Myanmar Business Today (MBT): Please tell us about Your Property Finder (YPF) Company Ltd.
Charm May Thu (CMT): YPF is a subsidiary of ERA Singapore, which is the largest and the leading real estate agency in Singapore. Since its inception in 1982, ERA Singapore has redefined the industry standards for pioneering real estate concepts, technology, initiatives and products. Today, ERA is synonymous with providing innovative and breakthrough products and services that home buyers and sellers most want and need.
ERA is an international real estate franchise network with more than 32,000 ERA brokers and salespersons in 36 countries and territories. In Asia Pacific, there are more than 600 ERA offices with more than 12,500 ERA sales persons operating in Brunei, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and now Myanmar.
YPF is a new milestone for ERA to provide real estate services throughout Asia Pacific region and we are very excited about the current and future market outlook and opportunities in Myanmar.
As the global real estate market becomes more sophisticated and international real estate investments increase, YPF is well equipped to offer professional advice and guidance to our business partners in making critical real estate marketing strategies and decisions.
MBT: How do you utilise the internet and social media to sell homes?
CMT: The internet is a modern marketing tool which all 21st century real estate professionals cannot afford to ignore. We use all sorts of social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. We have lots of Facebook pages for different property projects and also need a dedicated staff both in Singapore and Yangon only to handle social media.
We are really serious about our online marketing. We rely on a lot of enquiries and leads generated from the social media. Often, these leads turn out to be potential deal closings too. The conversion rate is quite high.
MBT: Do you also use video and virtual tours to market your properties?
CMT: Yes. Photos, videos and virtual tours save a lot of time for the customer and the realtor as the client can take a look at them and see whether it is suitable for them before going down for a physical viewing. It cuts down a lot of unwanted time wastage for both parties.
MBT: What do you find most challenging when you accompany prospective clients on property tours? Why?
CMT: The whole process from viewing to closing to paper work is something I handle on a routine basis. But in general I would think that the closing process might be a challenge for some realtors.
Having trained many new generations of realtors myself, I find that some may be very good with handling customers, conducting the viewing, presentation but struggles when it comes to the final part of closing. I often like to bill this part as “closing is the art of convincing.” Yes it’s that final stage where you need to convince the customer that this particular property is the one he or she ought to choose, this requires a lot of product knowledge, persuading power, ability to point out future price appreciation potentials, comparison of properties and last but not the least making the customer commit to the transaction.
MBT: Tell me about a time when you struggled to build a relationship with an owner, investor, tenant or a broker. What would you have done differently?
CMT: Proud to say a touch of commonsense and street smartness has never really put me in any situation too difficult to handle. No seller, buyer, tenant, landlord, developer, co-broker is a tough cookie if you know how to handle them well enough and manage their expectations.
MBT: What made you choose a career in real estate?
CMT: I believe real estate is one of the most interesting career choices as you get to influence and witness some of the most crucial property-related decisions for your clients from purchasing that first dream home to choosing the perfect investment property with future potential price appreciation.
MBT: How many homes and apartments on an average have you sold each year as a real estate agent?
CMT: As I’m doing real estate in two countries – Singapore and Myanmar – and also have a team of real estate agents whom I’ve trained, inspired and groomed in both countries, the number of deals we have closed is countless. I’d have to come back to you on that for an exact figure.
MBT: How do you handle brokering sales and leasing transactions across multiple property types?
CMT: I live, eat and breathe real estate and have dealt with countless sales, leasing, buying, project sales, overseas properties sales, mortgage so it comes naturally to me.
MBT: Do you have any experience designing marketing materials?
CMT: Normally it’s the graphic designers who will do these tasks but we guide them with our property related marketing sense so that the end product becomes appealing to customers. As only we know our customers well enough.
MBT: What, in your opinion, makes a good real estate agent?
CMT: To be the best realtor whom your customers will always look for you and only you, you must be well equipped with market knowledge, competitor analysis; know selling points of the property, be able to forecast future potentials; create and maintain relationship and chemistry with the customer; and provide superb after sales treatment.
So, basically the tasks of a realtor comprise of some of the job scopes of a tour guide, psychologist, relationship manager, financial advisor and best friend.