Saturday, July 13, 2024

vendor list

    Call it something fancy, such as a “Concierge Service,” or for what it is, a vendor referral service, but if you plan on offering this service to your real estate clients, learn how to avoid legal and other problems.

    First, however, head on over to part one in this series. You’ll find it here.

    RESPA refresher course

    The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA for short, contains several land mines for agents that you’ll want to avoid at all costs.

    One goal of the Act was to crack down on kickbacks and other “abusive practices” which were common in the industry.

    While the heaviest regulations fall on those in the mortgage and title industries, real estate agents can run afoul of the rules.

    It’s a wise agent who will make the following a steadfast practice.

    I will not request, require or accept “a payment for the referral of business” from anyone for making a referral.

    The word “payment is used synonymously with the giving or receiving of a ‘thing of value,’” according to the experts at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).


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    It’s a fine line you’re walking

    Consider not publishing the list until you have at least two companies in each section. For instance, two landscapers, two electricians, etc.

    Then, cover your backside with an additional layer by displaying a disclaimer on the vendor list and anywhere it is published, such as on your website.

    “When offering vendor recommendations to clients, include in writing that it is their responsibility to review vendors and select one that best fits their needs. Add language that indicates you’re providing a few recommendations for consideration, but you advise they review additional options to find the right fit,” cautions the pros at cresinsurance.com.

    We found several disclaimers online, including “We do not require a fee to be on our preferred vendor list. Instead, we require a proven track record of customer satisfaction.”

    Also, check out this disclaimer at sarealtywatch.com

    Let’s call it something else

    Dump the word “preferred” in the title’s list and never refer to a mortgage service provider by that word.

    Ken Trepeta, president of the Real Estate Services Providers Council Inc. (RESPRO) told Inman.com that he thinks “… the term ‘preferred’ has become a minefield.” 

    “Do not designate a settlement service provider as the broker’s or agent’s ‘preferred’ company.” 

    Continued due diligence is a must

    A one-time vetting of vendors isn’t enough. In fact, they should be vetted on an ongoing basis. The last thing you need is to have one go sour and provide crummy customer service to one of your clients or former clients.

    These people reflect on your professionalism, so follow up with clients who use them. If in doubt about any vendor’s responsiveness and overall customer service, dump him/her. 

    While actual closing gifts are still a “thing” in real estate, we believe that brilliant customer service is the best gift you can offer. A vendor referral service is a gift that keeps on giving.


    PLUS: When you have time…below are some marketing tools to help support your success.

    1. Put Your Real Estate Business a Step Above with Your Own Branded Magazine

    Homes & Life Magazine is a customizable magazine with rich, full-color content and a sharp, professional aesthetic. It includes compelling, direct response-driven articles written by real estate industry experts combined with engaging lifestyle content. Send out Homes & Life Magazine in Just Minutes – No Minimums Required. Or we’ll ship it to you.

    Homes & Life Magazine is the ultimate “Coffee Table Lingerer”! …and it costs less than sending a greeting card!Click Here


    2. The Free 12-Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

    The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do and when. Four key market segments include niche Markets, geographic farming, sphere of influence, and past clients. – Click Here

    3. The BusinessBase, SOI building system

    The most effective thing you can do to build a real estate business is to become more visible, more likable, and remembered more often. The BusinessBASE™ not only checks all of these boxes but is also a business-building machine. In two easy steps, you can begin to build a robust sphere of influence that will provide you a lifetime of repeat business and referrals. – Click Here

    4. The Free Interactive Real Estate Business Plan

    The Free Interactive Real Estate Business Plan allows you to enter your business goals for this year and get a breakdown of how many prospects, listings, closing, and so on are needed to reach your goals.  – Click Here

    5. The Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Become-A-Listing-Legend-3D-Book-White-274x300.jpg

    Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here

    6. The Take a Listing Today Podcast

    Watch the ProspectsPLUS!, Take a Listing Today Podcast for actionable content to help you get more listings. – Click Here


      A Real Estate Referral List!

      Nearly half of homebuyers surveyed (49%) by the NAR said that the third most important benefit that a real estate agent can provide is “. . .a better list of service providers,” such as a home inspector and other services. (NAR 2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends)

      While homebuyers consider this a benefit, the industry understands it as “value-added.”

      Who would’ve thought that something as simple as a list of vendors could be a treasured service? 

