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Real Estate License Requirements in Singapore - 2023 Guide

Real Estate License Singapore

Are you looking to start a real estate agency in Singapore? The property market in Singapore is growing exponentially, and it is not a surprise if you're looking to start your real estate agency. The property market in Singapore has risen sharply, mainly due to its position as a business and financial hub and how it has always managed to attract foreign talent.

This guide provides a step-by-step process for getting a real estate license in Singapore and the requirements to obtain it.

How to Obtain a Real Estate License as a Real Estate Agency

According to the Estate Agents Act, this Act applies to estate agency work in respect of property situated in Singapore and outside of Singapore, and all agencies, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, or a private limited company. All real estate agencies also must be licensed by the Council of Estate Agencies.

On top of that, individuals who are working for a real estate agency are required to register with the Council of Estate Agencies through the real estate company.

Licensing Criteria For New Real Estate Agencies

Below are the licensing criteria required for a new real estate agency:

1. The real estate agent must be a registered entity with ACRA.

2. The estate agent must have a Key Executive Officer (KEO) meeting the Estate Agents Act and Regulations requirements.

3. The estate agent must not possess a moneylender's license.

4. No real estate agent's directors, partners, sole proprietors, or KEO should hold a moneylender's license or be associated with a licensed moneylender as an employee, director, or partner.

5. The real estate agent must be deemed "fit and proper," meaning it should not be in liquidation, wound-up, or receivership and should not have entered into a composition or arrangement with creditors. Additionally, the estate agent should have no convictions or judgments indicating fraud, dishonesty, or breach of fiduciary duties in civil proceedings.

6. The estate agent's KEO and all directors, partners, or individuals responsible for management must meet the fit and proper criteria per the Estate Agents Act.

  • The final decision regarding a person's fit and proper status for registration lies with the CEA, taking into account all relevant facts and circumstances. However, certain situations automatically disqualify a person from being considered fit and proper, such as convictions involving dishonesty or fraud, offenses under the Estate Agents Act, civil judgments involving fraud or breach of fiduciary duties, undischarged bankruptcy, or arrangements with creditors, and other factors deemed relevant by the CEA.
  • The person must disclose all prior convictions in any court of law, including military courts, in Singapore or any other country.

7. The real estate agency must have a valid Professional Indemnity Insurance policy covering the estate agent and all its salespersons. If applicable, partners should also be covered by this insurance policy.

Requirements for an Appointed Key Executive Officer (KEO)

The appointed Key Executive Officer (KEO) of the estate agent must meet the following requirements:

1. Hold a minimum of 4 GCE 'O' Levels passes or an equivalent qualification.

2. Obtain a pass in the Real Estate Agency (REA) examination within the 2 years preceding the application for a license, or possess an equivalent qualification.

3. Be a sole proprietor, director, or partner of the estate agent.

4. Possess at least 3 years of experience in estate agency work. This could be demonstrated by having held a salesperson registration for at least 3 years or by having served as a KEO, practicing director, or practicing partner for at least 3 years.

5. Have completed a minimum of 30 property transactions in the last 3 years, either on behalf of a licensed estate agent or through at least 3 years of experience in managing the business of a licensed estate agent as an executive director, chief executive, key executive, key executive officer, partner, or sole proprietor.

6. No current positions as a sole proprietor, practicing director, partner, KEO, or salesperson in another licensed estate agent.

7. Not have previously been a sole proprietor, KEO, director, or partner of an estate agent whose license was revoked.

8. Not possess a moneylender's license or be employed or associated as a director or partner with a licensed moneylender.

9. Not be in arrears with the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board for Medisave contributions. This condition also applies to directors and partners of the estate agent. You can go to Medisave liabilities to check if you are in arrears with the CPF board.

It is important for the appointed KEO to meet these criteria to be eligible for the estate agent's license.

