The pandemic and various degrees of lockdown over the past 17 months have put a strain on everyone, including thousands of real estate agents across Malaysia. Not only has standard procedures changed, making transactions difficult but obtaining and renewing licenses has been made near impossible since the Negotiator Certification Courses (NCC) For Real Estate Negotiators have been cancelled and postponed with no solution in sight.
However, with the induction of the new Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) Board of Directors, there may be a few things for the industry to look forward to.
Left to right: Ms Rose Lai, Ms Chan Ai Cheng and Mr Victor Wong
In an exclusive interview with Property Hunter, three key spokespersons shared their plans to support the industry during their term until 2023. Present was the MIEA President, Ms Chan Ai Cheng; the Sabah State Chairman, Ms Rose Lai and the Sarawak State Chairman, Mr Victor Wong.
The MIEA manifesto highlights 4 main areas to uplift the real estate industry its stakeholders, including the public looking to purchase real estate and those that push the needle through.
Buy and Sell Homes with a Certified Expert
There are no Harvard or Doctorate realtors but the amount of trust and knowledge that constantly needs refining as a realtor deserves more recognition.
MIEA has acknowledged this and is taking the initiative to create brand new specialist courses for realtors to further their education and get certified in their area of expertise.
“We want to brand MIEA as the hub for anything real estate and provide certification courses. By doing this we hope that we will elevate the standards of our members” Ms Chan declared.
They hope to roll the 101 certification courses within the next 3 months and later on introduce the specialist courses to address the uplifting of agents and negotiators skill sets. Realtors will be able to obtain certifications such as The MIEA Certified Residential Specialist or Certified Listing Specialist, for example.
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The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
MIEA wants to bridge the gap between the expectations of the buyer and seller by focusing on producing more e-publications on real estate matters for public engagement.
“There is usually a mismatch in terms of expectation,” said Ms Chan when referring to the difficulties some agents experience in cooperation with the buyers or sellers as they are not as informed on the procedures and requirements. These e-publications will hopefully help each party be up to date with the rules and regulations so that everyone involved may be on the same page during transactions.
Realtors and public real estate players will also be interested to see more sentiment surveys and research related publications that MIEA plans to distribute this term.
Ms Chan said, “We want to give back to the market the feedback that is very on the ground and current. We are the ones who have this information because our members are going out and doing the work on a daily basis.”
MIEA Rescue Services for Struggling Agencies
Smaller estate agent firms are experiencing difficulties operating due to a lack of resources, funding and manpower. Areas of their business such as bookkeeping, office administration, tech support and so on are taking up agents attention which steers them away from doing work on the ground and actually helping the market.
“MIEA is going to step in and aid small firms with their pain points so that we may free up their time and they may service the market better.” Ms Chan promised on behalf of the association.
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Streamlining Tenancy Administration
In overseas countries, it is a very common practice for the agents to actually handle the tenancy administration. When owning investment properties, the investor does not usually collect rent and handle the tenancy, it is usually handled by the agent.
In light of this, MIEA wants to improve this area of business in real estate.
“We want to streamline and improve the effectiveness and ability to support our landlords with this tenancy administration segment of the business. By doing this, landlords can truly be at peace knowing that the agents have the backbone to support their requirements and their needs when it comes to tenancy” Ms Chan said.
To do this, MIEA will design service level agreement templates as well as tenancy administration software so that the status of each tenancy will be easily trackable for the agent.
Call to Government - Offer Job Opportunities to the Market!
Due to the FMCO since May 2021, the NCC courses have been cancelled and postponed as no physical classes are held. Ms Lai said that in Sabah alone there are a total of 85 people who registered and paid for the courses but were not able to continue.
She said “To solve this backlog, once it is safe to open we plan to outsource venues. We will rent out hotels and convention centres to fulfil the social distancing requirements.” This will ensure a fast and easy rollout of the participants looking to complete their NCC courses.
“The NCC course we were able to hold back in April was actually very successful and we were able to hold up to 200 participants in Sarawak” Mr Wong lauded. “We can see that the courses are high in demand as it offers people an alternative source of income and it is compulsory for RENs to take these courses to get certified before they can sell property. The feedback we got from our members was that they hope to see the NCC courses to be conducted online.”
MIEA understands the frustration within the industry as online NCC courses are currently not permitted and there are companies that have Real Estate Negotiators (REN) who cannot complete their certification. Furthermore, real estate is not considered an essential service and realtors are restricted to perform their work.
“Unemployment is expected to go up because of these extended MCOs so the real estate fraternity as a whole is trying to rise up to the call of the government to provide job opportunities for the market to make some money during this difficult time.” Ms Chan concurred. "If universities can conduct online courses and exams, why can't we as a professional board? We are more than capable of conducting online courses. It will really help Malaysians with this roadblock and make a living with a real estate profession."
For more on this call to the government, read: At a Cross Road - MCO and the Real Estate Agency Practice