The Ultimate Guide: How To Become A Property Agent (2020)

Updated: Oct 13

Updated: 13 Oct 2020


Interested in joining the exciting and dynamic real estate industry?

Some who wanted a career switch may have contemplated pursuing a real estate career.


Why is this so? As with most businesses, you need 3 basic things to startup. They are :

  1. Staff

  2. Inventory

  3. Shop

The start up cost to become a property agent in Singapore Is very low and this is one of the reasons why this career and business looks very attractive.

Staff : You do not need to hire any staff as accounts, admin and legal staff for you is provided by the Agency.


Inventory : You do not need to stock up on inventories as the properties to be sold belong to your clients.


Shop : You do not need a physical shop to run your business. All you need is a virtual property portal to advertise your listings. The annual subscription fee is still much lower than a monthly rent of a physical shop.

The first step is always the hardest, but the rest is an amazing adventure - Anup Sapkota

To kickstart your real estate career, you are required to attend the Real Estate Salesperson (RES) course and pass the RES Exams before you can be registered with the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) as a real estate salesperson. This ultimate guide will give you a rundown of what to expect on your journey to attaining your licence.

En-route to your real estate career, here are some of the costs you will need to bear.

1. RES Course Fee 2020

The cost of the course ranges from $650 to $784 at various CEA Approved Course Providers (read on to find out about the list of our recommended providers).

  • Singaporeans and Permanent Residents above 25 years old can utilise their SkillsFuture credits of up to $500.

  • If you are an NTUC member, you get to enjoy up to $250 UTAP subsidy for your exams.


2. RES Examination Fees 2020

The RES Exams consist of 2 papers which cost $417.30 (inclusive of GST). If you are retaking the exams, it will cost you $235.40 (inclusive of GST) for each paper. After passing the papers, you will normally attend a real estate recruitment seminar and register with a licensed estate agency. These are some typical costs to note: 1. Real Estate Salesperson Registration Fee: $53.50 + $230 (annual CEA fee) = $283.50 2. Professional Indemnity Insurance: $120 3. Agency levied admin fee for name cards / ID Tag / Start Up Course etc: Ranges between $300 to $500 In total, It will cost around $2,200 to obtain your real estate licence with a real estate agency IF you pass on the 1st attempt.

What is the RES Course about?

Under the Estate Agents Act, it is compulsory for potential property agents to attend and complete the RES Course conducted by a CEA Approved Course Provider. This regulation is part of CEA’s goal to:

  • Increase quality standards for real estate agents wanting to pursue estate agency work.

  • Ensure property agents are professionally equipped and qualified.

  • Understand and practise good ethical standards.

The RES Course is a preparatory course for aspiring property agents to learn and understand the industry concepts and agency practice standards. During the wide-spanning lessons, you will acquire in-depth knowledge on the rules, regulations, policies and procedures pertaining to the real estate agency practices like how you should handle a property transaction professionally and in compliance with government policies, state laws, and CEA’s prescribed rules and regulations. It is truly alot of material and knowledge to remember and understand so, before you sign up for the course, please be mentally prepared and committed to studying really hard! To put it rationally, the RES Course covers such a broad spectrum of the industry that even practising veteran real estate agents are unable to completely remember all the rules and regulations. However, it does ensure that new property agents possess a much higher level of competency and knowledge of the real estate industry and related matters than before the exams were implemented. To be qualified for the RES Course, you will have to meet these requirements: 1. Must be at least 21 years old 2. Singaporean or Permanent Resident 3. Minimum 4 GCE ‘O’ Level passes or equivalent (WPLN) 4. Fulfils CEA fit and proper criteria


 2020 RES Exam Topics


Real Estate Salesperson (RES) Exams

After completing the RES Course with a minimum attendance rate of 75%, you will receive a certification that indicates that you have completed the course. With this certification, you are then allowed to register for the RES Exams at the SEAMEO Regional Language Centre (RELC). The RES exam are usually held 3 times a year during February, June and October. However, due to Covid-19, the February and June exams were postponed. Currently the October exam dates are available for booking via this link.



Exam Format

There will be a total of 2 papers with Paper 1 and Paper 2 in the following format:

  • Section A consists of 50 Multiple Choice Questions (50 marks)

  • Section B consists of 15 Multiple Choice Questions with reference to 1 or 2 Case Studies (30 marks)

  • Section C consists of 10 Fill-in-blank Short Answer Questions (20 marks)

The duration of each paper is 2.5 hours.

With effect from May 2013, the RES Exams format has been revised to include a Case Study Section in both Paper 1 and Paper 2 in the form of multiple choice questions. The objective is to ensure that candidates are able to analyse and interpret the issues in a practice-oriented case study context. Paper 1 tests you on:

  • Competency Unit 1 comprising of “Real Estate Agency Industry Overview and Basic Land Law Concepts”

  • Competency Unit 2 comprising of “Dealings with Interests in Land”

Paper 2 tests you on:

  • Competency Unit 3 comprising of “Regulation of Real Estate Agency Industry and Real Estate Marketing”

  • Competency Unit 4 comprising of “Property Transactions”

You are required to pass both papers in order to obtain your licence. The passing mark for each examination paper is 60% and is subject to review by the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA). RES Exams Results Notification The Exam Administrator will notify you of your results. Candidates who have passed one paper* are allowed to retake the examination in modular sitting. The exams results will be in one of the following formats:

  • Pass (P)

  • Fail (F)

  • Pass Paper 1; Fail Paper 2 (P1 F2)

  • Fail Paper 1; Pass Paper 2 (F1 P2)

It is a requirement for RES Course participants to pass the RES Exams, comprising two papers, within 2 years of getting your RES Course completion certificate.

