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Are you in doubt whether the person selling you a home is a certified real estate agent, or if the property ads you saw were put up by a bona fide estate agent? If yes, we have created a guide to protect you from being duped by illegal agents.

1. Check If They Have Official IDs

Typically, you will be working with Real Estate Negotiators (RENs) instead of Real Estate Agents (REAs). This is because each agent can hire up to 50 negotiators to assist in providing real estate services, such as selling and renting out properties, or seeking a property for a buyer. These professionals are the ones authorised by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia (BOVAEA or LPPEH) to render such services.

The quickest and easiest way of confirming if the agent or negotiator is the real deal is to check their identification card (ID). All RENs and REAs are provided with BOVAEA-issued IDs. Basically, the ID contains vital information such as their picture, name, NRIC number, company name and the firm’s registration number.

If the ID card is colour red, it signifies that the person is a negotiator or a probationary agent, while a blue one means that the individual is a licensed REA. In addition, the ID of negotiators will have a REN number (REN 000000), whereas agents will sport an E number (E 0000).

All RENs and REAs are required to wear their IDs while they are working so that their customers will know that they’re working with authentic property professionals. If the person does not have a visible ID, demand to see it as you have a right to do so.

Moreover, agents and negotiators are not allowed to use company IDs instead of the BOVAEA-issued tag. It is also a violation of the law for someone to replicate or make an imitation of the official ID.

2. Scan Their IDs With Your Smartphone

Apart from the aforementioned info, the ID comes with several security features, one which is the quick response (QR) code, which can be scanned and confirmed by a smartphone. After scanning, the code reader will display the person’s corresponding information, including their photo and name. It’s a wise move to check if the ID and info shown in your smartphone matches.

3. Visit BOVAEA’s Website or Call Agency

If you’re still uncertain over the authenticity of the agent you’re dealing with, you can visit BOVAEA’s website and click on “Search”.

Not only can you look up real estate firms, but also BOVAEA members and negotiators. Please note that members include estate agents, probationary estate agents, valuer and probationary valuers. For members, you can look up the registration number and name. For negotiators, you can input the REN number, name, IC number, passport number or mobile number.

If navigating the official website is not your thing, you can also contact BOVAEA during working hours at 603-2287-6666.

4. Ads Follow the Correct Format and Are Posted in Proper Places

First of all, advertisements cannot be placed on lamp posts and tree trunks. It is unlawful to do so.

Secondly, all ads and marketing materials posted by negotiators or seen in websites or property portals must show the company E registration number, as well as phone number alongside the REN number of the negotiator. If these pieces of information are missing, they’re flouting the rules and the poster is unlikely to be a bona fide negotiator. The only people who can advertise properties for sale or rent that don’t contain the required info are property owners and landlords themselves.

Similarly, flyers distributed by agents and negotiators must indicate the following info:

Details of the property for sale, lease or sought.

Company’s official letterhead, including name, registration number, office phone number, and business address.

Real Estate Agent’s signature

Real Estate Negotiator’s name and REN number

Lastly, each flyer must bear the below notice:

“Persons responding to this flyer are not required to pay any estate agency fee whatsoever for properties referred to this flyer as this firm is already retained by a particular principal.”

What Do You Do If You Encounter a Fraud?

If you encounter someone pretending to be a Real Estate Agent (REA) or Real Estate Negotiator (REN), you need to stop dealing with the person and report him or her to law enforcers immediately.

Under Section 22C of the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act, only registered Estate Agents have been given the power to:

I. Conduct business under any title or name containing the words “Property Agent”, “House Broker”, “Land Agent”, “House Agent” or “Estate Agent” in any language that may reasonably be interpreted that the person is a licensed Estate Agent or he is permitted to provide estate agency services.

II. Post or circulate any form of advertisements or marketing materials that offers to sell, lease or rent land, building and any part thereof whether such property is situated within the country or outside of Malaysia.

III. Have the legal right to recover any charges, fees, commission, or remuneration for any services or professional advice provided as an Estate Agent.

According to Section 30 of the Act, people who violate Section 21 or 22C of the Act will face a fine of not more than RM300,000 and/or imprisonment of up to three years. This is also the penalty for those who assist in committing the said offence.

Can foreign agents or developers sell overseas property in Malaysia?

They cannot directly sell or market their properties in the country. To do so, they need to appoint a local registered property firm to sell or market the foreign properties. The domestic real estate company must also seek the approval of BOVAEA, which will provide an approval number that must be shown in all marketing materials as well as at property exhibits. An REA or REN of the local company must also be present at all times during property showcases.

How do I know if the overseas property being marketed is approved by BOVAEA?

Any foreign real estate approved to be sold or marketed locally needs to show their approval number (e.g. LPPEH/77/5566/KL). The permit is only valid for a month and for one venue. Hence, if the overseas property will be showcased at a different exhibit, the exhibitors need to apply for another approval.

For more guides like this, visit PropSocial's discussion board.

(Written by G. Zizan, 11th February 2020)


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Yeah. Max is 50 RENs.

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Yes, the latest rule is that each registered agent can hire 50 negotiators. On another note, all REAs & RENs upkeep the profession and co-broke only with registered REAs and RENs  

Jonathan de ho half body small

also the websites not really that updated on the REN number

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@carmenfoong Hi Carmen, thanks for pointing that out.