Do you have a keen interest in real estate matters? Do you devour news items about property worth millions of dollars changing hands? Do you consider yourself a ‘people person? Then perhaps you might want to consider a gratifying career in the real estate industry in Hong Kong.
Launching a career in the real estate in Hong Kong is relatively easy and straightforward. The Estate Agents Ordinance estates that anyone involved in the business of real estate in Hong Kong must have a valid estate agent or salesperson’s license. If you have the legal right to work in Hong Kong and are over 18 years of age you can apply to become a licensed real estate practitioner in Hong Kong.
The Estate Agents Authority is the governing body of the real estate industry in Hong Kong. The EEA states that there exist two types of real estate licenses in the SAR. Real estate practitioners have to acquire the appropriate license before they can start off a career in real estate.
Types of Licenses
The two real estate license standards in Hong Kong are a salesperson’s license and an estate agent license. Both these licenses have different requirements and permit different functions.
Essentially a holder of an estate agent’s license is permitted to carry out estate agency work as an estate agent or act as a salesperson for another estate agent. A holder of a salesperson license can only work as a salesperson of a licensed estate agency, such as Engel and Voelkers Hong Kong. Failure to meet the above-mentioned licensing requirement is considered an offence. Applying for a license is a relatively simple process that involves clearing a written examination. The study material for the exam is readily available on the website of the EEA.
The licensing examinations test a candidate’s knowledge on subjects such as real estate laws in Hong Kong, commonly used real estate terms, property size measures, taxes and financing and more. The Estate Agent’s Authority website outlines the syllabi for the relevant examinations. The site also hosts reference manuals and guides to aid preparation for the exam Prospective licensees are also advised to study the examination handbook before attempting the exam. The multiple-choice exam is offered in Chinese or English. The expected pass percentage is 60% at present.
A Salesperson’s license
The Estate Agent’s Authority further clarifies the requirements of the two different licenses as such: - In order to qualify for a Salesperson’s license: The applicant needs to be aged 18 or over at the time of making the application. He/she should be educated level of Form 5 or its equivalent. He/she should have passed the relevant qualifying examination within 12 months of making an application. A prospective licensee should be deemed fit and proper according the norms of the Estate Agent’s Authority.
An Estate Agent’s License
The guidelines for setting up a real estate company a la Engel and Voelker’s are essentially an enhancement of the above. These guidelines state that in order for an applicant to be granted an estate agent’s license an applicant must: Be incorporated as a company. At least one director of the company must possess a valid estate agent’s license. A licensed estate agent must effectively control the company’s real estate practice. Directors of the company must be deemed fit and proper persons according to the norms laid down by the EEA. The applicant must be considered a fit and proper person to hold a license.
Acquiring your estate agent card
Once an applicant has cleared the relevant licensing examination, he/she has to submit his/her pass certificate and additional documents to the Estate Agent’s authority. The applicant then receives his/her license number and is ready to start off. The issue of an estate agent card usually takes a month and bears the agent’s name, photograph and details about his/her license. Licensed estate agents need to carry their estate agent cards with them at all times in order to facilitate easy identification by members of the public. This requirement is, in fact, prescribed as one of the first stipulations listed in the Code of Ethics enumerated in the Estate Agent’s Practice Guide available on the website of the Estate Agent’s Authority.
Is a career in Hong Kong’s vibrant real estate industry right for you?
Before you decide to take the Salespersons Qualifying Examination (SQE) or even the Estate Agents Qualifying Examination (EAQE), you need to ask yourself if you are cut out for a career in real estate? As with any industry there are various advantages and disadvantages associated with a career in the real estate industry. Here are a few points to ponder on: -
Getting started in the Real Estate business is relatively easy and quick
If you are prepared to study hard and persevere, you can quite easily become a successful real estate professional in Hong Kong. However, you need to invest time and effort in order to acquire your real estate license in Hong Kong, this first-step entails passing the licensure exams. Success in the licensure exams demands a good understanding of the real estate industry in Hong Kong along with knowledge about constantly changing real estate legislation. The fact that there exist real estate agencies in almost every corner of Hong Kong indicates that most applicants are successful in their attempt to acquire real estate licenses.
