Veteran property agent shares tips

/ EdgeProp
March 20, 2018 7:30 AM SGT
Amid the ongoing transformation of the real estate industry, some things have not changed. “Agents still need to work hard and talk to people,” says Pravin Kumar, who has 15 years’ experience as a property agent.
According to Kumar, who is associate marketing director at Huttons Asia, one of the best ways for agents to gain clients is by expanding their social circle. “I love to socialise and meet people. At the pub, café or restaurant, just chat with people seated nearby,” he says. “And I always tell them I’m an agent and give them my name card.”
People are interested in real estate and would always ask how the market is doing, says Kumar, who is happy to share his knowledge. “It’s okay if they don’t want to buy or sell anything, as long as they know I’m there for them when they want to do so,” he adds.
Kumar’s advice to agents is to talk to people. With transaction volumes still sluggish, many agents have turned to driving private-hire vehicles in their spare time. “That’s a good chance to connect with someone who could become a client,” he says. Property agents need to market themselves constantly and “create some buzz”, he points out. “Otherwise, how are you going to get listings and buyers?”
Connectivity to public transport is often the key to securing tenants quickly, says Kumar
Given the amount of information available nowadays, clients have become savvier. Many would-be buyers would have researched the recent transacted prices and rents at a condominium or its proximity to schools before talking to an agent. Therefore, agents have to work hard to equip themselves with deeper knowledge, says Kumar. “If you are doing rental in an area, you must know it well. Don’t just list the schools nearby. Find out and tell [prospective buyers] what buses their children can take to go to school and how long it would take.”
Agents should also be well versed in all aspects pertaining to real estate, such as architecture, landscaping and home appliances, notes Kumar. “If you can tell buyers about the design, materials and brands used in the condo, it creates a ‘feel good’ factor and helps convince them that they are getting a good unit for their money.”
As for those buying a property for investment, “you have to work out the rental yield for them and advise on the types of units they should look at”, Kumar says. Tenants are usually less concerned about a unit’s orientation and the heat from the afternoon sun as they are out at work during the day, he adds.
Agents should study the businesses in the surrounding area so as to advise their investor clients on the profile of potential tenants. “And experienced agents will be able to advise on how long it will take to rent out the unit,” he notes.
Connectivity to public transport is often the key to securing tenants quickly, according to Kumar. “If there is no MRT station or bus stop nearby, the take-up will be slow and at a lower rent,” he says. This has changed, however, with the recent surge in popularity of bike-sharing platforms such as Ofo and Mobike. Kumar has observed that more tenants are willing to rent units located further away from MRT stations. “They say: ‘I [cycle], so I don’t mind,’” he says. “The sharing economy is benefiting the real estate industry.”