Dealing with property and people

Posted on Jan 12, 2018

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What it takes to become a professional real estate agent

Stylish businessman in a suit looking at the horizon. Photo of double exposure of the city. Horizontal

Stylish businessman in a suit looking at the horizon. Photo of double exposure of the city. Horizontal

MALAYSIA offers abundant job opportunities to those seeking a career. With a variety of industries to choose from, people may be unaware of the lesser known sectors such as property.

Being one of the most important contributing sectors of Malaysia’s economy, there are several exciting job opportunities within the real estate industry that should be considered.

In the first instalment of the Careers in Real Estate series, focuses on the real estate agents. We interviewed four successful real estate agents who shared their experiences and expertise regarding the profession.

IQI Realty Sdn Bhd group vice-president Dave Chong


A real estate agent or real estate negotiator is responsible for bridging the gap between a buyer and property owner. The agent acts as the middle-man between the two parties to ensure the property transaction is carried out professionally.

In his or her daily routine, a real estate agent needs to generate a lead: find the people interested in buying a property and engage with them.
The agent will have to call and set an appointment with these potential customers and bring them to view the property.

Next, the agent will have to present the product to the clients to educate them on the investment prospects of the project. The agent will also have to instruct them on the processes of buying a house, such as loan instalments, the down payment, and the insurance.

The most important step would be closing the deal – the agent will have to suggest the most suitable property to the client.

Last but not least, the agent must follow through with the client regarding the loan approval before confirming the purchase.

The best part of this career – aside from the salary – is the flexibility. As an agent, you get to plan your schedule for the day and work at your own pace.

Despite the soft market sentiment, people are still buying property. The demand for good real estate negotiators will always be there.

For more on Dave Chong, read Building a career as an agent

Vivahomes Realty Sdn Bhd chairman Alvin Foo


Sometimes, the public is confused over real estate negotiators and agents because both have similar responsibilities. Why are some negotiators also agents and vice versa?

There is a slight advantage for a licensed real estate agent who is authorised to open a real estate firm and lead a team of 20 negotiators.

One way to become a licensed real estate agent is to take the Estate Agents Examinations set by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia (BOVAEA).

Applicants must pass 12 subjects. Upon passing the exam, they can register as a probationary estate agent and pass the Test of Professional Competence (TPC).

To become a successful real estate agent, one needs to have several values such as integrity, enthusiasm and perseverance.

Integrity is essential in building the trust between you and your clients. It will affect your relationship and reputation depending on how you present yourself. Enthusiasm is a big factor to attract repeat customers.

Last but not least, perseverance is essential. A real estate agent needs to be persistent in following up on the prospects, appointments and documents.

Take note: be persistent but don’t be pushy.

For more on Alvin Foo, read A detailed account of a day as a real estate agent

JLL Property Services Sdn Bhd country head YY Lau


It is easier to become a real estate negotiator than an agent because anyone can take the two-day real estate negotiators (REN) course to obtain the REN tag that allows them to conduct the property transaction legally.

To become a distinguished real estate agent, you must have several skills such as a broad knowledge of property and finance, extensive use of marketing platforms and the ability to present yourself professionally.

Mostly, the client will choose your services not by your ability to present the property favourably but by your pleasant personality.

With the Internet of Things (IoT) becoming the trend, everything is accessible online. If you want information on a property at a specific location, you can check online straight away and get a full analysis.

Where does that leave us? That is one of my concerns.

For more on YY Lau, read From accountant to an award-winning real estate agent

Property Hub Sdn Bhd senior division leader (luxury homes) Phoebe Tan


Quite a few universities offer a course in real estate management, including Universiti Malaya and Universiti Teknologi Mara.

Upon graduating, one will need to have a few years’ experience in the field before being qualified to obtain the TPC logbook and going for an interview with the Board to be awarded the licence.

Those who did not major in real estate can still apply to become a licensed real estate agent. However, they are required to take Part I and II exams set by the Board.

It could take about five years to get the licence if you pass your exams and excel in your career.

Different companies may have different guidelines regarding salary. We don’t offer a basic pay, but we offer a commission scheme – which is better.

Companies that give a basic salary may have a smaller commission scheme in return.

For example, you will get 2% to 3% commission on closing a deal for a house worth RM1mil. The amount of commission could differ based on whether the deal is under core agency or direct deal.

For the core agency, one side of negotiators representing the buyers will engage with the side of negotiators handling the properties. Once the deal is closed, the commission will be divided between the two of them.

If you represent both the property and the buyer, you will get to enjoy the full commission.

However, depending on the agreement or position, a portion of the earnings will be directed to the company. This applies to the core agency deal as well.

For more on Phoebe Tan, read From childhood interest to career passion 

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