"Bribing" someone, or "kickbacks", are generally illegal in any industry. An example of an illegal kickback would be a real agent estate referring their clients to a specific mortgage broker, in return for a "cut" in the mortgage broker's commission.
Do real estate agents give "gifts"? If you mean a bottle of wine and a basket of cheese, given to a client after closing - then yes, some do.
Many real estate agents offer after-closing commission "rebates". In this situation, the buyer's agent is paid a cooperative commission for procuring a buyer. Out of this amount, the buyer's agent rebates a portion of it to the buyer. This is typically reflected on the HUD-1 statement. This practice is 100% legal in some states, and illegal in others.
One of the first things you learn as a real estate agent in any facet of a transaction is - Disclosure, disclosure, disclosure. Whether or not a "gift" is legal, depends really on what your definition of a "gift" is, whom it's being given to, and what context it's being given.
Hope that helps!
What we do not know is the context in which this Tulia solicitor is presenting this question.
For many, this refers to the bottle of wine presented to the buyer after the closing.
For others it could be referring to the money a mortgage lender extracts from an agent to pay a portion of the mortgage brokers fees.
Some would refer you to the fees one agent charges another agent when they refer their neighbors neighbor to a Florida agent. They add NOTHING of value, but collect a handsome....???
How about the fee extracted from other agents disguised as MLS fees. They are pure revenue augmentation and add no value to the transaction.
Let's not forget to talk about fees some lead generation companies impose.
Oh, don't let those relocation companies off the hook. They simplely call their fee something legal but does nothing to add value to the transaction. You want to play, they expect a gift.
Then there are those finders who want to wholesale the 'rights' to the property so another can profit.
Now, lets not overlook the banks and how they, the insurance company, the investor can disguise their revenue augmentation through a round robin of "Who'll will bring an additional $10,000?"
In an industry rampant with ethical distortions, a citizen can easily think that something 'smelly' is taking place. The difference between stink and welcoming fragrance depends on which way the revenue flows. It smells wonderful when it call a rebate..right?
Of course, everyone who responded "IT IS ILLEGAL" is absolutely correct. But if you play by the rules....I become legal...magicly.
Until the question is elaborated on more fully to define the direction of the 'gifting' one can not know what context is inferred.
In my early example, how much can you spend on a bottle of wine? Does it depend on the size of the real estate transaction? A bottle of 'Ugly Duck' may not be that well received when that career making estate sale closes. In an industry whose revenue augmentation system depends on extracting 'gifts' from others and adding nothing of value in the process, the 'Code of Ethics' seems a bit lame. But, since those are the rules, and we love those rules....like magic it's OK...just don't call a duck and duck.
there so many dirty little scoundrels out there taking bribes and gifts, way to often.
It is offensive and demeaning to the REAL Ethical Professional Realtors. However,
we have to be more diligent, and vigilant and educate our consumer and we will prevail.
Say NO!!! No bribes, No gift, kickbacks period. Report it all.
On the other hand, there are often misperceptions about dishonest dealings. I heard one property owner accuse an agent of dirty dealing simply because she would not bring a client to his property unless he was willing to compensate the agent for it. That's not dishonest, that's business. Like any other product or service, the agent had something the owner wanted (a buyer) and simply wanted to be paid for it, but that seller thought she was engaging in unethical behavior.
It's RAMPANT in Florida, hard to catch, but there are ways. Never, ever partake in this crime. Lies have no legs and you'll probably get caught.
Boca Raton, Miami Beach, FL
First: Bribes, kick backs, "gifts", etc. are ALL expressly prohibited by RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Protection Act) and any real estate agent, mortgage person, appraiser, escrow, title (anyone associated with a real property transaction) who participates in any form of such is subject to lose of license, fines and/or criminal prosecution...and/or all three.
That said, in a career spanning over 20 years and several states...and years in wholesale lending... I have seen enough fraud to know the real facts...and no amount of denying it will make the truth go away. All I can do is to be diligent to avoid the people who participate in illegal practices and to report any overt actions.
Bear in mind, that some people honestly don't realize they have requested an action that would be illegal under RESPA. In these actions, simply educating the requestor usually results in a quick apology and the requiste "I didn't know" comment.
On the other hand, a couple timesover my career I have been requested to provide renumeration (kick backs) for the referral of a client. I declined and scratched that person off my potential collaboration list.
In conclusion, it is important (IMHO) that we professionals remain diligent and educate consumers thoroughly on what is appropriate in any real estate transaction. The fact is, there are still people out there (in both real estate and mortgage financing) who are not playing by all of the rules. Calling them out and/or exposing them is far more effective that denying that fraud exists at all.