If you have a modular pass in one paper of the RES Exams, you are required to pass the remaining paper within the 2 years timeframe.

If you fail to do so, the modular pass in one paper will not be valid and you will have to retake the RES course before attempting the RES Exams (i.e. both Paper 1 and Paper 2) again. Ouch!

It is highly recommended that you join in our regular free RES Exam Revision sessions. Find out more about our revision sessions here.


Appeal of RES Exams Results

If you think you should have passed the exams but failed, you may submit an appeal to review your paper via SEAMEO Regional Language Centre (RELC), CEA's appointed examination administrator, within 5 working days from the date of the notification of examination results.

Do take note that a non-refundable fee of $64.20 (inclusive of GST) will be charged for the review of each paper.

Important Note for Aspiring Real Estate Agents and Foreigners

Attending the RES Course and passing the exams does not automatically qualify you to be a real estate agent.

It is only part of the criteria.

You still have to fulfil other prevailing registration criteria, which include approaching a registered estate agency to submit a salesperson registration application to CEA.

You can refer to CEA’s website (www.CEA.gov.sg) for the list of registration criteria before you register yourself for the RES Course.

For foreigners exploring a career in property sales, you will need to have a valid Employment Pass (EP) issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) before you can register with CEA as a real estate salesperson.

You will need to produce a letter of sponsorship issued by your real estate agency when you register for the RES Course.

Hence, you should start by first searching for an established real estate agency which is willing to hire you, to support you in your registration application and guide you through the process.





2020 Recommended CEA Approved Course Providers for the RES Course 

There are many training centres and in case you are wondering which RES course provider to go for, this list will be helpful as I have heard good reviews from the new property agents who have joined us. If you stay near to central areas, BenchMark RealPro and Real Centre Network are the best choice. If you stay in the west, head to Pioneer Training & Consultancy. If you are an East sider, head to Singapore Estate Agents Association.

In order to reduce physical contact, RES course Is currently conducted via Zoom. Each real estate school has different RES course schedules to suit busy working adults or parents alike with courses such as weekends only, Saturdays only, specific weekday nights and express classes. Check them out here for a review and comparison. Details here: BenchMark RealPro Pte Ltd (Highly Recommended! Awesome trainer David Huan) Website: https://www.benchmarkrealpro.com Tel: 67355860 / 67355861 Email: benchmarkrealpro@gmail.com Venue: 151 Chin Swee Road #03-31 Manhattan House Singapore 169876. Institute of Estate Agents  Website: www.iea.sg Tel No: 6323 1770 Email: courses@iea.sg Venue: 480 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh #07-01 HDB Hub East Wing Singapore 310480 Pioneer Training & Consultancy Pte Ltd  Website: www.pioneertraining.org Tel No: 6462 6093 / 9424 3483 Email: pioneertc@gmail.com  Venue: Blk 134 Jurong Gateway Road #03-309P Singapore 600134 Real Centre Network Pte Ltd  Website: www.realcentrenetwork.com Tel No: 6511 3009 Email: info@realcentrenetwork.com Venue: 490 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh #09-16 HDB Hub Biz 3 Singapore 310490  Singapore Estate Agents Association Website: www.seaa.org.sg Tel No: 6702 1602 Email: edu@seaa.org.sg Venue: 60 Paya Lebar Road #13-23 Paya Lebar Square Singapore 409051 (Office Lift Lobby 1) 



RES Course Types Comparison

Wondering which RES Course and Training Centre to go for?  Is the express course or the 9 weeks course more suitable for you?  Check out this article about my review of the 5 major course providers programmes that can suit you whether you are a full-time working mum or a self-employed with flexibility in your day to day appointments.  You will learn about the costs, duration and intensity of each course type and who it is most suitable for. 


What happens after I pass my RES Exams?

Congratulations! You deserve a pat on your back for enduring through the intensive training lessons and exams. By now, you should have done your research on which agency you should join. If you are still looking around, here’s a guide on which real estate agency you should join after passing your exams. There are several real estate agencies in the market and it can be a tough decision to select one. For your reference, the current Top 4 real estate agencies in the market are OrangeTee & Tie, ERA, Propnex and Huttons. These are the biggest and most popular real estate agencies in Singapore that has established systems in place to help you accelerate in your real estate career. Last but not least … Submitting a Salesperson Registration Get an application form from your agency and submit your application to CEA for the ‘In-Principle Approval’ (IPA).

Approval of CEA Registration

Within 4 to 6 weeks, you should receive a notification of CEA’s approval and this means you are ready to start on your exciting and rewarding real estate career!

Welcome to the club!

Looking for great career mentorship to shorten your learning curve? ​ Get a 1-time free 30 min career consultation. Drop me a WhatsApp @ 97642556 if you would like to start your career with our team or attend our upcoming OrangeTee recruitment seminar!  Enjoy our 100% RES joining fee subsidies for brand new/experienced agents. Limited slots available.


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