Edith Tay: A trailblazer in commercial real estate and mentorship

This article first appeared on Edgeprop Singapore: https://www.edgeprop.sg/property-news/edith-tay-trailblazer-commercial-real-estate-and-mentorship

“Becoming a top producer requires a growth mindset. I coin the word GROW — Gain trust, build strong Relationships, Optimise client service and Work with integrity.” — Edith Tay

A forward-looking entrepreneur who values work performance and success from her people, Edith Tay has also recognised that family plays an important role in her business endeavours.

“Balance is key in achieving workplace success and performance,” says Tay. “I’m looking for hardworking new joiners who are driven to perform to join our growing team, especially those who are motivated to support their families.”

The experienced real estate consultant has carved a unique niche in the industry for over 20 years with her innovative approach and dedication to mentorship.

Now in the second half of her career as the founder of PropertyBank Pte Ltd, Tay is focused on positively impacting her entrepreneur-peers. She also sees herself guiding the next generation of real estate professionals in the commercial and industrial sector through sharing her expertise and skills.

“I have a passion for real estate and am driven to make a meaningful impact to the business community,” she explains. “I am inspired by the potential to help companies find the perfect spaces that enhance their operations. For example, matching a tech start-up with an innovative office space that supports its growth is incredibly rewarding.”

Additionally, guiding her team and witnessing their success in securing prime commercial and industrial properties for their clients motivate Tay immensely.

“Their dedication and enthusiasm remind me daily of the importance of our work of giving advice as real estate consultants at PropertyBank Pte Ltd.”

Tay believes that her expertise in setting up commercial workplace locations can contribute directly to the success or failure of a business. Thus, she dedicates herself in various roles that enable her to lend her expertise: as a trainer conducting a certificate course on marketing of commercial properties with SEAA; an author of Property Blueprint for Businesses; and a content creator for her company’s YouTube channel, PropertyBank SG.

“With knowledge, a business thrives and can successfully build up its people — who can then sustain themselves – putting food on the table at home,” Tay says. “In the end, families will benefit from business excellence.”

A journey rooted in family and passion

Tay’s career is deeply influenced by her family values and her desire to provide a better future for her children.

“Family is the core of everything,” she says, reflecting on how her familial responsibilities have shaped her professional journey.

Her foray into the real estate world began in the 90s, when she first realised the potential of real estate as an asset that offers increasing returns. This led her to explore the industry, where she gained extensive experience in commercial and industrial property advisory and international property marketing through an extensive career with corporate real estate giants such as Sembcorp, Knight Frank and DTZ.

Tay’s tenure at these firms provided her with a robust foundation in handling both industrial parks and commercial offices, setting the stage for her to establish her own entrepreneurial venture.

Founding PropertyBank: A vision realised

In 2010, driven by a desire to stretch her capabilities and offer comprehensive real estate services, Tay founded PropertyBank Pte Ltd.

The company was born out of her aspiration to leverage her extensive knowledge, offer turnkey commercial and industrial property services, and build long-term client relationships.

“At that point, I felt that I had already amassed a significant amount of knowledge, and if I were to join yet another organisation, I would probably be doing a similar role subject to the same constraints,” Tay explains. In her corporate roles, there were many different teams handling multiple processes for a client, and despite her seniority, she would not have been able to cross division lines.

“I wanted to go further, and take another step to do more and have oversight of all aspects of a client’s commercial and industrial leasing or buying needs.”

Tay recalls a memorable incident where she made a difference to a business acquaintance she met at a networking event. The owner of a stock trading company was in the midst of setting up his office and asked for her take on his intended location.

“As we talked, I realised that he had inadvertently selected an industrial location which was wrongful for his business,” Tay says, explaining that if a company sets up an office in a building that is not zoned for its specific nature of business, it may incur fines.

“The business owner was immensely grateful that I shared this information with him as he was ignorant of the potential consequences of leasing the wrong space for his office,” recalls Tay. “This really struck a chord with me, that the knowledge I had to offer could really make a difference and could make or break someone’s rice bowl.”

