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What Does a Real Estate Background Check Entail?

By Michael Klazema on 4/17/2018

Real estate background checks are used to ensure that real estate agents and other professionals working in the real estate industry are safe and trustworthy. Real estate agents have unique responsibilities that allow them to enter the homes of customers, drive their clients from one showing to another, and share one-on-one meetings in empty houses. Agents often have keys or access codes to the homes of clients or sellers.

A great deal of trust is needed to give a person you don’t know any of these privileges. The companies that employ real estate professionals and the clients who work with them need to know these professionals are not going to abuse their position. As a result, real estate background checks tend to be extremely in-depth. They may include any or all the following:

  • Criminal background checks (including county, state, federal, or multi-jurisdictional searches)
  • Sex offender registry searches
  • Alias and address history checks
  • License/certification verifications
  • Employment verifications
  • Reference checks
  • Driving history checks

A combination of these background check products can provide a near-comprehensive view of who a real estate agent is, where they’ve been, and whether they are worthy of the high level of trust involved in the job. It is important for real estate companies to conduct these checks before hiring anyone for an agent role.

Not only is it vital to make sure a person is properly licensed to work as a real estate agent, but it is also crucial to look at other background details in search of red flags. Agencies can and have been held liable for situations where agents they hired assaulted clients, stole from homes they were showing, or otherwise behaved inappropriately. A thorough background check can reduce the risk of such occurrences.

Agencies should consider conducting these checks on a repeat basis, even annually. A lot can happen in the space of a year that might render an agent unqualified or dangerous to continue working in the real estate industry. Annual background searches help you keep an eye on your agents and stay aware of what they are doing. Of course, you should take any complaints or reports from clients very seriously and investigate appropriately if anyone raises concerns about your employees.

Red flags don’t always manifest themselves in an agent’s work—at least not right away. With annual real estate background checks, you have all your bases covered.


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