Updated: Aug 22, 2020
Thank You for visiting my blog! This year marks the 11th year of my real estate career. Hence, I thought it would be nice to commemorate this with an article charting snippets of my journey thus far.
I remember walking into a real estate agency to sign up for a property crash course during my maternity leave in Nov 2009. That was just 1 month after I have given birth to my 2nd child.
Why did I choose to spend 2 months of my maternity leave taking up a property crash course while I should be resting at home and taking care of my newborn?
No, not because of the love for property, neither because of the love for money. Well, I would say there were more push factors than pull factors.
Read on to find out why I joined real estate!
So, What Was The Compelling Reason That Made Me Join Real Estate?
Since graduating from university, I have been working for a prestigious German MNC company dealing with medical devices. The incentives and work culture in the company were good and it was a coveted working environment sought by many.
However, things started to get disruptive when I got pregnant in 2008.
I had a difficult pregnancy which resulted in frequent medical leaves and eventually a 2-month long hospital stay.
After giving birth to my first child, I resumed my work. As any mum would know, the first few months of a child was often scheduled with immunisation jabs.
I've always made it a point to bring my daughter personally for the jabs instead of delegating to my in-laws. I find my annual leaves depleting at an alarming rate!
As a new mother, I constantly felt that I did not have enough time with my daughter.
She spent her weekdays in my in-law's place and I would only get to bring her home on weekends.
Many times, I contemplated if I should just resign and become a stay-home-mum.
But, that would mean no income and, I know that I am not the sort that can be confined at home taking care of children. I need my time off and I like to socialise.
This prompted me to think very hard about an alternative career that can offer me the flexibility to spend time with my daughter and at the same time, continue to let me stay connected with the working world. Joining real estate and be my own boss can be a solution to my problem.
However, I put the thought of joining real estate aside as I was too pre-occupied with my new role as a working mum.
A year later, I had my second child, a boy. Having this child was one of the most arduous experiences in my life.
An ultrasound scan showed that the baby had a very high risk for down syndrome and the gynae suspected that this could be the reason why I was experiencing many complications.
Eventually, after a 2 months-long hospital stay battling with cervical incompetence, my son was delivered prematurely. He was plagued with multiple conditions, including a condition doctor would describe as microcephaly.
My whole world crashed upon the diagnosis.
I knew from that instant that this special child would require a lot of time and attention from me. That was the most compelling reason why I decided to join real estate as I foresee moving forward, I would need lots of time flexibility.
And I needed to start as soon as possible to help defray the hefty hospital bills which I incurred with my long stay and also my son's NICU bills.
Therefore, immediately after my confinement, I signed up for the real estate crash course.
Steep Learning Curve
I had but 2 months to quickly learn the ropes of this industry before my maternity leave ends. In my hurry, I did not evaluate the manager whom I joined. The first time I saw my manager was also when I signed the application form at the agency.
At that time, having one-to-one mentorship was unheard of.
My learning curve was steep. I have to learn on the job. Honestly, I dare not jump right into real estate full-time as there was a lot of uncertainty, especially leaving my regular pay. However, I was determined that my eventual goal is to become a full-time real estate agent one day!
In 2009, real estate industry was booming but with no experience and no guidance, I started off small with just rentals.
While many new rookies lamented about zero closings, I was actually doing reasonably well as a part-time rookie, transacting an average of 5 rentals every month. My main motivation was to pay off my hospital bills quickly.
A Major Transformation In The Real Estate Industry
Still, I did not switch to full-time immediately. In 2009, the real estate industry was not regulated. I encountered many rogue cobroke agents who did not understand the terms of the tenancy agreement themselves. Therefore, they were unable to explain clauses to their clients which in turn implicated me.
I was relieved that The Council of Estate Agency was form a year later in 2010, its aim was to raise the professionalism of the industry. All real estate agents were required to go through a 2-part examination to access their competency.
Those who were unable to pass the exam were eliminated from the industry. Since then, I saw a major transformation of the real estate industry. I know I cannot be merely a rental agent if I wanted to survive in this industry.
In order to emerge to the top, I have to elevate my knowledge and become a proficient professional real estate consultant.
I decided to switch to another agency and looked actively for a mentor online. I found one who was popular online but unfortunately, he was of semi-retirement age and unable to mentor me.
