A seemingly helpful character whose job is to help people like newlywed couples looking for their first home to find the best possible domicile, but whose personality practically screams "real estate fraud" to the viewer. Whether he's a real Con Man
or just a really, really immoral entrepreneur, you can be sure that the characters will be cursed with leaking roofs and drafty windows as soon as they have signed the papers...Or worse.
See also Real Estate Scam
. Compare Honest John's Dealership
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Anime and Manga
- The character who launches the events of Little House with an Orange Roof qualifies, by selling the same house to two families, who are then forced to live together.
- Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service: Japanese real estate agents are legally required to tell the truth about what happened to the previous tenant (murder, suicide, hauntings etc.) But this only applies to the tenant immediately before the new customer. In one chapter of the manga, a decidedly shady-looking real estate agent employs a man to live in dubious properties just long enough to trigger the loophole.
- Ghostbusters: The female real estate agent trying to get the heroes to buy an old firehouse as their headquarters.
Real estate agent: There's office space, sleeping quarters and a full kitchen.
Peter Venkman: It seems a little pricey for a fixer-upper. What do you think, Egon?
Egon Spengler: I think this building should be condemned. There's serious metal fatigue in all the load-bearing members, the wiring is substandard, it's completely inadequate for our power needs, and the neighborhood is like a demilitarized zone.
- Yeah, but you've gotta try this pole!
- Egon's complaints may be about dropping the price, and there might be nothing wrong with the firehouse itself
- The agent who sold the house to Tom Hanks' and Shelley Long's characters in The Money Pit.
- The former tenant was the one who talked them into buying it, and though she fit the archetype perfectly, she wasn't an agent. She and "Carlos" were scam artist who made their money by flipping distressed properties.
- One is mentioned, if not seen, in the film Seven. When Detective Somerset goes over the the Mills household for dinner, multiple trains passing nearby make everything in the house shake. At one point Mrs. Mills mentions that when they were looking at the house, they thought it was great, but wondered why the realtor would only let them stay in it for 5 minutes at a time. Now they understand all too well.
Live Action TV
- Bob Jelly from Sea Change is not a con man, but definitely opportunistic.
- Harold Gribble from Round the Twist.
- One episode of Minder had a crooked slum lord who might have been based on Peter Rachman, below (or at least the two used similar methods).
- An episode of CSI: New York features an estate agent who earns his living by breaking into houses to evaluate them before his competition. Unfortunately for him the house he breaks into is booby trapped, Resident Evil style (minus the undead) and he ends up burnt to death by a trapped phone.
- Mr. Haney from Green Acres is usually an Honest John, but he did sell Oliver his old home, which is borderline dilapidated.
- Gary on The Closer, who Brenda and Fritz enlist when they want to sell Brenda's house and buy a new one together. His Catch Phrase is "Gary doesn't lie!"
- Marcy from American Horror Story: Murder House is a rude, bigoted middle-aged woman who always tries to downplay the fact that the house she is selling is a Murder House and never mentions that everyone who has lived there has been murdered and comes back as a trapped ghost. She still has difficulty selling it though, which is why the house is so cheap.
- Midsomer Murders had one who scammed clients with the help of a Crooked Contractor.
- Everyone but the cop in Glengarry Glen Ross fits this trope. The most shady of all of them is Shelly "The Machine" Levene, who robs the office to get the best leads after finding out he's going to be fired if he doesn't sell.
- Some productions avert this, as the playwright's stance is unclear. Given the terrible market for real estate and that the agents are mainly assigned to sell to people who have no desire (or money) to buy anything, they don't provably go beyond very aggressive selling. All of the cast can be portrayed as dedicated, honest workers who are simply being run over by the firm which owns their company, and who end up being shady, and real estate agents, but not Shady Real Estate Agents, as it were.
- Pretty much the point of the French animated short Villa Mon Reve.
- Marge worked for one of these briefly on The Simpsons, where Lionel Hutz was her boss.
Lionel: Marge, I had a lot of calls about you! Customers love your "no pressure" approach.
Marge: Well, like we say, "the right house for the right person!"
Lionel: Listen, it's time I let you in on a little secret, Marge. The right house is the house that's for sale. The right person is anyone.
Lionel then coaches Marge on proper sales technique, showing her a catalog of available houses.
Marge: It's awfully small...
Lionel: I'd say it's awfully … cozy!
Marge: That's dilapidated...
Marge: That house is on fire!
Lionel: Motivated seller!
- Peter Rachman is an infamous British real-life example.