You can be your own boss
Real Estate agents need to have a degree of entrepreneurial spirit. As a real estate agent, you work largely on your own and are required to build your lead list by yourself. Additionally, you need to maintain your client’s needs as well as manage your networking relationships while simultaneously marketing your business. When you work as a salesperson at a real estate agency, you need be good team player and have other desirable qualities such as a solid work ethic and the ability to work minimum supervision. These attributes are not uncommon in today’s business scenario and can be developed easily.
Real Estate Agents earn well
Real estate agents in Hong Kong derive their income from commissions they charge to both buyers and sellers. The commission for a buy-sell transaction is 1% for both sides while for rental contracts the commission is usually half the monthly rent agreed upon paid by both the landlord and the tenant. These amounts may appear low when compared to commission rates charged by agents in western countries, but in absolute terms, they are very attractive for real estate in Hong Kong is very high value commodity market. If you work diligently with passion, you can reap big bucks as a real estate agent attached to a world-renowned company like Engel and Voelkers, which offers its agents a chance to market not only domestic but also international luxery properties.
Real Estate Agents have flexible schedules
As a real estate agent, your job doesn’t involve a mundane 9 to 5 schedule. Rather most of your work time is devoted to meeting diverse people and building relationships. You will get to go outside the office a lot and will thus avoid the drudgery of being stuck behind a desk all day.
A career in Real Estate can offer much satisfaction
A Real estate agent gets much genuine satisfaction by helping clients make their most important decision that is to find their ideal homes at the right price.
Qualities of a good real estate agent
Be a good communicator
Selling or buying a home or even renting an appropriate home can be an intensely stressful affair. Thus, a real estate agent needs to be a good communicator who can convey to clients as to how they are placed given the current prevailing real estate scenario at any time. It is also important an estate agent be in constant contact with his or her clients at all times. A good agent is additionally willing to change strategy as and when circumstances demand.
Be sensitive to your client’s needs
A good real estate agent is not only sensitive to his/her client’s needs but is also able to listen and understand the client’s specific needs.
The real estate business in Hong Kong like elsewhere in the world is based on interpersonal relationships, and if you succeed in making your clients happy, it helps the bottom line grow greatly.
In this age of technology, clients choose to communicate in different ways. While some use email, others use social media and yet others like to use the telephone. You should be able to ‘read’ your client correctly and then adapt your method of communication to suit that of your client’s.
Be aware of the market and the client’s time frame
Real estate is a prized asset class in Hong Kong, and the market has been known to shift dramatically and rapidly. A good real estate agent knows the market and trends intimately and is capable of advising a client to act accordingly.
The real estate business is a ‘people’ business where first impressions count greatly so being presentable at all times is a given.
Be transparent and clear-cut
A good real estate should be honest and clear at all times. Yes, you may eager to close the deal but you should be upfront about all the relevant details of the transaction. Details such as the saleable area of the property, the age of the property, the existence of unauthorized structures and even the landlord’s pet policy should be clarified before you urge a client to commit to a rental or sale transaction.
Be a good negotiator
In Hong Kong, everybody loves a bargain be it a vendor or client so it helps greatly if you are a skillful negotiator who manages to keep all parties happy.
Good agent practices in Hong Kong
Aside from following a Code of Ethics as promulgated by the Estate Agent’s Authority, real estate agents are also required to follow the guidelines of prescribed in the handbook ‘Best Practice Checklist’ published by the EEA on its website. The book is very comprehensive and covers all aspects of the real estate business in Hong Kong. It also includes details about the use of prescribed forms and procedures for real estate transactions, avoidance of conflict of interest issues, and advice against excessive familiarity with clients and so forth.
Career Opportunity at Engel and Voelkers
If after reading the above, you think you have what it takes to be successful real estate agent in Hong Kong, you may want to send in your resume to us, at Engel and Voelkers Hong Kong. We are always looking for licensed, motivated, engaging, hard-working agents who have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and are co-operative team players. Recognized as one of the ‘best’ real estate agencies in Hong Kong, we are part of the renowned, global Engel and Voelkers family that currently has a presence in 38 countries and is growing rapidly. We also offer you a chance to market local as well as international properties.
Interested? Then jump-start your real estate career in Hong Kong today by dropping us a line at midlevelswest.recruiting.com.