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Real estate ethics and legalities


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I know there may be some "state specific" rules out there, however, here is my question.

What, (if any) is the law for a real estate companies as far as home inspector referrals? Let me elaborate through example.

A real estate company has several satellite offices but will not allow anyone to drop off any business cards without permission from the main office broker himself/herslef.

If they provide a list to their buying clients then should there not be a way to get on that list? If you ask the broker/owner how you get on the list, do they have to have objective reasons and not subjective?

I am really struggling with trying to explain this. Basically if you need to get permission then their permission needs to be objective and not subjective, right? Is there a fair trade example if they refuse to include you without reason and it is NOT a paid to be on "advertising" list?

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Jeff,

The question is very difficult. Short answer is they must be subjective and can not be objective.

There is no restraint of trade issue in your example. There could be an issue if they offered you a place on the list for free and made me pay for inclusion. Kinda think along the lines of "Good Housekeeping Seal".

Before any real discussion can be had about the issue you must first establish what the list really is or is intended to be. Is it a list of preferred sub-contractors? Is it public? Are there particular qualifications to be included on the list? Do you have to pay to be on that list? Can the list be considered resciprosity? The list can't be considered a membership roster or maybe it could be an affirmation of a particular membership. Think FREA, appraisers, inspectors and their referral "list".

I am not able to quote you chapter and verse (like building codes) as to exactly why those list still exist. I guess I could run it thru Westlaw and give you the answer in the form of what has happened, but strongly believe it is an issue that I am not ready to die for.

In the world of expert witness work involving home inspectors, the "list" is something I include in the first steps of investigation. It is not always a negative.

Good question that I am sure you will get lots of inspector lore and anecdotal info about!

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Originally posted by Jeff Remas

. . . If they provide a list to their buying clients then should there not be a way to get on that list? If you ask the broker/owner how you get on the list, do they have to have objective reasons and not subjective? . . .

Why shouldn't they be able to put whoever they want on the list? A real estate company is a private business. They ought to be able to refer whoever they want for whatever reason they want.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I used to go to the front desk staff and ask if I could be put on their list. They, so far, are happy to do it. Most realtors here have their own lists anyway with their own preferred people. One office has their "conceirge" list. These are folks who have paid $1500 to be on the list, I advise people to be careful with lists and interview the inspectors, etc. I get more business through word of mouth or the internet so I really do not market in the offices anymore. My world has been brighter since. [:-party]

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