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Sammi Lim is leading the way forward with a new type of agency

Edgeprop Singapore
Edgeprop Singapore • 6 min read
Sammi Lim is leading the way forward with a new type of agency
The founder of Brilliance Capital shares how her clients benefit from the firm’s highly personalised and comprehensive services.
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The founder of boutique real estate agency Brilliance Capital, Sammi Lim, shares how her clients benefit from the firm’s highly personalised and comprehensive services

In the roughly 33 months since Sammi Lim founded Brilliance Capital, the company has achieved numerous successes, from handling the acquisition and leasing of a mall to becoming a Forbes Global Properties agency. From a one-woman show, it has grown into a team of 15. It still surprises her a little that her idea to establish a one-stop service agency for all real estate matters has surpassed expectations.

“I didn’t establish Brilliance Capital with a plan of setting up a structure or becoming a competitor to the major players. It was a response to a market trend, where clients today prefer to execute deals in a low-key and efficient manner,” she says. “It was about doing something on my own. Then agents approached me, saying they were interested in what I was doing and wanted to be a part of it.”

Her first hire at Brilliance Capital was an agent who had heard her speak at a seminar and was involved in the company’s first deal. “Each time we met, she’d ask if I was hiring, and finally I said, ‘all right, let’s do it right now’, and that was it.” Her decisive and emphatic style is one reason why Brilliance Capital has grown so rapidly and gone beyond what a typical agency does today.

Lim says that the company’s success comes from her team’s adaptability and cohesiveness but also because it is boldly different from the more prominent agencies. “Having spent many years working for them, I’m familiar with their strengths and the challenges they may face, which I strategise into new opportunities for us. It’s something that I’ve always practised in my career,” she adds.

For many years, Lim was known as Singapore’s “Shophouse and Strata Queen”, a market segment that was long neglected and that she turned into her professional expertise. “This was something that I learnt from the mentors I had back when I started in real estate, the importance of technical knowledge and market experience,” she adds. “We have many more tools to help with our work today, but it has to be complemented with on-ground knowledge and human insight. Our company slogan is ‘Staying Ahead’, and I’m always trying to foresee important trends for our clients.”

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As a full-service agency, Brilliance Capital offers its clients a seamless experience for all their real estate needs. “Let’s say I’ve sold a building to a client, and they’re asking me to help them rent it out. In bigger agencies, the leasing work would be done by another department, out of the sales team’s purview. Here our teams are integrated and overseen by myself,” she says. “Whether it’s estate or property management services, we can do all that.”

“Our flexibility and agility is based on a lean management structure and a collaborative team. They are interested in building more together than aggressively competing against each other. In the process, they learn from each other, discovering new aspects of the business they would not have in a larger agency.” Diversifying the business also ensures stability in rocky economic periods, a sound strategy for a new firm like Brilliance Capital.

Creating an inclusive and diverse team is also important to Lim. “In the industry, I think sexism isn’t the only issue; another is ageism. At Brilliance Capital, we regard and reward everyone the same way. Women need to empower themselves by asserting their talent and legitimacy. There are no short cuts to success. It’s about determination, diligence, and perseverance,” she says. “I believe in empathetic leadership, and I try to offer the support that each team member needs. If something goes wrong, it’s a reflection of my leadership as well.”

See also: Oppenheimer wins seven Oscars

Lim has excelled in the industry over the last two decades and believes in playing to her strengths. “I started at a time when the industry was male-dominated, but I wasn’t trying to beat them. I was focussing on myself, how I can take things further,” she remembers. “I think my resilience comes partly from my single-parent background; you learn self-reliance early. I’m a very positive thinker and believe in finding solutions, not dwelling on problems. Women are incredibly strong, and we need to believe in ourselves and reach for the sky!”

She has tremendous respect for working mothers, especially as her mother juggled managing the household and being the breadwinner on her own. That is also why she helped found LadiesFirst, an organisation committed to social mobility by uplifting the lives of women in need. “It started among my friends and me as support for each other, but also realising that this could be something bigger for all women,” she eagerly explains. “Now it’s a more structured organisation, raising funds and empowering women and children who need social support.”

Lim sits on the Industrial and Services Co-Operative Society (ISCOS) board, which supports families of former and current offenders to reduce intergenerational offending. “We discovered that in children, when the female parental figure is absent due to offending, the likelihood of continuing the cycle increases significantly,” she adds. “We provide different ways of supporting these families to end this.”

Across her personal and professional endeavours, Lim’s philosophy and ethos are simple: Treat everyone with sincerity. It is a principle that her mentors and family instilled in her. “Many of my clients have followed me over the years. They know and trust that I will work hard for them and deliver results. This builds into a long-lived working relationship that grows over time,” she continues. “That familiarity means we have a personalised understanding of their goals and how they work. Our flexibility, empathy and transparency are the reason for our excellence.”

Lim is also willing to disrupt and challenge the industry’s norms by carving out yet another niche for herself — a competitive agency that can handle all real estate needs across the residential, commercial and industrial spectrum. And that is what makes Brilliance Capital, brilliant.

For more information,

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Contact Sammi Lim | 93689803

Founder and Executive Director (R003899J)


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