Real estate brokers marketing the use of a preferred lender, title company, or other settlement service provider should take care to avoid RESPA violations that can be incurred when marketing fees exceed the reasonable value of the services performed.

These services include signs inside or outside the sales office and homes up for sale; e-mail or direct mail campaigns; banner ads and preferred partner links on the broker’s and agents’ Web sites; and the use of the broker’s name and logo in preferred partner marketing materials.

Brokers should request that the preferred partner use an independent marketing expert or system to value the marketing fee and ensure that service and activity levels are reviewed regularly.

Source: RISMedia, Mark L. Meyer (10/18/2010)

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