How to be a property agent in Malaysia in just a few steps

Building Future Partnership

How to be a property agent in Malaysia in just a few steps

Having a career in real estate can bring about significant rewards as well as many challenges. Often, there is a misconception that becoming a property agent requires minimal academic qualifications or effort. Though the career pathway can often be lucrative, if done right, it definitely requires hard work and commitment like any other professional job.

This is because a career in the real estate industry entails more than just selling houses. Property agents have to be well-versed in the process of selling and buying properties, financing options and property-related regulations.

Different Types of Real Estate Professionals
Before we delve further into the pathway of becoming a successful property agent, we must first be aware of the significant difference between a real estate agent (REA) and a real estate negotiator (REN).

  • RENs – Real Estate Negotiators

To simplify, RENs in terms of job levels are considered as one tier below REAs. They are certified by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEA) to work alongside licensed real estate agents (REA) but do not have full qualifications and accreditation. RENs are still accredited in their own way and must be registered with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEA).

How do I become an REN?

To be qualified as an REN, you must first attain the following requirements to be employed by the Real Estate firm;

  • Complete a two-day course called the Negotiator’s Certification Course, with modules that include the basics of estate agency best-practice, laws, and regulations.
  • Obtain a certificate of attendance.
  • Seek employment either on a ‘Contract of Service’ or ‘Contract for Service’ with a Real Estate firm.

The real estate agency that you are associated with will have to apply for the REN Tag from BOVAEA. Only then can the REN be employed by the firm and represent sellers, landlords, buyers & tenants in the sale and marketing of properties.

  • REAs – Real Estate Agents

REAs are fully certified and registered individuals who have attended two years of courses to attain a Diploma in Estate Agency, two years of practical training as an REN under the supervision of a fully qualified REA, as moderated by BOVAEA.

In short, REAs undergo a more rigorous training and educational pathway that ultimately allow them to operate their own real estate agency and employ up to 30 RENs to work under them.

How do I become an REA?

To be qualified as an REA, we have simplified the process into a series of concise steps that you can use as reference (You may refer to the BOVAEA website for the official explanation);

  • Examination (Part 1): There are 6 examination papers that you need to pass before being permitted to undergo the second set of exams. (Note: Recognised property-related degrees listed on the BOVAEA website may qualify for an exemption from the written exams.)
  • Examination (Part 2): You will need to pass a second set of 6 courses, which includes exams. Generally, it takes an individual around 2 years to complete all the courses and exams listed in Parts 1 and 2.
  • Work Experience: Upon completion and passing your examinations, the next phase requires you to enter a probationary stage whereby the individual will undertake a two-year placement with a registered real estate agency.
  • Interview: Once you have successfully completed both your theoretical and practical phases, you will be required to undertake the Test of Professional Competence conducted by BOVAEA. The oral examination will require you to demonstrate the skills and traits you have learned during your studies and work placement before officially being awarded the title of REA.

You may refer to the table below for a summary of the key differences between a REA and REN (source):

Colour of ID tagBlueRed
BOVAEA RecognitionLicensed and CertifiedCertified
Firm OwnershipAllowed to own and operate a real estate agency and employ up to 30 RENsMay only practice upon full-time employment by a registered real estate agency
Training12 examinations and 2 years of practical experience with a registered real estate agencyTwo day training and certificate of attendance

What next?

As you embark on this new career, it is important to understand that becoming a successful property agent requires a lot of hard work, patience, and persistence. Although it may appear as a daunting task in the beginning, you will soon find that becoming a property agent not only offers great financial rewards but also provides a sense of fulfilment when your clients are happy with the property they choose.

Once you’re ready to begin your career either as an REN or REA, one key factor should be considered – choosing the right agency. We summarised several key considerations to take into account when it comes to selecting the right platform to build your career in the industry:

  • Commission system
    Make sure you clearly understand an agency’s commission system before becoming a part of the team. Always do your research.
  • Training and support
    Support and training is essential to your career development. Find out the types of training programmes the agency offers. Keep in mind that as a property agent, you are constantly expected to develop skills that cater to your clients which include knowledge on changing market trends and buyers preference.
  • Shared work ethics and core values
    Different agencies operate on a set of different core values. It is ideal to find an agency that fits most to your own core value to avoid any work conflict as your career progresses. You will find that your journey as a property agent will also become more fulfilling if the same work ethics are shared and respected. A network of like-minded real estate professionals can support you if you’re having a tough time with a particular client. Mentors who have had similar experiences can share approaches with you that have worked for them in the past. Spend time getting to know other agents in your area and ways they approach working with demanding clients or how they care for their clients in stressful situations.
  • Opportunity to grow
    Choose an agency that will continuously push you to learn new things and become a better property agent. Your career success will not only depend on your own hard work but the opportunities provided by your chosen agency to gain as much experience and improve yourself in the industry. 

Ultimately, before embarking on your real estate career, take time to study the industry and decided whether it is the right one for you. The pros are enough to attract many people to the industry, but it’s the professionals who can defeat the cons who have real staying power.