My Predictions For The Real Estate Agency Industry

by Patrick Liew on December 10, 2011

In the next 1-3 years, these are my predictions.

1.       Council of Estate Agencies (CEA)

The CEA will continue to introduce more laws and regulations.

In the process of raising the standards, they will take more disciplinary actions against errant agencies, including taking them to the courts of law.

It will take more stringent actions so as to act as a deterrent and to improve the image of our profession and industry.

2.       Real Estate Agencies

The currently fragmented real estate industry will be further consolidated. Agencies will become either mega-agencies or niche players.

Many mid-sized agencies will be closed, merged, or acquired. They will disappear just like many prominent agencies in the past.

They will face a more demanding sales force, lower profit margins, softer market, and a more competitive environment.

3.       Branding

Customers and salespersons will prefer to work with long established, credible and successful agencies – such as single-focus agencies that are listed on Singapore Exchange.

They know that these companies will deliver proper services and will stand by their business, even if the salespersons have resigned or joined another agency.

They will choose companies that have strong corporate governance and healthy financial position.

These companies’ operations should be rated to international standards, including ISO 9001 and Professional Enterprise Certifications. Obviously, companies that have won multiple local and international awards will have an edge over the others.

These awards should include ‘The Best Agency’ award, ‘The #1 Real Estate Company’ awards, and other Business, Technology, Branding, Human Resources, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) awards.

4.       Corporate Culture

Customers and salespersons will be attracted to companies that have strong corporate culture. They will look for agencies that will love them and look after their best interests.

They will work with agencies that are responsible, transparent and accountable. These agencies have strong corporate philosophy, branding, Code of Honour, and other business practices – and these values are reflected through various communication materials.

5.       Leadership

The Key Executive Officers (KEOs) of the company will play an important part in the survival and success of agencies.

The Estate Agency Act 2011 has placed a heavy burden on them to run their agencies effectively and efficiently, otherwise they will face heavy financial penalties and also imprisonments.

KEOs will be paraded like beauty contests. Customers and salespersons will have to pick the winner before deciding to work with his/her agency.

6.       Support And Services Count

To succeed in the new economy, agencies must provide a wide range of support and services. To do that, they must have a large commercial office space (It’s illegal for agencies to use an industrial space), cutting-edge technology, strong team of managers and administrators, and best practices.

They cannot rely on just providing titles, commissions, career track, and other incentives.

7.       Training and Coaching

As the industry is going through rapid changes; with more laws and regulations being introduced, training will become a key deciding factor.

Agencies with a long standing record of having more trainings, training materials, and training facilities will win.

Agencies will have to run personal mentoring and coaching programmes.

They need to absorb salespersons’ business expenses and help them to earn a regular monthly income. They have to provide full time trainers and offer comprehensive services, including on-the-job trainings, retail outlets, telemarketers, administrators, advertising and promotion support, and full office facilities.

To ensure professionalism, quality, service and results, training and coaching services should be certified to ISO 9001 standards.

8.       Infocommunication Technology (ICT)

The real estate industry is increasingly being driven and shaped by infocommunication technology.

Agencies have no choice but to upload 100% of their salespersons’ ICT services to cloud computing. They need to back them with comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and mobile computing (‘Apps’) services.

KEOs and managers should be active in using social media to promote their services.

Agencies that have proven their track record of using ICT by winning the National Infocomm Award (IDA, Singapore) and Infocomm Singapore Award (Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation) will have more advantages than the other agencies.

9.       Business Tools, Technologies and other Resources

The days of closing a sale by just ‘talking, talking and talking’ are over.

Salespersons will have to be supported by branding tools, marketing technologies, business resources, educational materials, a series of guarantees, customer service back-ups, and other informational and communication support and services.

If the agencies have not been focusing on and developing these tools, technologies, and other resources for more than 10 years, chances are it’s too late for them to start now.

10.   Solutions

While there is a need for salespersons to focus on a strategic target market, they need to be able to provide a one-stop total solution to their customers.

Salespersons need to be trained and constantly updated about the HDB, private residential, industrial, commercial, en-bloc, local projects, and overseas property markets. They cannot rely on small and niche markets.

Very importantly, in the light of globalization, salespersons have to be trained on how to sell properties from all over the world as a part of their services to their customers. These customers are investing in and diversifying their investment portfolio across different property markets in the world.

11.   Corporate Social Missions

Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer a choice. It is an integral part of the business operations of professional agencies.

They should have their CSR policies and practices stated clearly on their websites, published materials, and other forms of public displays.

In addition, they should be seen to be proactive in their social missions as a form of giving back to the community.

Corporate Social Missions cover providing health facilities and services to salespersons. They also include volunteering time, talent and treasure (including money) to help senior citizens, teach students life skills, and provide humanitarian services to other countries.

It will also be important if they have supported relief efforts for major crises, including floods in Southeast Asia, China earthquake, nuclear crisis in Japan, Haiti earthquake, Myanmar cyclone, Philippine typhoon, Sumatra earthquake, and Asian tsunami.

As you travel on the journey of life, please make sure you choose your vehicle (agency) carefully. It will help you travel farther and faster to your chosen destinations.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please go to ‘Notes’ found below my profile picture.

Visit my Inspiration blog at

Visit my Transformation blog at

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!



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