The general public often hear of real estate agents who turn out to be "not really" agents and the term negotiator is used. Sounds like a Samuel L. Jackson movie but in real life, it is not that dramatic for a real estate negotiator.
The truth is, not everyone can become a registered real estate agent. In the past, due to the lucrative nature of the business, many people got involved in real estate transactions to make quick monetary gains. This rampant and unregulated practice led to many problems of fraud, which led to its regulation.
There are approximately 1,900 agents registered with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents. The Board is a regulatory body of the Estate Agency Profession. It comes under the purview of the Ministry of Finance and is governed by the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act 1981. Its primary function is to regulate the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents practising in Malaysia. Presently, all practicing estate agents must be approved and registered with the Board.
The board's functions are to keep and maintain the Register of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents, Probationary Valuers and Probationary Estate Agents, and firms of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents. Its tasks include:
- Approving and rejecting applications for registration
- Holding disciplinary proceedings against members
- Conducting examinations
- Prescribing a scale of fees
- Regulating the professional conduct and ethics of valuers, appraisers and estate agents
- Awarding scholarships
As a regulatory body, the board helps ensure that the profession adheres to a general code of conduct and ethics to protect the interest of property buyers. This code of conduct and ethics are:
- Every registered valuer, appraiser or estate agent is duty-bound to render service to his client with absolute fidelity, and to practice his profession with devotion to the high ideals of integrity, honour and courtesy, loyalty to his country, and also to conduct business in the spirit of fairness and goodwill to his fellow professionals in the real estate industry.
- A registered valuer or appraiser who acts as an estate agent to a transaction should not subsequently value the same property for the same purchaser.
- No registered valuer, appraiser or estate agent shall, directly or indirectly, allow or agree to allow participation by any person or company in the profits of his professional work, other than a registered valuer, appraiser or estate agent.
- A registered estate agent has a duty to protect the public against fraud, misrepresentation and unethical practices in respect to all real estate transactions.
- A registered valuer, appraiser and estate agent must inform his client of the nature of any business connection, interest or other affiliations he may have in connection with his service to the client.
- A registered estate agent shall not accept fees from more than one client in any one transaction.
- A registered estate agent shall not act for one party to a transaction while another registered estate agent from the same firm or related/affiliated firm is acting for the other party to the same transaction, except with the knowledge and consent of the parties concerned.
- A registered estate agent's name and signature must appear on all proposals, reports and other documentation prepared by him, indicating his status as a registered estate agent.
- A registered valuer, appraiser or estate agent's branch offices shall be headed by a resident registered valuer, appraiser or estate agent.
Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents
The Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) is the recognised body representing all registered estate agents in the country. Formerly known as the Malaysian Association of Real Estate Agents (MAREA), it was formed in 1974 but officially registered in April 1977 with the Registrar of Societies. The name was changed on 3 May, 1989 to reflect a more professional image of the organisation.
The MIEA's vision is to unite all registered estate agents in Malaysia as an independent body to promote greater excellence and professionalism in the real estate industry, so that it achieves higher ideals and creates more profitability.
Among its objectives are to:
- Address critical issues that affect the industry
- Cultivate a positive public perception of the profession
- Safeguard and protect the interests of its members and the general public
- Uphold high professional standards, ethics and integrity among its members
- Commit to continuous education to keep its members progressive and up-to-date to remain competitive
- Raise public awareness and encourage them to only use the services of registered estate agents
Estate Agents are simply registered agents with the Board. They provide a service in buying, selling and leasing properties for clients so that optimum returns can be achieved.
A Negotiator is a salesperson employed by real estate firms. The real estate agent is responsible and accountable for all the actions of the negotiator. A negotiator is trained, managed and supervised at all times by the real estate agent.
As defined under Section 22C of the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act 1981, only a registered estate agent can practice, carry on business or take up employment as an estate agent. No one else can operate under any name, style or title that uses the words "estate agent", "house agent", "property agent", "land agent" or the equivalent that would imply that he is a registered agent.
Non-registered agents cannot display any signboards or circulate any cards, letters, pamphlets, notices or advertisements that imply they are registered estate agents, nor can they undertake any work that involves real estate transactions. Only registered estate agents can prevail on the court to recover any fees, charges or remuneration for their professional advice or services rendered as an estate agent.
An illegal estate agent can be punished by law, under Section 30 of the Act. On conviction of an offence under the Act, they are liable to a fine not exceeding RM25,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both. He shall also be liable to a further penalty of RM500 for each day during the continuance of such an offence.
To avoid getting scammed by pretenders, the general public can verify the authenticity of the agent by their registration number. Each registered agent is given a number with the prefix "E", e.g. E 1719. A real estate firm also has an E number, e.g. E (3) 0294, which is the registration number of the firm with the Board. This number must be displayed in all communications from the firm.
The Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia
Suite 3B-10-3A, Level 10 Block 3B,
Plaza Sentral, Jalan Stesen Sentral 5,
Kuala Lumpur Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel : 03-2273 7839/7862/ 5584
Fax : 03-2273 1808
The Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA)
88-B, Jalan SS 21/39, Damansara Utama
47400 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Tel: 03-7727 7477
Fax: 03-7729 3693