Roxy Edge, Real Estate serving all of Los Angeles  (Dream Home Estates - Beverly Hills, CA)

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Pete Xavier
Investments to Luxury - Pacific Palisades, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide

It could be done legally if you are in a deal outside of what RESPA governs, like a cash deal, insurance finance or owner finance. There are  limitations, connecting is the only involvement the referring party is restricted to and there at least WAS a limitation of $500., as of this moment I do not know precisely if that limitation is valid today. Double check CA state law and of course be sure to properly disclose.

Actually I just read a "token of appreciation" can be given after the fact (I take that to mean no "quid pro quo") The $500. was not that long ago, I guess that might of been changed?? As far as a gift, I do know many have safely gifted $50. gift cards for a appreciation of referral gift for an unlicensed person.

On commercial & vacant land deals a agent can give an unlicensed person a referral fee provided that they merely introduced a new client and was not involved any further.

I do not see anything current and conclusive regarding the residential side as pertaining to referral fees to an unlicensed person.

Jan 23, 2016 09:57 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

''If the resulting transaction falls under RESPA. RESPA generally prohibits a real estate agent from paying a referral fee to anyone. However, a real estate agent may give someone a token of appreciation after receiving a referral. Furthermore, a real estate agent may give a commission rebate to his or her client.''

Jan 23, 2016 05:27 PM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

Since you're in California, I'd check with the CAR's legal hotline or use their new app to ask the question.  That's the most authoritative source I can think of.

Jan 23, 2016 12:57 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

I'd call the C.A.R. legal hotline - it's free

Jan 23, 2016 12:35 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I think Pete X with X Group Real Estate Advocates California has given you a good answer.  I would still check with an attorney.  It is worth the fee for peace of mind. A

Jan 23, 2016 12:19 PM
Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

   Does CAR have a legal hotline?  I would pose this question to an Attorney.  And I would want the answer in writing. 

Jan 23, 2016 11:05 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

A gift is probably OK. Check with your RE attorney or CAR

Jan 23, 2016 10:14 AM
Sybil Campbell
Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia - Williamsburg, VA
REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia

I would check your state laws or ask your broker if you are working with a company, but I would say it is porbably illegal to give a finders fee to anyone who is not a licensed REALTOR.  You can give a gift but only up to $25.00 If you give  a gift with your name printed on it that is considered advertising.= so it can go above the $25.00 limit.

Jan 23, 2016 10:10 AM
Joan Dickie
Keller Williams Premier Realty - La Crosse, WI
Keller Williams Premier Realty

Doesn't RESPA apply regardless of the loan?  My market center is careful with any vendor with regard to what the vendor donates.

Jan 23, 2016 10:04 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Looks like you have some California opinions here.

Apr 17, 2019 08:51 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Roxy Edge Paying fees to unlicensed people is illegal here in Virginia.

Jan 24, 2016 01:52 AM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

parked and reading

Jan 23, 2016 11:12 PM
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Sorry... I'm not an attorney.

Jan 23, 2016 10:56 PM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

..against the law..

That makes this a legal question, with consequences, that can ONLY be answered by an attorney.

Your association's legal hotline is where you should turn. You will need to know the business structure of the source.

Jan 23, 2016 09:36 PM
LuxurySoCalRealty Compass San Diego
Compass - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Partner - The Private Client Network

I will say I've always thought that was not an ok thing to do.

Jan 23, 2016 08:54 PM
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

 Good morning Roxy Edge . I don't know about California but it is in Tennessee.

Jan 23, 2016 05:21 PM
Sharon Altier, SFR
Lawton Realty Group, Inc. - Elmhurst, IL
Your Real Estate Partner

Rely on the legal advice of your local organization or State licensing organization...

Jan 23, 2016 02:10 PM
Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

Not legal in California and Hawaii.

Jan 23, 2016 02:10 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Ask your managing broker

Jan 23, 2016 01:53 PM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Roxy Edge Be cautious, and check with CAR.

Jan 23, 2016 01:39 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

It's interesting.  In DC a real estate broker can do it - it still has to be broker to broker.  In most jurisdictions you probably can't. 

Jan 23, 2016 01:29 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

not legal in Georgia

Jan 23, 2016 12:16 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

don't go there. When you have to figure out what the boundaries are, you just should avoid the issue.  Be safe not sorry! 

Jan 23, 2016 12:06 PM
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

It is illegal in PA

Jan 23, 2016 10:43 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

In Indiana we can give a gift to someone for a referral but only up to $25. Commission can only be paid to a licensed agent.

Jan 23, 2016 09:54 AM