Tech and networking critical to cross-border transactions

LogoNOT only is technology important in helping real estate agents in terms of marketing, but it also plays a huge role in facilitating cross-border property transactions.

“Information technology has opened a new world of opportunities for increased cross-border transactions [although] at the same time, it poses a great threat to conventional market players who fail to keep up with the new world of technology,” Singapore’s Institute of Estate Agents (IEA) president Harry Yeo told

Yeo will be sharing more of his thoughts on the topic in a forum titled “Cross-border transactions forum” to be held at the upcoming Malaysian Annual Real Estate Convention (MAREC‘17) on March 3 and 4 at Setia Alam Convention Centre in Shah Alam, Selangor. The convention is organised by the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA).

Joining him at the forum will be Harvest-Time Properties Sdn Bhd principal Sue Ding, Arborland & Co principal Datuk Seri Gavin Tee, National Association of Realtors president’s liaison to Malaysia Yin Bihr and Hartamas Real Estate Sdn Bhd group managing director Eric Lim while MIEA president Erick Kho will be the moderator of the session.

According to Yeo, besides speaking about what is hot in the regional real estate market, he will also touch on the latest challenges and opportunities that participants face in cross-border transactions that arise from the digital evolution.

SomaAmong the ongoing efforts to facilitate regional property transactions include continuing education training and market updates on cross-border transactions.

“In addition, international networking and cooperation of governments, real estate industry associations and other related professional institutions of various countries in the region would also facilitate regional property transactions,” said Yeo.

Moving forward, he hopes that countries in the Asean region could open up more and provide clearer regulatory guidelines for cross-border property transactions.

“This would provide a higher degree of certainty in property investments in their respective countries. By doing so, it would certainly strengthen cross-border transactions,” said Yeo.

Meanwhile, MAREC‘17 will also see Asean Real Estate Network Alliance (Arena) head K Soma Sundram speaking on the topic “Making friends — connecting business the Asean model”.

He said networking is key in making cross-border transactions work. “It is important to make friends with everyone. For instance, when a client wants to purchase a property in, say Vietnam, how would you know what’s hot there?

“Things would be easier if you can just refer to a trustable Vietnamese counterpart, who knows the property market there,” he said. Soma is one of the three founding members of Arena, the other two being IEA immediate past president Jeffhery Foo and Philippines Association of Real Estate Boards past president Nelson Wee Arquiza.

YeoAccording to Soma, real estate practitioners should always look beyond their local property market. “I always say to the agents, it’s time for us to go beyond the local borders, we should go outbound! Or at least start thinking about it already,” he offered.

On Arena, he hopes one day the alliance could be the official reference point for real estate practitioners in Southeast Asia.

“The membership of Arena is based on each participating country’s association membership. Meaning if you’re a member of your country’s real estate association, you’re part of Arena. Hence, we have a huge pool of talents and resources for us to tap into,” he said.

Arena currently consists of eight member countries: Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Themed, “Transforming your real estate business in a changing era”, MAREC‘17 will feature other speakers from various industries — including start-ups — to talk about adapting to change in this digital era. For more details on the convention, go to

This story first appeared in pullout on Feb 24, 2017, which comes with The Edge Financial Daily every Friday. Download pullout here for free.



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