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Million-dollar mindset

·8-min read

Rayne Chua, associate division director at PropNex and leader of Rayne Chua Division, has successfully managed to ‘fast-track’ her way into retirement through property. Now, the 2021 PropNex Millionaire Achiever wants to help her clients do the same

Real estate in Singapore has long been regarded as a stable and rewarding asset, especially when prices of properties have been rising in the land-scarce city state.

“I think everyone should aspire to own a property under their own name,” says Rayne Chua, associate division director at PropNex and leader of Rayne Chua Division. “The type of the property doesn’t matter. It’s about holding a piece of property at any time and then progressing to hold a property that’s worth more over the years.”

Apart from helping homeowners and home-seekers find the best homes for their needs, Chua is also passionate about helping her clients attain financial freedom by making good financial decisions when it comes to their property.

Chua should know the benefits of making smart property investing decisions. The property agent grew her nest egg through the years, from when she was in her early 20s and living in a HDB flat with her parents, to owning two private condos today — one for investment purposes, and another to live in.

She says: “The remuneration from being a property agent and subsequently upgrading my property portfolio fast-tracked my own life, as well as my retirement plans. That’s why I’m passionate about helping my clients do the same.

Is there a particular type of property that works best for property investors?

The type of property doesn’t matter; it’s really about growing your asset value over the years. For instance, if you own a property that’s worth $1 million now, do you know how you’re going to grow your asset to one that’s worth $1.5 million or $2 million? That is something I want to help my clients with — to increase their asset value while working towards their retirement. At that point, they can then cash out or downgrade if they want to.

How would you advise your clients on building their property portfolio?

I always encourage my clients to start as early as they can so they can take advantage of each property cycle. The later you start, the fewer cycles you have. For married couples, I would advise them to aspire to own one residential property each if they can afford it, to enjoy future gains and to save on the additional buyer’s stamp duty.

It’s about getting your feet into the market. You don’t want to look back and regret not buying the property you were looking at when it was cheaper.

How would you advise would-be investors to start if they don’t have enough cash on them?

They should buy whatever that’s within their means and not overstretch their finances. I’d also advise my clients to keep reviewing their portfolio and discuss with their consultant in terms of asset growth.

Don’t just buy a piece of property, and sit on it. You’ll want to buy with a plan in mind for the next five, 10 and 15 years.

Now that property prices are high, would you still recommend it as a form of investment?

We can never predict the price trends for sure, but I’d say that the buying sentiment and land sales are very vibrant. The price indexes for the different property segments are still showing very positive statistics now.

Even if prices dip, you will not realise your loss as long as you don’t sell. Simply buy within your means, you should profit from your investment. In my opinion, most people will make money from their property investment if they plan their finances properly. It’s only a matter of how much they will make from their purchases.

To this end, don’t speculate and don’t play the waiting game.

When it comes to property investing, is it better to buy for passive income or for capital gains?

People buy property for different reasons, naturally. Buying a property is one of the biggest purchases in your life, so it is important to consider your options and select carefully. Talk to an expert to assess your choices and whether you can afford their property comfortably, before putting money down.

Based on what I’ve seen so far, older investors are more interested in steady, passive income, especially when they retire.

Is it better to keep renting out the property or sell at a profit if there’s a lot of maintenance involved?

It depends on what you’re going to do with the money next if you sell your property. If you don’t have any plans for the money, it’s better to keep the apartment and take the passive income as opposed to leaving it in the bank.

On maintaining the apartment, this is where a good agent comes in. He or she should manage everything for you such that you don’t have to worry about such logistics.

You’re also looking to build your team. What can agents look out for under your leadership?

I specialise in project marketing, which is useful for agents looking to break into the new projects market, or new agents looking to learn the processes, including marketing these projects.

My business model also revolves around property consultancy where I help clients understand their options carefully through careful financial calculations and effective unit selection to help them grow their property portfolio and retire early.

What is something about your team that you’re proud of?

I lead a team of 35 agents, aged between 25 and 35 years old. They are mainly brand-new agents who have just completed their real estate salesperson exams. I am especially proud that 60%-70% of the full-time agents are consistent six-figure income earners.

Many of them are platinum achievers, reaching $100,000 in commissions a month. The division also came in among the Top 10 in PropNex in 2021 by grossing a team sales commission of close to $3.5 million during the year, which is very respectable for a team of our size.

Are there criteria for joining your team?

Nope, as long as they are 100% willing to put in hard work, and are open to doing things that are out of their comfort zone. After all, being a property agent is akin to being an entrepreneur, where you have to be willing to push your boundaries.

I would also like to invite aspiring agents and existing agents who are keen to learn more about our sustainable business model to speak to me.

What are you like as a team leader and what can you offer to your team that other agents cannot offer?

I am very much a trainer, and my structured teaching and training has helped many new agents understand the business better, especially when they’re just starting out. After all, my degree is in teaching, and I was an educator for 16 years before joining the industry, so newer agents understand my teaching a lot better than the rest.

I constantly tell my team to keep their eyes on the prize. I believe in on-the-job training, so I allow my agents to shadow me on my appointments so they can model after me.

My team and I believe in working and playing hard. We even travel together, where I bring them on annual overseas trips. We also have regular team bonding activities like retreats, yacht parties and many more.

What advice would you give a new agent in your team that’s starting out?

Every deal matters. Everyone loves to close big deals, but if you keep harping on it and don’t do the small ones, that’s when you might not have the money to maintain your expenses, as it’s about cashflow, especially for newer agents.

You never know. A small deal might lead to a big one. If you do a good job, word will spread.

What is one part of your career that you’re particularly proud of?

During the Covid-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2021, I achieved the PropNex Millionaire award for the first time. That was also the best two years of my real estate career, where we learned to close transactions through social media, Zoom calls and virtual tours, given the social distancing measures.

In that period, I still managed to help a lot of my clients achieve their property goals. Having my clients enjoying the fruits of their property decisions and seeing the smiles on their faces is priceless.

What do you think keeps clients coming back to you?

I have their best interests at heart. Even after a deal is closed, I’ll still be readily contactable. It can be small things like providing them with recommended contacts to service their air-conditioning, or following up with them in terms of their rental needs. When it’s time, I’ll check back in with them to let them know that it’s a good time to sell. If you’ve never transacted with me before, I would like you to know that I am very big on helping my clients get closer to their retirement plans, which involves short- and long-term planning.

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