ERA embraces technology, targets regional expansion

By Amy Tan / EdgeProp Singapore | October 25, 2019 4:00 PM SGT
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Incepted in 1982, ERA Realty Network, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Exchange-listed APAC Realty, is one of the pioneering real estate brokerages in Singapore. Today, it has grown to become one of the largest with a network of 7,007 salespersons.
With its track record in marketing and closing transactions across market cycles, ERA has been appointed as the marketing agent for many new home launches among leading developers in Singapore and the region. Year to date, ERA is marketing 108 projects in Singapore.
ERA’s efforts have won the recognition it deserves. On Oct 18, it received the Marketing Agency Excellence award at the EdgeProp Singapore Excellence Awards 2019.
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To stay ahead of the real estate industry, APAC Realty has invested in digital technologies to enable ERA’s agents to equip themselves with the necessary skills and resources needed to excel in their careers.
In June, the group launched its Digital Lab initiative to explore partnerships and investment in innovative start-ups to develop complementary and sustainable technologies for the real estate industry.
“Investing in technology is an ongoing process for us. In the near future, the whole property transaction process will be digitised so we are preparing our agents for this. A very important part is getting agents comfortable with the use of technology,” explains Eugene Lim, ERA’s key executive officer.
Lim adds that agents who leverage technology in their deals see an overall improvement in productivity and are able to reach out to more clients.
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ERA Eugene Lim
Eugene Lim, ERA's key executive officer (Photo: ERA)
Apart from embracing technology, he highlights that the role of a real estate agent is also evolving. The way he sees it, real estate agents have to go beyond just advising clients on buying, selling and renting. Instead, the role now includes wealth advisory and portfolio management.
Lim notes: “A number of our clients are now in the investment market. So, agents have to able to advise clients on when to enter and exit the market and what kind of investment strategy to adopt, identify higher yielding properties and when to dispose a property.”
For its part, ERA is providing guidance and training for agents to prepare them for this expanded role. Lim points out that all ERA agents already have the background knowledge when it comes to advisory.
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“Now, agents will have to learn to apply this knowledge to various customers based on their profile,” he says. “It is really a re-angling of the things they already know.”
This knowledge not only applies to clients who are investors but also clients looking to upgrade their properties. Lim states that while a HDB flat is still the first property for the majority of Singaporeans, many of them are looking to upgrade eventually. In this case, an agent will also have to add value to their clients by advising on asset progression.
With the right training and resources, Lim believes ERA can achieve its target of having 20,000 agents in Asia over the next three years. According to a media release on Aug 5, APAC Realty has more than 18,200 salespersons in 641 offices across 10 countries through its ERA franchisees. “We are always on the lookout for new markets. More importantly, it is about finding the right partner or not,” says Lim.
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