Shaping Luxury Real Estate: An Exclusive Interview with Sammi Lim, Founder of Brilliance Capital

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Founder and executive director of Brilliance Capital, Sammi Lim

Step into the world of luxury real estate, where visionary leaders carve out their unique paths to success. As the founder and executive director of Brilliance Capital, Sammi has navigated a remarkable 19-year journey, leaving an indelible mark on the real estate landscape in Singapore. Her insights, experiences, and vision for the future are inspiring and illuminating. Join us as we explore the remarkable story of Sammi Lim and the secrets to her exceptional achievements in luxury real estate.

Luxury Lifestyle Awards (LLA): Sammi, could you please share the story behind the inception of Brilliance Capital? What inspired you to establish this remarkable venture?

Sammi Lim (SL): Brilliance Capital’s inception was driven by a deep passion for real estate and a vision for redefining the luxury real estate market. My journey in the industry began with a career in real estate sales, where I developed a keen understanding of the market’s complexities and the unmet needs of property buyers and sellers.

What truly inspired me to establish Brilliance Capital was the realization that there was a gap in the market. Clients in search of bespoke real estate experiences deserved a brokerage that could provide not only high-end properties but also a personalised, end-to-end service that catered to their unique preferences and lifestyles.

With this vision in mind, I founded Brilliance Capital, a real estate agency dedicated to delivering the pinnacle of luxury and service. We are driven by the commitment to surpassing the expectations of our discerning clients, curating exclusive property portfolios, and offering a level of service that transcends the transaction.

Clients often tell me: I see the fire in your eyes, the type of passion and resilience that is rare to come by in this market. It is a matter of time you that you should set your own path and destiny. And their words become my inspiration. I want to be a rainmaker. And the rest is history.

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Brilliance Capital – Event

LLA: You’ve achieved incredible success in your career, with transactions exceeding SGD 9 billion. Could you highlight some of the most memorable milestones and experiences that have shaped your journey?

SL: Since its founding, Brilliance Capital has experienced significant growth and achieved several milestones. We have expanded our client base, diversified our portfolio, and strengthened our industry presence. Some of the major highlights include being recognized with industry awards for our excellence in real estate investment services and being featured in prominent publications for our achievements.

At Brilliance Capital, we have concluded numerous deals that we are particularly proud of, from office buildings to shopping malls, shophouses, and even carparks. Spotting emerging trends and capitalizing on new market opportunities, in the past three years, Brilliance Capital has concluded four of the five car park transactions in the market.

The sale of Yew Tee Point on behalf of a Singapore-listed company to an international real estate fund is also another achievement unlocked. Typically, such deals are handled by big boys in the industry, and we had the trust of the parties to transact the deal on their behalf successfully. And being appointed exclusively by the vendors as their in-house leasing agent for Yew Tee Point, and Anson House, an office building in prime CBD. 

Amongst all the awards achieved, this milestone was extra meaningful in 2021. Brilliance Capital joined the prestigious Forbes Global Properties, an invitation-only membership network of top real estate firms, further strengthening our international presence and credibility. As the exclusive agency for Forbes Global Properties in Singapore, my team and I are able to tap into a global community of real estate professionals, facilitating knowledge exchange and international exposure.

Forbes Global Properties is an exclusive consortium of top-tier real estate firms representing many of the world’s finest homes for sale. The network’s membership is reserved for the most distinguished brokerages in select cities and second-home destinations. And securing this membership involves rigorous vetting of a firm’s market presence, real estate expertise and industry reputation.

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People’s Park Complex Carpark

LLA: In an industry where success often hinges on adaptability, what strategies have you employed to stay agile and continue achieving excellence?

SL: We always need to think ahead to stay ahead in the market. The requirements of real estate have changed, and we all need to act speedily and reinvent ourselves to be more resilient. Green shoots have begun to emerge, and we need to be able to identify them critically, and that is where opportunities lie. It is human mentality to prefer staying in this comfort zone and not want transformation unless they are forced to.

