Banker turned Real Estate Negotiator(REN), Hilda Halim from Knight Frank Property Hub shares all about from improving herself to managing to balance her time between work and family. Here's her story.
How long have you been in real estate and what is your background?
I worked as a Bank Executive for 21 years before deciding to pursue my real estate license. I have been a licensed Real Estate Negotiator for the last 6 years at Knight Frank Property Hub (formerly known as Property Hub).
What made you want to be in real estate?
Before I joined any real estate agency, a few friends & clients asked me to sell their properties, but at that time I had no idea what are the procedures & how to sell properties (a very typical banker will 1st check procedures). So, I checked online & came across the BOVAEP website:
“The punishment for such is a conviction to a fine not exceeding RM300,000, or imprisonment for a term, not more than 3 years, or both. A further penalty of RM1,000 for each day during the continuance of such offence shall also be imposed.”
That is where I decided to become a licensed real estate negotiator.
What are some of the proudest moments in your real estate career?
I have a few memorable & proudest ones and I think the 3 worth mentioning are these:
- I have sold a property in KK to a client all the way from Limbang, Sarawak. Arranged everything for him including his loan application to a lawyer. A day before he signed the SPA at the lawyer's office, he called me & needed me to assist him with the SPA. I told him that a lawyer will help him with the signing but he said he trusts me more than any lawyer. I’m honoured & we became friends till now.
It is normal when clients call me asking for advice when it comes to property. But there was a client who called me asking for advice on what to do with the termites problem & there was a client who called me asking for advice on furniture’s arrangement. Not to mention some call me just because they need someone to talk to.
- Won 2nd runner up for Top Rookie Property Hub Malaysia in 2017
- Being selected for Women in Real Estate by Property Hunter
If you could go back in time, what do you wish you knew about the industry sooner?
I can see some major differences being in this line as compared to my previous job. Now I’m in the property industry, I have ample time to prepare dishes for my family (especially during Ramadhan) and get engaged with other activities which I rarely get to experience while I was working in my previous job. All it takes now is to manage my schedules and appointments accordingly and I will have extra time to do things for myself.
The lucrative income will be another advantage that I get from being a REN. I have my own set of targeted sales that I want to achieve monthly, and I will plan out my work accordingly so that my targeted sales are met.
Being a REN has also given me the opportunity to improve my communication skills & increase my knowledge in the real estate industry along the way, I have met nice people who were initially my clients and we have become friends till now. So if you ask me if I could go back in time, what do I wish I knew about the industry sooner & my answer will definitely be I wish I can start my journey to REA in my 20’s and start earlier in real estate to learn the many categories of real estate such as residential, land, commercial, industrial and projects. To know many awesome colleagues and bosses in Knight Frank Property Hub earlier.
What is the worst real estate advice you ever heard?
Oh, I’ve heard a few, such as:
- “Hold off, property prices are going down.” If you want or need to buy a home, the time isn’t someday—it’s now. And with a lack of inventory and the busiest time of the year approaching, property prices aren’t going down anytime soon.
- “You don’t need to use a real estate agent.” In a market where houses are moving so fast, it would give you whiplash, a professional & experience license real estate negotiator is indispensable. Not only do they (REN) know about properties long before you do, an agent’s knowledge and experience will help you get the house you want at the best price.
What is the best advice you could give a client or a friend in real estate?
For clients or friends who are planning to sell their properties:
- Price your properties where it is going to sell. Be sure it is not the highest-price home in the neighbourhood. If you overprice your home, you may have just helped your neighbour sell theirs.
- Create an atmosphere conducive to selling a home. Get it cleaned out and freshly painted where needed.
- Hire an experienced & professional real estate negotiator who is a GTA Specialist (Geographical Target Area Specialist), ‘knows your house’, its’ value, the area and comparable sales in the area. She or he will have a strategy for selling your home. Trust your REN and trust the process.
For clients or friends who are planning to buy their properties:
- Location, Location, Location! Still holds true in the real estate scene as the most crucial factor when buying a property. The location is King!
- Find a home that is within your price range. Think about how all costs will affect your finances and stick to your decision on price range and mortgage payment.
- Research neighbourhood for best fit. Be careful not to buy a home based on the property and price alone. Ask your real estate agent for information on crime rates and the quality of schools around your prospective neighbourhoods. Calculate your new commute times to see if they seem manageable. Visit the neighbourhood at different times and days to check for traffic conditions and noise levels and to see if people are comfortable being outdoors. Only choose a neighbourhood that you and your family feel good about.
- It is good to connect with your real estate negotiator as they have a good idea of what you’re looking for. They can use multiple listings to find homes that meet your criteria in your desired area.
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