Master the Art of Reinventing Yourselves: The Ultimate Blueprint for Success in Real Estate Career Transitions
November 9, 2023 Adam

In the world of economics, certainty is a rarity; it ebbs and flows with the ever-changing environmental conditions. This is a universal truth that dawns upon everyone as they reach a certain stage in life.

Entering the real estate profession requires a well-thought-out approach to tackle its unique challenges. While the prospect of personal and professional growth may be enticing, it’s equally crucial to acknowledge and prepare for the obstacles that lie ahead. 

I’m Kai Setiawan, a former graphic designer who transformed into the Co-founder and Chief Branding Officer of Foreward Realty, an up-and-coming real estate agency. I embarked on a remarkable journey of self-discovery and career transformation. After a decade of working comfortably in graphic design, I began to question the sufficiency of my current path for my future and family.

Motivated by the potential to achieve financial success as a property agent, I made the bold decision to switch careers. Despite facing criticism and scepticism in the real estate industry, I was driven by my desire to create positive change. In 2019, I co-founded Foreward Realty with my friend, Steve Yap, together with Forefront International, a well-known advertising agency in the real estate industry.

Over the past four years, our agency has grown to a team of over 1,000 employees, sold nearly 10,000 units, and received prestigious industry accolades like the Star Property Awards. Throughout this journey, my team and I have remained committed to transparency, empowering customers to make sound investments. I envision a future for the property industry free from stereotypes and am determined to lead this change within Foreward Realty, where innocent property agents can thrive without judgement.

In this article, we’ll explore the common hurdles people face when switching careers, especially in the real estate industry. Plus, I’ll provide some useful tips and advice for those thinking about becoming real estate agents.

Kai Setiawan, CBO of Foreward Realty holding multiple awards

So, how do you go about it, and what can you anticipate during the initial stages of transitioning to the real estate sector?

Challenges of Transition

One of the primary challenges in transitioning to the real estate sector is building your knowledge base from the ground up. The property industry in Malaysia comes with its complex terminology, legal regulations, and market dynamics. To succeed, you must be  prepared to invest time and effort in self-education and training to become proficient in the field.

A common challenge is establishing credibility in a highly competitive market. Clients, such as developers and buyers, often prefer experienced agents. If you’re entering the field without a long history, it’s crucial to showcase your skills and abilities effectively to gain trust.

Shifting from a stable monthly income to a commission-based one can be financially challenging at first. It may take some time to adapt to this new income structure. However, as experience grows, this challenge tends to diminish.

The Pros and Cons of Change

Navigating a career change in real estate offers both personal and professional advantages. On the positive side, it provides the opportunity for personal and professional growth. Real estate allows for the combination of skills from diverse backgrounds, contributing to a broader perspective. It’s a field where you can witness the tangible impact of your work on clients’ lives.

On the flip side, the industry’s competitiveness demands substantial time and dedication. Managing multiple responsibilities and roles can be a complex task. Nevertheless, the very challenge of balancing these roles can become an advantage as it provides a unique perspective that enriches both areas.

The Decision-Making Process

The decision to shift into the property sector typically stems from a combination of financial aspirations and a desire for a dynamic, results-driven career. The attractiveness of a commission-based structure, where income correlates directly with one’s efforts, often plays a significant role. The reliability of real estate as an industry with lasting demand adds to its appeal.

The emotional journey during this transition may involve excitement and apprehension. The prospect of personal and professional growth can be thrilling, while concerns may revolve around the shift from a stable job to a commission-based career. However, the desire for personal and professional development ultimately outweighs these concerns.

A Vision for the Future

The vision for the future of the property industry is one where technology and personalisation seamlessly coexist. Emerging technologies, like AI and data analytics, empower clients to make informed decisions. The property sector’s transformation centres on becoming more trustworthy, respected, and technology-driven.

Embracing change and pursuing a passion for real estate are fundamental to success in this dynamic industry. As the field evolves, so do the opportunities for growth and innovation. Recognising and overcoming challenges in a career transition sets the stage for a fulfilling journey in the property sector.