Niche as marketer for real estate - how to structure the deals legally?

5 Replies

I own and operate an internet advertising agency and I think I see a niche where my agency's skills could be profitably employed. 

I've seen a few properties in my area that I think may be under-priced relative to the value they would have if they were promoted more effectively to the right buyers. I believe I know how to do this and I'm confident enough to spend my own money on the advertising in hopes of making a return.

What I'd like to do is take a property that I think exceptional and that we can market successfully, and receive a commission or markup when it sells. 

I know real estate is highly regulated and I don't want to end up in trouble for practicing RE without a license, as happened here:

What sort of deal would be reasonable to propose to the real estate agent handling the sale, or to the owner? Are they legally allowed to pay a commission to a non-realtor? Is there any way I could market the property at a higher price than it is listed at and keep a portion of the difference?

I've been told that one way to accomplish this would be to buy an option on the property, but I'd like to find a way to test out my marketing ideas without having to invest in an option.

Any ideas and insights any of you more experienced folks could offer would be most appreciated.

@Deborah Squibb You definitely want to be licensed for what you're proposing. Marketing a property that you don't own, and have no principal interest in, for a commission. Is the very definition of brokering real estate.

However...if you want to test your marketing theories out you can do that without being licensed. You just can't get paid for your work.

I don't know your state law, and I'm not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. But in Texas you can sometimes accept "gifts" (not money) of up to $50 value for each transaction. As an unlicensed party to a transaction :)

Thank you very much for the replies, Shane and Doug. 

Yes, what you described in brokering, which requires a license.

On the other hand, you can do what people call "wholesaling", which is to actually buy the property yourself (put it under contract) and then assign your interests in that property to a cash buyer in exchange for an "assignment fee".  Your assignment fee can be any %, as long as the cash buyer finds the price + fee to be acceptable.

And before anyone tells you "you can't do that (without a license)" - in Nevada you can absolutely do that (wholesale properties) without a license.

Are these properties listed by an agent?

You might try approaching the broker and seeing if they would be agreeable to some type of arrangement.  Maybe you offer the first property for free and then offer it to agents at a flat rate - paid at closing?

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