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Asked by ERICKA, Miami, FL Sun Apr 12, 2009

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Roland Barcos, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sun Apr 12, 2009
Hi Ericka,
It is not uncommon for realtors to show some appreciation for referrals. However, be aware that it is against federal law (RESPA) to pay an unlicensed person a referral fee, finders fee, or anything else it might be called.
I've only been a realtor for a couple of years (after 30 years in another career), but I find it curious that realtors are singled out for a cut of their income. I frequently recommend doctors, dentists, barbers, plumbers, and auto mechanics to friends and aquaintances. It would never occur to me to expect a kickback from my barber or any of the others. I am not aware of anyone else doing this in my area, but perhaps there are areas where this is a local custom.
Good luck,
1 vote
Janie Coffey, , Coral Gables, FL
Sun Apr 12, 2009
In Florida, unfortunately if you are not a licensed real estate professional, even if the Realtor wanted to give you something, legally they are not allowed and it is considered anywhere from a first degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony for you to receive one. As surprising as this is, it is considered "practicing real estate without a license" and could get you, the Realtor and the Realtor's Broker in big trouble including hefty fines and the Realtor and Broker's licenses being at stake.

I know it might not seem fair, but the State of Florida is very very strict on this and are aggressivley pursing any potential case. Not even a licensed Realtor's family members may receive a finder or referral fee.
1 vote
Candice A Do…, Agent, Laughlin, NV
Sun Apr 12, 2009
In AZ (and most states), licensed RE Brokers are the only parties legally allowed to earn and be paid a commission for bringing buyers and sellers together.
Even licensed agents must be paid through the Broker.
The only finder's fee that can be paid an unlicensed person is in the form of rental credit in the event a tenant refers a renter to a property in which they also rent.
It's not about whether Brokers want to, or will agree to pay you.
It's illegal to practice real estate without a license. In AZ, a Class 3 or 6 Felony (depending on if you are also advertising your 'services')
If you are good at bringing buyers and sellers together, you could always take your licensing courses, pass your tests, get licensed, pay the fees, dues and expenses we have to and continue your education for the rest of your life as we must, so you could earn those fees.
I know lots of 'referral agents' who do just that. Lots of them work in 'high public contact' professions in our area (service, resort etc) and as long as they hang their license under a Broker, we are absolutely happy to compensate them for their contribution to the transaction which is basically turning us on to a prospect and nothing beyond.
The management of the transaction, coordinating with the dozens of experts and professionals we have to in order to protect our clients, and taking the liability for that client is all on the Broker.
Nice work if you can get it! :)
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