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Broker of the Month: Agnes Alsua – Tan

A real estate professional for more than a decade, Hoppler’s Broker of the Month, Agnes Tan, knows that the industry is full of challenges, but she also knows the rewards of persistence and determination that ultimately bring a sense of fulfillment. In this interview, she talks about how she manages to stay at the top of her game, her beginnings as a partner broker, and what she believes are key for younger real estate professionals to succeed in real estate.

Can you tell us about yourself and what made you pursue a career in real estate?

I started in the industry about 12 years ago. My family and I embarked on a project to make a family property near the universities more productive by converting it into student housing. Wanting to learn more about the industry, I enrolled myself in different real estate related classes and seminars such as leasing and property management.

Eventually, I got an invitation to take Real Estate Brokerage classes so I could get licensed. Little did I know that this decision would open many doors for me. It all started with a friend, who was based abroad, knowing I was in the business of leasing out properties. He asked me to manage his property, because he didn’t really have anyone back home who could look after it for him.

Eventually, the future tenant of this property introduced me to several others who would become future tenants, and my business and my network just grew from there.

What inspires you in this line of work?

I would have to say it’s the relationships that I’ve built that keep me going. It gives me fulfillment when I am able to help clients, whether it’s a renter or a buyer looking for a future home or a home owner wanting to make their real estate investments profitable.

Being an introvert, this industry has brought me out of my shell. My network has vastly expanded since. Knowing that the work that I do has value inspires me to keep learning and improving my services.

What has been the most challenging part about being a broker?

As a broker, I find that my biggest challenge is often how to make different and sometimes opposing minds meet to reach an end goal but with fairness in mind. Whether it’s a closing price, disputes on improvements, or repairs needed on leased properties, our role is to push to make things happen. When they don’t, that’s when the challenge comes in.

What valuable lessons have you learned from being in this line of work?

People think that our job is just to sell and close the deal, and then we get paid. However, to build a sustainable business, I realized that brokers must take heart at each step of the transaction.

I don’t want to think that our job ends with closing. Instead, I want to take care of my clients beyond that closing.

This business is about trust, and word travels fast. If your client can trust you to deliver, then you can trust that they’ll provide referrals for you. They are your best marketing tool.

Time management is very important. Now that everyone is online, real estate brokers are so accessible to clients. It can be overwhelming. It’s takes a conscious effort to learn to navigate through their demands and requirements, and at the same time learn to make time for myself and my family.

As much as we want to achieve a work-life balance, to me, it’s really more about making every moment count. If you’ve allocated time to work, do your work wholeheartedly. And when you are with your family, then be present there.

How did you first encounter Hoppler?

One of my first deals was with a Sales Director from Hoppler. I saw how professional she was, and I admired her work ethic. I also saw through her that Hoppler is welcoming and accommodating to co-brokers. I like that the Hoppler team recognizes collaboration and cooperation as things that can help close more deals faster.

What were 3 things you wish you knew when you were starting out?

I would have wanted to figure out early on that real estate is an industry built on relationships — that cooperation between brokers is important.

I also wish I knew that we had to learn a lot about technical matters such as taxation and financial analysis. Having the knowledge to analyze data and learning how to present them to our clients so they can make a more informed decisions gives us a good edge in the industry.

And lastly, I wish I knew how broad the industry is, that we have to be creative in sourcing the supply side of the business, that it’s not just the big developers that can offer us the supply but also pocket developers and individual investors.

What’s a memorable piece of advice you received that prepared you for being a real estate broker?

“People will always need a home.”

It sounds simple but isn’t it true? It assures me that there will always be opportunities for me as a broker. If the economy is good, then people will continue to buy, developers will keep building and brokers can keep facilitating sales. And if the economy takes a negative turn, people will still need a home perhaps not as buyers but as renters. Either way, we brokers will always have a need to fulfill.

What would you impart to younger brokers to encourage them in this career?

Persistence and determination is important. You will see many closed doors, but just keep going. It’s a large and varied market, but with hard work you will surely find your sweet spot. While many other businesses would require a large capital to start, real estate brokerage only requires your time, dedication, and trustworthiness for you to reap rewards.

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