Special Feature

‘Landed Prince’ Willi Ching carves his legacy in the real estate industry

Ching reflects on the 10th anniversary of Huttons Landed Division (HLD) and what the future will bring for his clients, his teams at HLD and Willi Ching District, and himself.
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"We won the awards during the peak of Covid-19 as well as at a time the team was going through a restructuring, These challenging moments pushed my team to become stronger and we ended up having our strongest performance yet." — Willi Ching

Willi Ching is constantly busy. This is not particularly surprising: the two-time Huttons Asia millionaire producer and four-time consecutive Champion District Director is a sought-after agent who is constantly interacting with clients, scoping out properties, or strategising innovative property solutions. The realtor also has key leadership roles as head of the Huttons Landed Division (HLD) — the landed property arm of Huttons Asia — and Willi Ching District (WCD).
He has also clinched his 12th consecutive Top 100 Producers award, one for every year he has been in Huttons. The awards are an affirmation of consistency that is rare and admired not only in the 5,500-strong agency but also in the increasingly competitive industry.
And yet, despite his many spinning plates, Ching was remarkably present while speaking with EdgeProp Singapore. Having only an hour to spare for the face-to-face interview between other engagements, he was punctual and attentive, putting his phone on silent mode to ensure uninterrupted focus. This is the fourth time Ching has appeared on the pages of EdgeProp Singapore. Since his last profile, the agent has continued to blaze new trails in the real estate industry.
This year also marks a special milestone for Ching: It is the 10th anniversary of HLD, which he had originally founded as the MTD Landed Division. Over the years, the division gained so much traction that it was invited by Huttons to rebrand as its official landed arm in 2020. To date, HLD has closed over 300 landed property deals.
For Ching, reaching this milestone is a validation of the grit and determination it took to get to where HLD is today. “We started from scratch, building our systems and track record through our own initiatives and sheer entrepreneurial spirit,” he recalls. “It’s been a bright 10 years so far, and we’re positive that the next 10 years will be even brighter.”
Willi Ching District has been crowned Huttons’ number one champion district for four consecutive years from 2020 to 2023 (Picture: Willi Ching District)

Conduct shaped through values

The passion Ching has for his work is underpinned by deep-rooted values that govern all facets of his life. “It’s about thinking long-term and having true belief in what I do,” he says. This, in turn, guides him to live his life with integrity and purpose.
It is a value system that sets him apart from others, especially in the real estate industry. Where others go for ostentatious displays of success through flashy cars or sprawling homes, Ching keeps a noticeably low-key profile, opting instead for well-made items that hold sentimental value. He drives a sturdy Subaru Forester he has had for the last seven years while his home is the same walk-up apartment he has occupied for 13 years, which he calls his sanctuary.
For him, it is all about substance. “I’ve never sought out an extravagant lifestyle,” he reflects. “I just seek the means to be able to do what I want to in life.” Instead of material accomplishments, what he relishes about his work are intangible achievements. These include the satisfaction of seeing months of dedicated work on a challenging property pay off; seeing his HLD and WCD teams flourish, and having a genuine relationship with clients and team members.
Ching putting together a Lunar New Year Lohei Dinner for his team. (Picture: Willi Ching)
Ching is particularly proud of the relationships he has cultivated over the years. They are built on trust and mutual respect — qualities that can flourish only when there is transparency between parties and a shared commitment to be open and genuine with one another, he says. “Any partnership is a two-way street, and it takes effort from both sides to make it successful.”
This philosophy has often resulted in him going against the grain by turning down certain clients and lucrative opportunities that did not align with his values. But his commitment to his principles has worked out in his favour. At the core of his successful career are the long-term, exclusive partnerships he has established with an ever-growing list of clients. “The clients I choose to work with share the same values, and because of that the partnership becomes much more rewarding,” he says.
The trust Ching has with his exclusive clients is so strong that in most cases, both parties forgo signing a contract formalising the relationship. It is a testament to the belief he has in the partnership as well as the “all-in” attitude he brings to his work.
Many of his clients go back to him for advice after the transaction, including reselling the house for them. One recent example was encapsulated as “A 10-year ‘love affair’” in HLD’s signature “Charming Houses” video series.
Ching on an incentive trip to Bali in 2024 with the Huttons Landed Division. (Picture: Willi Ching)

