The RM8.92 Million Story – An Interview With Nick Ng

Nick Ng was one of the first who signed up for our GoodLeads program (details here), and he remained one of our top agents in the upmarket homes segment (typically KLCC, Mont Kiara and Bangsar). Recently Nick has closed a RM8,920,000 sale from a lead provided by GoodPlace – possibly the biggest deal ever in the (short) history of the GoodPlace DealMatcher. In the last six months, Nick has closed some RM14,250,000 worth of deals from GoodPlace leads alone. Pretty impressive!

We got in touch with Nick recently to ask him about his successful deals, and what makes Nick tick (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Interview conducted by Hannah Lee, GoodPlace.my staff writer at the HackerHub.

Hello Nick! First of all, congratulations on successfully brokering the RM8,920,000 sale. Could you share with us the story from the start?

Thank you. It started with Khai Yin receiving a GoodPlace Dealmatcher request for information on a branded KLCC condo. The buyer – whom I’ll refer to as Adam – is a sophisticated foreign investor who already owns other high-end properties overseas.

Adam had moved here for work a few short months ago, and was researching for his first foray in the local property market when he came across GoodPlace, and contacted Khai Yin directly for assistance. I was subsequently referred to assist Adam. Khai Yin made the introduction, and we got in touch.

Buyers know that they can afford to cherry pick both the properties they like and the agents that they want to work with. Were there other agents who are already after Adam’s business?

Yes, indeed. I learned later that Adam had accessed other information sources as well, and was actively viewing a few other properties with other local agents, apart from cross-checking the information provided.

On this case, Adam could have dealt directly with the developer’s sales people or continued working with other agents he had contacted himself.


(GoodPlace is) a trusted and credible resource to both the sophisticated and seasoned investor and the agent.
Nick Ng
Instead, he opted to work with the agent recommended by Khai Yin for an objective perspective and as a go-to resource for information and services required in the deal. This point is especially noteworthy as it speaks to the credibility of GoodPlace, affirming again its value as a trusted and credible resource to both the sophisticated and seasoned investor and the agent.

I guess that’s what makes GoodPlace different, or perhaps even better than the usual run-off-the-mill property classifieds site?

Yes, of course.

Back to the deal. What exactly did you do to assist Adam?

As the subject property was under construction and physically unavailable for inspection, there were a host of questions to be addressed ranging from general market issues to detailed and very product-specific areas such as specifications, quality, deliverables and addressing potential concerns about the developer’s backers and reputation, the project’s construction progress and delivery date.

It required in my role as the buyer’s agent to work in close coordination with the developer’s sales and technical people to provide all the answers to the very detailed information sought by the buyer, right down to individual room sizes, types of windows, colour options of the fittings and floorings, and accommodating the buyer’s request for modifications to the planned wet and dry kitchens’ layout.

How long did the process take?

The total time consumed from the initial lead contact to closing (signing SPA) was about five weeks.

What are the difficulties that you encountered in the process?

In brokering the deal for the developer, some minor hiccups encountered included having to work with insufficient initial details provided by the vendor, and their solicitor’s error inputting the buyer’s full name incorrectly onto the SPA document, causing delays in the process of completion of the paperwork. We were able to work through all the issues together.

I’m happy that you’ve pulled through despite the hiccups. Khai Yin told me about the usual horror stories that he had heard from agents regarding the deals that fell apart in the very last minute. For example, another agent reported that she lost a RM2,000,000 sale of a unit at Seni Mont Kiara when the buyer had cold feet just right before handing over the cheque.

Yes, I have heard about that from Khai Yin. It gets pretty rough at times, yes.

So what are the other deals that you have closed from GoodPlace’s home buyer leads?

Including this deal, there were a total of five sales cases closed, all of which are condominiums in the Mont Kiara and KLCC areas. The total deals value was about RM14,250,000 over six months. Thank you, GoodPlace!

RM14,250,000 worth of deals? Awesome! So tell us, Nick, how did you get started as an agent?

As an ex-office jock, I wanted another endeavour that would allow me a greater degree of work flexibility and independence, besides the latitude to choose my preferred market segment. The


You get to set your own goals and make your own initiatives.
Nick Ng
business of a real estate negotiator allows you to work like an independent contractor and the risk-to-reward ratio is certainly attractive. You get to set your own goals and make your own initiatives.

My first jobs out of school and college had been in sales and marketing, so it wasn’t a big transition being out in the field again with clients. The bigger question to me starting out  was in deciding which real estate agency to join, rather than whether or not to venture into this industry.

I looked up the classifieds and called up a few agencies from the small firm to medium and larger ones to enquire with their recruiters about their organization, their operations and the business itself. As a newbie who needed to get up the learning curve fast, I was looking for the right manager/mentor to work with, and learn from, instead of just being beholden to or riding on the firm’s reputation or market position.

The choice of joining my first agency was decided by an interview with a real estate branch manager who impressed with his knowledge, ability to communicate, and willingness to share his experience. We connected at the interview. Interestingly, the  gentleman was a white collar professional who had left a stable career in a blue chip pharmaceutical company to get into the real estate business. He had also studied to obtain his professional qualifications as a valuer and got his own real estate agency license. I am still with the same firm I joined three years ago.

What are the challenges that you face as an agent?

This business is about people first, then the bricks and mortar. Every single deal is unique and different from the next one, for each case presents their own set of challenges, because of all the variables involved from people to product to process.

