We are RESPA compliant
We have modeled ourselves, and will continue to conduct ourselves, virtually identical to Zillow, as far as legally collecting internet lead fees.
This longer explanation/video, is for full and complete transparency. RESPA stands for The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (RESPA) 12 U.S.C. 2601. This law was promoted to protect consumers. The major intent of this legislation was to prohibit abusive practices, require disclosures for consumer knowledge, and to protect their earnings of mortgage and real estate associations. As well, this law was written primarily by lobbyists, to form a prohibition to not give away too much money to non-licensed entities – when giving out government real estate loans to consumers. There have been many amended changes over the years to this law. Here, we will only talk about referral fees/and lead fees, to non-licensed agents of mortgages, and real estate.
Zillow won 2 Federal Lawsuits. The first lawsuit was in 2017, and they also won a huge case in 2019, as, they were taken to court, for supposedly illegally receiving money, for referring clients to realtors for real estate transactions, via, internet lead sales, and receiving monies for these referrals. Zillow not only won both lawsuits, but The ladder case, they actually won this court case so bad, that the court outwardly declared, that, Zillow performed marketing efforts, and these marketing efforts, have serious value, have serious merit, and should certainly be justifiably compensated. Furthermore, the court did 2 stunning things. The Federal court allowed the standing of the different States to impose differences, between a “lead” and a “referral”. (just to separately note) In the utmost conservative states, in order to remain a “lead” (and not a referral), the lead must be blind/meaning that the lead does not know who they are being “introduced to” until, they are actually contacted by the vendor/lead buyer, and that there cannot be a verbal discussion of particulars of the matter (what color that you want the house/what school district the house should be in/etc…, until they have spoken with the vendor. Any conversations “after” that, verbal discussions with any referring parties are completely permissible. The 2nd stunning thing that the court did, was that when the government asked the court, to ban (lead or referral) fees, to non-licensed realtors or loan officers, based on a specific percentage of the sale, the court said that it would not prohibit that, nor does the court see relevance on making a finding/ruling on that matter. This created a huge door.
Now, with what appeared to be a judicial green light, Zillow (Flex Program) then created a program to sell and send the leads to realtors for free, until a closing occurred, and then to charge the realtor, and receive 35%, of the realtor fee.
The Government then retaliated and made a new rule to the Law (a committee rule/not, a law) in 2021, that, there will be a new added phrase, and new definition, and will incorporate as a ban, to prohibit, quote/unquote “transactional fees”, if, you are not in-fact licensed in that industry. Zillow decided not to fight this fight all over again, and made amended changes to their pilot program, and then quickly formed their own real estate company, and network, and spread across many states, so that they can receive these high/but deservedly earned, referral/lead internet fees, based on percentages.
In essence, we do not want this fight either, so, we made a quick change, and again are emulating in Zillow’s footsteps, with obvious slight variances. We are networking with a newly formed real estate company, in which they will likely charge around 25%, and, whereby, we will not (will not), charge money for these residential leads/and we will not pay commissions to our affiliates on these lone specific residential leads, at this time. At some point, some other company will challenge this restrictive “transactional fee” prohibition, and we will wait for that court ruling.
The Great News. You should still submit your residential leads for mortgages and real estate. Separately, and for full transparency, we have informed you of our prior intent to charge monies, and pay affiliates, in these 2 categories, although we suspended this opportunity, as mentioned above, until the courts hear, and resolve this. Understand that our Company will still legally receive monies for things such as Lead Caption content/funnels, and gathering leads, Administrative fees for handling and processing leads, and Consulting, and other legally allowable fees. Independently, the more money we receive, the more money we can pay out on independent bonuses. These bonuses will not be a s a direct result of leads that close. They may be bonuses based on 2nd tier affiliates that sign up, or the quantity of leads submitted, or things in this category or completely outside of these categories. They will be legally random, and they will surely benefit many people in our program. This is not a wink, wink, nor is it a get around, the legal ways of dispersing bonuses, is at the discretion of the business, so long as there is no direct, or obvious manner related to leads of fees that closed for these categories.
We have so many ways for affiliates to earn money, and you should not be deterred from submitting these leads. Again for transparency, we can charge this new real estate company for ad space/lead capture space, administrative organization and prep work on these leads, and we can charge consultation fees with this company, and other legally allowable fees, we are expected to legally profit. Again for clarity, and this is not a wink/wink, or a get around,, we are legally allowed to give affiliates bonus money, separately and completely unrelated to referred leads being submitted (as some affiliates who refer these leads/and don’t refer these leads, may get zero money on bonuses, or more bonus money than we originally wanted to give, or, less bonus money than we originally wanted to give. Again, affiliates who never submitted any residential loan leads may also receive bonus money, and vice versa. Again, this is for full legal, and allowable transparency. So please submit those residential real estate and residential mortgage leads, as they may legally help others, and possibly yourself, as subject to what has been stated, herein.
So, while most all other services are legally allowable to disperse lead compensation, these 2 industries, we currently cannot offer or provide commissions. Independent of that, we may still post what we desired to pay, we insist that we will not pay you on these success leads, any entity that suggests otherwise, will be in jeopardy of possible slander and defamation. Our company will not be in violation of anything, for legally giving separate random bonus money (from extra monies that we legally receive from any entity), as we deem fit, and not based on the 2 categories of sales mentioned above, but, 100% completely at our sole discretion.
- https://theclose.com/zillow-flex/ The 2021 Zillow revised/current Flex Program – 35% fee –
- https://homeopenly.com/Reviews/Zillow_Premier_Broker_Program Another miscue, before the 2nd verdict
- https://www.respanews.com/RN/ArticlesRN/Court-rules-Zillow-comarketing-does-not-violate-RE-74350.aspx The first of 2 cases (2018) that Zillow won.
- https://www.narfocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/4/2855.pdf National Association of realtors placing rules after the 1st Zillow win/but not after the 2nd/big win by Zillow.
- https://www.foley.com/en/insights/publications/2017/02/the-cfpbs-respa-consent-orders-eight-key-takeaways The outdated 2017 consent orders/before Zillow.
- https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201510_cfpb_compliance-bulletin-2015-05-respa-compliance-and-marketing-services-agreements.pdf The 2015 dinosaur compliance bulletin/outdated/over ruled in court.
- https://www.consumerfinance.gov/rules-policy/regulations/1024/14/#a Rule 1024.14(a) – General rule on Referrals/requirements struck down in the Zillow federal court case.