When researching on a certain product or delving into a topic, we usually will consult experts and people of rich experience. Likewise, having a realtor is a wise decision when purchasing your next real estate or property. In Malaysia, there is a prevailing problem of individuals that impersonate as professionals and scam people of their money. Bogus agents and fraudsters have been scamming people of their money. They are people of great communication skills, exaggerating their specialisation, and a flawless website to promote their services. The EdgeProperty has estimated 101 cases of real estate frauds in 2016, scamming millions from people. This article will help identify legitimate real estate agents and how to deal with them.
When dealing with a third party to scout homes, ensure that the individual and company is registered. All individuals that are offering any property (land or building) for sale, rent or lease, or any individuals offering to purchase, rent or lease any property MUST be recognised by The Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia (BOVAEA). BOVAEA is the body that regulates valuers, property managers and estate agents in Malaysia. They have the power to recognise, punish and even prescribe the fees for the real estate agents. Regardless of the many titles such as “Real Estate Negotiator”, “Real Estate Agent” and etc, ALL must be registered with BOVAEA. Those who are not can be fined, not exceeding RM300,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both. (Do report to your local authorities or BOVAEA if you happen to encounter one!)
Types of Real Estate Agents
There are typically two types of people you will meet, a real estate agent and a real estate negotiator.
Real Estate Agent (REA)
Real Estate Agent (REA) are the individuals responsible for providing a service in buying, selling, leasing properties for clients. They are fully certified and registered under BOVAEA, being recognised and even allowed to open up their own agency. Becoming a REA is no easy task as it may take up to several years. EduAdvisor has given a simple guideline of what it takes to be one. These individuals have to undergo a stringent process, so hard in fact that there is even a shortage of REA’s in the country! BOVAEA has set a list diplomas and degrees they recognised, but even after studying, they must sit for 12 papers over a two-year period and undergo two years of post-practical training under the supervision of a registered REA firm.
To avoid being scammed, ensure these few things. Firstly, they have to complete the process of being a REA. Many are either in the process or have their licenses suspended, so it important to ensure this. Secondly, their REA tag. BOVAEA has issues a standard issued license ID in blue colour, with an E number with 4 digits (E 0000) followed by a hologram certification. Also, the service fee of the REA is maximum of 3% of the sale price of the property, thus nothing more than that should be charged (Agents may also charge additional costs for disbursements such as marketing materials and transport costs. However, customers are notified prior before this.)
Real Estate Negotiator (REN)
Real Estate Negotiator (REN) are salespeople who work for and under real estate agents. REN does not require the level academic qualifications as compared to a REA. They are instead, employed by REA’s to negotiate on behalf and set preceding to the property for the company. To be a REN, BOVAEA has set out a clear criterion for all interested parties. An individual must be above 18 years old, attached FULL TIME to ONE REGISTERED REA and attend a course by the BOVAEA called Negotiator Certification Course (NCC). REN also have a standard issued tag, it is red in colour and has a 5-digit serial number (REN 00000) followed by a hologram certification.
Despite much awareness from government agencies, many are still falling scams to bogus realtors’ due to the lack of knowledge and experience they have. As real estate is a lucrative money generator, many dive in head first to get a quick buck. These people are taken advantage of their greed and end up being victims for not being careful. Vulcan Post has shared a list of property scams that has occurred throughout the years. As a customer, IT IS YOUR RIGHT to question your REN or REA. Ask for their ID and scrutinise them. Know your rights and buy safely!