What Is The Difference Between A REN And REA In Malaysia?

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
What Is The Difference Between A REN And REA In Malaysia?
Malaysia’s property market has a well-regulated, yet extremely competitive, environment. The regulation comes from the government, yes, but that competitive nature?
That’s down to the hardworking professionals who make up the industry.
When you look at it, the real estate negotiator is the foundation on which that success is built. Here’s our guide to the roles and responsibilities of these hardworking real estate professionals!

What Is A Real Estate Negotiator (REN)?

A real estate negotiator (REN) is a qualified professional with appropriate accreditation to work in the industry.
They must be over 18, and must be attached to a registered firm on a full-time basis. A REN can only be with one firm at any given time.
A REN gains their accreditation through attending a two-day course known as the ‘Negotiators Certificate’.
Once they have proof of completion, a real estate firm can apply to have them registered with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEA) as a REN.

But What’s The Difference Between Them And A Real Estate Agent (REA)?

real estate agent, ren, rea, real estate negotiator
There are several major factors which set a REN apart from a real estate agent (REA), and when you get down to the nitty-gritty, it’s mostly about experience and education.
To qualify as a REA, an individual must go through a rigorous and lengthy qualification period.
This includes roughly two years of courses to attain a Diploma in Estate Agency, once again moderated by BOVAEA.
It doesn’t end there though. Once the Diploma is completed, a trainee REA must undertake two years of practical training under the supervision of a fully qualified REA.
After that, it’s a submission of a work log of their experience to the BOVAEA for appraisal and approval at the end of this period.
So what’s the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate negotiator in Malaysia?
About four years of your life, a lot of coursework, some significant practical experience, and a final oral exam on top!
real estate agent, ren, rea, real estate negotiator
Want to know a quick way to check who is which? A REN will have a name tag which is red; a REA will have a name tag that is blue.

What Does A Real Estate Negotiator Do?

There are limitations on what a REN can do, and how they must operate, in order to maintain a structured property sales market:
  • A REN cannot open their own agency, and must at all times, be linked to a registered real estate firm to undertake work within the industry.
  • A REA can, of course, open their own firm. They’re also allowed to have up to 50 RENs (like a tiny, hardworking army) linked to the firm.
If a real estate agent wants to open their very own firm, they can do so through one of these 3 options: as a sole-proprietorship, partnership, or as a corporate body (commonly known as a Sdn. Bhd.)
As a sole-proprietorship, the firm is owned by only one individual that must be registered with the board. The same goes for a partnership, but as a partnership involves two people, both must be registered.
There’s a little bit more flexibility with setting up a Sdn. Bhd. firm as it only requires at least two of the directors to be registered.
However, the majority of directors must be registered so if the board is made up of 5 people, at least 3 must be registered with BOVAEA.

How To Become A Real Estate Negotiator In Malaysia?

The path to becoming a REN is a far less lengthy quest than the epic journey to become a REA! That doesn’t mean you can just sign up and you’re done.
No individual can work to sell or market property until they become accredited. That process involves a two-day programme, known as the ‘Negotiator’s Certification Course’, and you’ll be taught:
  • The basics of the real estate industry
  • Related laws
  • Best practice
  • Standards expected of working within the industry
Once the course has been completed, the applicant will receive a certificate of attendance. With that certificate, they must then find a real estate firm to sponsor their application to become a REN.
The firm then applies to receive the REN tag from BOVAEA. Only once they’ve received that tag, and are linked to the firm, is an individual qualified to operate within Malaysia’s real estate industry.
Do course. Get tag. Sell houses. Simple? Now you just need to find the time to sleep between all the deal chasing!

How To Avoid Fake Real Estate Negotiators And Agents

With all that’s said and done, you’d want to make sure you engage the services of a genuine real estate agent or negotiator.
If you meet a REN or REA in person, they’re legally obliged to have a name tag on them. As mentioned previously, the tag will be red for REN, blue for REA.
This name tag should include all relevant details relating to the accreditation and registration number of the professional.
And thanks to technology, it’s even easier to cross-check than ever before. A REN tag should have a handy QR code which links to their credentials.
However, if the REN is terminated or resigns from their profession, they must surrender their REN tag to their firm, who will then pass it on to BOVAEA.
This is to avoid unscrupulous behaviour of agents pretending to represent a firm, when they actually no longer do, and potentially conning homebuyers of their money!
When it comes to advertising – all advertisements posted in newspapers, billboards, or property portals must contain the following:
  • Estate agent’s e-registration number
  • Relevant REN’s name
  • Their own registration number
  • Contact details
If they don’t have it, they’re probably not legit. If you see a dodgy poster tacked onto the side of a lamp-post, that’s probably not legit either, and it’s actually against the law.
Coincidentally, if you spot any signboards you suspect have been put up by illegal brokers, you can report them to BOVAEA by taking a photo and including the street name, date and time spotted, plus your name and contact details.
Once that’s done, BOVAEA will look into it for verification before passing it on to the Malaysia Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), who will then suspend and/or ban the contact number on the illegal signboard.
The Malaysia Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) gives a quick guide on what to do if you’re not sure whether an agent is legit, as well as having a handy FAQ for public and professionals about the role of a REN.
Meanwhile this simple registration database hosted by BOVAEA provides a quick reference point to search for a REN if you have the details available.
Under the catchy name of clause 30 (1) of Act 242 of the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act 1981, anyone caught illegally undertaking the duties of an estate agent can be fined up to RM300,000 and/or be sentenced to up to three years in jail!
Relevant Guides:
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