Annual License Fee for Real Estate Agencies

Size of Real Estate Agency (Number of Real Estate Salesperson) Annual License Fee (Excluding GST)
1 to 10 SGD330
11 to 30 SGD660
31 to 50 SGD1,100
51 to 500 SGD2,200
501 to 1000 SGD3,300
1,001 to 2,000 SGD4,400
2,001 to 3,000 SGD5,500
3,001 to 4,000 SGD6,600
4,001 to 5,000 SGD7,700
5,001 to 6,000 SGD8,800
6,001 to 7,000 SGD9,900
7,001 to 8,000 SGD11,000
Every additional 1,000 salespersons
(or part of 1,000 salespersons)
Additional SGD1,100 for every additional 1,000 salespersons (or part of 1,000 salespersons)

Do note that for every practicing partner in a General Partnership or Limited Partnership agency, there will be an additional $230 for each practicing partner.

How To Obtain a Real Estate Agency License

The processing time to obtain a real estate agency license is approximately 4-6 weeks. In order to apply for a real estate agency license, the procedure involves providing the following documents and information to the Council of Estate Agencies (CEA):

  1. A copy of the company's Business Profile which can be obtained from ACRA for a nominal fee.
  2. A copy of the cover note or policy schedule for the real estate agency's Professional Indemnity Insurance, with the insurance certificate pending issuance. This insurance should be valid for at least 1 year from the date of application.
  3. The real estate agency's registered name and registration number with ACRA.
  4. Personal particulars of the Key Executive Officers (KEOs), directors, sole proprietors, or partners, as applicable.
  5. Details of 30 sale/lease transactions concluded in the last three years.

It's important to note that the application must be submitted by the appointed Key Executive Officer (KEO), such as the CEO, COO, or MD. Once the KEO submits all the necessary documents and, assuming everything is in order, an email notification will be sent to confirm the approval of the application. The license will not be issued as a hard copy; instead, a soft copy can be downloaded and printed by logging into the CEA website.

šŸ”Ž Tips: For information regarding other business licenses, please refer to our complete guide for business licenses and permits in Singapore.

Changes of Information After Obtaining a Real Estate License

After obtaining a real estate agency license, the agency or Key Executive Officer (KEO) must promptly inform the Council of Estate Agencies (CEA) about any changes to the provided information. This notification should be made within 7 working days of the change and can be done through CEA's E-services for the following updates:

  1. Changes in EA Information, like business address or email address modifications.
  2. Changes in KEO Information. If a KEO vacancy arises due to death, resignation, or revocation of appointment, the EA must appoint a new KEO within one month.
  3. Changes in existing practicing Directors/Partners Information. For new appointments, specific criteria apply.
  4. Cessation of a salesperson's authority to act for the EA, such as canceling a RES registration.

Real Estate Salesperson (RES) Requirements

Individual real estate agents who are employed by a real estate agency must meet the following registration requirements:

  1. The agent must be at least 21 years old.
  2. They should hold a minimum of 4 GCE 'O' Levels passes or an equivalent qualification.
  3. The agent should have successfully passed an industry examination, such as the Real Estate Salesperson (RES) or equivalent exam.
  4. The agent should be registered with only one licensed real estate agency at any given time.
  5. They must not hold a moneylender's license or work as an employee for a licensed moneylender.
  6. The agent must not currently be a licensee or Key Executive Officer (KEO) of another real estate agency.
  7. Mandatory continuing professional development of at least six hours per year is required.
  8. The agent must have adequate coverage under a Professional Indemnity Insurance policy that remains valid for at least one year from the registration's commencement date.
  9. The agent should not have defaulted on Medisave contributions with the Central Provident Fund Board.
  10. The agent must meet the fit and proper criteria, which include not being an undischarged bankrupt, having no convictions for fraud, dishonesty, or breach of fiduciary duties in any country, and not having served detention or police supervision order under the Misuse of Drugs Act, Criminal Law Act, or Estate Agents Act.
  11. All practicing estate agents are required to wear their agent identification cards while conducting estate agency work.

Final Thoughts

The property market in Singapore has been growing at an alarming state. As such, it is unavoidable that many would be looking for an opportunity to enter the property industry. This guide provides you with information that will be able to help you start a career or even a business in the property industry in Singapore. Always keep yourself updated with the latest property news and regulations imposed by the CEA. With proper planning and adherence to regulation, success is possible in this industry.

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FAQs

Where can I apply for a real estate license in Singapore?

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