9507Singapore real estate, a positive mental attitude, educational stories for asiahomes.com realtors, excerpts from "The Internet Realtors, Singapore", sponsored by  AsiaHomes Internet.

Do you have a PMA?

"I told him no landlord in Singapore would agree to a 2-month notice to break lease anytime he wanted," said a novice associate realtor confidently to me.  I had rented to this expatriate a Costa Rhu Condo at $2,500 with the 2-month notice break lease last year and now he wanted to rent a cheaper condo to take advantage of the deepening Singapore recession in 1999 

This Indian risk-management expert wanted to rent the best condo at the lowest rent, with the condition of giving 2-month lease at any time.  His company, a foreign exchange trading firm in Suntec City was practising this policy and  he was employed by the Company, but his housing rent was payable by him.

When my associate said that no Singapore Landlord would bother with this prospective Tenant, I felt sad as he wasn't hungry enough even though he had not many closures despite being given more cases to handle than other realtors.  He needed the money for his family and that was why I supported him with more referrals. 

The closing/rental case handled is an indication of the productivity of an agent in Asia USA Realty.   1.5 out of 10 cases/closed/realtor/month by any rental agent would be terribly low if the average rental commissions were around $1500 per month for a year.

You will not be able to cover your daily expenses let alone support your family if you were solely dependent on this business.

The reason I was sad was that, within 2 days of referral from me, my associate already knew there would be no such Landlords. There would be Landlords because Singapore had too many new rental condos and many older ones.

The novice realtor must possess a PMA, the acronym for a Positive Mental Attitude to succeed.

There were more condos now than a few months ago. New condos blocked by big buildings, low floors without any view, near the expressway or construction or in unfavourable locations. Old condos. Suburban newer condos where no expatriates want to rent.

This prospective Tenant did  not mind apartments with no view and was realistic that his budget of less than $2,000 for a 2-bedroom might qualify for older condos.   

He wanted The Mandarin Gardens and The Bayshore Park, both being older developments.   He had his own fridge and did not need much furniture and this would be a plus factor.  This type of cases would suit a Landlord with a new condo.

When you have a prospective tenant, you are much better off than when you represent the Landlord since it is easier to close with a prospective tenant at hand. 

Singapore Landlords generally do not give you exclusive marketing rights and if they have no time to market themselves, they appoint two or three seasoned realtors.  You are unlikely to get exclusive marketing rights as a greenhorn in most cases.

Think positive.   You will be amazed at what you can achieve. 

You sharpen your skills at house-hunting and become more experienced when you are hands on handling "difficult cases". 

Every self-employed realtor dreams of the big accounts, but in real life, they are rarely available till you have gained a sound reputation and be noticed by the big owners of luxurious bungalows or condos.  You will then be called to help market their big accounts in competition with other big guns.

Once you think negatively, you will find your success rates very low.  Start looking at how you can satisfy the needs of the "difficult" client. When you have big accounts in time to come, you may pass the "difficult" low revenue producing clients.

As a novice, take the low yielding cases and you will find that you gross as good an income as the realtor who handles one or two big accounts.

Only that you have to sweat for it with no time off as you will be getting so many referrals. Some of whom are big accounts you hope.


The industry's practice is that of 12 months of occupancy with 2 months' notice before the expatriate can terminate the lease or a straight 12-month lease. 

Therefore many realtors are not keen on servicing prospective tenants who don't pay any commission or demand 2 months' break lease. 

As at November 13, 1999, the prospect moved out from the Costa Rhu condo at $2,000 rent giving 2 months' notice and leased a new Regent Ville condo, off Yio Chu Kang Road/Ang Mo Kio Ave 3  for $1,500 rent and same terms and conditions.  

The Landlord later gave him some compensation to move out as the he wanted to sell the apartment.  He was again looking for even cheaper condos to rent!  Obviously, if you have higher rental budget clients and are busy, you will disqualify him. 

However, in starting up a self employed business, the novice rental realtor just has to carry out such money-losing cases, gaining extremely valuable hands on experience and a lot of pain and rejections. 

If you see every rejection or failure to close in a negative mental attitude (NMA), stop being self-employed and get employed.  You start to see racial discrimination and felt that small accounts were not not worth the trouble.  You will pass up Asians and Indians as "more demanding" which is not true and you prefer to stay at home to earn "nothing".

Yet you need to gain valuable hands on experience handling multiple small account to hone your skills at negotiation to handle the big accounts.   You begin to understand the various features and characteristics of the Singapore rental market for expatriates if you are busy since each case is much different from another. You get to know more about available vacant condos which you would not see if you do not have this "difficult" client to go house hunting.  Every new source of vacant condo will mean you can zero in when you get another case from me or from your referral.   You get better and cleverer.

If only you can shake off the negative mental attitude. 

Why be self-employed in this case?  Unless you have a millionaire spouse to give you the luxury of working part-time or not at all.   

I remember my first closing earned me $492 in commission, co-broking a Housing & Urban Development Corporation apartment at Amberville with a ERA agent.  I was acting for an Owner.  She had the prospective tenants and had responded to my advertisement.   My Straits Times advertisement at two times per week for several weeks wiped out all my commission income. 

From that experience, I felt that it was better to handle a small account of the Tenant rather than represent the Landlord on  a non-exclusive basis as this is what most realtors are doing in the year 2001.  The Landlord himself advertises too and realtors with prospective tenants contact him directly.

When I service the prospective tenant, I do not need to spend  much if any,   money in the Straits Times.  The only problem is: "how do I catch the prospective tenants?"  It was a few years of hard work with small fishes before referrals kicked in.

Fortunately for me, many Internet surfers cruise into my webpage,  http://www.asiahomes.com and I therefore do not need to advertise heavily in the Straits Times for prospective tenants. 

Even if I advertise as a rental agent for prospective tenants, I doubt I will get any response as many big corporations which employ expatriates in the year 2001 have enforced expatriates to use their retained realtors.

This is a big problem or challenge depending on whether I have or have no PMA! Should I close shop and just be an employee with a regular income? What do you think?     

Article contributed by David Sing.
Tel: +65 9668 6468.

Tips for new www.asiahomes.com Realtors

Short leases or low rental accounts don't command much commission revenue.  You can ask the prospective Tenant for some fees, e.g. $500 - $2,000.  However, the prospective Tenant may find his own apartment by himself as in this case study.   

You Got Tenant, Apartment Owner?

Looking for Tenants is like winning a war.
You need to know where your enemies can be found.

You need to advertise in www.asiahomes.com
where prospects interested in Singapore properties
are likely to be found.

Why not place an affordable internet ad
to contact prospects direct and save you
a few thousand dollars in agency commission?
Telephone +65 9668 6468, E-mail judy@asiahomes.com

Last updated:
25 Feb 2001


Asiahomes Internet, Affordable Internet Ads for Singapore Owners &  Realtors ,  $13.50/40 words/90days targeted at expatriates relocating to Singapore. Visit http://www.asiahomes.com to select your rental housing units or to view over 2000 photographs and layout plans.
Copyright © Asiahomes Internet, 2001. All rights reserved.
Revised: February 25, 2001. · Asiahomes Internet
· Blk 1002, Toa Payoh Lor 8, #01-1477 · Singapore · 319074
Tel: +65 9668 6468, 254 2728, 254 3326, 9668 6469, 978 53 978.

Asia USA Realty | Asia USA Realtors | AsiaHomes Internet