Got this e-mail today. I will NOT change the names. You will see why:
My name is Adam Ramey and I am working on behalf of Keller Williams Reality Partners-Park Ridge. We have a new project we are working on and we would like to feature Decker Home Services, LLC on our Introduction Folders for Keller Williams Reality Partners-Park Ridge.
We are providing brand new custom designed high gloss introduction folders handed out by all the 95 agents to all prospected home buyers and sellers at the very beginning of the home buying process. The home buyers use the folders to hold the paperwork they accumulate throughout the home buying process. On the inside pockets of the folders we’re going to feature a small mix of local businesses, industry specific that the agents can refer exclusively to their clients.
The featured ad includes everything; artwork, pictures, logos, any special lettering. Total single ad price is $395 for one year!
all agents in the office use these folders exclusively
open and in front of buyers for weeks to months at a time
used to hold open house paperwork, inspection forms, loan documents, title sheets etc…
Home Buyers & Sellers:
Middle to upper income
business owners & upper management
You can view our interactive Presentation Folders on our website.
We anticipate this as a tremendous fit for your business, and look forward to working with you!
I am honored that you would choose to include me in this brochure that you are preparing for Keller Williams Realty in Part Ridge, however I cannot take part. Let me explain why and, hopefully, also educate you and your client.
Paying for referrals from real estate agents (Yes, I know, you would portray it as “advertising”) is a violation of the Code of Ethics of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) as well as the Illinois association of Realtors (IAR) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR). While not, specifically, prohibited from the Illinois State licensing body for both Home Inspectors and real estate agents, it is very much frowned upon. Some years ago, Coldwell-Banker formed their “Concierge Service”, linking Coldwell-Banker with a mortgage company and a national home inspection company, U.S. Inspects. As a result of many poorly performed inspections, there were two federal lawsuits (in Maryland and Virginia, I believe) that went against this practice. There were also past attempts by another Home Inspector association, ASHI, to “brand” their group to agents and pay for referral advertising.
Because this is seen as a clear conflict of interest and since, in Illinois especially, both real estate agents and home inspectors have a legal, fiduciary responsibility to their clients, the practice was banned. While I do have various agents and agencies that regularly refer me, I do not (and can not) pay for that service. Nor can I, or do I, pay or receive payment from agents, contractors, insurance agents or other people that I may refer to my clients at their request.
Furthermore, while real estate agencies have a perfect right to advertise, just as I do, I see no reason why that advertisement should be underwritten by the solicitation of advertisements from other professionals, especially when there is a fiduciary conflict of interest.
Maybe your firm and / or this agency was not aware of this situation, but you are now informed.
I would also like to mention that I receive around 20 - 30 e-mail solicitations from various companies (advertisement firms (like yours), web site SEO firms, magazines and other real estate related companies) with similar solicitations. I have wondered for a long time why such companies think they have any right to waste my time with this unsolicited spam. If I want to do business with a company, I am perfectly capable of vetting and contacting them, myself, rather than just sending our spam e-mails.
I have copied this to the appropriate agencies for their information.
Thank you for your time.
William Decker, CMI"