An introvert buys a property: Finding a trustworthy real estate agent, Lifestyle News

As a self-proclaimed introvert, I’m used to doing things on my own. But after months of unsuccessful solo property searches, I finally conceded that I needed a real estate agent.

It was right after Circuit Breaker ended in 2020 that I made the decision to hire a real estate agent.

After spending weeks living, working, and socializing almost entirely outside my bedroom, I was desperate to find my own home. I needed to speed up my property search and needed help.

I had high hopes for my future agent. They would help me sift through announcements, arrange visitation appointments, and accompany me on visits.

I also needed someone much more knowledgeable about the real estate market. And even though I’m an introvert, the idea of ​​having a sounding board in this huge life decision was very appealing.

Based on the numbers in Stacked’s article on real estate agencies, I estimate that there are at least 30,000 real estate agents in Singapore. And I just needed one. Easy, right?


I met Sandra (not her real name) through a family member. Sandra worked for one of the largest real estate agencies and had a stable of high net worth clients.

She was a middle-aged, upbeat woman who looked like she had fought tooth and nail to get to where she was in life. Surely it was a good thing to have someone like her by my side.

It’s an unfortunate stigma …

When we first spoke I said I was looking for a resale property to buy and move in preferably early next year. Even on the phone, I could hear the disdain in her voice as she explained why resale properties were banned.

In fact, over the next several weeks, whenever I sent her a resale ad that interested me, I got a call from Sandra almost immediately. In her low but insistent smoker voice, she explained that the value of every resale property would drop faster than that of the Titanic.

His solution? Only buy new launch condo units.

And as a (relatively) young buyer, Sandra said I should take the longest and highest mortgage possible.

This would effectively double my original budget by almost 50 percent. I even received a ‘wealth generation’ report with the same conclusion, the caveat being that I had to drain my CPF and borrow an amount much more than I was comfortable with the bank.

Most of my phone conversations with Sandra lasted an hour as she extolled the virtues of brand new properties.

On several occasions, I protested against the fact of not wanting to wait three years, nor of being so heavily in debt, but Sandra always rejected it with the same serious “you are not married, what is the urgency” . I hung up the phone, my heart pounding with anxiety and my ears burning with shame.

Eventually, I stopped answering his calls and texts.


I’m not going to lie – I was really upset after my experience with Sandra. I was seriously considering looking for a property on my own again, or even throwing in the towel altogether. But that’s when I found William, an agent for one of the smaller real estate agencies.

I stumbled across William’s website through an ad, and what cheered me up was his client philosophy: “I’ve never been a fan of high pressure sales tactics. or model solutions, I think that real estate consulting is not a unique model.

Each client has their own unique needs and financial situation, and my role as a real estate agent is to tailor a personalized strategy to help them achieve their goals, whether it’s a dream home or a home. a property to invest. “

“Hi William,” I typed. “I was hoping you would help me find a house. (Dramatic, I know.)

We logged in in July 2020. William was a dapper man in his forties and behaved with the kind of confidence I had always wanted.

He also owned a beautifully remodeled HDB apartment which had been featured in the media, so I knew assessing a property’s interior design potential was something we would agree to.

William quickly proved himself to be trustworthy, especially since I was a bad customer. If you remember part one I had no idea where I wanted to stay or what I wanted to live in so we visited a wide range of properties all over the island.

And despite the possibility of earning a smaller commission, William recommended private and HDB resale properties that fit my needs.

William and I took weekend tours and even made a few offers that were rejected. In between visits, William advised me on investment and exit strategies for all possible scenarios, and we even discussed interior design possibilities for various layouts.

At the end of August, we visited a recently MOPed four-room apartment in Bukit Panjang and decided that was the one. William negotiated a better price on my behalf which was accepted, and at the end of November I was the sole owner of my first home!


Looking back

It would be easy to conclude that Sandra was a “bad” real estate agent and William a “good” one. But the reality is, they’re both successful agents with a solid track record. It turns out that one suits me better than the other.

I’m not always a great judge of character, but based on my experiences with Sandra and William, I’ve asked three questions that can help you decide if you’ve found the right real estate agent:

First, are they listening?

I found Sandra to be condescending, but it took a while for me to recognize this because after all, I was the noob of the property and she was the experienced agent. I can imagine the naysayers wanting to tell me that if I listened to him I could be rich and live in a condo.

But as an introvert, I rely on my emotions when logic fails me. And with Sandra, not being listened to made me feel small and ashamed.

William demonstrated through his recommendations and advice that he listened to what I wanted and that he was going to help me find my dream home on my terms.

And these experiences also taught me that there is a difference between being pushed out of your comfort zone and dragged beyond your limits. Both scare you, but one makes you taller and the other makes you shrink. And it all comes down to whether you’re really being heard and seen by your real estate agent.

Consider “listening” to the lowest bar when evaluating a real estate agent. If at any point you feel like you are not being heard, this is a sure sign to turn around and walk away.

Second, are they able to help you?

The point of hiring a real estate agent is for them to help you. It’s such a simple point, but it can be hard to recognize and call in when a situation doesn’t help. If you’re like me and you’re generally non-confrontational, you’d rather swallow your discomfort and trust the opinion of an expert.


Sandra specializes in the private sector of the real estate market, and most likely only in investment properties. If I was in the market for something like this, Sandra would have been the right agent for me. But I just wasn’t.

William had experience in almost all segments of the real estate market. The extent of his knowledge was more suited to my real estate search, which was also broad and varied.

William’s advice extended to long term real estate strategies and opportunities that suited both my unique lifestyle and my low risk disposition.

Aid comes in all its forms. Maybe you need a William who can help make your home ownership dreams come true. Or sometimes you might just need a Sandra to get you to dream bigger, if that doesn’t exceed your limits.

Third, can you trust them?

The first two questions can help you assess the reliability of an agent.

You can look at other signs as well, such as a strong sales track record and glowing customer testimonials, but I wouldn’t put too much stock into them. These accolades seem like a dime out of a dozen judging by the ton of flyers from realtors I’ve received that all say pretty much the same thing.

Some people take shortcuts by looking for agents they already have a relationship with. Or they rely on the recommendation of someone they trust. But that’s how I landed Sandra, and look how it worked out for me.

I wish I could ask you a series of questions that will help you spot untrustworthy agents, but the point is, no trust test is foolproof.


All you have to do is connect with any real estate agent with your eyes, ears and heart wide open. And like in any relationship, if that doesn’t work for you, go.

I was going to conclude by comparing finding a real estate agent to dating, but as a single person I probably shouldn’t be giving that kind of advice.

Besides, it’s not quite the same thing. If you dreamed of a house for yourself, the real estate agent is someone who can make that dream come true. It’s too huge a responsibility for a loved one to take on, but it’s the job of a real estate agent.

And introverted friends, when deciding if a real estate agent can help you, use your natural skepticism and sensitivity to your advantage. And before you learn to trust someone else, learn to trust yourself first.

Come back to part 3 where I will tell you about the properties that I unfortunately had to give up.

This article first appeared in Stacked houses.

Penny D. Jackson