An unusual journey in the real estate market


Property negotiator Abby Tan volunteered with a non-governmental organization and worked in the financial sector before her foray into the real estate industry in January 2017.

How he got into the industry can be summed up in one word: coincidence.

According to Tan, in 2016 he was looking to sell his townhouse and was struggling to do so. Her townhouse ended up being on the market for a year before it sold! Before that, as Tan asked his agent why the sale was taking so long, the couple ended up getting into a series of discussions that sparked Tan’s interest in the industry.

Right after joining the industry as a real estate negotiator, Tan managed to close a deal in just two weeks.

Since January this year, Tan has entered his fifth year as a real estate broker. Under IQI Realty Sdn Bhd, Tan is now based in Sabah, specializing in the Kota Kinabalu (KK) real estate market. Focusing primarily on the residential sub-sale market, he also occasionally ventures into the commercial and industrial market.

A day in the life of a real estate broker

A look at Tan’s life will reveal that he splits his working hours by being in the office and doing prep work, like any other negotiator and agent, which he shares.

“When I am in the office, I mostly try to sort out all the paperwork and documentation. At the same time, I will also attend virtual training sessions provided by IQI.

The virtual training session provided by the agency helped Tan better understand and prepare for how to do business amid the pandemic. As a team leader, he encourages his apprentice to take part in these training sessions when he has the time.

When not in the office, his duties include meeting clients for property viewings and scouting for new listings.

Tan adds, “Unlike Klang Valley, if you specialize in the KK region, you cover a very large market that includes several regions. So sometimes when I go out for property viewings, I can drive from one side of town to the other.

Tan is always on the go as travel takes up a good part of his daily work.

Setting goals

Less than a year after joining the industry in 2018, Tan was promoted to Team Leader at IQI. As a team leader, he set himself a goal each year: to prepare 10 of his apprentices to also become team leaders.

In 2021 alone, he managed to do just that

“Being in this line is not an easy job. Not only do you have to manage your own time, but you also have to be disciplined and have the commitment in order to stick around for a long-term game.

While Tan tries to do a bit of everything from leadership to selling various types of real estate segments, he also has his own personal goal that he wants to achieve.

“From this year I also want to try to slowly sell prime properties. All this time, I have focused on the undersell market. But now I want to start diversifying by selling projects in the primary market as well,” says Tan, who explains that the markets are quite different.

For example, with undersale properties, “customers will be able to see the actual condition of the property,” says Tan.

“For prime properties, customers can only feel the essence of the property based on what is presented in the sales gallery. Therefore, as an agent, it takes a certain skill to be able to sell a unit that is not in its original state,” he adds.

Expecting a busy year ahead, Tan wants to maximize his opportunities by trying out both markets.

“I’m going to try to leverage my time as I slowly get involved in selling prime properties. I’m doing this because I want to challenge myself with something new,” he says determinedly.

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