Given the provocative nature of the title, we’re sure many in the real estate business would be deeply insulted by the insinuation.
How does it feel?
As we’re now at a time when many are looking for a place to rent, because of a job or college, you’ll find that many rentals are under the umbrella of your big realtor corporations: Century 21, RE/MAX, etc. Property owners farm out the hassle of screening potential renters to the local branches of these corporations and potential applicants are required to pay an application fee to cover a credit check. Fair enough.
A credit check is reasonable as the property owner would like to be assured of your ability to pay the rent. But it now appears, realtors have taken things to another level in also requiring you pay for a background check as well.
Again, this should be about your ability to pay the rent and not if you’re trustworthy enough to work in a nuclear missile silo.
These background check applications not only require you give up your Social Security number, date of birth, driver license number, phone number and email address, but in some cases your bank and bank account numbers. At a time when identity theft is a frightening norm, why should you have to pay to give up such personal information to God knows who?
Now if you were to ask this question of a realtor, of course his or her trustworthiness should not be questioned. Based on what?
The next time you have to deal with a realtor who demands this kind of personal information, go check out their social media accounts. Check out how they presented themselves to you personally and compare that to how they want others to see them online and ask yourself if you’d really want that person to have access to your bank account number, because despite all their assurances they THEY are honest and trustworthy, you have no idea how many others in that office will also have access to that information.
And they’ll have that information even if they decline your application and keep the fee. Paying someone to get all of your personal information: talk about the scam potential.
Are background checks really a necessary screening tool for deeming the worthiness of someone to give an owner money to live on their property? We never had that years ago but this is what your get when you have realtors, many of whom are “fat and lazy” (we were actually told this by the owner of a realty company who actually had to show properties himself because his employees were… fat and lazy), adding on fees so they’ll get paid for doing little.
Not that we advocate for the creation of new laws or regulations, but what’s to stop a realtor managing a property to take in as many applications for that standard fee per adult who’d live on that property and fail all but one? They keep the money AND they have your information, and if you don’t think it’s being used, check your spam box after your transaction with them.
If a realtor would never give an applicant access to his or her background information, which would make sense seeing how the flow of money always goes their way, they have no business demanding background information on applicants.
Realtors are so honest and have nothing to hide, right?