Last updated: September 25, 2023
Long gone are the days of operating on a handshake and trusting in the honesty of others—especially in the business world. Background checks are a quick way to discover whether or not someone is who they claim to be. These days, that’s a pretty big deal, no matter what industry you’re in. Moreover, depending on the types of information requested, some online companies specializing in this service can sometimes report back in minutes! If the background check is more extensive a turnaround time of four weeks or longer is more likely.
Business-savvy realtors aren’t the only ones who want to ensure that the information presented to them is factual. Homeowners are becoming more safety conscious as well. And, why wouldn’t they? Realtors have access to not only personal information but their homes. Once the initial walk-through is completed and arrangements are finalized for showing the property, real estate agents—and it can seem like a myriad of them with networking involved—are there when the homeowners aren’t. Inquiring to ensure who’s who is a wise idea, indeed.
Realtors do due diligence
According to Jeremy Knauff, founder of Real Estate CEO, a mastermind group for the real estate industry, real estate professionals undergo background checks as part of their licensing process and some brokerages also conduct background checks periodically to monitor employees.
The specifics of the information requested are chosen by the company and can reveal a lot about a job candidate. Whether in regard to the onboarding process or employee follow-up screenings, agencies often inquire about such things as job history, driving records—especially when company vehicles are involved but important overall—and information that could reveal drug abuse.
The requested background information can include some or all of the following information:
The first step of the background investigation is to determine that a person is, indeed, who they say they are. Social security numbers, driver’s licenses, and passports are often requested as proof of identity. Documentation that proves a home address may be requested as well.
Criminal background checks
This portion of the background screening is usually what slows down the turnaround time, especially if a nationwide check is requested. These investigations uncover any criminal activity, including acts of violence, fraud, sex crimes, or felony convictions.
Being convicted of any of these offenses could indicate that someone is a potential threat to clients.
Professional license verification
All real estate professionals should hold an official real estate license allowing them to work in the industry. They are required by every state in the nation. However, varying laws apply in regard to requirements depending on the state in which the license is issued. No matter where someone lives, failure to produce one on demand is a huge red flag.
Professional reference checks
This type of inquiry provides additional insight into a candidate’s work experience. Any awards or accolades are worthy of checking out as well. Unfortunately, misrepresenting self-accomplishments on job applications is a growing issue.
Sellers should consider asking for references as well, however. Some realtors also misrepresent themselves as a means of building up business.
Job candidates and employees both can expect to submit to drug testing. However, ultimately, drug testing real estate professionals isn’t state or federally mandated. Whether or not an agency drug tests its potential new hires is totally decided by the company.
Department of motor vehicles
These inquiries reveal driver’s license validity, as well as any driving-related violations. This is important information because real estate professionals spend a good amount of time traveling from place to place. A negligent driver could be a detriment to the company in the long run.
On the other end of the spectrum, as mentioned above, some homeowners are sensitive to the fact that realtors will have free reign over their homes during showings. The specific requirements for obtaining a real estate license vary by state-to-state, but a background check is included in the process. Should a homeowner inquire about background screenings, the agent should be able to provide them with the information they need to feel secure.
Homeowners working with a start-up should ask the agent to verify proof of licensing. If they fail to produce the documentation, it’s time to move on to another agent. And, we’ll put it out there once more that asking for references is always a good idea.
Background checks provide peace of mind
Business owners are ultimately responsible for their employees’ behavior while on the clock and when those employees are inside the homes of everyday citizens, it’s important to know they are trustworthy. Background checks allow others to gather a more in-depth perception of someone they plan to hire to provide a service.
Moreover, homeowners, as well as those looking to sell commercial real estate, have a right to gather the same sense of trust. If completing their own background screening is part of that process, realtors should be willing to abide.
Whether you’re a busy realtor, a homeowner, or an individual who is looking to put a piece of commercial property on the market, background screenings create a sense of security. That’s an important factor when entering into a contract with someone in today’s dog-eat-dog world. Creating a bond based on trust makes the entire buying and selling process flow more smoothly.
That’s important no matter which dotted line your signing off on.