Starting a real estate agency: Rewards and challenges

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By Vigneswar Rajasurian

Starting a real estate agency in Malaysia: Rewards and challenges

Starting a real estate agency in Malaysia may be daunting for most real estate agents given the need to comply with various rules and regulations being a part of the process.

Coupled with the challenges of managing one’s own business, perhaps venturing into starting one’s own agency is not for the faint of heart.

Yet, real estate professionals who do embark on the journey enjoy more than just monetary rewards.

StarProperty asked founders of recently established real estate firms to share their experiences.

The rewards

“Our firm’s name essentially means we started off as strangers and eventually became friends and family,” said Kenny Sim, founder and director of Kith & Kin Realty Sdn Bhd.

He discovered that setting up an agency is rewarding as one can plan the company’s directions and work towards common goals as partners.

“Nothing is more rewarding than to see our people grow and succeed together with us as a work-family,” he added.

“Nothing is more rewarding than to see our people grow and succeed together with us as a work-family,” he added.

Sim said it is most important to know what you want to achieve by setting up an agency and also advises on finding a niche that provides value to the community and industry.

Founder of WEREG Properties, Ethan Leong, said starting an agency brings along greater levels of self-fulfilment but describes the journey as a roller-coaster ride.

“Although we encountered various feedback and negativity, opening an agency also often bears fruitful rewards and achievements. This is especially true after we were able to collectively solve issues, help negotiators grow and nurture potential successors towards achieving their dreams.

“I always believe there is no such thing as the best timing to open up an estate agency, but the passion and ambition to dream big will be the main driver,” added Leong.

The challenges

It took Sim and his three other co-founders six months to plan the formation of their firm, Kith & Kin.

This included finding the right premises, developing a distinct brand identity, sourcing for back-end IT and accounting support as well as the registration process with The Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEA).

“I would say the most challenging part is the registration of our Firm with BOVAEA and the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM). There are plenty of requirements to meet as we formed the firm under liberalisation,” said Sim.

The firm also received many enquiries from regulators as to the novelty of its name. Fortunately, friends in the industry were able to guide Sim and partners through the entire process.

On the other hand, Leong believed the first challenge is differentiating from other real estate agencies in the market.

Caption: Leong said limited resources and finding quality real estate negotiators (RENs) are also obstacles agency founders face during the start-up.

Caption: Leong said limited resources and finding quality real estate negotiators (RENs) are also obstacles agency founders face during the start-up.

“So, we as Registered Estate Agents (REAs), look into talent search and provide intensive training or skills development, with the objective of increasing professionalism and maintaining high motivation in the negotiators,” he elaborated.

Overcoming the talent dilemma

Industry veteran Tan Kian Aun is a certified professional coach, the associate director of Hartamas Real Estate Sdn Bhd and a member of MIEA board of directors.

In a separate interview with StarProperty assistant general manager Ernest Towle, Tan acknowledged that hiring and retaining quality negotiators is a challenge the industry faces.

Tan stressed the importance of coaching and believes negotiators joining an agency look for growth in the industry.

The focus should shift towards guiding negotiators to achieve the target rather than solely on commission rates, as without proper coaching and teamwork negotiators will struggle to reach the targets anyway.

Tan illustrated on how to add value to negotiators, committing them to long term goals and helping them achieve it.

He also observed that many real estate agencies focus only on closing sales and omit teaching agents on managing finances in the path to wealth accumulation.

Find out more about Tan’s invaluable insights in the full interview below:


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