How do you protect yourself?

No –  I don’t mean wear a raincoat so you don’t get wet or get the flu vaccine so the flu isn’t so bad…I mean protect yourself from liability.  Unfortunately, liability is a reality band it’s a large part of the real estate business today.  Disclose, disclose, disclose…lead base paint, chinese drywall, radon gas, termites, roof leaks and the list goes on and on…huge liabilities for non-disclosure.  

So here’s my questions today: Have you thought about RESPA lately?  Have you thought about the huge liabilities involved with RESPA violations?   Specifically, have you thought about  with fees being charged?… transaction fees, processing fees, statutory compliance fees, administrative fees, storage fees!  What it is being called may be different, but all the names mean the same thing.  In today’s real estate world, the Broker’s bottom Federal Court, attoerline is shrinking and Brokers are charging “the fee”  to  boost, or add to, their bottom line…it’s a profit builder.  No matter what you call it…no matter how you word it…it is, plain and simple: a RESPA violation.  This RESPA violation is punishable by a $10,000 fine and /or jail time.   

Let me repeat that:  This RESPA violation is punishable by a $10,000 fine and /or jail time. 

However, several  federal courts (not the area Florida is in ) has indicated it is an earned fee and is OK.  So who do you believe?  Beats the heck out of me.  So here’s the real world:  Your Buyer really wants to buy this property and the listing broker has a “compliance fee” that your Buyer is required to pay.  If you refuse to have your Buyer pay, your Buyer may not be able to buy the property… so what do you do?  How do you counsel your Buyer?  If you allow your Buyer to pay the fee you may be an accessory to the violation…don’t forget the penalties.   Frightening and intimidating… who do you fear most?  The federal court, or the federal government? 

 What does the everyday, listing and selling Realtor do?    You tell me…please.   Attorneys, you too…feel free to weigh in.  What do we do? 

Look to the right and you’ll find a great “Link of the Week”: Questions and Answers on Charging Fees Outside Commission…there’s even an link to download the questions and answers – Brokers & Managers:  This would be a great topic for your next office meeting.   Let me know how your meetings go!

                                                                                      Until next Monday….


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2 Responses to How do you protect yourself?

  1. Vicky McPhee says:

    I’ll be anxious to see where this discussion goes. What about when the broker charges it, says if the listing agent can’t collect it – they have to pay it? And further, the listing agent passes it along in the offer of compensaton – i.e. XX% – 295.? Now, in essence, if I sell that home, it would appear that I’m paying it.


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