Subang Jaya,Sept 29,2015 . Interview with Carolyn Chin,director,CBD Properties Sdn Bhd . Pix by Mohd Izwan Mohd Nazam

CAROLYN Chin landed on both feet after her career as an air stewardess. Describing her days in airline travel as a good experience, the director and principal of CBD Properties (USJ) Sdn Bhd says it was good — not because of the opportunity to travel the world, but for all the lessons learnt about dealing with people, especially difficult ones, and handling unexpected situations with aplomb.

She recalls a long haul flight when one of the plane engines went idle. “The flight attendants had to stay calm and keep the passengers calm as well. We had to make sure they remained in their seats and not make them feel unduly worried.

“Flight attendants are trained to be calm and to always be prepared for everything. For instance, a passenger may choke while eating or have a heart attack — incidents that need immediate assistance.

“Strong customer service skills and time management are also very important as there are so many things that need to be done during the flight. We also need to deal with people of various nationalities and cultures. All these helped me a lot in building my career in the property industry,” says the 46-year-old from Teluk Intan, Perak.

Working as a Malaysia Airlines flight attendant for nearly six years in the 1990s when budget airlines have yet to take off, Chin had a life that was the envy of many girls and her peers.

However, after a life of jet-setting to cities around the globe, she found that she was missing home as she was regularly absent during family events and celebrations. That prompted her to think about changing careers.

“When you keep on flying, it’s very tough to maintain a relationship or family ties, so I decided to have a change,” she explains.

Her initial plan was to start a business related to children’s education but gave up on the thought when she found the cost. Then she met a real estate agent who was helping her brother rent out his property. Looking for a career change? he asked, and invited her to be a real estate agent. She decided to give it a shot.

“The adjustment was tough. In my previous job, my salary would be credited to my account on the same day every month, but now I had to work very hard to get my pay cheque. If I do nothing for the whole month, I get nothing,” she says.

There were times that made her wonder whether she should return to her old job. But she didn’t give up.

“I consider myself a perfectionist, whenever I do something, I make sure I am giving my best,” she says.

She gradually learnt the rules of the game and painstakingly built up her customer base. She also moved from the sub-sale residential market to marketing property projects, which gave her more opportunities in commercial and foreign property sales.

Chin says the airline and real estate businesses share some things in common. “Both are people-oriented, and both require integrity in fulfilling the promise of service,” she offers.

“To serve her customer well, a professional real estate agent needs to understand the transaction process, the product, as well as market conditions. Being an agent is not just about making appointments, opening the door for the customer to view the property and negotiating the price. There’s more work to be done behind the scenes,” she explains.

In order to turn her job into a profession, she studied to become a registered real estate agent, paving the way to her own agency, CBD Properties (USJ) Sdn Bhd, which she opened in early 2013 after obtaining her real estate agency licence. Now, instead of selling property, she helps others build their careers in the industry.

Managing an agency needs more commitment than usual. Besides recruiting agents and training them, she must provide them back-up and look into administrative matters.

“Many newcomers may perceive the real estate industry as a place to earn a lucrative income — which is true, but it depends on how hard the agent ploughs in. There’s no easy money,” she says.

Newcomers to the industry are often attracted to it because of the opportunity to organise their own time. Here’s what Chin has to say: “Agents may have flexible working hours but this means they do not have to show up for work during routine office hours. What it means is that agents work beyond normal working hours, even during weekends, to bring customers to view properties or to take part in property fairs to get business.”

CBD Properties currently has about 30 agents and negotiators. Chin continually comes up with new ideas to keep the team spirit positive because their success as agents decides the fate of the agency.

It’s been 17 years since she took that leap of faith from the airline world, and she has no regrets. She describes the real estate industry as a game of survival offering high-risk with good returns. “You will not get bored in this line and, if you find your current life boring, maybe you should consider joining the real estate industry,” she quips.

Source : Tan Ai Leng /
November 14, 2015 10:55 AM MYT

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