English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm trying to figure out what somebody is called who gives you (or someone else) a tip on real estate brokerage.

I've Googled (and Bing'ed ;)) along and found translations like "whistleblower" or "tipster"... Where I think "whistleblower" is mainly used in negative terms (someone who reports abuses and such) and "tipster" is mainly used in the sports-section.

So, how would I call somebody like this in real estate terms?

Edit as per the request in the comment:

It's seen from the agency perspective, saying "John Doe has given us the hint that Jane Doe would buy this real estate". Then John Doe is the [*] of this agency, so they could sell their real estate to Jane.

share|improve this question
Are you asking about the situation in which a friend says to you, "You should use the agency I used. They did a fantastic job and I would recommend them to all my friends."? – Jim Dec 25 '12 at 21:04
@Jim It's seen from the agency perspective, saying "John Doe has given us the hint that Jane Doe would buy this real estate". Then John Doe is the [***] of this agency, so they could sell their real estate to Jane. – SeToY Dec 25 '12 at 22:16
up vote 4 down vote accepted

In a business situation like this a tip is referred to as a sales lead or just lead

lead : the identification of a person or entity that has the interest and authority to purchase a product or service.

A person or agency that provides leads is called a lead generator.

So you might say that John is the lead generator for the agency. However I think that sounds a bit stilted and would probably just say that John consistently produces the highest quality leads for the agency. Or something like that. Note though that this is a general business term and is not specific to real estate.

share|improve this answer

If we were talking about journalism, you might get away with source, but I don’t think that quite works here. Try informer or adviser, or maybe local expert. My own personal favorite, though, is consultant.

A whistleblower gives information about an organization that is doing something underhanded or wrong. The whistleblower is the good guy, and the people he is reporting on are the bad guys. The negative connotation is that this makes a whistleblower something of a tattletale or snitch in the eyes of the organization he is informing on — that is, a fink, or even a rat.

A tipster has the connotation of himself being a bad guy, giving away valuable inside information that would not otherwise be available to the general public. Think of insider trading, for example.

share|improve this answer
In Britain at least, tipster , as OP suggests, is heavily associated with sports, specifically horseracing. It's not unusual for politicians, for example, to write a column suggesting horses to bet on; they are definitely tipsters, and not ipso facto bad guys. – TimLymington Dec 25 '12 at 21:46
Thank you for your answer, would you still consider these words as appropriate per my edit? – SeToY Dec 25 '12 at 22:18
@SeToY I’m not quite sure that English has a single word that fits into the slot in your edited posting. I think you should probably consider whether it is better to use a phrase or longer circumlocution, and not try to find one single word that does all things. – tchrist Dec 26 '12 at 2:05

In Australian English, we might use the term tout.

But this is not generally complimentary to the individual involved. It carries connotations of annoying persistence and that the tips or leads may be of doubtful quality.

In addition to a real estate tout, we might encounter (in different circumstances) a racing tout who knows a certain winner running in the next race or a sales tout who tries to lure tourists into souvenir shops.

share|improve this answer
Thank you for your answer, but I think this is too afflicted with negative means. – SeToY Dec 26 '12 at 13:14

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.