October 14, 2022

How To Become A Real Estate Agent In Singapore (2023)

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How To Become A Real Estate Agent In Singapore (2023)

Passionate about the real estate sector? Interested in becoming a property agent? Want to learn how to be a part of this lucrative and exciting real estate agency industry?

Look no further — we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you achieve your dreams of a real estate agent career! Keep on reading to kickstart your real estate journey.

What is the cost of taking and passing the real estate licensing course and examinations?

Real Estate Salesperson (RES) Courses and Examinations

Before you can obtain your property agent's licence and ID tag, you must first undergo a series of Real Estate Salesperson (RES) courses leading up to your final RES exams. This is a mandatory property agent course every aspiring property agent must undergo.

With leading RES course providers, you can expect to pay between $700 and $800. NTUC members under 40 may receive up to $250 in UTAP subsidies, and $500 more in funding for RES courses and exams.

Additionally, SkillsFuture credits of up to $500 are available to Singaporeans and PRs 25 years and older.

Typically, the cost of two RES exam papers (GST inclusive) rounds up to $417.30. For re-takers, this will increase to $235.40 (GST inclusive) per exam paper.

After the RES Courses & Exams

After completing exams, you must pay to register with a licensed estate agency. There are frequent recruitment incentives for new agents…

But don’t make the rookie mistake of being enticed too quickly! Freebies can never measure up to a competent and experienced RES mentor, which is what you’ll want to look for.

Minimally, you should budget for the following costs:

Real Estate Salesperson Registration fee: $53.50 + $230 annual CEA fees = $283.50

Professional Indemnity Insurance: $120 - $150

Agency levied admin fees for name cards/ID Tag/Start Up Course/Admin fees: $300-500 range

You can submit inquiries on UTAP matters here:

Website: http://skillsupgrade.ntuc.org.sg 

Email: UTAP@e2i.com.sg 

NTUC Membership Hotline: 6213-8008

Monday – Friday, 9:00 am to 5:30 pm and Saturday, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm

What is the Real Estate Salesperson Course about?

Before becoming a certified property agent, you must complete the RES course, which was introduced in 2010 and is offered through CEA-approved course providers.

These courses enable you to learn and understand the governing rules and policies surrounding property agency work in Singapore, basic land law concepts, along with real estate laws in general, such as Singapore’s laws and regulations for buying, selling, and renting HDB flats, private apartments, condominiums, commercial business spaces, industrial properties, and the like.

Don’t be fooled, though, this isn’t just a simple one-time course: RES courses cover such a wide range of real estate topics that even seasoned real estate agents of over a decade still struggle to comprehensively remember all the material.

Here are the requirements you must pass in order to undergo the RES course:

  • Must be at least 21 years old 
  • Singaporean or Permanent Resident
  • Minimum of 4 GCE ‘O’ level passes or equivalent (WPLN)
  • Fulfils CEA fit and proper criteria

RES Exam Topics

RES Examinations FAQ

What is the RES exam schedule? 

Congrats! Now that you’ve completed the RES course…what do you do?

Well, it’s time for you to sit for your RES exam at CEA’s assigned examination provider, NTUC LearningHub Pte Ltd.

These are typically held 3 times a year: once in February or March, once in June, and once in October. To become a licensed property agent, you must pass the two RES exam papers.

Make sure you’re up to date with the registration process and all the administrative work you’ll need to file, as RES exams are typically oversubscribed to, with registration closing 1 to 2 months prior to the exam itself.

We encourage you to sign up as soon as you can – you don’t want to waste any time!

Must I pass any criteria to sit for RES exams?

Lastly, and most importantly, make sure you’ve completed the RES course with a minimal attendance of 75% attendance.

Dreaming of that elusive Certificate of Completion for RES Course? We know you are, so make sure you’ve attended your classes accordingly – you don’t want to be disappointed on the big day!

What is the format of the exam?

You will have to take 2 papers, each of which will last for 2.5 hours. Here are the details for both Papers 1 and 2:

Section A: 50 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) - 1 mark each
Section B: 15 MCQ with reference to 1 or 2 Case Studies - 2 marks each
Section C: 10 Fill in the Blank Short Answer Questions (SAQs) - 2 marks each

When will I get my examination results?

Congrats to all brand new agents on finally earning your credentials – your first step in kickstarting this exciting career!

Your exam administrator will contact you to notify you of your results 4-6 weeks after the exam. 

Now that you finally have your completion certificate, remember to pass your REC exam within 2 years of the certificate’s date of issue, or you risk losing your status as a certified property agent.

However, if you are unable to pass any more papers within the 2 year time limit, you must unfortunately retake the RES course and pass the full RES examination again – meaning you must re-complete Papers 1 and 2.

Can I appeal my RES examination results?

If you believe you should’ve passed your exams, you can appeal your exam paper through NTUC LearningHub within 5 working days of receiving the notification of your results.

Do note, however, that a non-refundable fee of $64.20 (GST inclusive) is charged for the review of each paper.

And lastly, here are the details for signing up at NTUC LearningHub Pte Ltd (LHub)!

