But how/why is this acceptable?

From a great post by Jillayne Schlicke at RCG about potential RESPA reform.

Sections 8 and 9 of RESPA say we are not to give or receive an item of value in exchange for a referral of a federally related loan. We = any person that earns a fee on the sale or refinance of a one-to-4 family, owner occupied, federally-related loan. Realtors and mortgage lending workers have tremendous power to influence the direction of business for third-party vendors to companies such as title insurance, escrow, home inspectors, home warranty, hazard insurance, private mortgage insurance, appraisers, attorneys, and so forth. For example, title insurance companies do not chose to spend their advertising dollars on general public promotions because a title company can have a much stronger effect on market share by focusing on the people who are in a direct position to refer lots of business: Mortgage lenders and Realtors.

Naturally, there are exceptions:

Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting (1) the payment of a fee… (2) the payment to any person of a bona fide salary or compensation or other payment for goods or facilities actually furnished or for services actually performed, (3) payments pursuant to cooperative brokerage and referral arrangements or agreements between real estate agents and brokers, (4) affiliated business arrangements so long as (A) a disclosure is made of the existence of such an arrangement to the person being referred and, in connection with such referral, such person is provided a written estimate of the charge or range of charges generally made by the provider to which the person is referred.

However, this possible arrangement is codified in the Virginia Association of Realtors‘ standard Contract to Purchase.

BROKERS: LICENSEE STATUS: (a) Listing Company and Selling Company may from time to time engage in general insurance, title insurance, mortgage loan, real estate settlement, home warranty and other real estate-related businesses and services, from which they may receive compensation during the course of this transaction, in addition to real estate brokerage fees. The parties acknowledge that Listing Company and Selling Company are retained for their real estate brokerage expertise, and neither has been retained as an attorney, tax advisor, appraiser, title advisor, home inspector, engineer, surveyor or other professional service provider.

Consumers (and Realtors) should question everything. Why this product? Mr. Realtor – why are you recommending your “in-house” lender?

What am I missing here? Are these types of entanglements kosher/ethical/”ok so long as I get my cut?” Has the real estate business become so intertwined and commingled with the various, disparate yet related, services that these types of arrangements are in fact, good for the consumer?

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