Real estate career in Singapore



Are you thinking of joining the real estate industry in Singapore?

Full of questions in your head?

I started thinking (very) seriously about joining the real estate industry in 2009. Back then, I researched online for more information but couldn’t find much “personal” sharing. 

I hope my candid sharing on this page answers your questions.

My background is in Computer Science, which I first studied at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and then at the National University of Singapore.

So, how did I end up in real estate?

See my About page.


What are the most common challenges new property agents face in Singapore?

Essentially, they face the same challenges that most new business owners face.

What awaits?

New property agents may struggle to find clients and generate leads.

This is especially true if they don’t have an existing network or referral sources.

This is probably the biggest challenge for most property agents. Many new PROPERTY agents drop out after 6 to 12 months because they fail to secure enough clients. 


Balancing prospecting, client meetings, paperwork, and personal life can be overwhelming for new property agents. 

This can be incredibly challenging if you are just married or starting a new family. You will need a supportive and understanding spouse/partner. 

However, explaining to a young kid why you are always away during weekends may be more challenging. 

Or when you have to stop playing with him suddenly because you need to close that deal immediately – just like what happened to me. Once.


Our income is 100% commission-based.

A successful transaction may take months or even years to close. In some cases, the deals may burst and you would end up with nothing.

The commission for a successful sale can take between 3 and 24 months to be paid. For rentals, the commission is usually paid when the tenancy agreement has been signed and the tenant has made the necessary payments to the landlord.

You don’t need a lot of capital to become a property agent. But you need to have enough to tide you till the commission is paid.

Note that the real estate agency (CEA calls Estate Agent) takes a cut of the commission you bring in. This is known as the resale split.


What they teach in the Real Estate Salesperson course is primarily theoretical.

Technical skills, people skills, IT skills, marketing skills, presentation skills, negotiation skills, market knowledge and even navigational skills – once you step onto the field, you will need to build up multiple skill sets to secure and close deals. 

It takes time to learn and master. But it can be done.

Mastery takes time
Mastery takes time

Property agents often face rejection from potential clients or lose deals they’ve been working on.

This usually feels like personal failure or judgement, even when it’s not intended that way. The emotional sting can be very real for most. 


Unlike the corporate world, you are your own boss when you become a property agent. There is no manager or boss to report to.

You are answerable to your family & yourself.

Your upline isn’t responsible for you.

If you lack the drive & discipline to run your business, no one can push or help you.

Why are you doing this? Who are you doing this for?


The real estate industry is super competitive. PERIOD.

Still here?


Now that I’m done with the scary part, let’s talk about the exciting parts.

The good news
Exciting parts coming!


Embrace the challenges and reap the rewards of a thriving career as a property agent.


Your income is directly tied to your performance, so there’s no limit to how much you can earn based on your effort and skill.

In the real estate industry, the more experienced you are, the more valued you are—something that, unfortunately, doesn’t always happen in the corporate world. 

Become an entrepreneur and move away from the trappings of traditional employment.


Your work can significantly influence and impact an individual or family’s life journey, which can be incredibly fulfilling.


With the number of skill sets you need to pick up & constantly improve upon, you will undoubtedly grow and develop new capabilities.



People buy and sell properties in good times.

They buy and sell properties in bad times, too.


I know this cuts both ways.

Barring urgent last-minute appointments to attend to, you have great flexibility in planning your time. 


Property agents get to negotiate deals that go into millions of dollars. We play a crucial role in closing deals.

How many jobs give you such an opportunity to do so?

Oh, and we get to see pretty and unbelievable properties while we’re making deals! Look at the living room of this unit below.

Impressive space. Imagine the view beyond.
Imagine the view beyond. Can you guess where this is?

Everyone needs a place to stay, right?

As a property agent, there are opportunities for you to meet and build relationships with diverse people, including clients (locals & foreigners), other property agents, and industry professionals. 

Now, let’s talk about two of the most common questions I get.

Q1. How fast will it take me to close my first deal?

This is a question that I don’t have an answer for you.

We are unique in our educational & professional background, our characters, our outlook on life, our resources, our commitment, our motivation and our skill sets.

I would have only met or spoken to you for 5 to 10 minutes. How could I realistically guess the effort, drive and attitude that you are going to put into your business?

Let me share a story with you.

A fellow property agent (let’s call him, Jim) and I were jointly marketing a vacant 5-storey cluster house for sale.

When the buyer arrived for the viewing appointment, we spent a few minutes talking to him at the door.

From the conversation, it was clear to both of us that this buyer wouldn’t be buying the house. He couldn’t quite afford the house.

Despite this, the buyer expressed a strong desire to go into the property (already vacant) for a house tour. Jim tried to hint to the buyer that there was no point in seeing if he couldn’t afford the house.

However, I saw things differently.

Since the buyer was already there and I had set the time aside to conduct the viewing, I was happy to give the buyer a tour of the property. And so I conducted the tour alone.

Moral of the story?

There’s no right or wrong. Jim wasn’t wrong. Everyone’s time is precious, and we shouldn’t waste other people’s time. Jim wanted to cut short “his losses.”

Having said that, I’m equally comfortable with my take on the situation. Since the buyer and I were already there, let’s do it. Who knows what opportunity might arise?

What would you have done in this particular situation?

I don’t know. Likewise many other unknown situations.

So there’s no way I can answer how fast you can close your first deal. There are rookies who closed their first deal within the first few weeks of getting their licence.

On the other hand, I’ve also heard a case where the rookie couldn’t close a single deal during her first year.

Me? It took me three months.

Q2. How much can I make?

The simple answer is how much you can make is really up to you.

The highest earners in the industry easily make more than a million dollars a year.

Having said that, the truth is not everyone who comes into this line succeeds.

The turnover rate is very high because most people give up too quickly. They entered the industry without the right mindset and drive.

What kind of mindset do you feel is required to do well in this line?


My associates come from varied backgrounds, including banking, video editing, sales, IT, and social services.

Two of them have been with me for more than ten years. I feel very blessed to have crossed paths with everyone in the team.


Through the years, I’ve had people of all ages reach out to me to explore the idea of becoming a property agent.

Do you know the youngest ever to reach out to me?

A 12-year-old boy named Javier.

It was a surreal moment. See our WhatsApp exchange below.

My chat with Javier - part 1
Young Javier reaches out
My chat with Javier part 2
Javier wants to start his own agency
My chat with Javier part 3
“Is the property agent exam easy?
My chat with Javier part 4
“Good luck with your PSLE!

Javier exhibited very rare determination and maturity, which is rare for someone so young.

He took definitive steps to seek someone who could explain to him how he could become a property agent one day. And the results he needs.

He possesses the right ingredients to do well in whatever he chooses. I’m inspired by him.

What about you?

You’ve taken the first step to becoming a property agent in Singapore.

Are you going to continue moving forward?

Taking the step forward

Sometimes the smallest step
in the right direction
ends up being the biggest
step of your life.

Tip top if you must,
but take the step.

Contact Jack Sheo


Are you wondering what to do in today’s market?

Perhaps you already have a clear mind of what you want to do?

In my blog, I often share stories of the challenges, triumphs, and lessons learned in my work as a real estate agent in Singapore.

Regardless of your situation, you can use me as a sounding board. I’ll provide perspective and clarity from my experience.