As a successful property agent based in Hong Kong, JLL Residential‘s Stella Abraham recently shared some secrets of her trade with Team Expat, explaining what it takes to help her clients call Hong Kong home, build a strong team, and thrive in the residential leasing and relocation services industry. Having assisted hundreds of expats in making the big move to the city, we value Stella’s experience and insights, and we’re excited to welcome her on board TheExpat.com as our resident property expert.
If you have always wanted to understand the market in Hong Kong, find the right property, or even work in real estate someday, read on… Here are Stella’s four top tips for succeeding as a residential agent in Hong Kong:
1. Embrace change and make it work for you
“A good estate agent is generally nosy,” says Stella. “You have to be chatty, proactive and put yourself forward. You have to get out there, and not stay in the office. Otherwise, you will lose touch with the market.”
“I’ve ended up enjoying close relationships with most of my clients, in part because I often meet them at such an important time in their life – moving countries is no easy feat!” she adds. “Making friends with expats does have some downsides though – I still feel sad when I have to attend farewell parties, even though I know I’ve made friends for life.”
2. Rites of passage: Anticipate tenants’ needs
Understanding where clients are in their lives is essential in finding them a suitable home. Their needs can change with time: at first they might want a bachelor pad, then a home to settle down in with a partner, then a nest for raising children, and finally they might look to downsize when those kids eventually fly the coop.
After living in Hong Kong for a few years, clients might well question if it is time to move to a new neighbourhood or if they are better off staying put and renewing their lease. The ability to anticipate their future needs isn’t just about real estate – it’s about lifestyle and what will satisfy them.
“It is an amazing feeling when you finally put away the last box, and have a cup of tea or a glass of wine and you know finally you’re home,” says Stella. “It’s exciting to help people look ahead and build the life that’s right for them, from accommodation, to schools, to clubs and leisure facilities.”
3. Do your best in both worlds
Hong Kong places agents in the potentially awkward position of representing the interests of both the landlord and the tenant. One hallmark of a good agent is the ability to make prudent judgement calls on behalf of the tenant, and match their needs with the realities of the market.
“I am powerless to change the market conditions and pricing, but I can help clients set realistic expectations to avoid disappointment, as well as make a strong case to landlords as to why they should sign a lease with a particular client at a particular price,” explains Stella. “A good negotiation ends with both sides achieving what they want.”
4. Build a diverse team to satisfy a multitude of clients
“As their careers progress, many agents – like me – move from focusing on their individual performance, to building teams and systems,” says Stella. “I still get a huge amount of satisfaction from finding a new home and a new life for a family in Hong Kong, but increasingly I am recruiting and managing team members with diverse skills, who can relate to a broad range of clients.”
JLL’s history, reputation and credibility in the marketplace can bring benefits to both agents and clients, and while that opens some doors it does not necessarily make the work any slower paced. For both Stella and her team of 20 agents, checking dozens of emails in the back of a taxi, rushing to their next appointments, and working outside office hours to meet clients when it suits them best is routine. But Stella says that’s all part of the buzz.
If you’re relocating to Hong Kong and need trusted property advice, Stella Abraham can help you navigate the foreign territory ahead! For more information on JLL’s extensive Residential Leasing Services, visit their website.
NOTE: This article originally appeared on jll.com.hk