Cambodia’s leading women in Real Estate

16 ខែ កុម្ភៈ ឆ្នាំ 2017, 11:37

The Cambodian real estate industry has a larger proportion of women ceo’s, founders, managers and leading salespeople than many other business sectors in Cambodia. This is interesting, because not so long ago these positions were dominated by men in Cambodia. topwomeninrealestate With this in mind, Realestate.com.kh spoke with Cambodia’s leading women in real estate to find out why real estate is providing a unique platform for women to build great careers and rise above their male colleagues to top leadership positions:

Tang Hour, president of Amatak Property Service:

When did you begin your real estate career and what first attracted you to real estate?

tanghour“I first started real estate as a hobby. My family expected me to stay at home and look after the house. But that’s not my style. I wanted my own job and my own income. So for a start, I would buy some cheap apartments and houses near my home and renovate them myself, and then sell them on for a higher price. I would buy and sell a new house every 3 to 6 months. In 2014, I began working as an agent for a local company. But as a freelance agent, I had a very low salary, split commissions and lots of competition within the company. Meanwhile, I could see the real estate and construction markets booming all around me. I saw it as a great opportunity at the perfect time - so I started my own company, Amatak Property Service. Since then, I have not looked back.”

What has been your greatest achievement since you began in the real estate industry?

“I am proud to be my own boss. And I am proud to say that I don’t need to find clients anymore - my clients now find me.”

Why is the real estate industry an attractive career for Cambodian women? Does it offer a better opportunity for career growth than other industries? Why?

“Anyone with sales skills can find a place in the real estate market, whether they are a man or a woman. Before I got into real estate I was in the beauty industry and had my own spa and sauna business. I have always had a passion for sales and an ability to close deals. These skills are crucial in real estate and I guess that is why real estate was a good fit for me. Before, Cambodian society did not grant women freedom to pursue their own careers. We were expected to stay at home. But now, Khmer woman are becoming leaders in business, and not just in real estate, and other women are being inspired by this. When Khmer women are inspired by each other, we will keep growing as leaders in business. Everybody can benefit by learning from each other. So, if we are fellow real estate agents, we are not competitors - we are partners. It is a state of mind.”

What advice would you give to other women (or anyone) considering starting a career in real estate?

“Education and training is crucial in real estate. For my company, I am always training, teaching and mentoring my staff. If we teach, we all grow and become better at our jobs. For company leaders, we must focus on education and teaching our staff about the market and each and every property you sell. If we don’t understand the properties we are selling, we will never sell them. Inspiration and mentoring is so important, because when people are inspired by others they have confidence to do things themselves. Surround yourself with people who are excellent and they will inspire you to grow as a person and a professional. Actually, when I first started Amatak I had recently met a friend much younger than me who had just launched his own company. I said, “wow, but you are so young to have your own business!” But it also got me thinking - I could do that too. And I did. I have also had an inspirational friend who lives outside Cambodia and works in real estate in the US and Singapore - they shared knowledge with me and helped push me to start my own company.”

Thida Ann, senior associate director at CBRE Cambodia:

When did you begin your real estate career and what first attracted you to real estate?

Thida Ann (CBRE)“I first started my real estate career in early 2010 at the Accounting and Admin department. I have a thorough understanding of business regulation, taxes, and compliance. I recognized that the frontier market in which we operate presented great opportunities for the development of a real estate sector in its infancy, plus the opportunity offering within the organization. I later moved my career to Marketing and Management. Now, I am the head of CBRE Cambodia and we have 27 dedicated team members.”

What has been your greatest achievement since you began in the real estate industry?

“For the last 6 years, I have broadened my market knowledge, consulting on a number of Cambodia’s largest, and most formidable projects, which has provided me with invaluable local experience and provided me the opportunity to develop my regional experience, working with both domestic and international clients.”

Why is the real estate industry an attractive career for Cambodian women? Does it offer a better opportunity for career growth than other industries? 

“I strongly believe in teamwork, having both men and women staff which can provide the balance in coordination when providing successful services. As of today, women are now able to complete a range of jobs similar to that of male focused roles. However, most importantly, I believe that the ultimate success depends on skill and expertise, rather than gender.”

What advice would you give to other women (or anyone) considering starting a career in real estate?

