Training requirements for RENs under review
Contributed by Matt Tian
It was recently reported that property agents in Singapore will have to meet a higher training requirement to renew their licences from October 2025 in a move by the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) to raise professional standards in the industry.
A total of 16 hours of training a year is an increment from the current six to nine hours required. Property agents will be under structured learning with courses in areas including laws and regulations, property market updates and other related real estate knowledge.
In a similar move in Malaysia, on Sept 26 last year, the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) had an audience with the Executive Committee of the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers Malaysia (BOVAEP), the regulators of the real estate profession in Malaysia and submitted a memorandum addressing key issues and recommended solution.
One of the items in the memorandum addresses the issue of Education with syllabus expansion, examination and raising the bar in minimum requirement to be certified as a Real Estate Negotiator (REN).
Presently, for one to become a Real Estate Negotiator (REN) certified by BOVAEP with a REN Number, one must complete a two-day Negotiators Certification Course (NCC) as the base educational requirement. There have been proposals for a test to be conducted to ensure the learning is effective with a full understanding of the course modules.
MIEA proposes a revision of the two-day NCC to a 16-Module Course expanding the scope of knowledge, especially in the areas of laws and regulations, finance, property market data analytics and ethics, with examination. This move is necessary to progress the profession, particularly in the area of fiduciary duties. The present NCC syllabus is already 10 years old.
The proposal also includes raising the bar of minimum entry to be certified, beginning with SPM/O Levels with timelines to raise the minimum entry to Diploma/Degree qualification. Though education level accounts for only a part of an individual's success in the industry, it is nonetheless a necessary component as a base.
MIEA is ready and committed to working alongside the regulators, BOVAEP, on the necessary move and action to raise professionalism in the industry. In the long run, this will bring a higher level of trust and confidence in members of the public toward real estate practitioners.
Personally, I believe this is a good move and it should be implemented as soon as possible. Many people perceive the real estate business as an easy endeavour, assuming it merely involves opening and closing doors for property viewings, engaging in negotiations and ultimately securing sales to earn lucrative commissions.
However, the reality is that the profession demands an immense workload and consistent effort across various areas, including administrative tasks, marketing, sales, accounting, education, photography, videography and now even expanding to encompass skills such as drone operation, 360 virtual tours, website management, landing page creation, Google advertising, and social media promotions.
Furthermore, RENs must also possess knowledge of finance, laws and regulations, market updates, trends and other relevant subjects. This breadth of expertise is crucial for them to be competent and professional, particularly considering the significant financial responsibilities involved in real estate transactions.
While education level may only contribute partially to an individual's success, it remains important to train and educate RENs from a young age, before they enter into the real estate industry. This preparation ensures that they acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to deliver excellent practices and provide trusted services to their clients.