Sign up at: https://res.ntuclearninghub.com

Hotline: (Mon - Fri, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm): 6336 5482

E-mail: rea@ntuclearninghub.com

Address: 

NTUC Trade Union House
73 Bras Basah Road #02-01
Singapore 189556

For those who completed their course between February 22, 2018, and April 30, 2020, the CPEA will extend the RES course certificate validity period by one year in order to allow ample time for future RES exams.

So, don’t fret if your course completion fell in this time period – you’re in the safe zone.

Important Note for Aspiring Property Agents, Permanent Residents, and Foreigners: 

While you may be eager to fulfil your real estate industry dreams, please note that completing the RES Course and passing the RES Exam does not automatically qualify you to be a certified property agent.

You must fulfil the full registration criteria established by the Estate Agents Act, including meeting the fit and proper criteria. Thus, before you enrol in the RES course, make sure you read CEA’s website for a complete list of registration criteria to avoid any disappointment!

For foreigners who wish to work as salespeople with CEA, you should ensure you have a valid Employment Pass (EP) from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Contact an estate agency that can support your future registration application; they can help check with the CEA on your behalf.

After that, when registering for your RES course, remember to secure a letter of approval from your agency – it is mandatory for your enrolment.

How do I officially become a real estate agent after passing the RES exams?

Congrats on your successful pass – you’ve made it to the end, and it was surely no easy feat!

At this point, you’ve probably done your homework – attended a few recruitment sessions, done your fair share of Internet research – and likely have a decently good idea of which property agency to join. Currently, the top 4 real estate agencies are Huttons, OrangeTee & Tie, ERA and Propnex. 

Firstly, you need to submit a Salesperson Registration. To do this, obtain an application form from your real estate agency, and submit your salesperson application to CEA to secure an In-Principle Approval (IPA).

Within 4-6 weeks, you should receive CEA’s approval. After this, all you need to do is have CEA confirm your registration with your real estate agency – and you’re done. You are now a certified real estate agent!

How can I be a Successful Real Estate Agent?

All the above coursework and exams are merely the beginning. To build a successful real estate portfolio, there are certain characteristics you should strive to develop, and certain traits of the real estate agency industry to adapt to.

Taking on other jobs and learning new skills

We all know how volatile the real estate sector can get – there’s always the possibility you may not earn much, or even anything, for a few months – or even years.

As a result, it’s fairly common to hear agents taking on side jobs to ensure income remains stable on rainy days. In fact, in January 2016, it was reported that 50-year-old property agent Billy Loh worked as an Uber driver after failing to secure any deals for six months.

If you’re looking to upgrade your skills, you can also take courses offered by the Institute of Estate Agents (IEA). These help train and prepare property agents for other jobs – for example, property management – to obtain additional income. Alternatively, you can enrol in other training courses offered by SkillsFuture (remember to capitalise on your SkillsFuture credit!) to widen your career options as well.

Above all, ensure you remain updated on the latest real estate developments, rules, and regulations, along with trends in the property market. It’s a key skill to have as a real estate agent – staying updated with the market.

Be a Team Player, but Remember to Stay Unique

There are thousands of others like you – aspiring real estate professionals – and you’ll need to set yourself apart to make sure clients notice you. Here are some tips you can adopt to ensure you stay unique.

When it comes to listings, you can stand out by posting high quality, clear and visible photos of neat rooms.

Make sure you only watermark your photo and contact information on one photo, rather than the whole album, as potential clients may become frustrated should your photo block the rest of the room they want to see. Avoid picture collages as well – they are difficult for the client to get a high resolution view of the room.

It’s important that you still remain a team player, as there are plenty of advantages you can get from working well with other agents. For example, don’t underestimate the power of helpful advice from seniors!

Other instances might require you to work with another agent to finalise a sale or rental transaction. This shortens the time you need to locate a buyer or tenant (although you do need to share the commission with the other agent).

However, if you can learn to build good working relationships with others, this will definitely work to your advantage in the long run.

Personality and appearance is everything

Clothes make the man – and so does personality. If you’re genuinely enthusiastic, friendly, cheerful, and charming, you’re more likely to put your clients at ease; in turn, they’re more inclined to engage you as their agent.

Plus, a good sense of humour always helps – remember to lighten up!

Remember how you communicate as well – it’s important to be clear and honest, but not too blunt; getting your information across as accurately and clearly as possible is key to prevent misunderstandings, but you also don’t want to risk offending your clients.

At meetings with clients, remember to dress accordingly – our real estate industry trick is to always keep a blazer and a spare set of clothes in your car in case an unexpected formal meeting crops up.

A good real estate agent is prepared for every scenario. If you’re meeting a client at a high-end restaurant, their company premises, or even the property itself, it’ll be appropriate to wear a suit, a dress shirt with slacks, or – for the ladies – an elegant dress.

On the other hand, if it’s a casual meeting at a coffee shop, smart casual like a polo t-shirt and some pants will do.

Honesty and integrity take the highest place

You can be the most prestigious agent there is, but if you lack honesty and integrity, it’s all for nothing.

Abide by CEA’s Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care. Part of your job as an agent is to safeguard your clients’ interests, even if they come at a cost to you.

And finally…

Remember to persevere! The journey you’ve just embarked upon will not be easy, but we know it’ll all be worth it in the end. So, with that – congrats! You are finally ready to embark on your real estate career. We hope you find the journey ahead nothing short of rewarding. All the best

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