Trying different ways to beat the slump

PropNex agents Godfrey Chan and Rosalind Teo at Treelodge@Punggol. They focus on Sengkang and Punggol and tailor their investment advice to their clients.
PropNex agents Godfrey Chan and Rosalind Teo at Treelodge@Punggol. They focus on Sengkang and Punggol and tailor their investment advice to their clients.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

As the property market continues to cool, real estate agents have to find ways to stay afloat.

Some take up part-time jobs, while others concentrate on more lucrative aspects of the market.

Huttons agent Felix Mui, 35, has decided to focus on new property launches, as the sales commissions there are higher, he said.

"Depending on the project, it is generally harder to sell new units now," said Mr Mui, referring to the supply glut. "So agents are being given a bigger incentive to reach out to more buyers."

In the current market, selling a Housing Board five-room flat can earn him around $8,000 to $9,000 in commission.

"It's very hard to hit $10,000 unless it's a very good apartment, like one with a great view or a Pinnacle@Duxton type of flat."

In contrast, a newly launched condo unit can now bring in about 3 per cent in commission, compared with about 2 per cent previously. This means a million-dollar unit could fetch a handsome commission of $30,000, said Mr Mui.

PropNex agents Godfrey Chan, 34, and Rosalind Teo, 32, entered the market two years ago when cooling measures were already starting to kick in.

"For us to still continue to do well, we have to be focused," said Mr Chan. The duo specialise in Sengkang and Punggol, where sellers tend to be younger and more open to property investment advice.

"It actually reduces our marketing costs - we don't have to run all over the place," he added.

They also go beyond simply helping clients buy, sell or rent. "We try to value-add with advice," said Mr Chan, who taps his experience as a former property valuer and mortgage broker.

Yeo Sam Jo and Janice Heng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2016, with the headline 'Trying different ways to beat the slump'. Print Edition | Subscribe