But in business, it is possible and a must to pivot, to constantly improve and reinvent. If I want to get ahead in business, I need to think ahead. I do not believe in just creating a one-hit wonder and sitting back to relax. We need to think of our next move and what we can do to improve and outdo what we previously did. The world landscape is changing so rapidly, and if we stubbornly stick to plans which are outdated simply because we fear changes, then the business will not be sustainable. 

The mindset is an important element where we must constantly remind ourselves to continue to learn and grow. In real estate, I believe no two deals are the same, and along the way I picked up the experiences and lessons from past deals that I apply to each new project.

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Yew Tee Point

At Brilliance Capital, we have implemented several strategies to ensure our agency remains agile and at the forefront of our field:

Client-Centric Approach: We prioritise our clients’ satisfaction above all else. This means actively listening to their feedback, addressing their concerns, and adapting our services to meet their evolving needs.

Flexibility in Service: We understand that each client has unique needs. We remain flexible in tailoring our services to match these requirements, whether it’s a unique property search or bespoke marketing strategies.

Strong Industry Relationships: Our agency maintains strong relationships with industry experts, architects, builders, and other stakeholders. These relationships provide us with access to off-market properties and the ability to facilitate complex transactions.

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LLA: Brilliance Capital has been recognised as Best Luxury Boutique Real Estate Brokerage in Singapore by Luxury Lifestyle Awards. What do you believe sets your firm apart and contributes to this prestigious accolade?

SL: Our recognition as the Best Luxury Real Estate Brokerage in Singapore by Luxury Lifestyle Awards is a testament to unwavering commitment of every member of our team and the distinctive qualities that define Brilliance Capital. Our team of experienced professionals is at the heart of our success. Just like our Motto: “Staying Ahead”, our expertise, industry knowledge, and dedication to staying at the forefront of real estate trends enable us to constantly deliver exceptional results.

Setting ambitious but achievable goals, which means not to hold back and reach for that rainbow. Believe in yourself to take that leap of faith and achieve that breakthrough. There is no such thing as work is too hard, too tough, too tiring. Results do not just fall on our lap, and we need to work hard for each success. With that, I think I have achieved the sweetest fruits of labour.

I do believe that in entrepreneurship, it’s important to set your own trends instead of following the pack. You want people to be inspired and following your vision. If you believe in something, you will encourage others along your journey, too. Embrace challenges and even failures in a positive light. The entrepreneur’s journey is full of challenging and enlightening lessons. If paid attention to, these lessons can take your business to the next level.

Finally, listen to your audience and think in the perspective of the client / the customer – it is always about them and not yourself. By fulfilling your client’s needs, you can win their loyalty and eventually establish yourself as a successful entrepreneur, beating your competitors in the process. This is when providing a service with a heart is so important. Be sincere in whatever you do, stay humble, keep learning and be brave.

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Brilliance Capital Team

LLA: Your commitment to philanthropy and community involvement is admirable. Can you tell us more about your efforts to give back and make a positive impact beyond the realm of real estate?

SL: At Brilliance Capital, we believe in giving back to the community and engaging in philanthropic activities. We are actively involved in supporting local charities and initiatives that promote education, healthcare, and social welfare. Our philanthropic efforts aim to make a positive impact on the communities where we operate and contribute to the well-being of society at large.

Currently, I serve as a Community Grassroot Leader, as assistant treasurer of LadiesFirst, a non-profit organisation made up of female entrepreneurs and professionals who are committed to making a difference by creating a positive social impact on women and society. I am also sitting on the board of director of Industrial and Services Co-operative Society Limited (ISCOS), a government linked co-operative in Singapore that actively engages the community to help ex-offenders gain a foothold in society.

In 2022, under the Breast Cancer Foundation, with a theme of “Women creating Change” for this International Women’s Day 2022, I am one of the 25 women who have stepped forward to raise breast cancer awareness and support the cause with our individual fundraising projects. We are called BCF S-Heroes. These funds raised will go towards our programmes for the breast cancer community and advocacy and outreach activities for early detection to save lives.

