Release Date: 11/22/2016
QUESTION: I would like to set up a program where I would donate a portion of my commission to a charitable organization in my community that I’ve supported for many years. The organization would have a link on its website that would explain my program and I would be permitted to appear at the organization’s events to give a brief presentation about the program. The offer would apply to any buyer or seller client who contacts me through the program. Do you see any problem with this?
ANSWER: Yes. Although you may establish and advertise a program where you will pay a part of your commission to a charity designated by you or by your client, the charity may not help you advertise the program. The real estate license law prohibits a broker from paying any kind of incentive (cash or other consideration) to unlicensed persons or entities for the referral of business. That prohibition includes charities. In permitting you to have a link on the organization’s website and to appear at its events to explain your program, the charity is arguably helping you obtain real estate business, and unless it has a real estate license, you cannot pay any incentive to the charity for its assistance, even though it is passive in nature.
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