What do the different abbreviations mean in the real estate agency sector?
The real estate agency sector involves a wide range of job titles, which can sometimes be confusing for the customer. Who can use the professional title of estate agent? And what other training opportunities are available in the estate agency sector?
LKV = Laillistettu kiinteistönvälittäjä (Licensed real estate agent)
Perhaps the most important acronym in the estate agency sector is LKV, which stands for laillistettu kiinteistönvälittäjä, or licensed real estate agent. The title of real estate agent may be used by persons who have passed the LKV exam organised by the Central Chamber of Commerce. A registered real estate agency may also use the abbreviation “LKV” in its name. The use of the job titles and acronyms is controlled by the Regional State Administrative Agencies.
The law which came into force at the beginning of 2016 requires that at least half of the staff in every branch of a real estate brokerage company must be qualified as LKV. The purpose of the law is to guarantee customers a professional and competent brokerage service. The LKV exam itself requires extensive knowledge of the law and good agency practice. Read more about good agency practice here.
LVV = Laillistettu vuokravälittäjä (Licensed letting agent)
In addition to the LKV exam, the Central Chamber of Commerce is also responsible for organising the LVV exams. A person who has passed the LVV test may use the title of a licensed letting agent. The LVV exam is slightly narrower than the LKV exam, as it focuses primarily on letting agency activities. A registered letting agency may also use the acronym LVV in its business name.
Other common abbreviations in the brokerage sector
Brokers need to keep their skills up to date, and the industry organises a wide range of training courses to improve their skills. Real estate representative training (KED®) is a training course organised by the Real Estate Training Centre (Kiinko), providing the basic skills for brokerage. A further vocational qualification in real estate brokerage (KiAT) is a qualification which is taken as a skills demonstration examination alongside brokerage work, and the holder has already gained work experience in the field.
Other qualifications include the higher real estate agent diploma (YKV or KVK) and Diplomivälittäjä.
In addition to these broker qualification, you may come across the acronyms AKA and KHK, for example. AKA means authorised property valuer, who is an expert accredited by the Central Chamber of Commerce’s Property Valuation Board. The professionalism of an AKA is required in demanding property transactions or disputes, for example, where an objective expert opinion on the value of the property is needed.
A real estate valuer approved by the Central Chamber of Commerce (KHK) is a valuer whose use is defined by law. The Act on Common Funds, Real Estate Fund Act, Securities Market Act and Act on Mortgage Credit Banks specifically define the situations in which a valuation by a KHK is required.
Ask your agent about his or her competence!
Education in real estate brokerage is a sign of professional competence, and the Finnish Real Estate Agents’ Association recommends that every real estate agency professional should take the LKV exam or other generally accepted professional qualification in real estate brokerage. If you are selling or buying an apartment and are wondering what kind of training the real estate agent has, don’t hesitate to ask – the agent will be happy to tell you about his or her skills to help you make a decision.