Real Estate Agent: 4 Steps To Becoming One In Malaysia!

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
Real Estate Agent: 4 Steps To Becoming One In Malaysia!
Do you want to be part of the glitz and glamour of the real estate industry?
The dream of becoming a property agent is one shared by many, and the aspirational image of a Ferrari-driving, Armani-wearing socialite selling million-Ringgit mansions is an easy trap to fall into.
The truth is that getting your real estate agent (REA) license is a lot more hard work and studying than it is canapés and cocktails.
So whether you call it a real estate agent, a property agent, an estate agent, or an astronaut (kidding, it’s not an astronaut..), the reality of working in the property world is it really is hard work. So here’s our handy guide to help you figure the process out!

What’s The Life Of A Property Agent Like?

Before we dive into the details, it’s important to remember that a property agent has to work extremely hard.
The hours are long, the income can be unpredictable, the market is terrifying at times, and you’re undoubtedly going to have to deal with some very awkward (read: difficult) people.
The great thing is, you’ll also get to make some customers extremely happy, visit and sell some outstanding properties, as well as work in an industry where hard work really can pay off.
So, where does it all begin?
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What Kind Of Property Agent Do You Want To Be?

The first step on the journey to becoming a property agent is understanding the important difference between a real estate negotiator, and a real estate agent.
Let’s begin with what exactly is a real estate negotiator (REN):

PropertyGuru Tip

Real Estate Negotiator (REN) are important individuals working alongside licensed real estate agents (REA), but do not have the full qualifications and accreditation of the real estate agent themselves.

Real estate negotiators are still accredited in their own way, and must be registered with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEA). Yes, that means they need a Real Estate Agent license.
They must complete a two-day course called the Negotiator’s Certification Course, where they will be taught the basics of estate agency best-practice, laws, and regulations.
A REN must be attached to a registered real estate firm in order to work within the industry. A firm is limited to 20 real estate negotiators for every qualified real estate agent registered with the agency. However, they can apply to increase that number to 30 for agencies with more than one REA.
These firms must be helmed by a person that has registered with the board, and it can be set up as a sole-proprietorship (owned by one person), partnership (owned by two partners), or a corporate body, also known as a Sdn. Bhd.
The proprietor and partners must be registered with the board to open a firm, but only 2 directors within the corporate body need to be registered to do so.
However, the majority of directors must be registered. For example, if there are 5 directors in the real estate firm, at least 3 of them must be registered.
There’s no limit to how many firms a person can operate, but every office must be registered with BOVAEA and managed by a Resident Manager, who also needs to be a registered person.
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But, Can Anyone Become A Real Estate Agent?

You must hold certain qualifications and residency to be eligible to become a property agent.
  • Must be a Malaysian citizen or permanent resident.
  • Must hold SPM certificate with no less than 5 subject passes, of which at least 3 shall be credits.
  • Must be 17 years of age and above
  • One of the credits must be from the Mathematics, Science, Commerce OR Accounting subject.
  • Candidates who do not possess SPM qualifications but have obtained a higher qualification recognised by Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam and Malaysian Qualifications Agency may be considered.

PropertyGuru Tip

It’s not just about the official requirements! Here are 5 quick tips on what makes a great REA:

1. Friendly, approachable and happy to interact with people

2. Trustworthy and goes the extra mile to deliver on promises

3. A great communicator who maintains frequent contact

4. Persuasive negotiator with the power to convince

5. A hard worker with great attention to detail

So, How Do I Become A Real Estate Agent?

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The journey to becoming a fully-qualified real estate agent requires a lot of work, a great deal of study, a significant number of exams, and a sprinkle of work experience on top.
You can find the official explanation on the BOVAEA website. That journey can be broadly broken down into four key steps.

