You probably won't be able to sell one of these buildings...

Background

The Real Estate industry in Singapore is regulated by The Council for Estate Agents (CEA) which was established in 2010 to bring a new level of professionalism to the industry.

Two definitions you need to know before proceeding:

  1. Estate Agents refer to Agencies such as ERA, Huttons or Orange Tee
  2. Salespersons refer to the people carrying out Estate Agency work. The common term used is of course, Real Estate Agent. Officially however, this title doesn’t exist. Why? Ask CEA.

The first thing you need to know is that a Real Estate Agent is known as

There are approximately 30,000+ registered salespersons in Singapore with over 1,000+ registered estate agencies. A lot of you might be surprised to hear that there are actually that many estate agencies! In reality, a lot of these agencies are 1 or 2 man shops which explains the large number. I will explain why they do this in another blog post for another time.

Overview of the Process

  1. Register for the RES course at one of the approved training centres
  2. Take the exam which is held every 2 months
  3. Upon passing, you have up to 2 years to find an agency you want to work for who will in turn submit your application form to CEA to have you registered as a salesperson under them.

Prerequisites

  1. Must be at least 21 years old
  2. Must have a minimum of 4 GCE ‘O’ Levels passes or equivalent
  3. Possess a pass in the Real Estate Salesperson (RES) exam or equivalent
  4. Be registered with only 1 licensed estate agent
  5. Must not be an existing licensee/Key Executive Officer of another licensed estate agent
  6. Must not hold a moneylender’s licence and not be an employee, director, or partner of a licensed moneylender
  7. Undertake mandatory continuing professional development of at least 6 hours a year
  8. Must be covered by a Professional Indemnity Insurance valid for at least one year from the commencement date of the registration
  9. Must not be in arrears with the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board for Medisave contribution. Please click here to check if you have Medisave liabilities.
  10. Fulfill the fit and proper criteria, such as:
  • Must not be an un-discharged bankrupt or have entered into a composition or scheme of arrangement with their creditors
  • Must not have any convictions in a court of law in any country.
  • Must not have any judgment that involved a finding of fraud, dishonesty or breach of fiduciary duties entered against them in civil proceedings
  • Must not have been detained under the Misuse of Drugs Act or served with a detention/police supervision order under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act
  • Has not been convicted of any offence under the Estate Agents Act

Source: http://www.cea.gov.sg/cea/content/estate_agencies_agents/licensing/licensingregcriteria.html

RES Course

All aspiring agents have to take the Real Estate Salesperson (RES) course. CEA outsources this to a list of approved training providers. The training providers normally run on a first come first serve basis. So if one class if full, you will have to join a later class.

There are a few formats available: full time and part time. The full time course is essentially a 10 day crash course from 10 – 5pm everyday. The part time courses allow you to come for lessons after work. Each training provider will obviously have their own schedule so do check with them.

The cheapest training centre seems to be at Institute of Estate Agents. Their RES course is listed at $736.20 inclusive of GST. A cursory search amongst the other course providers seem to be within the $700 to $800+ range inclusive of GST.

Do note that if you’re an NTUC member, you are entitled to get a $250 rebate from the UTAP programme. You have to make sure that the duration of your course falls between the start and end date of your membership period. Don’t worry, you can always back date the membership if you overshot the dates already.

The Exam

NTUC administers the exam on behalf of CEA for the RES exam. To register, go down in person to one of the NTUC hubs registration centers.

RES Exams are conducted 6 times a year. The last exam for the year 2013 will be on the 23rd and 24th of November. Full schedule available here.

The cost comes up to $246 inclusive of GST for 2 papers. $149.80 inclusive of GST for 1 Paper if you have to retake.

It will take approximately 1 month for the results to be released. It’s based on a pass/fail grading system.

Paper 1 deals with the law aspect of real estate agency work whereas Paper 2 deals with pretty much everything else. Typically, most students find Paper 1 to be more difficult. Generally speaking, students with a better command of English tend to do better.

Both papers are broken into 3 sections:

  • 50 marks MCQ
  • 30 marks Case Study
  • 20 marks show answer questions

If you’ve not seen grown man and women sweat under pressure, the RES exam is a good place to see the phenomenon.