LLA: The real estate landscape is constantly evolving. What trends and developments do you anticipate shaping the luxury real estate market in Singapore and globally in the coming years?

SL: We see growth drivers coming from various sources, including emerging markets with high growth potential, urban revitalisation projects, technological advancements impacting the industry, and changing demographics influencing housing demands. Additionally, sustainable and environmentally conscious developments are gaining traction. We keep a close eye on market trends, economic indicators, and emerging opportunities to drive growth for our company and clients.

Singapore fundamentals are strong, and we have always emerged stronger from each crisis. While many investors have paused new acquisitions, well-funded institutions, family offices and high-net-worth investors with longer-term investment horizons are now among the first movers, seizing emerging growth opportunities in the real estate markets. Over the long term, real estate remains an attractive asset class.

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Bukit Timah Plaza Carpark

LLA: Could you provide insights into your guiding principles and the philosophy that underpins your approach to real estate and leadership?

SL: We differentiate ourselves from the competition through a combination of factors.

Firstly, we prioritize a personalized and client-centric approach, tailoring our strategies to meet the unique goals and preferences of each client. Giving clients the full / beyond 100 percent. We can be selective and we are devoted to the job. Secondly, we emphasize deep market research and analysis, allowing us to identify lucrative investment opportunities and stay ahead of market trends.

Thirdly, we foster strong relationships with industry partners, enabling us to access exclusive deals and resources. Overall, our differentiation strategy revolves around providing exceptional client experiences, superior market insights, and a comprehensive suite of services.

In addition, our flexibility and agility are based on a lean management structure and a collaborative team. Have the team be interested in building more together than aggressively competing against each other. In the process, they learn from one another, discovering new aspects of the business they would not have otherwise. Making the choice to diversify the business also ensures stability in rocky economic periods and a sound strategy for long-term sustainability. 

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Brilliance Capital Team

LLA: As a prominent woman leader in the industry, what advice do you have for aspiring real estate professionals, particularly women, who aspire to make their mark in this field?

SL: Have confidence in your abilities and believe that you have a place in the real estate industry. Real estate is constantly evolving, always be open to change and ready to adapt to new market conditions.

Take the belief to play to our 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 and make things better. Be a positive thinker and believe in finding solutions, not dwelling on problems. Women are incredibly strong, and we must believe in ourselves and reach for the sky!

Across my personal and professional endeavours, my philosophy and ethos have always been: Treat everyone with sincerity. It is a principle that my mentors and family instilled in me. Clients can feel this and will follow you. This builds into a long-lived working relationship that grows over time. Tap on our forte in flexibility, empathy, and perseverance as the driving force for our excellence.

Do not be afraid to disrupt and challenge the norms of the industry by breaking out and carving out yet another niche for yourself.

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Anson House

LLA: Looking ahead, what are your future aspirations and goals for Brilliance Capital? How do you envision the firm’s role in the ever-changing real estate landscape?

SL: We will stay adaptable to changing market conditions, emerging trends, and client needs. Our personalized, client-centric approach will remain at the core of everything we do.

We are thrilled about the journey ahead, and we look forward to achieving the new heights of success while staying true to our guiding principles and commitment to our clients and the community.

LLA: Finally, what message would you like to share with our readers, especially those who are considering entering the world of luxury real estate or seeking expert guidance in their real estate endeavors?

SL: The world of luxury real estate is a realm of limitless possibilities and experiences. It’s a world where each property tells a unique story, and where we, at Brilliance Capital, are here to help you create the next chapter in your journey.

For those considering entering the world luxury estate or seeking expert guidance in their real estate endeavors, I would like to emphasize the importance of thorough research, careful consideration, and strategic planning.

Success in luxury real estate often comes from a combination of expertise, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence. Take time to understand the market, leverage the expertise of professionals, and approach each transaction with a dedication to delivering exceptional service.

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For those seeking expert guidance in the world of luxury real estate, Brilliance Capital stands as a beacon of excellence. Reach out to Sammi Lim and her team to discover how Brilliance Capital can help you realise your real estate dreams. Your journey to luxury and innovation begins here:

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