This praying couple is enjoying a flourishing career in Singapore’s real estate market even in today’s challenging environment.
Contributed By Dannon Har
Christopher Pang and Julie Goh are not just successful real estate agents, they are also agents with a godly mission: to shine for Jesus in the marketplace by helping people make wise real estate decisions. For them, depending on God for their business decisions is an indispensable part of their entrepreneurial endeavor.
“He has often directed us to make good investments; we have made money on all our property purchases, relying on God’s wisdom to understand the signs of the times and to take advantage of them,” says the couple, both directors of the Villa Group which handles the selling and leasing of residential, commercial and industrial properties, property investment management and servicing of corporate clients who require expatriate relocation and housing.
“God also shows us the areas to concentrate on in different seasons of the market cycle and how to guide our associates into prosperity,” they add.
THRIVING DESPITE TRIBULATION
The Pangs founded Villa Group in 1993, and now have 23 accredited salespersons under their wing with more on the way. Last year, the Group had a turnover of about S$2 million.
Despite the ups and downs the realty industry has been facing of late, the Pangs insist that it is during times of difficulty that they really thrive.
“Actually the real estate business is recession-proof as housing is a basic need and there are always transactions, even in the down-turns,” they explain. “We have been through the turbulent times such as the Gulf War, the Asian economic crisis, the SARS period, the sub-prime crisis, the sovereign debt crisis, and now the latest slew of anti-speculation measures of seller’s stamp duty … [but] God has always caused us to thrive in the midst of recession—that’s when the transfer of wealth takes place. Indeed, some of our best years were recession years.”
Pang’s largest deal was the sale of an entire building to a REIT while Goh scored an enbloc sale of a walk-up development in Katong. Together, they have also brokered the sale of an entire floor of The Sail at Marina Bay—all this beyond their usual scope of selling bungalows, semi-detached housing and penthouses.
Their road was not all roses. Goh decided to forsake her honors degree and a stable job while Pang had to grapple with his shy and introverted nature in order to be effective full-time realtors and to be in line with their calling.
“When Julie first started, it was during the Gulf War, so it was the worst of times to embark on a new career during the chaos of global fear,” says Pang. “But God had spoken to her through a prophecy that the journey would be one of great challenges, yet there would be great reward as she learned lessons of faith.”
Pang, who became a realtor later than his wife, now closes deals bigger than hers and is also a trainer and mentor to his associates. “My greatest joy is achieving financial freedom and having the ability to serve God in the mission field, while being a success at work,” admits the former CHC photography ministry volunteer. “I have done humanitarian work in post-tsunami Bandar Aceh, helped in the renovation of schools in Chongqing, and I’m ready to serve whenever called upon to take photos for CityCare’s projects.”
The Pangs’ biggest hurdle comes in the form of human resource management. “The greatest challenge for us is to enlarge our associates’ thinking, molding their characters to have integrity, changing their mindsets and instilling faith to believe for greater things,” they say. Though not all their associates are Christian, “we also want to inspire them to be generous givers toward the Kingdom of God. We are blessed to be a blessing like Deuteronomy 8:18 says.”
Besides being directors at a company and being active, prayerful Christians, the Pangs are also cell group leaders and the proud parents of three sons.
“God first, family second, ministry third, and lastly work,” is their formula. “Also, learn to work hard when you are at work, and play hard when you don’t need to work. Make time for leisure and rest; balance is the key to sustainability and going the distance.”
Attitude is key too, as it is sometimes a challenge to trust in God’s character more than current circumstances.
“Where there is a will, there is a way,” they insist. “We always try our best to have quality time for our children and because we honor God in our lives and work and serve Him with all our heart and strength in ministry, He has always blessed us abundantly with fruitfulness to maximize our day; it is never a liability to serve God.”
Living out that balanced lifestyle, they also find time to experience the pleasures in life. The couple enjoys going on diving expeditions overseas, and at home, they regularly rollerblade and cycle as a family. For some “alone time,” Pang participates in triathlons while Goh heads for the spa.
What advice would these property pros give to budding real estate investors? “Don’t sell high and buy even higher,” they say. “Be patient for opportunities; this is the time to sell but not the time to buy.”
“You must also have holding power for the minimum holding period of four years, and never leverage to the max; pay down your loan to minimize interest, so that if interest rates go up, your rental revenue can still cover your mortgage payment.”