My First Breakthrough
There was once I got to know a relative who had an industrial canteen for rent. He was hoping that the canteen can be converted into a childcare centre.
I asked to market this listing but I can sense that he had some reservations because I was relatively new to this industry.
Nevertheless, I persisted and was very grateful to landlord for giving me the opportunity to assist him.
The landlord was pleasantly surprised that I managed to get 2 offers within a week, as the unit has been marketed for weeks without any offer. Both offers came with a condition attached. The condition was that the landlord has to get approval from URA for the change of use from Canteen to a Childcare centre.
Gaining Trust From The Client
The landlord entrusted me with the change of use application process but honestly I did not know the process either.
I took this responsibility wholeheartedly and did my best to achieve what was necessary to close this deal.
During that period, I called various agencies such as URA, JTC, NEA and LTA to enquire on the steps. All assessments and approvals from these agencies were necessary for a change of use to ensure the safety of the children.
Unlike now, previously there was no online submission of application. I had to go down to the relevant agencies to submit hardcopies of A1 sized floorplans as well as other relevant documents. It was a long approval process of 2 months before the application finally got approved!
I felt a great sense of satisfaction and achievement to be able to get this whole approval process across.
The landlord was pleased because as an investor, he can get to enjoy a much higher rent than if it was a canteen.
This was a great confidence booster for me. I managed to gain the trust of the landlord who entrusted me with many more properties which he intends to convert to Childcare centres.
Fast forward today, I've build an extensive network of clientele who leased and sold their childcare and education businesses through me.
Equipping Myself For The Switch To Full-Time
I was serving an industrial tenant when I chanced upon my current manager, TJ Choo. He was well versed in industrial properties and in fact, I've heard about him way before I met him. He impressed me with his knowledge over a mere 15 mins viewing session. Therefore, I requested to join him to learn more about the ropes of being an industrial agent.
Little did I expect, I got more than what I bargained for
At that time, our Division leader, Anthony Yeo was conducting a series of property restructuring classes to equip his associates with the skills of a proficient property advisor.
I felt that this was what I have been looking for so long and I attended his small group sessions diligently! With my new found skills, I want be able to advise and value add to my friends and clients.
Be it industrial or residential, I want to be as versatile as possible!
More Time To Spend With Loved Ones
My flexible schedule allowed me to spend lots of precious time with my kids, especially when they were very young.
I was able to attend my 3 children's Parent-Teacher meetings without the need to apply for leave.
Yes, I got a 3rd child along the way, haha. In fact, I joined in their school excursions and volunteer for their school activities and functions.
As for my child with special needs, I was able to accompany him for regular early childhood intervention sessions.
I treasure those moments which would not be possible if I were still in my desk-bound job.
These were just some of the perks of working as a real estate mum and I truly embrace the flexibility it has offered me.
Looking Back At This Journey
My admission into the real estate industry was initially fraught with challenges. I did not receive mentorship from my manager, and was told to learn on the job. As I took on both residential and industrial property transactions, the learning curve was very steep.
Yet, looking back, I am glad I persevered and overcame these early hurdles. I am ever thankful to my clients, friends and relatives who have given me the opportunity to work with them and for placing their trust in me.
Today, besides making a difference in my clients’ lives through property investment, I am also passionate about helping fellow agents, especially women.
As for those who are mothers, I fully understand the stress of being a new agent coupled with the demands of balancing work with pandering to our children.
Therefore, I would like to pay it forward to mentor anyone who is feeling lost and need help in navigating through this journey.
A career switch to real estate was one of the best decisions of my life
I’ve been to several agencies in search of the right mentor. Eventually, I was fortunate to have found support. When you join the right team, real estate need not be a lonely business.
Fast forward to the present, Jacq Ng & associates is greatly supported by 3 great mentors who have helped me strategise and bring my business up to the next level. I am forever thankful to them for empowering and constantly pushing me in the right direction.
With that said, I welcome you to join me and watch as your dreams slowly unfold into reality. I believe that every woman is a strong warrior who can achieve greatness and bring about the changes she wants for herself, if she made the right choice.
Drop me a WhatsApp message at 97642556 and I’ll be glad to share more.