The Singapore Estate Agents Association (SEAA) is the largest industry representative body for real estate salespersons in Singapore (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) – At the SG Real Estate Agents Excellence Awards 2021 recently, 374 winners were recognised for their efforts and outstanding performance in the industry. The annual event is organised by the Singapore Estate Agents Association (SEAA), the largest industry representative body for real estate salespersons in Singapore. This year’s awards ceremony was held virtually on Nov 5 with guest of honour Tan Kiat How, Minister of State for Communications and Information & National Development.
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EdgeProp Singapore was the official media partner for the event, which was streamed live. Award entry requirements and criteria remained similar to last year’s inaugural event.
Categories contested include the Outstanding Youths Award which recognises agents aged 28 or younger, the Senior Achievers Award for agents over 60 years old, and the Rookies Award for new agents who joined the industry after July 1, 2019. There were also Salesperson Achievement Awards for top earners.
The awards’ working committee in a virtual group photo with CEA’s executive director Lim Chee Hwee (on screen) (Credit: SEAA)
According to SEAA president Adam Wang, it was important to organise industry awards that were inclusive and open to all agents, regardless of age or experience. “Everyone deserves to be recognised for their performances and hard work outside the agency, at the national level,” he told EdgeProp Singapore in an email interview.
This year’s awards saw nine winners for the Outstanding Youths Award, 13 winners for the Rookies Award, five winners for the Senior Achievers Award, and 347 recipients for the Salespersons Achievement Award, which was spread across four tiers — Diamond, Platinum, Gold and Silver.
Wang: Everyone deserves to be recognised for their performances and hard work outside the agency, at the national level (Credit: SEAA)
The awards are officially recognised by industry regulator Council of Estate Agents (CEA). All award recipients have their titles published in their respective profiles on CEA’s public register.
All award applicants were evaluated by a panel of three judges — Chong Kee Hiong, CEO of Suntec REIT manager ARA Trust Management; Fortis Law CEO Patrick Tan; and Professor Sing Tien Foo, director of the Institute of Real Estate and Urban Studies at the National University of Singapore.
Both qualitative and quantitative measures were used to assess applicants. Besides looking at sales performance, client testimonials were also taken into account to ensure a well-rounded evaluation.
In his opening remarks for the awards ceremony, Minister Tan congratulated all the award recipients. “[The winners] have exemplified not just good sales performance, but more importantly, a high level of professionalism to deserve this recognition,” he says.
The ‘4 Ps’ approach
In his speech, Minister Tan mapped out how agents and organisations can work towards improving the industry through what he calls the “4 Ps” approach — professionalism, productivity, progressive and partnership.
For productivity, in particular, he noted the increasing adoption of digital tools within the industry, such as online property research tools and the use of digital signatures for tenancy agreements. “On our part, CEA has also rolled out the new Advanced CEA Estate Agencies System (ACEAS) in July this year to replace its decade-old system,” he adds.
Underscoring the need to address online-related issues faced by agents, Minister Tan announced the launch of the Alliance for Action (AfA) on Accurate Property Listings, which aims to eliminate dummy and duplicate property listings. “This is a long-standing problem that consumers [and property agents] have often faced when searching for properties,” he says. Co-led by the SEAA, the alliance includes the five largest property agencies — PropNex, ERA, OrangeTee & Tie, Huttons Asia and SRI. EdgeProp Singapore will be a member of the AfA as well.
A voice for agents
SEAA president Wang echoes Minister Tan’s observations on the shifting technological landscape, noting that it continues to be a key concern for many agents especially within the Covid-19 environment. “Salespersons, especially those who are not tech-savvy, may not keep up with the latest technology tools and adoption of social media marketing. This makes them vulnerable to being left behind by their peers,” he says.
To that end, SEAA has placed significant emphasis on educating its members, rolling out online training sessions and webinars to teach agents how to use tools such as 360-degree virtual tours, electronic signing of lease documents, data analytics property reports, project launch websites and push technology to reach out to potential clients.
The initiatives by SEAA underscore its goal to promote competence and ethical conduct in the industry through continuous education and establishing industry benchmarks to raise the bar on professionalism. To get there, Wang says that a unified voice representing the industry will be crucial. He hopes that more agents will see the value of joining SEAA, which currently has some 5,000 members.
In the coming year, the SEAA intends to roll out more training programmes, ensuring salespersons stay relevant and equipped with the most current knowledge and tools. It also recently appointed CEO Edmund Toh, effective Nov 1. Toh had previously served as an executive council member for the SEAA.