Pris Low: Starting A Real Estate Career At 40
Who is Pris Low? I am a daughter, a wife, a mother, a friend, blah blah blah... Well, almost every female in the world is like this. But I did make a mid-life career switch from charity work into real estate. Was it easy? How did I overcome my difficulties? What made Pris Low start a real estate career at 40?
Pris Low is...
Okie, here it goes - I am a chirpy, chatty girl with a goofy personality. I am a giver; always happy to bring smiles and happiness to those around. As long as people around me are happy, it doesn't matter if I receive less than others or lose more than those around.
When I found my first job in a non-profit sector, I was totally in love the vibes! It felt good that it wasn't about the money and there was greater meaning in the work that I do. Like hey, best of both worlds - to be paid while doing good.
After spending almost 20 years in a meaningful charity work, I left without a job to recalibrate my life. Why did I do it? Well, I realised that I was prioritising my work over my family. I love the work way too much. I wanted the projects to run as smoothly as possible, I wanted to raise as much funds towards the worthy causes. I wanted to be the best that I can be. And then I lost track of my priorities. I lost track that I was also a daughter, a wife, a mother and a friend. Everyone was sidelined.
If COVID taught me anything, it would be that change isn't scary. So I made a huge jump to real estate. So what is it like to start a real estate career at 40?
Here's 5 interesting things that I learnt from this life-changing experience.
1. Pris Low Is A Terrible Real Estate Salesperson
YES, yes and yes. I honestly confess that I don't like sales. How can I be a real estate agent if I can't sell? And I don't do well at cold-calling and door knocking.
It took some time but I managed to find my own brand spot to grow and nurture myself into becoming a good agent.
When I first joined the NAVIS under Huttons - they told new agents like me that I should meet my clients with a blank piece of paper. I am there to listen to what my clients say and fill that blank paper with their thoughts, dreams and plans. Oh boy, I love this philosophy! I am not there, armed with brochures and information, to make them buy something from me.
With this approach, I found a lot of joy in getting to know my clients, understanding their needs and finding a home that matches what they want. And this joy is infectious - when I am enjoying my work with my clients, my clients also begin to enjoy their property journey.
When it comes to marketing my client's house, I am also not trying to push and sales-talk the house to the buyers. It is also about trying to knowing the buyers' need and exploring if my client's home would make a good option for them. Once it is a match, the buyers will see the true and irreplaceable value of the house and offer the ideal price to close the deal.
This style may be more time-consuming but it comes with a lot of satisfaction, both for my clients and myself.
2. Pris Low Doesn't Like To Chase, She Attracts
You may ask - surely you have to sell yourself to your clients for them to engage your services.
Well, I believe that the best gift that I can give to my clients is to be sincere and authentic. Actually, that should be the case to everyone, not just clients. But particularly for my clients, it's not about closing them and getting their business. It is about sharing information and helping them make sense of their family situation - what works for them and what may not. And sometimes after our chat, they realise that they don't need a real estate agent after all.
I don't like it when people force me, so I don't want to force my clients too. Like this Chinese saying - 强扭的瓜不甜. While clients are choosing agents, agents are also choosing clients cos we are the average of the five people that we spend the most time with, so I also want to discern and attract the right clients and teammates to work with.
Talking about teammates, it is the same mentality when I am recruiting team members. It is about the feel. I don't want to force them into a rushed decision. If I feel that they are a suitable match with me, my doors will be open for them. Once we have mutual trust, it is the start of a beautiful friendship, beyond just real estate.
It is like... I try not to chase. I attract. I like that I can be me, instead of trying to be someone else that the society expects me to be. And I feel that there is now an inner glow within me and I love this sense of empowerment. This, in itself, is a form of attraction.
So in a way, I am like taking time to smell the roses and make my garden beautiful, and butterflies will come. I guess, this could be the right direction for me because 1 in 2 clients have referred me to their friends and family.
Oh by the way, how crazily authentic can I be? Well, I spilled my darkest secrets to my boyfriend on our first month dating anniversary. I threw out all the skeletons right in the open and I told him, 'please feel free to call it quits. I rather you go now'. And these were truly 'difficult to swallow' family secrets, mind you. Well, that was 24 years ago and my boyfriend is now my husband. If you want to know any of these mind-blowing secrets, PM me and I will tell you more while exploring your property choices.
3. Information Is Power For Real Estate Agents
I was often mistaken as a medical student. Why? My daughter was a tiny new born with a mini appetite but she still managed a few mouthfuls of milk. On the day that we were going home with her, the doctors came to us with bad news - that she was warded in the ICU ward for further checks. This little honey bunny was puking bile and her tummy was bloated.
The doctor alerted us of three possible prognosis and immediately my mind was consumed with the worst case scenario - Hirschsprung Disease - where her large intestines are non-functional and she can't poop on her own. That night, I cried and cried. I didn't know that one person could have so much tears.
When morning broke, I was researching about Hirschsprung Disease. That afternoon, the doctors confirmed the worse case diagnosis for my girl and I was already in problem-solving mode, shooting questions at the doctors about their treatment plan.
I continued to research about this condition, venturing into medical journals and medical procedures.
We spent many staycations at the hospital in the first five years and the nurses and doctors would ask if I was medically trained because I was so familiar with the medical terms and intestinal anatomy. Nope, I wasn't but I have to up-skill myself to make sure that I fully understand doctors' plan, its impact and make the best decision for my girl.
