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From battling leukaemia to Titanium Achiever

·5-min read


A health check turned into a life-changing diagnosis for a then 31-year-old professional. This is how he turned his life around, launching his full-time real estate career and positioning himself as a go-to agent for luxury clients.

Turning 30 is usually the start of a decade of promise for most career professionals. It is typically when they have secured a stable job and are positioned to excel. This was the mindset held by Clarence Foo, who was working at a B2B technology consultancy in his early 30s in 2010.

“At the time, I had a very promising career that allowed me to travel throughout the Asia Pacific region for work and I was responsible for an important market in North Asia,” says Foo. “Given my background in engineering, I thrived in corporate consulting, identifying issues quickly to propose tailor-made solutions.”

But a seemingly routine check-up in April 2010 led to a life-changing diagnosis. At 31 years old, Foo was diagnosed with early-stage leukaemia. “This diagnosis was a shock and a pivotal moment that changed how I approached my life. I saw first-hand the suddenness and brevity of life,” he says.

He started chemotherapy in June 2010. Fortunately, the disease was caught relatively early, but it was still a miracle that by August of the same year he was given the all-clear by his doctors, he says.

Despite his full recovery, his professional life tumbled when he was retrenched in 2013. That year, his company closed its regional headquarters in Singapore. He was among the first to be let go. It was the second time he had been laid off after going through a similar experience in 2008.

It was a wake-up call, and he decided to enter the real estate business, joining the industry full time in October 2013. He recalls his experiences during these initial months as extremely challenging and physically draining.


Foo was recently recognised as one of the top performing PropNex agents in 2021, and he is among a prestigious group of 82 agents that represent the top 1% of PropNex agents last year. (Picture: Clarence Foo)

“I started out marketing myself in front of completed projects, waiting outside the gates for owners to collect their keys and presenting myself as an agent they could turn to if they wanted to sell their property later on,” says Foo.

He worked 10 to 12 hours like this on his feet, meeting and greeting potential clients at different developments.

He says that being a “sidewalk salesman” was a humbling experience and an abrupt change from his previous position as a director in a multinational company. He was also the sole breadwinner for his family at that time.

Despite the fast-paced nature of the job, he also learnt to celebrate the success of others. He recalls a poignant experience where he was vying to close an important $3 million transaction involving a resale unit at Rivergate.

“I had put in a lot of effort to try and close this sale for the owner, but was unsuccessful. In the end, I walked away and broke down in tears from the stress and effort. This experience taught me to be happy even when the success is not mine. It was a critical lesson that taught me how to deal with myself in the face of success,” says Foo.


Clarence Foo's calm, confident and grounded attitude has made him one of the most dependable realtors in the luxury market today. (Picture: Clarence Foo)

Eventually, his hard work paid off. By the end of his first year as a property agent, Foo was top rookie in his division. This came from handling a mix of rental transactions, resale opportunities, and a handful of Orchard and East Coast properties.

In June 2021, he moved to PropNex Realty where his experience saw him clinch the agency’s monthly Titanium Award. This accolade is usually given to the agency’s top three agents. He also joined the agency’s prestigious Luxury Team, helmed by veteran agent Dominic Lee.

Foo was also recently recognised as one of the top performing PropNex agents in 2021, and he is among a prestigious group of 82 agents that represent the top 1% of PropNex agents last year.

“Over the past few years, I have been gaining in confidence as a property agent. I have a natural attentiveness to detail, and this helped me serve many high-net-worth clients and position myself as a dependable figure in the luxury residential market,” says Foo.

Each sale usually takes weeks to close and involves a lot of background work and managing the expectations of all parties. Some of his notable luxury residential transactions, including a eight-figure deal, are for houses and condo units in the Keppel Bay, East Coast, Marina Bay, and Orchard Road districts.


Foo has a strong track record closing deals in the luxury market from high-end conso units to luxury landed properties in Sentosa. (Picture: Clarence Foo)

His close brush with leukaemia has shaped the way he conducts himself and the type of advice he gives his clients. For example, he makes it a point to discuss the benefits of long-term property investment planning. He also highlights the importance of exit strategies with clients who are willing to listen. He is a firm believer in what Benjamin Franklin said: “If we fail to plan, we are planning to fail.”

“It has taken me years to learn how to listen to my clients and understand their different needs and lifestyles. Along the way, they have come to regard me as a trusted source and a knowledgeable advisor for them and their families,” he says.

“Preparing for unexpected events can be difficult for some individuals. Life is full of uncertainties, but we don’t have to be caught unprepared. That is what legacy planning is about. This is what I aim to do for each client that I serve. My brush with cancer gives me calmness in knowing everything can be lost in a moment. Yet, I also have the confidence to invest for the future,” he says.

This calm, confident and grounded attitude has made Foo one of the most dependable realtors in the luxury market today.

Contact Clarence Foo l 97400311

Senior Associate Division Director (R052281G)

Propnex Pte Ltd

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