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Monday, August 10, 2009

New president of MIEA upbeat on spin-off conventions

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) president Julie Wong may be new in her post but she has kept busy from day one of her appointment on Apr 25, scheduling courses and conventions to help raise the standard of real estate agents in the country.

Julie Wong ... ‘we want to organise a Sunday Property Mart’

Wong said she wanted smaller versions of MIEA’s annual Malaysian Annual Real Estate Convention (MAREC) to attract a wider audience and help bring in additional revenue for the institute.

“We will be organising this spin-off convention from Oct 31 to Nov 1 in Johor. When we organise MAREC, the participants are mostly from the Klang Valley.

“By having an event like this further south, we can attract participants from the south of Malaysia and even Singapore,” she told StarBiz.

The Johor convention, themed Iskandar – Rise of the Metropolis, would focus on the prospects of Iskandar Malaysia and was targeted to attract up to 300 participants, she said.

Wong also plans to organise a one-day convention in Penang in March and mini courses for negotiators later this month and early September. She held her first negotiators’ course in May.

She also hopes to organise bi-monthly luncheons in cafes or restaurants that would be open to members of the institute and even the public.

Wong also wants to assist developers that are having problems “clearing their inventories”.

“A lot of developers have small pockets of property that are not sold and it is usually a waste of time to hire marketing experts to sell off these units. So we want to organise a ‘Sunday Property Mart’ where buyers can preview these unsold units on weekends. At the same time, we will try and push sales for the developers.”

Wong said the event could be held in a multi-purpose hall or an outdoor tent.

“It’s still in the planning stage but we hope to have our first property mart by December,” she said.

To enhance the image of real estate agents, Wong said the MIEA also intended to collaborate with Malaysia Property Inc (MPI) to help educate and train potential realtors.

“We hope to collaborate with the MPI and market courses such as CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) and CRS (Certified Residential Specialist),” she said.

The MPI, a joint public-private sector initiative, was recently set up to attract foreign investments to the real estate sector over the next 10 years.

“This is a good profession to make money. If one is focused and determined, one can be successful in this line,” said Wong, who has over two decades of experience in selling residential, commercial and industrial properties and leasing of land.

She said estate agents should “think outside the box” to be resilient, especially with the current global economic downturn.

“They should do things differently, and if they have the finance, they should try to venture outside Malaysia and sell overseas.”

Under Wong, the MIEA also organised its inaugural National Real Estate Awards in June. She said it was a great achievement for the institute and that the awards would make a great benchmark for successful realtors.

“It’s our first award and we feel that we can improve on it and attract more participants in the future. For the winners, it’s a great recognition when they want to market themselves.”

Wong also said a rebound could already be seen in the local property sector.

“People are already starting to buy properties. This is especially for units worth RM600,000 and above.

“High-end developers, especially, should not be afraid of selling now,” she said.

By The Star (by Eugene Mahalingam)

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