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Under the MIEA Umbrella

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Text : M. Ismail – Photo : Eunice Ng

New president calls out for unity

Nixon Paul was elected as the President of the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) in April this year. Although he has taken office for only about three months, Nixon already has a host of plans up his sleeves. “What comes first?” Home Finder asks the go-getter.

“To have a strong voice we have to unite under one umbrella.”  – Nixon Paul

Nixon has two main aims as the new President. The first is a two-prong activity – to create value to members and going on a membership drive to increase the number of registered real estate agents. Second is to reach out to the public and help them understand the role of MIEA and its importance.

“Many estate agents asked me what benefits they will enjoy should they register with the institute. That will be one of the things I will be answering during my term as President.”

“Currently, only 50% of registered agents are members of the institute. I’m trying to do more of that by registering the sales negotiators as affiliate (AF) members of MIEA.”

“As affiliates they will enjoy all the privileges of the normal members except that they don’t have voting rights.”

Nixon who runs his own real estate firm called Carey Real Estate based in Kuala Lumpur says one of the ways to improve in a career is through education. Those who work with real estate companies, he says, are trying to enhance their level of professionalism. And, there are many courses that can help them attain this.

“We are in the midst of preparing these short courses catering to those in sales, negotiators and principals.”

“We have to create situations where they can attend these courses in a cost effective way. This will prepare them in meeting future challenges, which in turn will help lift their level of services so it is better appreciated by the public.”

Nixon believes in being pro-active and forward thinking.

He says a good estate agent need to keep up with the advancement of technology since it influences our mindset and how we operate our business. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are big marketing tools in this time and age.

“There are some real estate agents who don’t even have websites. Things are ever-changing. It’s becoming so difficult to keep up with the changes, not just among the real estate fraternity but all other businesses as well.”

Just a month after Nixon became MIEA’s President, the institute was awarded a US$30,000 (RM90,812) sponsorship from the Leonard Reaume Foundation. The sponsorship was made possible with the assistance of The National Association of Realtors (NAR). Money from the sponsorship will be used to conduct courses that are recognized in the US, Europe, and most of the other Asian countries. The Foundation gives funds to international set-ups for educational purposes to enhance the level of professionalism in real estate.

“The credit goes to the past president Julie Wong as she initiated the whole thing but it was approved only during my term. She followed it through and pushed very hard for it.”

“There are 30 applicants all over the world. And only five were successful. We are proud to be one of the five.”

Nixon has many plans for the short courses, which he says will cover various subject matters. But all the courses will be the ones proposed by NAR. Most of the courses are intensive, conducted in “classroom” as well as online formats.

“We are inviting people from the fraternity as well as the general public to attend these internationally recognized courses.”

“We are excited and looking forward to putting things in place, publicize it and get as many people as possible to attend.”

“It is not a degree program but a certification, which carries a lot of weight as it is internationally recognized. If you are in the property business and you have the CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) you would be able to walk anywhere and be recognized.”

Speaking of his second aim, Nixon stresses on the importance of the public knowing who their real estate agents are to prevent them from being cheated. There have been cases of the public being cheated by so-called estate agents. This, says Nixon, is a result of dealing with unregistered estate agents. Cases like this are less rampant in Kuala Lumpur because people here are reasonably well-informed and are more careful. Most times, he says, people get cheated when they deal with coffee-shop brokers and those who do estate agent jobs on the side.

The Institute started with humble beginnings and as is norm with most non-profit organizations, there is that persistent financial limitations.

“We have limited resources,” he says. “And, getting people to volunteer their services is difficult.”

“Ultimately, we had to confine all our activities where it was somewhat income generating.”

One of the ways is to hold annual convention for negotiators who are sales people who work with real estate agents to generate revenues. These revenues help sustain the day to day operations of the Institute. Over the years, the association grew even more dynamic and succeeded in accumulating sufficient funds. Nixon again attributes the success to the efforts made by past president Julie.

“I consider myself lucky, coming in (as President) when we (the Association) isn’t so hard-pressed for finances. Hopefully, I can take the institute to a higher level.”

Nixon juggles his time between managing his own business as well as running the institute, headquartered at 3 Two Square in Petaling Jaya.

“It’s still early days,” he says of his tenure. “I have just assumed my position. But, yes, I want to enhance the members, enhance the membership and push for the education.”

“But, for the committee to work more effectively, to have a strong voice, we have to unite under one umbrella.”

“At the end of the day, I believe action will speak louder than words.”