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.
- 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.
- The 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.
- Frieza and his Planet Trade Organization from Dragon Ball acts as this. He sends the Frieza Force into a planet and liquidate it so he can sell the planet back to the highest bidder.
- Ghostbusters (1984): 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 "unique" 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.
- Ray, on the other hand, falls in love with the place immediately, and since they used his family property as collateral to get their seed money, the other two have to go with his wishes. Besides, the pole is pretty sweet.
- 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 artists who made their money by flipping distressed properties.
- One is mentioned, if not seen, in the film Se7en. When Detective Somerset goes over 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.
- A whole room full of them in the film version of Glengarry Glen Ross. See Theatre for details.
- Hilariously inverted in Lethal Weapon 3, in which Murtaugh asks Leo Getz to help him sell his house. Leo, unfortunately, is a bit too law-abiding for Roger's good and the two people who are interested enough to see the house are scared off real quick when Leo mentions the multiple damages the Murtaugh house has suffered as a result of the villains of the previous two movies trying to kill Roger. The scene ends with Murtaugh angrily hollering at Getz that he didn't had to tell them those details.
- Newlyweds Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina are looking to move out of the shabby apartment in downmarket Fountain Court and to move into their first marital place together, ideally in a slightly better area of Rome. A plausible and helpful apartment broker gets them the seemingly ideal place in a spanking new build among other aspiring young professionals. The only problem is, all the little creaks and shifts in which the helpful estate agent assures them are down to a new build "settling" and will go away after a while. This is technically true, but unfortunately the building eventually settles so far that it collapses. After fearing Helena is dead, Falco looks the other way while enraged survivors lynch the estate agent.
- Bret King Mysteries: Dorset from The Mystery of Bandit Gulch is suspected of various confidence schemes and sells a Returning War Vet a barren piece of land to ranch on.
- Bob Jelly from Sea Change is not a con man, but definitely opportunistic.
- Harold Gribble from Round the Twist.
- An episode of In Plain Sight has Mary's latest witness being a con artist who turned on her partners. The story opens with her pulling a scam of cleaning up a house and showing it off to a couple, getting a hefty "down payment" for it. The couple are moving in when the police show up to inform them that the house had been foreclosed on and was never on the market.
- 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: NY 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 trap triggered by a phone while trying to call for help.
- 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 Catchphrase 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.
- The reformed monks of Old John from the British comedy, Yonderland, after being taught how to lie, become "real estate agents". (They don't exactly know what real estate agents do or how they make a living, but they wear suits and try to sell houses... Despite having no properties to sell.)
- In the documentary series Scam City, when the host of the show goes to Las Vegas to explore what kind of scams are used to target tourists he tries to go to the apartment he rented for the duration of the shoot, only to be told that the place was motel, (this was filmed a year or so before AirBn took off) and that the person he spoke with on the phone to rent the apartment had repeatedly pulled the same scam on other people.
- Schitt's Creek has a light-hearted version of this trope in Ray Butani. He's actually pretty honest, but he's aggressively optimistic and will put an over-the-top positive spin on the most modest of properties. For example, he refers to a tiny closet as a step-in closet and tries to convince Patrick and David that having a curtain instead of a door on the bathroom is a good thing.
- In Survivor: Caramoan, Reynold Toepfer is the epitome of this trope. A couple other examples would be Blake Towsley in Guatemala and Sash Lenahan in Nicaragua
- 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. That said, some productions avert this, as playwright David Mamet'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 probably 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 works as a real estate agent in The Simpsons episode "Realty Bites". The whole office are clearly fine with lying through their teeth to make a sale, especially her boss, Lionel Hutz. The drama of the episode revolves around the fact that she is way too honest for her own good, and then lied through omission to Ned Flanders that the dream home she sold his family is a murder house and she will not feel comfortable having Ned's money because of the lie, even after Ned makes clear he doesn't minds (heck, he actually likes) living in a murder house.
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!
- Buddy Baker from As Told by Ginger operates his business under the same philosophy as Lionel Hutz, even attempting to sell a disgusting and run-down house to a couple expecting a child.
- Peter Rachman is an infamous British real-life example. An MP actually coined the term "Rachmanism", meaning "screwing over your tenants", and it got into the OED.
- In an infamous case in the UK, an agency advertised a country cottage for sale along with a lovely picture of the scenic view from one exterior angle. They neglected to mention that viewed from the other direction, there was a nuclear power plant directly behind the house.
- Mafia kingpin Salvatore "Little Caesar" Maranzano, boss of the modern-day Bonanno crime family, owned a phony real estate brokerage and development company as a cover for his illegal bootlegging and heroin-trafficking business in the 1920s.
- Likewise, the Colombo crime family's namesake boss even obtained the requisite licensing to operate as one.