Singapore property: It’s not all doom and gloom

Despite slow growth in the Singapore property market, analysts’ share that it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are some advice and tips for real estate agents on how to sell property despite the current market conditions.

Eugene Lim, Key Executive Officer and Head of Research, ERA Singapore – “Despite the gloom painted by the media, there are market segments that are doing reasonably well. So focus your energies on these segments rather than on the negatives. Most importantly, always be proactive; continue to build up relationships.

“Additionally, when working with buyers, it is important that you assist them to get pre-qualified by the banks before going house hunting. With the loan curbs, securing the required financing is a tad more complicated than before.

“Lastly, while there may seem to be a slew of challenges, the future for real estate remains bright. The long term plan of a population of 6.5 to 6.9 million would mean more intensive use of land amidst increased demand; and this would simply translate into increasingly more transactions over time.”

Steven Tan, Managing Director of OrangeTee – “First and foremost, agents have to constantly update their market knowledge in order to offer the right advice to their clients for them to make informed decisions. Secondly, in today’s dynamic environment, agents must be innovative when looking out for the right target buyers. Thirdly, agents must serve professionally and take their service to the next level by going the extra mile. For example, instead of conducting a viewing with verbal explanation, the seller’s agent can give the buyer a simplified brochure, which includes photos and key selling points.”

Nelson Lim, Division Director of C&H Group – “In today’s challenging market, where an agent is faced with both external and internal factors such as price sensitivity and low transaction volume, a rigid regulatory environment and rising business costs, an agent needs to re-look their individual business model in order to remain relevant. Practices that brought success in the past may not guarantee continued success in this environment, where property does not sell by itself.

“Some tips that I would like to share would be to establish strong teamwork with their teammates – by combining resources and working together as a team, agents will be able to react faster when something goes wrong and it also ensures sustainability. Next, agents have to be highly professional and knowledgeable in both product knowledge and market conditions. Therefore, it is important that agents work towards equipping themselves with more knowledge, and it will enable them to increase their value contribution to the transaction process. Lastly, agents have to understand the importance of networking – this variable is gaining importance and cannot be discounted in a weak market.”

Thomas Tan, Director of RE/MAX Singapore – “In our current climate, education is key. All parties (clients and salespersons) need to be educated, especially the salespersons, who are often the key to unlock the decision makers.

“For salespersons serving the buyers (who are waiting for the sellers to drop their prices) – explain that in order for prices to drop significantly, it will usually be a result of external shocks (e.g. SARS, Global Financial Crisis). However, fundamentally, Singapore is still seeing economic growth, albeit at a slower pace, so there is no compelling reason for sellers, who are employed and can afford to hold the prices, to change their minds and drop the prices.

“For salespersons serving the sellers (who are expecting record high prices) – share with them that buyers’ appetite for properties are curtailed by the TDSR effect. And if they genuinely need to move, give the buyers some incentive to commit by either adjusting the price or including inventory in the price.

“Also, in low periods, the salespersons could use their spare time to gain knowledge and upgrade themselves, so when the tide turns again, they will be better equipped to deal with it.”

Alice Tan, Director and Head of Consultancy and Research, Knight Frank Singapore – “Agents would need to equip themselves with more market knowledge on economic trends, property price trends in specific locations where they are specialised in, as well as future growth plans so as to support their clients to identify value-for-money properties.”

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