      No, it’s not a new service, but it’s become an in-demand one and a way for agents to set themselves apart while offering value to your services.

      It beats a closing gift

      A real estate vendor referral service is the gift that keeps on giving. If set up properly, it brings your brand before their eyes multiple times into the future. It can also benefit you by giving you “touch” opportunities down the line.


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      How to put together a real estate vendor referral service list

      Whether you call them vendors or affiliates, the people on your list should be many and varied. Oh, and highly vetted, which we’ll discuss later.

      Let’s take a look at some of the vendors you might want to include on your list:

      • Accountant
      • Appliance repair/installation
      • Carpet cleaner
      • Countertop Company
      • Electrician
      • Flooring installer
      • Garage door installer/repair tech
      • General contractor
      • Handyman
      • Handyman/woman 
      • Home inspector
      • Home warranty company
      • House cleaner
      • Insurance agent
      • Interior designer
      • Landscaper
      • Lenders/mortgage broker
      • Moving accessories
      • Moving company
      • Painter
      • Pest inspector
      • Pet pooper scooper
      • Plumber/HVAC technician
      • Pool Service
      • Popcorn ceiling removal
      • Professional home organizer
      • Property Manager
      • Real estate attorney
      • Roofer
      • Septic Company
      • Stager
      • Tile contractor
      • Title company
      • Trash hauling 
      • Well inspector
      • Window washer

      Luxury agents might want to include:

      • Architect
      • Audio/visual services
      • Engineer
      • Home security systems technician
      • Home watch/Housesitting services 
      • Landscape architect
      • Trust attorney
      Vendor list research

      If you’re just starting a real estate vendor referral service, you’ll need to do some research in your quest to figure out who to include. Start at yelp.com, read reviews, and jot down the names of those you want to interview.

      Join your neighborhood at NextDoor.com. One of the main topics of conversation on the platform is “Who do you recommend for [insert the service].”

      In fact, if you enter any service into the search bar at the top of the page, you’ll find every conversation having to do with it. 

      Finally, ask for recommendations for your real estate vendor referral service from colleagues, family members, and friends.

      Once you’ve compiled a list of names, move on to the Better Business Bureau to check for complaints. 

      Then, ensure that the vendors you’ll interview are licensed and bonded by consulting the appropriate state licensing board’s website.

      This step is very important. “… the Realtor is not responsible for the work of a properly licensed contractor, or pest inspector for that matter. When a Realtor calls a licensed professional, they are doing so only in their capacity as a representative of their client,” according to Tim Jones at DailyRepublic.com.

      Still, consider putting a disclaimer, in writing, on your website.

      Now, you’re ready to interview each candidate. Don’t forget to ask for references. Get the references’ phone numbers and contact each one.

      There’s more to the compilation of this list than meets the eye. Avoiding RESPA violations is tricky, and we’ll cover that in Part II, so be sure to check back soon.


      PLUS: When you have time…below are some marketing tools to help support your success.

      1. Put Your Real Estate Business a Step Above with Your Own Branded Magazine

      Homes & Life Magazine is a customizable magazine with rich, full-color content and a sharp, professional aesthetic. It includes compelling, direct response-driven articles written by real estate industry experts combined with engaging lifestyle content. Send out Homes & Life Magazine in Just Minutes – No Minimums Required. Or we’ll ship it to you.

      Homes & Life Magazine is the ultimate “Coffee Table Lingerer”! …and it costs less than sending a greeting card!Click Here


      2. The Free 12-Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

      The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do and when. Four key market segments include niche Markets, geographic farming, sphere of influence, and past clients. – Click Here

      3. The BusinessBase, SOI building system

      The most effective thing you can do to build a real estate business is to become more visible, more likable, and remembered more often. The BusinessBASE™ not only checks all of these boxes but is also a business-building machine. In two easy steps, you can begin to build a robust sphere of influence that will provide you a lifetime of repeat business and referrals. – Click Here

      4. The Free Interactive Real Estate Business Plan

      The Free Interactive Real Estate Business Plan allows you to enter your business goals for this year and get a breakdown of how many prospects, listings, closing, and so on are needed to reach your goals.  – Click Here

      5. The Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

      This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Become-A-Listing-Legend-3D-Book-White-274x300.jpg

      Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here

      6. The Take a Listing Today Podcast

      Watch the ProspectsPLUS!, Take a Listing Today Podcast for actionable content to help you get more listings. – Click Here