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Ethics In Referral Marketing For Brokers


Real estate agents and brokers are often knowledgeable and versatile people who can assist home buyers and sellers with a variety of services. People who are buying or selling may need other services and that is where a real estate agent can be helpful. For example, some agents offer relocation services, which could be helpful to someone who is moving outside the state or even the county.

However, real estate professionals need to be mindful of their marketing tactics. They cannot take advantage of the relationship that a home buyer or seller may have with another realtor. When they do that, they may violate the Code of Ethics that realtors must adhere to.

According to Article 16 of the Code of Ethics, realtors are not to engage in any practice inconsistent with exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other realtors have with clients. So even if an agent leaves flyers with homeowners with For Sale signs letting them know of relocation services that they offer, that may not be allowed.

It depends on the type of service and situation. For example, if you ran into someone in a social setting, such as at a grocery store, and they mentioned their house was on the market, you could offer them relocation services without any issue. However, targeting listings from the multiple listing service would not be allowed.

There are two standards of practice under Article 16:

  • Standard of Practice 16-3. This does not preclude realtors from contacting the client of another broker for the purpose of offering to provide a different type of real estate service unrelated to the service currently being provided. However, information received through a multiple listing service may not be used to target clients of other realtors.
  • Standard of Practice 16-18. Realtors shall not use information obtained from listing brokers through offers to cooperate made through multiple listing services to refer listing brokers’ clients to other brokers.

What this means is that you should not target owners of MLS-listed properties for outgoing referrals. Even though you are not soliciting another broker’s listing, it is a violation of the Code of Ethics. Keep this in mind while offering your services to others . You don’t want to be accused of stealing someone’s clients.

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Real Estate Broker License Lawyer

Marketing is not always a straightforward subject for real estate agents and brokers. What are they allowed to do? What is considered unethical?

What you do may be violating the REALTOR Code of Ethics. Get the help you need from a Tampa real estate broker license lawyer from The Law Offices of David P. Rankin, P.A.  I have been involved in several hundred license discipline proceedings before the Florida Real Estate Commission and was the attorney for the Greater Tampa Realtors for 18 years.  Schedule a consultation with my office today by calling (813) 968-6633 or filling out the online form.