“It is never too late to start any job that you like. Be confident and do not be afraid to take on new responsibilities. It can be challenging taking on tasks that you have never tried before - but you should view this as a learning opportunity. It is important to be passionate about what you do. I love my job and that really helps me focus. If you do not enjoy what you do, it will be difficult for you to be dedicated to that career 100 percent.”

Grace Rachny Fong, learning director at Century 21 Cambodia:

When did you begin your real estate career and what first attracted you to real estate?

gracefong“I began my real estate business about four years ago together with a few of my friends. At first we targeted expats looking for house rentals. Real estate is an important contributor to the country’s GDP and accounts for significant employment and investment opportunities for Cambodians. It has also put Cambodia on the Asia-Pacific map as a place for investors to invest and seek good returns on their investments.”

What has been your greatest achievement since you began in the real estate industry?

“I am now conducting real estate training for agents and owners. I genuinely believe that the Century 21 University which I am now heading can be the game changer for local real estate agents and owners. We are bringing a mindset change from those trying to become a “kokchhear” or traditional broker (a degrading Khmer name for a broker), to instead becoming a professional, ethical, knowledgeable, skillful and respectable agent through further training and education.”

Why is the real estate industry an attractive career for Cambodian women? Does it offer a better opportunity for career growth than other industries?

“Women in real estate do have an important role to play. More so, when it comes to opening doors for themselves and their male counterparts to make and close deals. Male and female property owners are more open and welcoming to ladies, especially when they receive phone calls from women in real estate. The real estate industry offers both full time and part time opportunities, meaning women with family can opt to work part time if need be. It’s perhaps also easier to sell or rent out their own properties and earn a better income for their family, and on their own properties. Real estate is generally easier to sell than other consumer products/services, as many people tend to heavily invest in properties.”

What advice would you give to other women (or anyone) considering starting a career in real estate?

“They must be willing to work hard, be smart and be professional. They must also be willing to invest their time and some money to learn things about real estate and develop through soft skills training. But, to succeed in real estate there is really no magic except for a strong commitment and willingness to work hard to gain trust.”

Somnang “Lucky” Cheam, ceo of Lucky Property Services:

When did you begin your real estate career and what first attracted you to real estate?

Lucky“In 2005 I first started to work in real estate because i had good communication skills, honesty and commitment to clients - that is why I soon had great connections and referral clients. From the year 2010 until 2015 (August) I worked with one local real estate company, and I was a 5% shareholder in that company. When I started, I worked as admin and later became an agent. After success in this role, I became the Khmer director, taking care for khmer staff as well as selling properties as an agent. The company then changed their policy - so I decided to sell my shares and started my owner company: Lucky Property Services Co., Ltd. from September 2015.”

What has been your greatest achievement since you begun in the real estate industry?

“My timing has been very good. The real estate market in Cambodia, starting from around 2009, has seen a huge quantity of transactions from both local buyers and sellers, and international investors. For me, starting my career around this time, this offered great opportunities to make real estate deals as an agent, and build my connection network too.”

Why is the real estate industry an attractive career for Cambodian women? Does it offer a better opportunity for career growth than other industries?

“Most women in Cambodia cannot do this job because to become a woman in real estate you must commit time and money into training, education, property and client networking. And once you are an agent, you need to commit your life to the clients. But, if you are lucky to have a husband who understands this well, then you will be able to find a balance in work and family. For me as a single mom, I work hard like a man but I enjoy this job very much because I can see a lot of opportunities in this country. You will find success though only if you are committed. You cannot be lazy in real estate, because every minute is money! Lots more women can have a place in real estate though, whether full time or part time, because the market is growing very quickly, which equates to opportunities for sellers. More condos, link houses etc. are coming online everyday - I just hope the demand can match the supply.”

What advice would you give to other women (or anyone) considering starting a career in real estate?

“As you know, real estate is not always easy! You need to constantly take care of your client and take them to visit the properties that suit them - sometimes in town and sometimes outside the city. For me, my second house is my car because most of the time I am looking for new properties to list, or taking clients to see properties! Also, you need to be wise and careful, because not every client is a good client. Make sure that you know the property you are selling inside out - and do your homework before you take the client to visit.” Related news : [caption id="attachment_80591" align="alignleft" width="150"]2016predictions 2016 Cambodian Real Estate Market predictions[/caption] [caption id="attachment_80230" align="alignleft" width="109"]infoGcambocountrystatsandonline Real Estate Review 2016[/caption]             Footerjames