved in new launches. “In this industry, networking is extremely important. Joining project teams provided me with a great opportunity to network. You get to work with different colleagues from different teams and even other agencies,” she says.
Artist's impression of Parc Esta at Sims Ave (Picture Credit: MCL Land)
The job also required her to be active in marketing activities such as doing door-to-door sales, roadshows and telemarketing. “When I first made the switch, I had to do many things that were outside of my comfort zone. I just had to be daring and be open to try new things while ensuring that I equip myself with the skillset needed to succeed,” she says.
With her experience in project marketing, Chua is now part of the leadership team for new launches, including Stirling Residences at Stirling Road, Parc Esta at Sims Ave and the upcoming Rivière at Jiak Kim Street. With a slew of launches expected this year, Chua believes that there is still demand for new launches.
“There’s good capital appreciation potential tied with new launches due to the first-mover advantage,” she says. She adds: “Consumers all have different needs. I think we have good choices for them, according to their preferred price entry and needs. Sales have been steady despite the cooling measures introduced in July.”
Investor agent
Chua asserts that it takes more than just being able to market properties to succeed as a real estate agent. Increasingly, more clients are turning to PropNex for property investment advice. “Property as an investment tool has always been a strong choice for Singaporeans. We have a stable government and that is why there is always investment interest. We have seen each property cycle outperform the previous cycle over the years,” she says.
Scale model of Stirling Residences (Photo Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
To address her clients’ investment needs, Chua has also been honing her skills in consulting and advisory. “One of my strengths is in helping my clients spot undervalued buys with safe entry prices, minimising their exposure to risk,” she notes.
Being able to devise exit strategies for clients is also key. “There are many choices in the market. So, we will definitely shortlist suitable properties for our clients based on budget and requirements so they do not overstretch themselves,” she states.
Chua notes that increasingly, most clients are turning to property investment as a means to generate passive income for early retirement. “I am very much an investor agent. I help a lot of my clients find their dream homes and investment properties,” she says. Chua bought a condo in District 9 for investment and is currently staying in another condo in District 15.
“In my opinion, if you can afford to buy a condo, you should; because if you buy an HDB flat, you will likely be able to sell it only after five to eight years as you need to satisfy the minimum occupation period,” she says. “In this time period, you really do not have any chance to upgrade even if you can.”
Grooming a team
Advising and assisting clients from different walks of life is one of the things that Chua has grown to love about her job, as it requires her to be dynamic. At the same time, she still enjoys teaching and has found a sweet spot in conducting training.
Every quarter, she conducts training for her colleagues and on a weekly basis, she conducts small group training to help her associates improve their skills. As part of the latter, Chua ensures that she is still engaged in on-the-ground activities with staff, like door-to-door sales, so they can learn through experience.
“Being in real estate now, I sometimes wish I made the switch earlier. The opportunities are abundant,” she asserts.