Over the years, real estate agents have gained something of a bad reputation in pop culture. The caricature of the greedy, dishonest realtor wheeling and dealing at the expense of his client has become ubiquitous, causing many to distrust realtors. Real estate agents have come to be seen by some as modern day con men, wheeling and dealing with no regard for their clients.

For the most part, this mistrust is unwarranted; the majority of real estate agents are simply hard working, helpful professionals who are simply working to support themselves. It’s just a profession, after all. However, just like any job, it has its share of dishonest and unethical members, who do in fact seek to exploit their position to earn more money.

This is one of the biggest caveats when it comes to dealing with real estate agents. While there’s a great chance that your real estate agent is just doing his job and acting in your best interests, there is also a small but significant chance that they may be treating you unfairly.

So how do you tell the difference between a good real estate agent and a bad real estate agent? What exactly is the difference between the two? How can you conduct your business transactions so as to minimize the risk of falling prey to this type of unethical conduct? Let’s take a closer look!

Good realtor, bad realtor

When it comes to real estate agents, it’s clear that most of them behave almost entirely within the law, simply providing a vital service to their clients. However, just as we mentioned earlier, there are bad apples in the bushel, wolves in sheep’s clothing. But what makes the difference between a good realtor and a bad one?

The biggest factor is moral integrity and fortitude. While some might argue that adherence to the law is sufficient, we beg to differ. Laws have shortcomings, loopholes. They prevent some ethical missteps, but not all ethical missteps. It is entirely possible for a realtor to adhere to the law in a technical sense, while dealing with his clients in an unfair way.

This is what really makes the difference between a good realtor and great realtor. A real estate agent who goes above and beyond; one that does everything they can to give you the best service possible, while being fair with all parties involved.

Spotting a good realtor

There are any number of things you might be seeking to accomplish by purchasing or selling property. You might be seeking to get rid of an inherited tract of land. You might be looking for a new home for your family. Maybe you’re trying to sniff out the next big investment opportunity. Whatever it is, you’re going to need the right realtor for the job.

Depending on the type of business you plan to be doing, there are a variety of different skills and qualities you might want your realtor to possess. You might want them to be exceptionally intelligent, uncannily prescient or immovably honest. No two real estate transactions are the same, and only the best realtor will do.

This is when you’ll want to start trying to find a real estate agent. There isn’t any shortage of real estate professionals in today’s day and age, but finding the right person for the job won’t be an easy task. And when you’re trying to gauge the character of a realtor there are two sources of information that never lie: former clients and personal conduct.

Get in touch with some of the people who have worked with your prospective real estate agent in the past. Ask how the real estate agent treated them. Were they honest and transparent about everything, cutting no corners and keeping no secrets? Were they considerate and thoughtful, helping them through the process of buying or selling property?

Then, spend some time with them. Look at the way he acts. Look at his mannerisms, his attire, his car and anything else that shows how he views himself, and how he views others. A person's demeanor and conduct can be hugely telling when it comes to judging their personal strength of character.

Spotting a bad realtor

There’s no denying that the task of choosing a realtor is as much about identifying and avoiding the bad ones as it is about finding the good ones. While they certainly aren’t as common as good or at least decent real estate agents, bad realtors should be given a wide berth when it comes to business dealings.

When it comes to choosing a realtor, choosing a bad one can result in years of headaches, inconveniences and possibly even legal ramifications. That’s right; by working with a bad real estate agent, you could be indicted as an accomplice for just being associated with them! Even if this doesn’t happen, the dishonesty and lack of a bond of trust will cause you nothing but harm.

This being the case, it’s easy to see why eliminating the wrong realtors for the job is as crucial as choosing the right one for it. So how do you spot a bad real estate agent? You use the same technique you would use to spot a good one: observe their conduct and contact their clients.

Spend time with them, and watch how they act around people, specifically. They probably won't be anything but considerate to you, because you might prove profitable; but what about others? Do they snap at service people, behaving in a demanding, entitled manner? Do they treat their subordinates unfairly, regarding them with contempt and setting unrealistic expectations?

Then, talk to their former clients. If the real estate agent did business a certain way in the past, there’s no reason to think he’s not still doing things the same way now. Find out whether they’re honest, or whether they conceal important facts about listings or buyers. Find out if they do business fairly, disclosing all fees upfront. You can find out a lot about someone by talking to people they’ve dealt with in the past!


Finding a real estate agent can be a trying ordeal, especially when it comes to finding one that is upright and morally incorruptible. Hopefully, we’ve been of some help in guiding you towards the person who will help you make that next investment, purchase or sale! With some careful searching, you’re sure to find the right person for the job!

Author's Bio: 

RealEstateAgent.com is the Official Real Estate Agent Directory® connecting homebuyers with home sellers across the USA.