En bloc boost for real estate agents at Knight Frank

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/ EdgeProp
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November 25, 2017 10:00 AM SGT
Knight Frank’s group division directors who were previously with ET&Co (from left): Chua, Poh, Chung and Chand, with Tan
Knight Frank’s group division directors who were previously with ET&Co (from left): Chua, Poh, Chung and Chand, with Tan
The spate of collective sales has provided a tremendous boost to real estate agencies and their agents. “There’s an increase in new home sales and resales, providing a lot of opportunities for agents, especially at Knight Frank,” says Tan Tee Khoon, Knight Frank executive director and head of residential project marketing.
This is a far cry from the past year, when disruption in the real estate sector had led to a series of mergers among agencies. In June, PropNex and DWG merged to create the biggest real estate agency by sales force. At end-August, OrangeTee and ET&Co merged their agencies to create OrangeTee & Tie, with the third-largest team of agents. Meanwhile, ERA, the second-largest agency by number of associates, relisted on the Singapore Exchange as APAC Realty at end-September.
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Knight Frank Property Network, which is now ranked fifth, has preferred to grow organically, says Tan. Over the past 1½ years, four group division heads from ET&Co have come on board, each bringing a team of 40 to 50 associates with them, or a total of about 200.
One of them, Anthony Chua, has been in the property industry for 23 years. He and his team of about 40 associates officially joined Knight Frank in mid-November. Chua was with ET&Co for 14 years, having joined the firm when it was still flying the DTZ flag. He joined Knight Frank mainly because it is “a globally recognised and respected brand”.
Chua felt that after 14 years with the same firm, it was time to move out of his comfort zone. And the best way to achieve a higher level of growth was a change in environment. After examining the work culture of various agencies, he opted for Knight Frank. “The openness of the management and their willingness to be flexible and responsive to suggestions makes it a very rewarding and fruitful environment for my associates,” says the Knight Frank associate group division director.
Another Knight Frank associate group division director, Jackson Poh, has also been in the property business for 23 years, with the last 11 in ET&Co. He and his team of 50 associates moved to Knight Frank in July. The team has since grown to 72 today. “The market outlook is certainly brighter,” says Poh. “We see a lot of opportunities, not just in the residential and commercial sectors, but also in en bloc sales.”
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While the associates are not directly involved in the en bloc deals at Knight Frank, they are welcome to refer their clients who are interested in pursuing a collective sale of their project, says Poh. The investment sales team is willing to advise these clients on matters such as how to form a sale committee even without the guarantee that they will be appointed the marketing agent for the project, he adds. “So far this year, Knight Frank has been the top scorer. For us, this means more opportunities as the en bloc beneficiaries look for replacement units.”
Apart from two years with ERA, Chand Mahtani spent 24 years at DTZ before moving to Knight Frank 1½ years ago as senior head of a business unit. She brought along 43 agents in her team, which has since grown to about 60. “I moved to Knight Frank to pursue my own career path,” says Chand. She and her team handle residential project sales, landed home sales and commercial property.
Evan Chung, Knight Frank’s associate senior division director, moved with his entire team of 53 associates to Knight Frank a year ago. Prior to that, he had spent nine years with ET&Co, which was the first company he had worked at.
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As he has a mix of local and Caucasian agents in his team, Chung feels that the Knight Frank brand affiliation is “ideal”. For the past 12 months, he has been focusing on helping his team grow their business, as “the last few years had been tough”.
With the continued momentum of collective sales, the pipeline of new projects continues to grow. Chung therefore anticipates that he will need to start recruiting more agents.
According to Knight Frank executive director Tan, some of the projects that the firm is involved in marketing in 1Q2018 are the second tower of Marina One Residences, the second phase of Park Place Residences at Paya Lebar Quarter and the new 1,100-unit private condominium on the Serangoon Ville en bloc site.
With the property market showing “vibrant growth”, Poh says he is tempted to return to an active role in marketing and selling properties. “There are plenty of new opportunities to pursue,” he notes.
This article appeared in EdgeProp Pullout, Issue 807 (Nov 27, 2017).