Successful real estate agents are driven entrepreneurs in their own right.
"[They] treat their job like a business and manage it wholeheartedly," says Raymond Li-ngai, a senior sales director at Centaline Property Agency. "They always look for opportunities."
Li says the demand for real estate agents has increased in recent years, thanks to a booming market. Amid intensifying business competition, he advises new agents to cultivate long-term relationships with clients and stay attuned to the latest market news.
"Whenever a new property is out, I drive my colleagues [to the site] and gather as much information as possible about it and its surroundings to keep our clients informed," he says.
The ability to think outside the box also helps boost business. Recalling an experience in which his colleagues had little luck in selling a property in Mid-Levels, where a screen of morning mist prevented potential buyers from appreciating the usually expansive views, Li arranged client visits in the late afternoon instead, even though that would entail longer working hours.
"As the evening neared, the mist dissipated and the view of Victoria Harbour was breathtaking, which was the perfect time to see the [property]. I am glad I took the extra step," he says.
Li says real estate professionals should develop the skills to better serve deep-pocketed mainlanders who have become the new market darlings. "Candidates who are fluent in Putonghua have an advantage. We also look for people who have worked on the mainland or developed business connections there," he says.
Individuals who have completed Form Five are eligible to become real estate agents. All agents need to obtain a licence from the Estate Agents Authority. But Li says that rather than moving on to a management position, some agents stay in sales to make more money.
While receiving a basic salary, agents derive their income mainly from commissions. The base pay for newcomers is about HK$5,000 a month, while experienced professionals earn about HK$7,500. With commissions, the latter can make HK$30,000 to HK$40,000 a month.