With the RESA Law in place, getting a license as a real estate practitioner requires more than just experience and any relevant four-year degree.
In the past, selling houses and condos was simple, as there was no regulatory board specific to real estate in place to govern the profession. The taking of licensure examinations that time was only required when one wanted to establish a brokerage firm. Otherwise, anyone who wanted to sell real estate can do so without a license, and at their own time at that.
But with the growth of the country’s property sector came an increase in the number of individuals wanting to take advantage of the profitable business, and therefore the need to professionalize these practitioners, ensure that they carry out their jobs ethically and to make them into taxpaying citizens. Enter Republic Act 9646, also known as the Real Estate Services Act (RESA).
First implemented in 2009, the RESA Law requires aspiring real estate practitioners to adhere to stricter rules in order to become fully-fledged brokers. With the law in place, one major change is that all individuals who want to sell real estate as brokers must be licensed and registered to be able to do so.
Taking and passing the Real Estate Licensure Examinations are the only way to obtain a license, and to be able to take the test, one must:
1. Be a Filipino citizen, although foreigners may apply under the foreign reciprocity clause;
2. Possess good moral character, and not have been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude; and
3. Possess a Bachelor of Science Degree in Real Estate Management (BS REM).
Originally, a relevant Bachelor’s Degree from a state university or college or other educational institution recognized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) was enough to allow a person to take the licensure exam, but RESA specified that a Bachelor of Science in Real Estate Management (BS REM) would be mandated as soon as the degree program was offered in schools.
In 2011, CHEd issued Memorandum Order No. 28, which outlined how the BS REM degree program should be implemented, including the program description, course curriculum and faculty requirements. Courses in BS REM were rolled out in selected schools in 2012, and it was declared that starting 2016, only graduates of the four-year course would be allowed to take the brokers’ licensure exam.
Understandably, non-licensed real estate practitioners reacted unfavorably to the changes. Many who have been in the industry for years, even decades, see that putting their current real estate careers on hold to pursue a four-year course will affect their livelihood. Aside from being time-consuming, some sellers also find the additional costs too much to bear if, aside from school fees, they should feel the need to attend review classes as well.
Some also believe that not many high school graduates are interested to pursue a degree in real estate management. In fact, May 2016 saw only 39 BS REM graduates, with only 21 passing the exam. This is a far cry from the 5,499 passers out of 9,749 examinees in February 2016, the last time that non-BS REM degree holders were allowed to take the licensure exam.
Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Services Chairman Dr. Eduardo G. Ong revealed that as a solution to the plight of unlicensed practitioners and the dismal number of graduates in May last year, there is a proposal to create an alternative accreditation program that was designed for professionals holding degrees in non-BS REM courses. Under the proposed program, units that have already been taken up in their first course will be credited, so that only the remaining professional subjects (said to be composed of 36 units) will need to be taken. Ong said that the accreditation program, which may be offered starting school year 2017-2018, must be taken in a school accredited by CHEd.
As plans for an accreditation program are not yet concrete, the sole option of those who are looking to become licensed real estate practitioners is to take up the four-year BS REM degree program being required by RESA. Below are some of the educational institutions offering the course:
De La Salle University – College of St. Benilde (Manila)
Trinity University of Asia (Quezon City)
New Era University (Quezon City)
National College of Science and Technology (Dasmariñas City, Cavite)
iAcademy (Makati City)
Lyceum of the Philippines – Cavite (General Trias, Cavite)
Philippine Christian University (Manila)
STI Colleges (Ortigas - Cainta)
Lyceum of Alabang (Muntinlupa City)
Gardner College (Diliman, Quezon City)
University of Cebu (Cebu City, Cebu)
STI Colleges (Jaro, Iloilo City)
Central Philippine University (Iloilo City)
Saint Joseph Institute of Technology (Butuan City, Agusan del Norte)
University of Mindanao (Talomo, Davao City)
Holy Cross of Davao College (Poblacion, Davao City)
Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan (Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental)
(More schools are listed here. Contact the college or university of your choice to confirm that the course is being offered, and to ask about requirements and fees.)
After successfully graduating with the required Bachelor’s Degree, an applicant may take the exam by submitting the following requirements to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) for evaluation:
● Original and photocopies of NSO birth certificate or valid passport
● Original and photocopies of Transcript of Records (TOR) with Special Order, Date of Graduation, school seal, photo, and remarks “For Board Examination Purposes Only”
● Original and photocopies of NBI clearance
● Original and photocopies of NSO Marriage Certificate (for married women)
● Community tax certificate or cedula
● 4 pcs. colored passport photos (should have been taken with a full name tag)
● Completed exam application form
● Metered documentary stamps
● Examination fee of Php900
With the mandatory BS REM degree program in place, many of the previous requirements are no longer needed, namely the certificate issued by an accredited seminar or training provider, proof of one’s years of experience, and the prerequisite Certificate of Registration, Professional ID or license from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Once an applicant has successfully passed the real estate exam, they can apply for their real estate license online. (Follow the steps here on how to accomplish the form, the fees to be paid, and the requirements needed before going to the PRC Central Office.)
Sources: inquirer.net, prc.gov, lawphil.net, ched.gov
Main photo via Shutterstock