For Teammy Lee, discovering real estate was by chance which is remarkable, considering that he managed to bag the coveted Star Negotiator Award at the recent iProperty.com’s Agents Advertising Awards 2016 at the young age of 24. Currently a team leader at GS Realty Sdn Bhd, he specialises in residential properties in the Bandar Sungai Long and Cheras areas.
Teammy’s interest in the industry was piqued in 2011. While studying in college, his friend was looking to invest in an apartment to live in and requested Teammy’s help to look for a real estate agent. Teammy enlisted a few realtors, but neither one of them could help him.
He decided to help his friend instead. Teammy researched on available properties based on his friend’s needs and financial capability. He narrowed down the potentials and finally negotiated a deal with the seller’s broker. Teammy’s efforts proved successful as his friend moved into his new place just a month later. On top of that, his hard work did not go unrewarded as Teammy managed to secure a commission from his co-broking exercise.
TAKING THE LEAP
Teammy explained, “At this point, I realised that it was not difficult assisting my friend as the whole ‘realtor’ process fascinated me – from market research to negotiating the best price and terms, I enjoyed it all. I decided then that this is what I want to do and signed up to be a part-time real estate negotiator with GS Realty not long after”.
In between juggling classes on Business IT and accounting, he began his training to be a negotiator. Teammy spent the first few months learning as much as possible from his mentors at GS Realty.
Sharing his learning experience, Teammy said he did not cut any corners. Besides absorbing everything that was taught, he read materials online and studied videos on the best marketing strategies and practises, negotiating skills, how to assist buyers in obtaining loans and equipping himself with the laws relating to property, contract and marketing practises.
The fruits of his labours paid off – in his first year in 2011, Teammy earned a six-figure commission salary and was promoted to become a team leader when he was 20.
THE PROBLEM SOLVER
“To me, a realtor is not a salesperson – I am a matchmaker, I introduce people to homes and connect sellers to buyers,” explained Teammy. For him, sitting down with a client and having a genuine heart to heart conversation is always the start of each property search.
“For instance, for homebuyers, finding out what kind of property or the setting they are used to living in and then learning about their lifestyle, social life and family are important factors to consider even before I think about which properties to show,” he added.
In addition, he strives to be there every step of the way for his clients –including using his accounting background to provide financial advice and how to deal with tax issues. Also, over time he had cultivated his very own team of trusted contractors, lawyers and bankers to fall back on for reliable advice and assistance.
It is these strategies that have brought Teammy so far down the road of real estate brokering at such a young age. They not only allow him to achieve quicker and more effective property showings but also help him build strong and lasting relationships with his clients, who in turn does him the favour of opening more doors by recommending him to their friends and family.
SELF MOTIVATION IS KEY
However, it has not been a walk in the park for Teammy. As he explained, “Many people venture into real estate not fully understanding the job requirements. It takes a lot of creativity, guts and hard work to be a successful negotiator. Deals are not going to fall into your lap – you will need to stretch the limits of your comfort zone by talking to strangers, cold calling, learning sales skills and most importantly building and maintaining every single client relationship.”
“It is not as glamorous as many would expect – I have spent years doing ‘floor time’, holding open houses, and working nonstop, seven days a week,” he added.
His girlfriend, Micky affirms his dedication and self-discipline. “Teammy is always on the go – there are no off-hours for him; he replies to his client’s inquiries immediately and constantly updates them on his progress.
Going the extra mile is second nature to him – for instance, on days where he does not even have a viewing appointment, he will still visit his listing sites just to make sure he does not miss any impromptu walk-in customers!” she revealed.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
As a team leader, Teammy has 20 realtors under his tutelage. He is a firm believer in leading by example. The main mantra he drums in his members is – “Customer satisfaction is the lifeblood of the business, so always keep close tabs on it”.
Teammy never lets his personal afflictions affect his role as a leader. Last year, he had no sales coming in for 6 months as the market was very slow and many were adopting a wait and see attitude. This did not deter him from continuing his duties in guiding and motivating his members.
An example of not giving up is his endeavour in helping a Bumiputera couple secure a home of their own. The couple had been trying for over a year as they have a limited budget and had all their loan applications rejected. Teammy strived to provide a solution – he managed to find them a secondary terrace home by urging and assisting them to apply under the My First Home Scheme initiative.
PLANS AND GOALS
Elaborating on his plans for the future, the enterprising lad wants to set up his very own real estate agency before he turns 30. In the meantime, he is looking to diversify his portfolio by working with developers to market their projects.
Teammy’s focus and energy were always for his clients, hence he has not had the chance to invest in properties himself. However, he is looking to change that and will be investing in his first rental property by next year – one of many no doubt.
This article was first published in the iProperty.com Malaysia September 2016 Magazine. Get your copy from selected news stands or view the magazine online for free at www.iproperty.com.my/magazine. Better yet, order a discounted subscription by putting in your details in the form below!