Redbrick Mortgage Advisory is honoured to interview Mr. Simon Lum, head of SUPERIOR Group of ERA and co-founder of Dynamic Force Group (DFG). Simon is a Senior Group Division Director who is well-liked for his charming aptitude character and capability in building relationships. Simon shares about his journey on how he started and built DFG to be the force in providing a one-stop shop for all our agents who require the A-Z services in this dynamic environment.
Q: When you decided to start on your real estate journey, was there a specific dream or goal that you wanted to achieve?
Simon: I was initially working up the corporate ladder for a company. I soon realised that it was not my dream, and that I needed to work in a field that was more dynamic and flexible. This prompted me to venture into the realm of self-employment.
Firstly,in real estate, clients would likely come to you because it provides the basic necessity of having a roof over their heads. Secondly, the added bonus of potentially being an investment asset. After all, real estate would typically be the largest asset one would ever own, and in some cases, the asset that one would leave for future generations.
Hence, I embarked on this real estate journey aspiring to be financially independent as there is no limit to what you can achieve. Combined with time flexibility, it was a terrific opportunity that I wished I had taken up earlier.
Q: Now that you have been in the real estate industry for about 20 years, what are some of the personal values that have stayed with you throughout this journey?
Simon: Discipline. Having a flexible work schedule means greater responsibility is required to manage time and goals. I like to start my work early in the morning so that I have my evenings to deal with any emergencies or last-minute requests.
As a team leader, imparting your knowledge to the members of our team allows everyone to perform better. This goes beyond monetary, as I believe in “有教无类”, which means ‘educating everyone regardless of their background and beliefs’. The high performers are likely to excel on their own accord, but everyone is given the opportunity to gain experience according to their own learning curves. It is important that we do not give up on anyone as people have their breakthrough at various stages of their life.
Q: Throughout this career, you have achieved many awards. Which are you most proud of and why?
Simon: I am most proud of the diamond achiever award, which is presented to agents upon earning over 6-figure amount in commissions within a month. To me, this was a testament to my abilities in the early days. However, these days, my attention has turned to focus on building up my team, while selectively pursuing sales.
Q: Out of the many clients that you have worked with, were there any that left a deep impression on you?
Simon: I have a client who is a bachelor, and he has deep trust in me after my advice on a few real estate transactions. I was pleasantly surprised when he informed me of his decision to appoint me as the executor of his will.
Q: How differently would you advise your clients that vary from first time homeowners to seasoned investors looking for investment properties?
Simon: I would advise potential buyers not to think of it as mutually exclusive, it is better to be a homeowner with an investment mindset. This means purchasing a home that still has a reasonable remaining lease, but within their means to satisfy the level of comfort that they desire in a home.
However, if my clients are purely looking to make a purchase for investment purposes, I will advise them to do a proper segregation of ownership in the structuring of the loans. This affects profitability and yield because of the taxes involved. In comparison, monthly rentals do not make as large of a difference as proper capital structuring does especially when considering for capital appreciation.
Q: Who do you look up to for inspiration?
Simon: I personally look up to ERA CEO Mr Marcus Chu as one of the leaders in shaping the real estate industry.
Mr. Marcus Chu is an exemplary leader. He sees things through a different lens and have taken the international stage. Through technology, he has introduced strategic innovations and launched pioneering initiatives to the industry and help ERA agents value add to clients.
Q: What are the most important attributes of successful leaders?
Simon: A successful leader must be able to walk the talk. We are focusing on building up the next generation, and in that aspect, a successful leader must be able to identify the opportunities of the industry, fulfil the needs of clients and mentor his team in walking the path.
Q: Could you share about how the name of your team, “Superior”, came about?
Simon: Within the Dynamic Force Group (DFG), each team has their own name, and I had chosen a name that has the same first letter as my own name. Hence, “Superior” is synonymous with “Simon”.
Across the founders of Dynamic Force Group (DFG), each of us have at least 15 years of experience. Our working dynamics are unique, and our success does not reflect that of a typical property agent. Hence, we felt that our next progression will be to impart our knowledge to the next generation.
We named our group, “Dynamic Force Group” as it echoed our strengths in numerous areas such as training, social media management, website design, online advertising and lead generation. We are the force in providing a one-stop shop for all our agents who require the A-Z services in this dynamic environment.
With our strong belief and commitment, we are fortunate to be able to build up our DFG Division from 100+ agents to an impressive force of more than 500 within a short span of 2 years!
Q: How do you keep your passion for real estate burning over all these years?
Simon: My passion is driven by my commitment as a leader to ensure my teammates and mentees are achieving their personal goals. Enabling them to achieve financial independence and greater flexibility with their time also gives me great satisfaction.
Q: How would you continue to develop yourself as a leader?
Simon: I will continue to put my words into actions, to be more resourceful, to watch out for future development/trends in the market and ensure that information is communicated in a timely manner.
Q: What is one thing that you are most proud of?
Simon: I came from a humble background, but I never let that get in the way of achieving what I set out to do. I am extremely grateful for my mental and physical health at the moment.
When we are young, we tend to sacrifice our health in pursuit of wealth, but in our later years, we spend our hard-earned wealth pursuing health. I would advise against falling into that trap, and I am proud that I have been able to strike a balance between the two.