Kickbacks still a problem in the real estate industry?
Kickbacks are illegal. Period.
In recent real estate industry news, there have been several settlements with large companies over alleged kickback deals. Both Fidelity National Financial and Prospect Mortgage have settled with The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to the tune of about $7.6 million combined. I find myself shocked and dismayed that our industry is still doing anything that could remotely be called a kickback. While both companies may not see them as kickbacks, it’s shameful to think that anyone wants to even toy with the definitions of what a kickback is or is not.
The idea of kickbacks have existed forever in our world and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but with all the training I go through as a Realtor®, the idea of accepting money for something like this has been pounded into my head as illegal, unethical, and just plain stupid. Even without all the training, I would know this. How is it that it continues to this day?
What makes me most upset is that events like this tarnish the reputation of the industry as a whole, so that when someone does need a recommendation of a service provider, they view them with distrust or skepticism. My policy on recommendations is simple. First, I base them on my own personal trust and experience with that person or company. Second, I base it off of other industry member’s thoughts (for instance, if I’m considering adding a new lender to my list, I will call several people in the industry that I trust and ask what they know – those opinions are worth their weight in gold to me). Third, if I do add someone to my list of trusted service providers, they know that one mistake and they’re done. It’s not just my reputation on the line (I referred them, so it reflects on me), but it’s bad for my clients. Why would I want to refer someone who does bad work? That’s a no brainer.
So in the course of working with me, know that if I recommend someone to you, it is because I place a high amount of trust in them to get the job done right…and they’re not slipping me cash in unmarked envelopes either.
photo courtesy of stevendepolo
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