Agents 'giving up or branching out' as tough times bite
Mr Cheong used to close four deals a month, but is happy now with one.
MR DAVID Cheong has seen all sides of the local residential property market - as a property agent, and more recently as a trainer of property agents.
Times are tough now, he said, observing that many would-be agents fall by the wayside when they realise how difficult the market has become.
In 2007, he was prompted to quit his $5000-a-month job in the information technology industry, lured by stories of top agents closing more than 10 deals a month and raking in big money.
Said 39-year-old: "When I first joined, the industry was booming.
"But shortly after, in 2008, things weren't as good."
He said he sometimes questions his decision to leave his stable job for this uncertainty.
A year into being a full-time agent, he decided that the market was too bad and started looking elsewhere for a job, while supplementing his income as a part-time agent.
Now, he is a real estate agent trainer, and has taught more than 3,000 real estate agents.
However, only 20 per cent of his students are still in the industry.
"Most people come in with the dream that they are going to close many deals a month, but that is simply not true." he said.
"In reality, only the top 20 agents in the market are closing the deals."
Most of his students leave the industry after they realise that the market is not favourable as they thought it was.
He has no plans to go back to being a full-time agent, especially in this market.
"I used to be able to close at least four deals a month, but right now, in this market, I am very happy to close even one," he said.
Besides residential property, he has started handling commercial property deals, as well as foreign properties, just to stay afloat.
"Many agents these days are branching out, because the residential market is not big enough to sustain so many agents," he said.
Money, The Straits Times, Monday, March 31, 2014, Pg B9