A property agent is a professional who helps home buyers with buying, selling, and renting properties. They advise clients about market conditions, conduct walkthroughs, and provide guidance throughout the buying, selling, or leasing process.
In Malaysia, there are only two types of property agents who are legally allowed to provide real estate services as authorised by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents (BOVAEA or LPPEH). They are Real Estate Negotiators (REN) and Real Estate Agents (REA).
However, because the difference between the two property agents is not known among many Malaysians, we have created this article to help you distinguish between them.
Real Estate Negotiators
If you’re considering purchasing or renting a property in Malaysia, you will most likely engage with a Real Estate Negotiator. A real estate negotiator is a qualified professional with the appropriate accreditation to work in the industry. Each negotiator is required to register for the Negotiator’s Certification Course, where they will learn the fundamentals of the profession as well as the related rules and industry best practices.
Once a candidate has completed and passed the Negotiator’s Certification Course, they will receive an attendance certificate. With this document, they can apply to be a real estate negotiator at a registered property company.
Once hired, the real estate company will apply for a REN identification card (ID) for the candidate. It contains important information, such as name, issue number, NRIC number, the property firm’s name and the company’s registration number.
A real estate negotiator is required to wear their ID at all times, as it serves as proof that they are certified by the Malaysia Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia (BOVAEA). This means that they can lawfully offer properties for sale or rent and look for a home on behalf of their clients.
Moreover, only with this ID can a negotiator represent property sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants. In addition, please note that negotiators can only work full-time for a single real estate firm.
Real Estate Agents
Like real estate negotiators, you must meet certain educational standards and qualifications to be a real estate agent in Malaysia. For example, you must obtain the Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM), passing at least five subjects, of which three are credited courses (Commerce, Science, Accounting, or Mathematics).
In addition to that, you also need to obtain a Diploma in Estate Agency. Generally, it takes around two years to study and pass all 12 exams. After that, you need to work for two years as a probationary real estate agent for a registered property firm. After the two years, you will need to take the Test of Professional Competence.
In the Test of Professional Competence, you will need to demonstrate your knowledge of the real estate industry and the experience you’ve gained from working as a probationary agent.
Once you have passed the interview process, your name will be listed on BOVAEA’s roster. You will also be issued an ID card containing your picture, agent’s name, company name and E number.
However, it is essential to know that while you can now offer real estate services, you still need to get a license from the BOVAEA to operate your own property agency.
How to Avoid Fake Property Agents in Malaysia
Here is how you can know if a property agent is fake or not in Malaysia:
1. REN/REA ID Tags
When meeting a REN or REA in person, check to see if they have their ID tag on them. The tag for a REN will be red, whereas the tag for an REA will be blue. The ID tag should include all relevant details relating to the accreditation and registration number of the professional.
Moreover, if a property agent is terminated or resigns from their profession, they must surrender their tag to their company, who will then pass it on to BOVAEA.
This protects homebuyers from agents pretending to represent a firm when they no longer do.
2. Advertising Materials
When it comes to advertising materials – all advertisements posted in newspapers, billboards, or property portals must contain the following:
- Property agent’s registration number
- Relevant REN’s name
- Their registration numbers
- Contact details
If the advertising material does not contain the above information, they’re probably a scammer.
You can report any advertisements you suspect have been put up by illegal brokers to the BOVAEA. Take a photo of the ad and include the street name, date and time spotted, your name and contact details. The BOVAEA will look into it for verification before passing it on to the Malaysia Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), who will suspend or ban the contact number on the illegal signboard.
Is Hiring A Property Agent Worth It?
Purchasing a home is a significant investment. Choosing whether or not to hire a property agent is, therefore, a critical decision with long-term consequences.
Here are several questions you can ask yourself to help you make up your mind:
1. Are You Genuinely Willing To Spend All That Time And Effort In Dealing With Prospective Buyers?
As a landlord, think about whether you have the time and patience to answer lots of enquiries, numerous calls and messages and endure countless rushed trips to the property for any issues your tenant may face.
2. Do You Know Exactly How To Price Your Property Or Market It?
A property agent has experience in managing the buying and selling process of a property.
By consulting a trusted property agent, they can help you determine the market price of properties in your area and post eye-catching listings to promote your home to prospective buyers.
3. Do You Know What You Should Look For When It Comes To A Potential Buyer Or Property?
The process of purchasing a property is made easier with the help of a competent property agent. They can help you spot issues like leaks and mould, which you may overlook as a buyer.
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