Freeman Woo is a real estate negotiator specialising in Mont Kiara. Also known as rich man's land, Mont Kiara held a special place in Freeman Woo's heart because of its strategic location and well designed developments.
As Douglas Adams quoted "to give real service, you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity". MIP Properties' real estate agents prioritise a higher quality of service, professionalism, integrity and approachability – along with strong connections to homeowners and property investors.
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I started as a normal real estate negotiator in MIP Properties almost 10 years ago. I have served thousands of clients and successfully achieved hundreds of rental and sales transactions mainly in Mont Kiara. Today, together with my teammates, we are all focused in Mont Kiara.
How long have you been working as an agent?
I ventured into the real estate industry in 2009. So in total, I have been serving as an agent for almost 9 to 10 years.
For someone who has been in the industry for nearly 10 years, you must have some know-how and tips on how to attract clients. Specifically, how do you attract and engage new clients?
Through referrals. Most of my clients have known and worked with me for a long time; hence my new clients are mainly introduced by current clients, vendors, and friends. Social media is a powerful tool, I am very active on social media and some internet portals; that attracts some new ones too. Lastly, by combining forces and networking with my team and co-agents.
As a winner of the "All-Star Negotiator" title during the 2018 StarProperty.my Real Estate Awards, what makes a good agent in your opinion?
I think a good agent would go the extra mile to serve and understand his or her clients' best interests. For me, my clients’ needs are always my priority. On top of that, a good agent should always make an effort to help with their clients’ problems (as long as they're property related, of course); and strive to provide the very best service for them.
There are so many places in Kuala Lumpur. What makes Mont Kiara so exceptional and special to you?
I think Mont Kiara has everything here, don’t you think so? The location is strategic and convenient; you can find routes or highways that lead you to anywhere you want without hassle. The place is popular among expatriates and all of them live in harmony despite being of different backgrounds and cultures. A variety of cuisines is also available there thanks to the expatriates. Even after so many years, Mont Kiara is still a cosy neighbourhood filled with nice cafés, bars, and lounges where you can hang out with family and friends. Not to mention, the properties here are well-designed and situated within a lush environment.
For a client who is looking for luxury property, what development would you recommend for them?
My team and I are specialised in the Mont Kiara area, so it’s appropriate for me to recommend property in Mont Kiara. I personally like MK10 or MK11, because both are beautifully designed – MK10 has a luxurious tropical resort feel, and MK11 has special architecture – both have top-notch facilities and features. I personally like that some of the developments in these areas have private lift lobbies on each floor.
What do you find necessary for a luxury property?
Privacy, uniqueness, and exclusivity. These are the three main necessities that my clients look for whenever they want to purchase a luxury property.
What kind of facilities or amenities would clients be expecting when they buy a luxury property?
They love a great view of the city, especially one with the KLCC Twin Towers in it. Other than that, they prefer to find a property with top-level facilities such as an infinity pool, a fully-equipped gym, high-end home security systems, and so on.
What aspects will your client consider when buying a luxury property? Which aspects are more important?
I think privacy is the most important aspect that my customers seek when purchasing a luxury property. In my opinion, luxury property does not mean it has to be high-priced. Of course, the price would be taken into account – but like I mentioned earlier, a luxury property is all about the uniqueness, the exclusiveness, and the privacy that the buyers are getting.
Let's say that now you have a couple who want to buy a house in Mont Kiara. What kind of house would you recommend to them? How would your approach to the couple be different from other cases such as single working professionals, expatriate families, and investors?
I treat all my clients the same, I love talking to them before giving any recommendation. First, I will try to understand the couple’s current financial status and the kind of property that they like or have looked into. Then through a coffee session, I’ll try to get to know the couple a little and the lifestyle that they are into. From there only I will be able to give recommendations.
We understand that you run a team of agents. Can you share what they do with us?
We are experienced in property rental and property sales for both Malaysians and expatriates. We work together and we share networks. For newly joined members, I usually allocate a specific condo for them to focus on. We all focus on Mont Kiara.
Have you ever come across a crisis that you thought you could not handle? How did you and your team overcome it?
Throughout my 9 years in this industry, I had come across some difficulties in work but with the help of my fellow colleagues and learning through mistakes, I have discovered that ‘nothing is impossible’. I always encourage my team to be positive and to believe in themselves.
The most complicated matters for my team are to meet clients’ high expectations and requirements. However, my team always manages to give their very best in providing the best services for their clients.
In times of difficulties, the team spirit and disposition could go astray. In what ways do you motivate your team for them to keep going?
I talk to them; my phone is available 24 hours, 7 days a week. I will prompt them to keep track of their goals by constantly remind them of the reasons or intentions for joining this industry – and most importantly, what they want to achieve in life.
Of course, we will have fun now and then, because I think a work-life balance is equally important.
In your opinion, what kind of leader should someone be to lead his team to success?
A leader that inspires others. He/she should not be stingy with sharing his/her experiences (be it good or bad) so that his/her team can learn from the successes and mistakes. Leaders should also be able to lead a team to do greater things instead of just following in his/her footsteps. The team can look up to him/her, but a great leader always encourages a team member to make their own decisions and to find their own path to success.
When hiring people for work, what qualities do you look for in someone?
Anybody can sell, but I always look for someone who is always willing to learn, able to be self-motivated, and is hardworking. Most importantly, they would need to be a "people person"; someone who is able to interact with their clients and work in a team. Also, they must commit to take good care of their clients because clients are their most valuable assets.
We had some changes in the government recently. In what ways did the changes affect your working environment? Will the Budget 2019 somehow have an effect on your work?
Any movement from the government will definitely affect all industries, not only real estate. Policy changes will affect certain groups of buyers and sellers; but we – as the experts in the real estate industry – we should give proper and accurate advice or recommendations to our clients accordingly. Therefore, agents must study harder and be more alert than ever.
I personally see a lot of opportunities in year 2019. Agents should take this opportunity to keep in touch with their existing clients to discuss their investment direction further; they should also encourage young working adults to purchase their first property now because there are so many financial solutions that can help with their funds – for example ‘Fund My Home’ or ‘Housekey’.
What is your target for 2019? What would you want to achieve the most in 2019?
One thing that I want to achieve most for 2019 is to have more exciting individuals joining the team. My ideal target is to have a team of 50 or more negotiators. I wish for my experience to inspire young individuals and help them to pave their way into this industry.
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