Step 1: Examinations – Part 1

So you thought you were done with examinations after university? Not if you want to become a real estate agent.
There are 6 examinations for Part 1, with each exam being charged at RM50 per subject, and a RM50 processing fee.
Individuals who have majored in property-related courses and have obtained similar degrees are exempted from the estate agent’s written examination.
Recognised degrees are noted on the BOVAEA website.
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Step 2: Examinations – Part 2

Once you have passed all courses and exams under Part 1 of your application… you get to sit for more exams!
Part 2 also includes 6 courses, all of which must be passed before you can move on to Step 3.
Don’t get complacent though, this isn’t something you can rush through! It generally takes around two years to study for and complete all examinations under Part 1 and Part 2 of the application.
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Step 3: Experience

Once you’ve got your book-smarts, it’s time to get your industry-smarts.
The next phase of obtaining your real estate license is registering as a probationary estate agent, and undertaking a two-year placement gaining experience in the field.
This experience must be attached to a registered and accredited real estate agency, and requires you to maintain a detailed work log of your activities.
Note that it’s compulsory to register with the board, even if you’re under probation. Any REAs caught employing anyone other than a Certified REN is committing an offence!
Once your two years are complete, you can move on to Step 4.

Step 4: Interview

With your theoretical experience gained from your studies, and your practical experience gained in the field, it’s time to undertake the intimidatingly named Test of Professional Competence.
You should purchase a copy of the Rules & Guidelines to the Test of Professional Competence for the Estate Agency Practice from BOVAEA prior to this exam.
This oral examination is your opportunity to demonstrate everything you’ve learned over the previous years, and show just what an amazing property agent you’re going to be.
If you pass, you gain your Diploma in Estate Agency, and you’re all signed up for your future as a real estate agent in Malaysia.

Wait A Minute, How Much Do I Need To Learn?!

Property agents need to know a lot! It’s not just how to act professionally (don’t chase Pokemon in clients’ apartments), it’s also about the laws and regulations you have to understand.
You will be guided through the need-to-know on your course, but here’s just a quick look at some rules, laws and regulations with which you should be familiar with, for your future blockbuster real estate agent career:
  • Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers Act 1981
  • Act 242, Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers Act 1981
  • Malaysian Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents (Amendment) Act 2017
  • Malaysia Real Estate Agency Standards

How Much Can A Real Estate Agent Earn?

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So you want to know more about the money, huh? Then it’s important to understand how real estate agents get paid! So strap in, and let’s take a look at the question of fees to start off.

1) Maximum Commission 3%

REAs earn a maximum commission of 3% of the sale or purchase of land and buildings.

2) Minimum RM1,000 Commission

A minimum of RM1,000 commission must be paid on any transaction.

3) Maximum 10% Of Chattels

REAs can earn up to 10% of the sale proceeds of chattels such as furniture, plant equipment, and machinery.
But wait, we hear you ask, what about rentals? Well the conditions there are based on the terms of the rent itself.
  • Up to 3 years – 1.25 months gross rental
  • 3-4 years – 1.5 months gross rental
  • 4-5 years – 1.75 months gross rental
  • 5+ years – 1.75 months gross rental
  • 5+ years with option for renewal – 1.75 months gross rental + 0.25 months rental for each additional year
Rentals negotiated for less than a year are still subject to a minimum charge of at least 1 month’s gross rental value, and these fees do not apply to serviced offices or apartments.
So what do the limits above mean for you? When it comes to property, the amount you make is all down to how hard you work, and how good you are at closing a deal.
The more deals you close, the greater returns you’re going to get.
That dream image of the Ferrari might not be on the horizon yet, but with dedication, commitment, and perhaps even a little bit of luck, there’s nothing stopping you from getting there one day.
Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. PropertyGuru International (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.

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How to become a property agent in Malaysia?

If you are a Malaysian citizen or permanent resident, an SPM holder with at least 5 subject passes with 3 subjects with credits and one of them is either Mathematics, Science, Commerce or Accounting or a holder of higher qualification recognized by Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam, you are qualified to become a property agent.

There are 4 steps namely Examinations-Part 1, Examinations- Part 2, 2 Years of Field Training (Experience) and Test of Professional Competence.

For Part 1, you are charged RM50 per subject and RM50 processing fee.