I can  relate to the statement by Rick Harrison of Pawn Stars’ fame when he said that after 20 years of being in the business, he never knows what will come through the door. As an agent – because


The challenges usually come from the people side of things involving issues of integrity, principles and professionalism
Nick Ng
the business involves dealing with people – the challenges usually come from the people side of things involving issues of integrity, principles and professionalism. It’s the nature of the business and it’s the job of a good agent to manage them well.

Broadly, some of the challenges arise from the following categories:-

Sellers:-

  • Occasional ethical issues: vendors that break the law with dubious requirements and unlawful practices like fake transacted prices on the SPA to avoid RPGT.
  • Refusing to pay the mandatory 6% GST, and requiring the agents to absorb the tax if they want the listing.
  • Reneging on paying the full agreed fees and commissions after the  work had been put in and the deal is done.

Buyers / tenants:-

  • Not having thought through their requirements or knowing what they want, and shifting the goal posts too frequently during the search process. It’s highly improbable that any agent can successfully find the right property for clients that do not know themselves what they want.
  • Using multiple agents simultaneously which creates vendor confusion and work duplication;
  • Having unrealistic expenditure vs expectation issues.

Agents:-

  • Detecting and avoiding those that resort to dodgy and unlawful practices and misrepresentations  that can leave their co-broke agents and the client  out  on a ledge.

I should reiterate that, while these niggles can serve to upset anyone’s apple cart, they are all manageable challenges inherent in the industry. I can’t overstate enough the importance of clients identifying and working with a good agent to ensure they avoid the pitfalls on the road to getting what they want out of the transaction.

I have been fortunate to have met some amazing clients along the way for whom I had the pleasure  of being their agent to represent their interests.

How did you find out about GoodPlace?

I found it while searching the Internet for property information. GoodPlace’s top search rankings led me to the write-ups.

What do you like about GoodPlace? What are the areas do you think we can improve on?

Foremost, and in my opinion,  GoodPlace is  the best conduit of relevant and useful information available for Malaysian real estate and Klang Valley properties in particular.

As a reader, I like the content substance, the wealth of facts, data and objective information available in a central depository for the convenience of any reader looking for seriously good depth of insights into the real estate scene. Plus it is highly readable, candid, direct and entertaining, which makes for other standout attributes.


I like (GoodPlace’s) content substance, the wealth of facts, data and objective information available in a central depository for the convenience of any reader looking for seriously good depth of insights into the real estate scene.
Nick Ng
GoodPlace provides a great service to its readers (on the buy and sell side) and as an agent, I find its educational value in its contents for my own work and learning; the interaction with, and feedback from, readers offer a lot of interesting insights on the the human aspect of the market out there. As an agent, I love the DealMatcher feature.

Thanks Nick. We are flattered! What are the areas do you think we can improve on though?

I would be hard pressed to suggest any area of improvement because, frankly and at the risk of complacency, I think its current scope is already substantial and the quality of work put in is quite commendable as it is. GoodPlace in its present form already offers a trove of solid useful and usable information, and I would like to record a note of appreciation to Khai Yin and his team for putting it together week in, week out, for their readers.

What advice would you give to a prospective investor or buyer in the upmarket homes segment?

There is already a lot of advice in the public domain on what to look for in buying or investing in a property. From my observation, the buyers in the upmarket homes segment are generally very smart and savvy investors who know what they want. They just need a credible, reliable and trustworthy agent partner to help them do the leg work, filter and find it. And nobody knows the real estate market on the ground better than a good agent that works on it with their eyes and ears on the ground and a finger on the pulse.

I would therefore suggest a prospective investor or buyer to hook up with a good reputable agent to represent the buyer’s interests throughout the search and transaction process, even if the agent’s professional fees are not paid by the buyer.

That’s only the first part.


Nobody knows the real estate market on the ground better than a good agent that works on it with their eyes and ears on the ground and a finger on the pulse.
Nick Ng
Next is to manage that relationship well to get the best out of that resource. Because it is more than just about finding and partnering an agent with the knowledge, experience, skill sets, integrity, honesty, reliability and dedication to do the work. Good agents often have more work than they can handle, and may have to be selective at times to prioritize their output and service. They also have finite time and energy to work on each client case, and they drain out and need recharging like any phone battery.

It ‘s not surprising then that a good agent would also have the option to choose to work with a good client to get the best outcome on any case. It goes back to the basic maxim of employee satisfaction = customer satisfaction for the agent-client equation.

The importance and benefits of having a happy agent on the buyer’s case is often overlooked, for a variety of reasons.  Notwithstanding, any client that can build a good relationship with their agent will invariably gain an ally working for a very positive outcome. They will gain an exceptionally valuable asset and partner on hand, because clients sometimes do not know what they do not know, and the agent can fill them in or volunteer good advice that saves or makes the client serious money.

The working relationship and chemistry is a major part of why a good agent may willingly go the extra mile for their clients. They may even negotiate the living daylights out of a deal for their buyer client’s benefit at the expense of reducing  their own earnings, simply because that agent likes a good client enough to want to do that for them. That’s an example of going the extra mile. A good agent and a good client working together is always a good place to be in.

Want our help in buying or selling your property? Submit a DealMatcher request and we’ll match you with a good agent.

About Khai Yin

When I am not writing for GoodPlace.my and helping my readers find properties though the DealMatcher service, I spend time doting on my three kids: Wenyi, Qinyi and Eian. My personal stuff, some published essays and contact details can be found at khaiyin.com

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