The pros and cons of joining big vs. small to medium-sized agencies and how to earn RM100,000 a year for real estate negotiators.

I asked a registered estate agent (REA), a Co-Principal of a medium-sized real estate agency, whether new real estate negotiators (RENS) should join a big agency with hundreds of agents or work for a small to a medium-sized agency to earn a minimum of RM100K per year. 

The “Take Home” message I received from the real estate negotiator was that the type of firm you want to join is determined by:

  • Your intended focus (e.g., new projects properties or sub-sale properties) 
  • If you have prior experience in sales or marketing 
  • If you are self-motivated and willing to learn on your own 

However, according to the real estate agent, the most critical factor is the quality of your working relationship with your team leader (in a large company) or your principal (in a small or medium-sized company). Regardless of the company you join, ensure you can fit into the company’s culture and that your supervisor has the time to teach you the basics from A to Z.

Finally, when it comes to real estate negotiators earning a commission, the REA concludes that it is entirely up to Lady Luck if you can join a real estate company that pays well in percentage commission, offers good training, and provides profitable marketing leads.

“It’s all a matter of luck. Your leader is the most important person, and what matters most is whether he or she is willing to teach you everything from A to Z and how well you fit into their community.”

Big vs. small to medium-sized agencies to earn RM100K as real estate negotiators

A larger company with libraries on all real estate-related topics is preferable. They may talk about more related issues. A newbie can learn faster. Even if you work for a small company, you can learn everything independently if you work hard enough. However, for seasoned negotiators like you and me, the percentage commission paid to negotiators by the agency is more important. On special requests, for instance, we can expedite commissions, and so on. 

We don’t need much guidance, and we don’t need to attend motivational, marketing, or technical know-how seminars. So a smaller company would be preferable as we prefer to work alone.

The principal can make adjustments as needed because we are more adaptable. We can get a developer appointment for any project REN wants to sell. However, this does not apply to large corporations. 

If you want to focus on selling new projects, you need to work for a company with a large number of projects. Some large corporations sell only the projects of a single developer. For example, XYZ tries to sell Exsim projects only.

Real estate negotiators must first know what they want to earn RM100K

As previously stated, being a real estate agent is not just a profession – it’s a business. Real estate is one of the few remaining industries where intelligent young people who don’t want to spend a lot of money and three or four years in college can still earn as much as a doctor, lawyer, or accountant. For example, I know several real estate negotiators and team leaders who don’t have degrees but they earn RM500,000 a year.

The real estate agency industry is similar to the stockbroking industry in that both reward those who can generate a consistent revenue stream for the company. A university degree, such as an MSc in Real Estate or MBA, could be advantageous for entering a company.  However, your compensation will ultimately determine your success in marketing properties. According to MIEA, at least sixteen real estate agents earned over RM1 million in commission in 2021. These sixteen individuals made a total of RM24 million.

Four steps to personal success

According to a senior REA, real estate negotiators should earn between RM10,000 and RM20,000 per month after five years, depending on how hard they work. However, I believe to earn RM100,000 in commission in your first year as a real estate negotiator is possible. Here are four simple steps to earn RM100,000 as a new real estate negotiator, assuming you have a likable personality and are willing to work extremely hard.

1. Focus on new projects properties

Developers of high-end new project properties typically pay real estate agents a commission of around 5% (compared to a maximum of 3% for sub-sale properties) and possibly 10% or more. Based on a 5% commission rate, you would need to sell a new project property worth at least RM2 million to earn RM100,000.

Is that even possible?

Yes. The REA mentioned above informed me that a real estate negotiator sold two apartments at 8 Conlay. The REN purchased a brand-new Mercedes-Benz and still has funds remaining.  (Note: At more than RM3000 psf, a single 700 sf unit at one of the two YOO8 Branded Serviced Residences @8 Conlay costs more than RM2 million).

2. Establish your personal brand 

Personal branding is more essential than ever for real estate negotiators because there are now more than 30,000 registered real estate professionals in Malaysia, and you need to stand out from the crowd (There are also probably more than 50,000 illegal agents, which means they are not registered). 

In a time when social media influencers, property gurus, and portals with AVMs (Automated Valuation Models) can all give you advice on how to buy investment properties, most homebuyers still want someone they can trust, look up to, and seek advice from.

As an IT professional, you should use social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook to enhance your public image. To highlight your professional credentials and industry expertise. Most importantly, show your target clients what you can do for them. 

Studies show that 90% of people’s purchasing decisions are driven by emotional connections rather than logic. Therefore, when you give your personal brand a human touch, your target audience will emotionally decide to buy or rent.

One way to establish a personal brand is to have your own website. Spending a fortune to create a website showcasing your expertise in a particular property neighborhood is unnecessary.

3. Use social media marketing tools

Many real estate negotiators and agents use digital marketing to reach their current clients. They also get good leads from potential clients. So why shouldn’t you do the same? 

Begin by writing posts on your Facebook or LinkedIn business account with a clever hook to capture the attention of your target market. For example, “Would you like a free valuation of your home?” or “Would you like to own an award-winning heritage hotel and restaurant in Penang?”

The term for this approach is the sales funnel. A compelling marketing hook attempts to elicit an emotional response from the intended to motivate them to take action.  The goal is not to overwhelm the clients with information but to encourage them to take a simple step. For example, you could instruct them to click on an email address or WhatsApp business account number for more information.

4. Learn to use financial toolkits

In the past, experienced real estate negotiators and agents had the “Knowledge”. That means they had already compiled a profitable leads contact list on where to find new listings in a neighborhood. 

New RENs who didn’t have the proper knowledge were often locked out. Unfortunately, newbies in the industry are always given the “leftover crumbs,” or less profitable marketing leads, to sell or rent.

Established agents could use their own database of property transactions, prices, and rentals, which they had built up over many years of working in a neighborhood, to give them an advantage over new agents.

Thanks to technological advances, real estate negotiators and agents can now look at data from the last few years about property sales prices and rents in PSF for most property projects. This makes the playing field a bit more even. Thus, you should learn how to use free financial toolkits like Walk Scores and find a property’s USPs (Unique Selling Propositions) and X Factor.

Bottom Line

This article explained whether new real estate negotiators should work for a large or small to medium-sized firm. Negotiators’ intended focus, prior sales or marketing experience, motivation, and willingness to learn independently are important factors. The article also suggested four easy steps that a new real estate negotiator could take to earn RM100,000:

1. Focus on new projects properties
2. Establish your personal brand
3. Use social media marketing tools
4. Learn to use financial toolkits

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