Referral fees from buyers/sellers in Florida

10 Replies

I apologize if this is a stupid question but I'm a new real estate agent and I want to make sure this is legal. I've searched through my entire pre-licensing course and I couldn't find anything.

In Florida, is it illegal for a licensed real estate agent to receive a referral fee from an unlicensed buyer or seller for bringing them together?


David Rubio, Real Estate Agent in Florida (#SL3406492)

I won't claim to be an expert in Florida, but I will say with confidence. Yes, it's pretty much your job :)

Your pretty much the only one who can take their money..... Well more specifically your broker can and in return pay you for it.

Mike Cumbie, Real Estate Agent in NY (#10401285310)

Short answer: Ask your broker.

Long answer:

Is it legal? Yes, probably, in most cases.

Is it done? Rarely, for several reasons.

Referral fees are normally paid from Broker A to Broker B. 

Commissions and other fees (admin fees, processing fees, consulting fees, etc) can be, and usually are, from customer to broker. 

There are several different scenarios that could play out within the scope of your question:

If you refer a seller to another broker/agent, and they take the listing and sell the property, you would typically ask that broker for a referral fee, paid to your broker. (This is common with listings that are not in your geographic area, outside your area of expertise (i.e. commercial), or whatever).

If the seller is represented by a broker, and you refer a buyer to their agent/broker, you would normally ask for a referral fee from that broker (this is less common: because why wouldn't you just rep the buyer and take the full commission?).

If both parties are unrepresented, and you just make the connection and want to charge either or both of them some kind of consulting/admin fee, that would conceivably be allowed...if your broker allows it*, and the if fee is paid to your broker.

The customer always pays the broker, and the broker always compensates the agent - you can not be paid directly by the customer as a sales associate.

*Chances are your broker will tell you to either take the listing (from the seller), represent the buyer, or move on to something more productive. The juice usually isn't worth the squeeze in situations like this, and the added professional liability, administrative hassle, and paperwork might not be worth it.

And remember - Your broker gets his or her usual cut (based on what your agreement with them says), so it may not be worth your time either.

Jeff Copeland, Broker in FL (#BK3326487)

Whats the difference between a licensed broker and a consultant doing the same thing of giving a lead or referral?

One is licensed and legally allowed to get commissions from the sale of a property and the other cannot. Just like I cant legally give a portion of my commissions to my brother who referred a seller

Mike Cumbie, Real Estate Agent in NY (#10401285310)

@David Rubio I would have the seller sign a commission agreement for the help of this transaction paid to your broker. A commission agreement is not an exclusive agreement. It just states that your broker will be compensated if you were to bring  buyer to the table. Very simple and straight forward.

Jack V. Ospina, Broker in Florida (#BK3253158)

Pretty sure it's illegal in Vermont and might be against the Realtor code of ethics. If you do it, it shouldn't be something official. It can be a kind thank you *wink* with a gift card in the mail. But not I WILL PAY YOU FOR LEADS. Something to reward the behavior when your friends do send you leads

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