With close to 80% of leads and sales coming from online sources, and a 30% year-on-year increase in sales in just two short years, Norafiza Ariffin stands tall as the deserving winner of this year’s highly coveted award.
Being a real estate agent is a challenging career, but with today’s tool and technology, the chance to succeed is much greater. Just ask Norafiza Ariffin, this year’s Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents’ (MIEA) PropertyGuru Top Online Real Estate Negotiator (REN) of the Year.
The young lass who hails from Manjung, Perak, attributed her success much to the power of online that has seen her go from rookie agent in 2013, to one of Chester Properties’ consistent top performers in just two short years. And not forgetting about bagging the coveted MIEA accolade. Before making the leap to realty, Nora was an engineer with a regular day-time job until she decided to make a life-changing decision that has seen her grow from strength to strength.
“Engineering was what I had studied and trained for, but after five years of routine, I wanted more from life. Discovering real estate, I resigned immediately and focussed myself fully into my new career; that was two years ago. I’ve never looked back since,” shared the soft-spoken Nora.
The initial going was tough – having to learn the ropes from scratch, but she soon got to grips with the industry. Importantly, she cites the power of online which played a major role in smoothening her transition and launching her career to new levels.
“I’m an introverted person by nature, so here I was in an industry that required you to be outgoing, talkative and people friendly. Naturally, my skills improved over time, but I discovered that tapping the power of online for real estate is Godsend for shy people like me.”
For Nora, the journey online began when she placed her first ad in 2014. After a week, she received enquiries and it went well from there. Motivated, she began investing more online and the number of quality calls and leads grew encouragingly. Today online has become one of the key mediums and she fully believes in its ability to help even a shy and reserved individual succeed in the real estate business.
Nora now has close to 80% of her leads and sales coming from online sources. All in all, her sales have grown by 30% year-on-year. She is a top monthly performer with Chester Taman Desa
When asked on which online portal she uses, Nora mentioned PropertyGuru is one of only two that she relies on. She cites the user-friendly interface and customer support as key to her choices; not forgetting results. “It’s fast and easy to use, training is provided free of charge and there are many packages to suit your budget. The platform allows you to develop a really comprehensive profile which is important in conveying credibility and confidence,” she highlighted.
Nora, on average, only needs 5 minutes to submit a listing online whether at the office, at home or on the go. She spends about one to two hours and then she’s free to focus on other areas of her work. “You save time and effort which allows you to become more focused and strategic as an agent,” she added.
Another benefit of online listings she added was the expansion of reach.
“For example, I closed a property in Melaka with a buyer from East Malaysia and almost everything happened online. It was all done via email, social media, some phone calls and with documents being couriered across the country. I would never have closed such sales without online capability,” she relates.
While Nora is all for online, she believes that choosing the right portal is crucial to success.
“I like PropertyGuru because it is user-friendly, has great tools that help agents maximize their investment. “I like the analytical features– the statistics, charts, and so on, that guides you. You can see clear records on how well your listing is performing. You can’t track the effectiveness of yellow boards or SMS this accurately. This is the way of the future. I just heard about their mobile app and will give it a try,” she added.
When quizzed on tips she can share with other agents, our online REN of the year mentioned that apart from being open to technology, it boils down to old-school good values. Nora mentions that online doesn’t mean easy work, it’s just smarter work and one must continue to be honest, transparent, disciplined and diligent on following up on leads as well as not to be stingy with your online investment.
“Firstly, be honest – create a comprehensive profile. Your reputation is everything in this business, more so with online when there is little or no personal interaction. It’s important that you build a strong personal profile so that people can see who you are and develop trust and confidence in you. Don’t be afraid to spend more so that your listings are more visible, especially if it’s for hot properties or a new project. Spend more, and you’ll get more. And of course, respond promptly to any leads that come your way,” shared Nora.
With dedication, focus and discipline even a self-described introvert and retreating person can rise to the top of the industry. More so when they tap on technology to give themselves the best chance to win in an increasingly competitive market.
Sharing her joy is the team head at Chester Taman Desa, who believes that Nora’s success is just an example of what is possible in the business. “Certainly, I am not surprised as Nora is self-motivated and has the right attitude. It was her own initiative to tap the power of online and today she is reaping the rewards.”
“I also wish to thank Chester for giving me the opportunity to start in the business and for their continued support and guidance. Real estate negotiation may seem like a solo business, but you need a good team to support you,” summarised Nora.
“PropertyGuru wishes to congratulate Noraffiza for her success and being a supporter of our platform. We are delighted to hear that we have played a role in her achievement and encourage more agents to tap the power online,” said PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez.