Real Estate License for Sale!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with eXp Realty BR562939000

"We need an agent who can think outside of the box," the voice on the other end of the phone tells me.  This sounds good at first.  I love helping my clients get deals done by being creative.  However, I soon discover that these are code words for, "We need an agent to help us with an underhanded deal (or two or three)."

Really!  When did my real estate license go up for sale?!! Especially to the lowest common denominator.  As a professional would it even make sense to risk my entire livelihood for a quick couple thousand dollars?  Not in my opinion.  Unlike the media portrayal of real estate agents, I am finding that I am very busy.  A lot of people still need real estate agents, especially those who are actually able to make things happen as opposed to sitting around hoping for a windfall deal.

It seems that today's real estate market has bred not only a crop of competent, very professional agents, but has also produced alonside them a batch of scam artists looking to take advantage of not only the public but the banks (which hurts the public in the long run).  Being on the Internet, I get many calls from folks who need my help, but I'm also a magnet for the unscrupulous types who want to use my license to legitimize their shady operations.  Quite frankly, a jail cell is the box that I'm trying to think outside of here.



Here are some Red Flags that tip me off to the fact that I am being asked to compromise my license (and that of my Broker) in order for someone else to make a quick buck.

1) The seller is not aware of what is going on.  This should be kind of obvious, but many companies who specialize in helping people out of foreclosure basically do all the work for the seller and have them sign things as necessary.  Some people are so overwhelmed by the financial difficulties they are experiencing that they will grasp at any straw to get them out of their situation.  I won't be involved with any transaction where everything is not disclosed in writing and the seller is not made aware of the possible tax or legal ramifications of what they are doing.

2)  The bank has approved everything but they need an agent to "get the commissions out"  - True story, folks.  If the bank has already approved a deal, then they have addressed whether or not commissions will be paid, how much and to whom.  If commissions are still up in the air, then the bank probably hasn't approved the deal.  And if they have, why would the parties involved want to bring someone else in to take a chunk of their payoffs?  Common sense here, folks...

3) The identity of the end buyer is concealed - Otherwise known as a double closing, this is illegal in many places.  Everything is required to be on the HUD (Settlement Statement) at closing.  Now there are legitimate companies whose goal is to purchase low and sell to another end buyer, but if they are legitimate they reveal that not only in the HUD, but in disclosure statements and possibly even in the contract that the seller signs and the bank sees.

4)  Everytime you ask a question, things get more convoluted - If I ask questions and the more I ask the more questions I have, a red flag goes up.  Granted, on some complicated deals it takes some time to get all the facts straight, but the person trying to talk me into working with him had better have a handle on what is going on and be able to explain it to me.  Stammering and round-about answers don't go over well with me.

These are just a few that I've thought of.  Feel free to add your own red flags in the comments below.  I think I'll keep my real estate license for now.  Being a single parent, I could really use the income it helps me produce!

Posted by

Robin Siddle

Comments (44)

Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

The very first deal that I did had the other agent trying to get me to commit fraud.  She didn't even know that what she was doing was wrong... so much for experience.  It was obvious...  Exchanging money that the lender doesn't know about is obviously not right.  That was all I needed to know. 

Nov 19, 2008 01:34 PM
Nelya Calev
John L Scott - Bellevue, WA

In WA state we have a new law that's called " Distressed Home Owner Consultatn". Its to protect the public from scam artist like that.

You did the right thing!!! Great post!!

Nov 19, 2008 01:41 PM
Maria Morton
Platinum Realty - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758

Kudos to you, Robin, for doing the right thing. I think that we all know what the right thing is and running far and fast from predators wanting to put our licenses in jeopardy is the first step to doing the right thing. Next step, and this one's harder, would be to report the parties who approached you with their scam. The law applies to all people, not just those with licenses. Most fines start at $10,000 and prison time. Not jail; prison. Felony. No more voting. No more cheating people.

Nov 19, 2008 02:17 PM
Yvette Smith
LONG & FOSTER - Williamsburg, VA
Realtor In Williamsburg VA, Homes for Sale


I sure appreciate the warning signs!  Unfortunately, you don't always know until the situation arises.  But with your red flags, it's a heads up!  Thanks again...

Nov 19, 2008 02:58 PM
Lynn Brier-De La Cruz
Jacksonville Florida Real Estate - Jacksonville, FL

Hi Robin,

I totally agree with you.  I've had several "clients" call and ask me to be part of things that make the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  'We just need your professional opinions and guidance, then you will make a lot of money!'  Always run away fast!


Nov 19, 2008 03:11 PM
Patty Luther
RE/MAX Rock-n-Roll Realty - Lewiston, ID
Lewiston ID Real Estate, Idaho-Washington

I cannot believe how people can do  things like this will catch up with them for sure.

Nov 19, 2008 05:37 PM
Janna Scharf
Keller Williams Realty Coeur d'Alene - Coeur d'Alene, ID
Coeur d'Alene Idaho Real Estate Expert

These kinds of scenarios are exactly what got us into the current financial mess in the first place. 

Nov 19, 2008 07:23 PM
Margaret Mitchell
Coldwell Banker Yorke Realty - York, ME
Seacoast Maine & NH Real Estate

This is a good warning and I appreciate the red flag.  I will look a little closer now.

Nov 19, 2008 10:41 PM
Melissa Hughes
Ponderosa & Sun Realty - Willits, CA

Nice article & commentary.  There are always going to be people looking for "the easy way out", or so they think.  It is never worth it!  On the same note, I am constantly amazed with our economy & market how many new things we have to be aware of and prepared for...there are many opportunities for success but just as many opportunities to find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit.  I think knowing your information & contracts is more important than ever, as is deferring to your broker and making them earn their share of your commission with sound advice!  I enjoy the fact that we have such a good forum for those interested in the utmost professionalism to share ideas. 

Nov 19, 2008 11:08 PM
Wayne Warshawsky
RE/MAX Four Corners - McKinney, TX
Realtor, ABR,IRES,CDPE,SFR Your Texas

It is unfortunate that these investors target inexperianced agents most of the time.  I almost fell for this a couple years ago myself.  Learning by your mistakes is one lesson you never forget.


Nov 20, 2008 12:27 AM
Jim Crawford
Long & Foster - Fredericksburg, VA
Jim Crawford Broker Associate Fredericksburg VA

You hit the nail on the head.  For the last few years we would get phone calls, and if we asked any real questions they would hang up.  That is also a sign.  "No questions asked!"  We need a Patsy!

Nov 20, 2008 12:32 AM
Mary Strang
Viroqua, WI

That is a real good list of very ugly ways to take advantage of a buyer or to step into real estate transaction without earning it.  The truth comes out in the end, and one will have a short career if you practice any of these techniques.

Nov 20, 2008 12:36 AM
Andrew Chong
Realm Real Estate Professionals - Houston, TX

What's even crazier is that there are people out there that have no idea they are being scammed. They're like sheep. With the news, internet, and scandals, some folks are just bumping along.

Andrew Chong


Nov 20, 2008 12:59 AM
April Stephens
RE/MAX One Realty - Clayton, NC
Broker/Realtor - Johnston & Wake County

I have said before, if people put as much time & effort into doing a deal right way as they do the wrong, they porbably could have worked something out, legitimately! Good Post!

Nov 20, 2008 01:59 AM
Kris Kombrink ~ The Kombrink Team
RE/MAX Excels - Chicago's Western Suburbs - Geneva, IL

Wow, interesting stuff, Robin.  I was just reading another post about a similar thing.  People are really trying everything these days to get a deal together.

Nov 20, 2008 04:28 AM
Jason Fleming
Jason Fleming Agency INC - Coon Rapids, MN

I am not in your business, but cant believe what some people will do.  I guess I was brought up a lot better by my parents. 

Nov 20, 2008 05:23 AM
Keith Callister
Equity Real Estate - South Jordan, UT

Great information here Robin, I can't tell you how many people I have either had to educate, or show the door, generally I just tell them that I can't participate in a transaction like that because it violates the code of ethics. This often elicits a question and gives you a chance to correctly educate someone who may have been misled by a not so scrupulous (or ethical) party, I find that most people want to steer clear of something of this nature, but need someone to tell them that it isn't quite on the level.


Now if you're dealing with "investor" groups with "special programs" well, more often than not these folks know they are doing wrong, but are choosing to do so anyway.

Nov 20, 2008 05:30 AM
carolyn cathey

First you see those little signs on the street corner..."I buy houses..."

I wonder why that sign law isn't being enforced...the one that makes me pick up my open house sign before monday morning or I get fined...???

Then you get the call from that enthusiastic investor...I need an agent quick, my other agent is overwhelmed with all my investing...

Must not be talking about Colorado Springs...NO ONE I KNOW is overwhelmed with too much work!!

Then you remember...oh yah, that crazy free real estate seminar at the hotel was last week...

I ask:"How much did you pay for the tapes and books?"

They hang up every time.

Nov 20, 2008 07:02 AM
Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

Calling these sort of 'clients' the lowest common denominator cracked me up!

Nov 20, 2008 07:41 AM
Chris Webb
Nova Home Loans - Tucson, AZ
Tucson's Social Media Expert

Very Interesting Stuff. 

Nov 07, 2014 04:51 AM