A seasoned real estate valuer whose expertise is also in investment analysis, acquisitions, as well as sales and marketing of residential developments, Anson’s real estate career path of almost 30 years is nothing short of a kaleidoscope of experiences. Find out why active listening has helped him achieve success in his career and how real estate unexpectedly became his métier.
Most people tend to speak more readily than to listen to what others have to say. Anson is quite the contrary, as he listens more actively than he speaks – and there is a good reason for this. In business, active listening is key to improving one’s ability to influence, persuade and negotiate, as well as avoid conflict and misunderstandings, leading to greater productivity and business success.
Tuned in with all ears
“I’m a quiet and calm person by nature, who likes to listen and observe. But I will also state my views when I disagree with something. In my experience, active listening helps me to better understand the needs of my clients, so that I can advise them appropriately and fulfil their requirements optimally,” says Anson, who opined that this approach has been encouraging people to share their thoughts with him and driven much of his business success over the years.
He adds, with a chuckle: “I’m also a ‘cool cat’, as one of my ex-bosses used to nickname me. I rarely panic when things go awry and will always think carefully before I act to solve a problem. In fact, I would even describe myself as someone with a ‘Zen attitude’.”
More than just an expert valuer
Anson started his career in public service as a valuer with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), which he believes he had gained tremendous exposure and experience from. He spent a good four years at IRAS building up a strong foundation in real estate valuation, before moving on to Pidemco Land, one of the antecedents of CapitaLand Group, as marketing manager in the mid-1990s, amid a buoyant private residential property market. He spent 21 years at the firm and the CapitaLand Group, and was Vice President of Investment and Portfolio Management before he left for the next phase of his career in 2018.
"In my experience, active listening helps me to better understand the needs of my clients, so that I can advise them appropriately and fulfil their requirements optimally."
“I am proud to have witnessed and contributed to the CapitaLand Group’s transformation into a global real estate company. My most memorable achievements at the firm were when I led the Residential Investment team to spearhead the acquisitions of four collective sale sites in a row between late-2006 and mid-2007, during the early stage of the collective sale market boom,” he recalls, referring to the collective sale sites of Silver Tower, Gillman Heights, Char Yong Garden and Farrer Court, from which the total land acquisition costs amounted to SGD3.1 billion.
He eventually joined Allgreen Properties as Senior General Manager to lead its Residential Marketing & Sales division in 2018, before joining Colliers three years later in 2021 as Senior Director of Valuation & Advisory Services for Singapore.
“I was inspired and convinced by KengChiam that we could leverage both our expertise in resolving land development issues, such as land intensification and lease upgrading premiums, to maximise the potential of property for our clients. I was also impressed by the enterprising and collaborative culture here at Colliers, which has always been the positive type of work environment I aspire to grow my career in,” Anson notes.
The real estate veteran also enjoys mentoring younger valuers at Colliers, imparting his knowledge to these young professionals, and leading them to see things from different perspectives. “This has always been what I wanted to do before I retire,” he says, with a twinkle in his eye.
Chosen by his métier
Not many of Anson’s industry connections would know that he almost did not become part of this circle. He professes that he developed great interest in real estate “by chance”.
“My A Level results were just mediocre. When I applied for the Estate Management degree course at NUS, it was my fifth and last choice and I didn’t even know what it was all about. I had aspired to become an accountant, but ended up in real estate instead,” says Anson, with a chortle.
"I enjoy mentoring younger valuers at Colliers, imparting my knowledge to these young professionals, and leading them to see things from different perspectives. This has always been what I wanted to do before I retire."
This turned out to be a positive twist of fate for Anson, as he eventually graduated from his degree programme with honours and has never looked back.
Learning never stops
In a real estate career that spans 30 years and counting, Anson never stops learning and improving.
He opines: “You will never get bolder if you don’t discover and learn something new every day,” and adds that his clients’ trust and appreciation of his expertise are a key driving force that keeps him improving every day.
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