At the age of 60 years, I am most likely the oldest candidate for the first Real Estate Agent Exam conducted in May 2011. I can see the youthfulness of my 40 classmates who are on the average, estimated to be half my age and radiate the full bloom of roses. Not that I am withered and limping.
Of the 40 classmates, I estimated that around 20 or less took the brutal 3-evening examinations relating to the law, real estate matters and investments. The condition is that all 3 papers must be passed at one sitting. I considered the examinations brutal because of the 8 questions, I had to choose 5. I found that if I had to take all 8 questions, I would fail as many topics were not in the lectures or that the examiner had set some out of the syllabus questions. For example:
1. Write short notes on "market volatility".
2. What is the impact and implications if the income ceiling for eligible HDB flat buyers is raised from $8,000 to $10,000. Or increase government land sales. I attempted this question because I had read the newspaper reports and all the opposition's views on affordable public housing.
3. HDB QUESTION. Calculation of down payment and monthly less CPF contributions for an HDB flat including CPF contributions for a couple purchasing a 4-room flat. This was a killer as I had not practised any calculations nor done more than a handful of HDB sales transactions! But I did read about Minister Mah Bow Tan's illustration of a similar example in the Straits Times during the political hustlings as elections were held around April/May 2011. Unfortunately, I could remember probably 50% of his calculations.
4. What is the main grievance when the Land Acquisition Act was introduced. And what were the "three persons" involved in the Act. Apparently this info was in the CD given by my lecturer and though I had the CD printed to a 1,000-page book, I did not read and remember all the notes. I was forced to answer this question as the others were worse.
I had read 20 years ago that the main grievance was that the land was acquired below market price and so I wrote this. As for the "3 persons", I presumed it was not real people. My classmate wrote the Landlord, Tenant and Owner. I wrote "Singapore Land Authority, National Heritage Board and HDB". Up to now, I still don't know the correct answer.
5. Diversification of investments is bad. Comment. Fortunately, I have read a lot of financial matters as the Straits Times seem to publish endless articles.
6. Leverage, Hedge Against Inflation, Asset Classes, Types. I could write much more than the student who dislike reading the financial news.
7. Positioning of shop front in a shopping mall and the demand of rentals. I had not got any lecture on this. But I had to answer this question since the others would give me a failing grade. Nothing much to write about except human traffic, tenant mix, anchor tenant nearby and demand by competitors. Or maybe I did not know what to write.
8. My favourite question. Two daughters inherited a bungalow from their father and decided to rebuild to a "3-storey dwelling" which was built. One daughter migrated to Australia and gave up her Singapore citizenship. The other passed away in a car accident and her husband said that he inherits everything from her. The foreigner daughter disputed. What is the situation? The answers involved tenancy in common, joint tenancy, intestate, foreign ownership of Singapore Property and the relevant act and maybe more. In real life, the case is referred to a lawyer, my classmate told me!
Yesterday, July 12, 2011, I went to collect my "Real Estate Agent Examination" certificate issued by the CEA (Council for Estate Agencies).
I remember 6 of my younger classmates celebrate the ending of the 3rd examination at a McDonald's in Jurong, nearby past midnight.
I wrote to them as follows:
I am David Sing Kong Yuen, probably the oldest examination candidate in the first REA Exam May 2011. I have passed the exam.
I fondly remembered 7 of us celebrated the final day of exam at McDonald's in Jurong with a treat given by Mr Steven Koh.
I met our Korean classmate Mr Kang while collecting my REA Exam certificate yesterday. I was informed by Mr Kang that there would be a lunch organised by Mr Steven Koh of Hans and Boon 91509317 somewhere in Novena. Pl phone him for the place. I did not receive Steven Koh's sms for this lunch as I was changing phone cards and phone at that critical time. It will be safer to e-mail too but I do get a few hundred spam mails a day (not a few) and your e-mail may have gone to SPAM.
I hope all of you have had passed the exam. Please let me know the good news. My phone is 9668-6468 and I should be able to receive your sms.
There were 41 persons who passed. I estimated that at least 100 sat for the exam (in Paper 2). In Paper 1 and Paper 3, I estimated around 25 candidates were present. Not all were from our class as there were two REA courses being conducted. One of the courses was conducted by Spencer Ng of REMAX connections. I think the other course was conducted by the IEA. Those who failed CEHA courses could re-take the single paper they had failed. However, for the REA course, all 3 subjects must be passed at one sitting. If not, must take the 3 tests again.
Probably around 10 of our classmates of around 40 have had passed the exam. I am anxious to know all of six of you have had passed the exam. Our Korean classmate who was a Professor in undergraduate financial courses (MAS students etc) was scanning for the 41 names for the name of Margaret Liew and could not find her name of "Margaret".
Therefore, Margaret, please let me know if you have passed the exam. I hope to see all of you at the lunch on Wed. somewhere in Novena. Contact Mr Steven Koh for details. I know that Spencer Ng has been invited.
Best wishes to all of you in your KEO career.