Truly, information is power. This is also the case when I was selling and buying our own home. I wasn't a real estate agent then and I was often led astray by different information from various agents. Again, I armed myself with information from official sources - to know what I can do, what I should do, what I cannot do, what I must not do.
Now as an real estate agent, I carry the heavy responsibility of guiding my clients in making an informed decision. It takes hard work, meticulousness and lots of reading to be a good real estate agent. Because it is not my money, there is an even greater sense of responsibility towards my client. While we don't know the future, we do our best diligence by researching hard for our clients - driven by data, pure facts and no hype.
In fact, some of clients are amused that I would highlight the less-favourable aspects of a development instead of promoting the good points. Well, every choice has its pros and cons. It is more important that our eyes are open to the bad stuff. If these aren't deal-breakers for my clients, then we have got a deal!
4. Can A Pessimist Pris Low Succeed As A Real Estate Agent?
Many find it unbelievable that Pris Low is a pessimist because I am always sunshiny and bubbly! But I am!
Thankfully, I have grown stronger and now my pessimism doesn't paralyse me. Instead, I have become an over-thinker. When something happens, I will let my emotional side drain dry so that I can cool down. And my brain can start thinking of the various scenarios e.g. just like when my girl was diagnosed with Hirschsprung Disease.
Unknowingly, this has helped me to have great project management skills and take pre-emptive actions. This trait is particularly useful for me to value-add towards my clients.
For example, we were selling my client's house in mid-2023 to pre-empt a slow HDB resale market ahead. My clients were quite certain that a six-month timeline would be sufficient for them to move directly into their new place. But I was worried - because they have yet to collect their keys for their new home. What if their key collection was delayed?
While I asked them if they have an alternative place to stay, I also negotiated with the buyers to allow a three-month extension of stay if the need arose. Because of my 'better-be-safe-than-sorry' nature, this extra gesture turned out to be useful for my clients! Whoosh! Well, I rather my clients don't have to use this 'insurance' but at least it is there when we need it.
Truly, we all have different personalities. Turn your weakness into your strengths. Be brave and own your weakness. As a real estate agent, you are in a good position to self-discover new abilities. By taking some baby steps each day, you will soon realise that the you today will be a much better version of the you yesterday.
5. Half Cup Full Or Full Cup Empty?
Hahaha, many who first got to know me may feel that I have lived a charmed and blessed life from birth cos of my positive and contented personality. On the contrary, my growing up years are TVB-drama quality. And it is truly because I have seen much darkness that I am truly appreciative of any ray of light.
And because of those trying times, I have trained my mind to see that not everything is good, but there is good in everything. How can we also see the cup as half full?
We are our own best cheerleader. Never depend on someone else to make you happy. Don't mould yourself to get affirmation from someone else.
There is no such thing as wasted experience. So what if we fail, there is always something to learn from every experience.
So I really do have a charmed life! Despite these crazy difficulties, I am always surrounded with lots of love and care from my family and friends! I meet our families weekly. I meet my friends monthly. Even at NAVIS, we are a family here - looking out for each other. How close am I to my work family? I message my mentor, Vivian Chong, every other day to chat!
The lesson here - always contented and graceful. In real estate, a lot of things are beyond our control. We just have to do our best and leave the rest to divine powers. And I know that I am never alone in this journey because help is always nearby.
Was it easy for me to morph into a realtor? You can read more about it here. Surely, it has its difficulties but with the right company, I felt invincible! And now I enjoy the greatest satisfaction from my clients (and many of them are now friends with me). Here are more testimonials and words of encouragement from my real estate interactions!
Many have asked me, 'Can a sweet person like me swim among a sea of shark-like agents?'.
Well, I don't know unless I try. And no, I don't intend to mould myself into a shark. I love my beautiful non-profit soul, which I treasure very much, and I still believe that many things cannot be measured by dollars and cents. But I do believe that I can carve out a new image for real estate agents, one where people don't just stereotype us as money-driven mosquitoes but as their trusted confidante.
All in all, I feel blessed to be a real estate agent. I have become a bigger and better version of myself. I am also happy that I can be a proud mother to Little O and motherhood does not conflict with my work commitments. I don't want to miss out on any of Little O's growing up moments.
Now, little O is always very excited to be part of my work. She helps me at my viewings and we get to have lots of fun together.
Plus real estate is now a family thing! My mom comes to the office to help me with my work. Even personal errands like getting my hair done is a 3-generation girly affair. I have full control of my time to focus on what truly matters - to be a daughter, a wife, a mom, a friend and a realtor.
If you are drawn to my beliefs and values, come have a chat with me and see for yourself if I live up to my own goofiness. I will be happy to make new friends and see if there is any value-add that I can give to your home journey. If you want to join my team, let's check out if we have mutual good vibes of each other!
Okie, signing off now cos Popo and Little O are waiting for me to bring them out for lunchie! Byeeeeeeee!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pris Low has close to 20 years experience in the non-profit sector - representing consumers in their conflicts with retailers and advocating for the less privileged in our community.
Her social service background has helped her to be sensitive and attentive to her clients' needs and feelings so that she can prepare them, both financially and emotionally, to welcome their new homes.
She has thrived because she doesn't tell her clients what to do. She hears their needs and explains the options to them. She respects every choice made by her clients because she feels that there is no wrong decision as long as it meets their needs and they are aware of the possible pitfalls and prepare for it.