Graduating from a business background, Edith Tay is the Executive Director of PropertyBank Pte Ltd, an award-winning consultancy firm that offers customised property solutions for businesses. She is also the author of “Property Blueprint for Businesses”, a book that provides insights on commercial and industrial sectors with her over 20 years of experience in real estate.
Edith’s previous years representing DTZ, Knight Frank, SembCorp, have imbued in her a strong and substantial foundation in commercial real estate. She has serviced both occupiers and investors, many of whom continue to engage her for negotiations of subsequent premises and projects.
PropertyGuru is delighted to share her career story and advice to fellow real estate agents on how they can adapt to current industry trends and succeed in commercial real estate.
Challenges of Commercial vs. Residential Real Estate
When asked about the different challenges between commercial and residential real estate, she emphasises the need to stay well-informed on the latest industry trends and regulations and exercise patience when dealing with business clients.
“You need to understand the rules and regulations affecting commercial real estate, the industry and corporations at large. For most residential real estate peers, the needs are more individual/family driven. There is a fair amount of email correspondence and documentation when it comes to handling the needs of corporations. This will be substantially different from doing groundwork in sourcing and marketing of commercial and industrial properties.”
Knowledge + Sincerity = Success
As a firm believer in continuous learning, she highlights the importance of enriching one’s knowledge on the industry so he/she can better serve clients, by understanding their business challenges and providing the right solutions.
As a real estate agent, it is important to “equip oneself with good advisory skills and writing skills”. Being able to stay on top of global trends and plan ahead for clients come from extensive reading, so one is always prepared to advise and engage in dialogue with clients.
“There are 2 types of seekers / investors, those that are helping their companies and those who are looking for investment for themselves. The advisory skills are not learnt from textbooks – it takes time to master. The needs to serve corporations require higher understanding of the industry, the company’s needs, the government regulations, etc.”
She also attributes her success to the various role models she encountered at various stages of her career, and this has helped her gain valuable skills and knowledge.
With all these aside, she believes that being sincere and authentic are personal traits that every real estate agent should possess and to be able to acknowledge what one is lacking.
“It is not possible that you can know everything from the start, especially when handling complex commercial and industrial property transactions. It is important to be honest about what we lack and find the resources to enable us to solve the problems.”
Constructing Better Workplaces for Employees
With 50% of employees returning to the workplace in 2022, Edith is positive about what lies ahead for commercial real estate. She observes that companies are putting in more effort into rationalising workplaces by turning them into “more flexible, efficient and sustainable spaces along with the need to promote employee welfare”. This includes transforming the workplace into a safe and comfortable haven for employees, while adopting a hybrid workplace arrangement to better serve their needs.
“Covid is not going to disappear soon, it is time for companies to take actions. There is uncertainty with the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Change is the only constant. Companies will have to look into the hardware and software aspects to embrace the return of staff to workplaces. Companies have to re-think how the space will serve the needs of their employees (software), on top of making it safe (hardware).”
At PropertyBank, Edith prides herself with their 3R framework to serve clients. It starts with the need to right-size the office, then sourcing for a replacement tenant to take over the un-utilised space of their clients’ lease and finally, helping their clients find a renovated space.
The Future of Commercial Real Estate
Edith feels optimistic about the prospects of commercial real estate. Despite the slowing down of the industry when the pandemic first hit, it has now bounce back and will continue to grow as Singapore remains “considerably attractive to businesses and investors”.
From her point of view, Singapore’s political and economic stability will continue to attract property investors. She foresees a continuous growth of tech companies and family offices investing in Singapore due to its strong financial infrastructure. There will also be demand from investors with excess funds looking at non-residential properties to diversify their property investment portfolio.
“Personally, I was involved in helping several foreign institutions set up their operations in Singapore in the recent 1 year. This trend will continue as Singapore thrives to be attractive for companies wanting to set up a regional office here. We will also see companies rationalising their real estate in the next 2 years as they are now more aware of the situation.”
PropertyGuru sincerely thank Edith for sharing her nuggets of wisdom, and we wish her and PropertyBank all the best in their business endeavours!
Being a better partner for you,