A new approach to real estate

While Ching’s approach may seem counterintuitive to the average realtor, he views it as a critical gap in the property landscape. “If more people shared the same values, it would be better for the industry as a whole,” he declares.
The way he sees it, the industry currently sees a lot of wasted resources stemming from several factors. These days, it is not uncommon to see a property owner engaging as many as five or six agents for one property instead of opting for a more exclusive arrangement with a single trusted professional. In other cases, owners may only focus on paying the lowest commissions, failing to recognise that getting the best qualified agent or team will deliver higher net returns than the lower cost ones.
These instances result in a host of redundancies, with the majority of the agents’ resources poured into the property going to waste. On the flip side, agents are inclined to put less effort into marketing the property given the lower odds of success. This hyper-competitive environment often results in some agents resorting to unscrupulous tactics, all in the name of closing a deal.
All in all, these factors pose a losing proposition for all parties involved and stifle the development of the industry, Ching says. To counter this, he believes a shift in mindset needs to happen on both sides.
For clients, more buyers and sellers need to recognise property agents as skilled professionals. He likens engaging a realtor to visiting a doctor. “If you’re sick, you seek a doctor who specialises in your ailment and stick with them while you get treated. It should be the same for property,” he explains.
For agents, there needs to be a shift away from the traditional, opportunistic ways of doing things. Instead of latching onto every single opportunity, agents should be discerning, focusing on an area of the market where they can build expertise and knowledge, thus truly adding value to their clients. By embracing these changes, Ching is optimistic that the industry can progress into a more sophisticated market that produces higher standards of service and an equitable distribution of opportunities and resources.
Ching attained Champion status for the Top Associate District Director award at the Huttons Annual Gala 2024, adding to his impressive portfolio. (Picture: Willi Ching)

Seeking the right fit

As head of HLD and WCD, Ching oversees team members from a diverse range of backgrounds, ranging from those who are new to the industry to seasoned professionals.
Much like his commitment to his clients, Ching is similarly passionate about his role as a mentor. In fact, he sees the successes of his teams as the achievements he is most proud of. One such achievement is WCD being crowned Huttons’ number one champion district for four consecutive years from 2020 to 2023.
While the team’s consistency itself is formidable, the accomplishment has a deeper meaning for Ching. “We won the awards during the peak of Covid-19 as well as at a time the team was going through a restructuring,” he recalls. “These challenging moments pushed my team to become stronger and we ended up having our strongest performance yet.”
When it comes to building successful teams, Ching once again highlights the need to have good relationships between team members. “If we don’t share the same values, it will be detrimental to the whole team,” he notes.
As such, he implements a stringent screening process for potential team members of his teams. For example, HLD accepts applications for new members only once a year during the third quarter. Candidates go through three rounds of interviews, along with extensive training and probation periods. Altogether, it takes roughly a year to go through the process from end to end.
Unlike most industry leaders who focus on quantity, he is fiercely committed to prioritising quality — in terms of having a good fit — over pure headcount.
The key is finding the right people, Ching states. “It doesn’t matter whether an agent is a top producer or has no experience whatsoever. If I and my fellow leaders can see the potential, we will do our best to help them grow.”
Ching and his teammates of Huttons Landed Division (Picture: Huttons Landed Division)

Multi-tiered mentoring

His desire to mentor and develop elite agents comes from observations of poor recruiting practices in the industry. “Unfortunately, I’ve heard many unpleasant feedback from candidates that they were misled into joining teams with overpromises and gigantic gestures by team leaders, all in the name of getting headcount,” he says.
That observation has made Ching all the more careful in cultivating and protecting the culture and shared values within his teams. He focuses on building productive and mutually beneficial partnerships with every single member, ensuring each has the tools and training needed to flourish.
A vital aspect of this is the multi-tiered mentorship and business system he has established. “Every team member benefits from an established business system comprising of both ‘heartware’ and hardware (such as an online market intelligence system and superior online portals), with three layers of mentors: myself, a district leader and every member in the team as a whole,” he explains.
This holistic approach allows the agent to leverage different perspectives, from one-on-one coaching sessions with Ching to having the communal support of the team. “Our team is an essential part of the mentoring process, as we have a genuine bond that means we are there for each other,” he adds.
Ching also has a unique approach to goal-setting. Instead of imposing lofty earnings targets or unrealistic key performance indicators for his teams, he aims to facilitate and help the agents achieve their own goals. “Success for a working mum, a cross-industry breadwinner and a new graduate is defined differently by each of them,” he notes. In cases where his team members need to scale back and take a break to focus on family, he encourages them to take time off. “Work is to support life, not the other way around,” he says simply.
Given his refreshingly pragmatic approach to leadership, it is little wonder why his teams at HLD and WCD have thrived. Ching’s team members speak warmly of him, highlighting his dedication and generosity as a leader. They add that his passion and energy are a source of motivation, setting a positive tone for their working environment.
As his teams continue to achieve new heights, Ching believes the time is ripe to expand the WCD team. “We have a solid ecosystem developed for over 10 years in place which will benefit both the teams and those that join.”
With his commitment to integrity and hard work, there is little doubt that the future holds more success for Ching. But true to his values of humility and unpretentiousness, the realtor downplays his achievements. Instead, he simply sees it as a byproduct of having a passion for what you do. “When you love what you do, put in all your effort, and do things the right way, success will come.”
Ching ended the interview as punctually as it started, heading to the next engagement in his packed schedule. It leaves us to wonder what new achievements he will reveal when he returns for his fifth feature at Edgeprop Singapore.
For more information,
Contact Willi Ching | 94315145
Huttons Asia Pte Ltd

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