Starting as a small team, PropertyBank Pte Ltd grew into an award-winning venture under Tay’s leadership. Among their many accolades, Tay herself has received awards from Ascendas-Singbridge, LHN, CapitaLand as well as SEAA’s SG Real Estate Excellence Awards.

In guiding her team, Tay emphasises a business model that is focused on group excellence, ensuring that her team members share the same values of resilience, resourcefulness, and team spirit.

“It’s this sense of togetherness that built PropertyBank Pte Ltd up to where we are today,” she says, highlighting the importance of a collaborative and supportive work environment.

Mentorship: A beacon of light in real estate

One of Tay’s core beliefs is the importance of mentorship in the real estate industry. Inspired by the metaphor of a lighthouse, she views mentorship as a guiding light that is essential in both good times and bad.

“In our industry, whether we’re on an upward or downward cycle, a mentor is always good to have. You need a cheerleader behind you, not only in darkness but also in prosperity,” Tay says.

She recalls her early career struggles, where finding a mentor was challenging due to the competitive nature of the industry. This experience fuels her commitment to provide mentorship to her team, ensuring they have the support and guidance needed to succeed.

“We call our people PropertyBankers — because we hold a bank of properties and clients can also bank on us to give them the best service,” reveals Tay. “In order to do so, my emphasis is on providing on-the-job training, on top of the in-depth training for commercial and industrial property regulations.”

Her approach to prep professionals on commercial and industrial knowledge involves both theoretical training and practical, on-the-ground experience, fostering a learning mindset and adaptability amongst her team members.

“In short, the essence of our training is to give mentorship, operational support, and technical support,” says Tay. “We’ve groomed people from having zero knowledge in non-residential properties to becoming our star performers within a year.”

Recruiting the right talent

Tay is always on the lookout for individuals who share her passion and commitment to excellence. She believes in hiring for attitude and personality over experience. “It’s the personality, resilience, and resourcefulness that matter. Knowledge can be picked up along the way,” she says.

For those looking to join PropertyBank Pte Ltd, Tay offers a nurturing environment where new recruits can grow through shadowing and mentorship. She values a learning mindset and encourages her team to ask questions and seek continuous improvement. This approach not only helps in discovering talent but also in building a cohesive and motivated team.

Tay believes that PropertyBank Pte Ltd presents an opportunity to candidates who wish to explore the world of corporate real estate and non-residential property investment — the less common alternative to the residential business which is more typically associated with the profession.

“This may be a career that might appeal to mid-career or even fresh university graduates who are trained in fields such as finance, accounting and even data science or pharmacy,” says Tay, adding that Property Bank Pte Ltd’s core commercial specialities include setting up offices for tech companies, data centres and logistics facilities.

“On a daily basis, our agents are exposed to engaging with a variety of stakeholders in a business organisation, from the initial leasing inquiry from, say, an HR executive to an appointment with the CEO,” says Tay.

This makes for an exciting and dynamic career in a specialty property field, guided and mentored by the best in the business.

Calling aspiring real estate professionals

Tay’s leadership and mentorship philosophy serve as an inspiration for aspiring real estate professionals to embrace the challenges and opportunities the industry offers.

“Office rental constitutes a large portion of a business’ profit and loss,” says Tay. “So the advice from real estate consultants can impact its success or failure immensely.”

She feels strongly that her contribution to the business ecosystem can also affect the wider population, by potentially helping more workers to have stable jobs in thriving organisations.

Tay has three pieces of advice for anyone wishing to have a successful career in commercial and industrial real estate. The first one is to have a learning mindset.

“Understanding the intricacies of commercial and industrial properties, such as corporate or investment requirements and property compliance, will set you up for success,” she advises. “For instance, knowing the specific needs of a warehousing client can make a significant difference to his business — and yours too when you complete a deal!”

Secondly, building strong relationships is important. “Networking with business leaders and establishing trust with institutional investors is key to long-term success.”

Finally, Tay emphasises the need for new joiners to stay adaptable and open-minded. “Embrace change and innovation, such as leveraging data analytics to predict market trends,” says Tay. “These are essential for your growth and to stay competitive in the ever-evolving real estate landscape.”
For more information,
Contact Edith Tay | 93632233
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR (R002319E)
PROPERTYBANK PTE. LTD.

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