Incentive or Bribe

I can’t really post this on the Tucson Real Estate site.   Not because it isn’t legal or ethical, but because my wife would kill me if she ever found it there.   Yet I see these things come into my inbox from builders all the time.   To me they seem like a very narrow line to conflict of interest, if not flirting with RESPA violations.

So I pose my question in this forum of mostly real estate bloggers to whom I can ask, while not being totally in a public or local forum.

After all, I doubt many, if any home buyers or sellers have ever wandered onto the the Lab site looking to purchase or list property.

Builder Promotional Email

Here is the email I got this morning that triggered this post:

Builder Incentive Promotional Email

Promotional Incentive or Bribe - (click to enlarge)

I really would like to hear from the RE community how you view these types of emails and incentives?
Do you think some agents will be tempted to “Steer” their buyers to a particular builder because of a “promotion” like this?

Thank you for your comments I’ll take your answers off line.   (I listen a lot to NPR)   I’ll hang up now.


  1. I don’t think this type of incentive is that bad… but maybe I am missing the fine print. After all, the builder appears to me offering Realtors an incentive to check out their product. This incentive is a little bigger than I am used to seeing, but I think it is like offering Realtors a gift card for visiting an open house… and I am very comfortable with marketing to Realtors.

  2. Brian,

    Thanks for your input. I really am trying to get some feedback on this. You can tell from the post itself I’ve got red flags going off on this one. I guess I’ve met too many agents over the last 10 years that are more than willing to steer their clients to more money for them, even if it isn’t the best for their clients.


  3. Total Bribe….but you can call it what you want! Where I work in Irvine Orange County we have a lot of new homes being developed and I get this type of marketing on a daily basis. What really bothers me is that these builders create these types of “incentives” when it suites them….If the market is selling like hot cakes, they don’t want our help, but when the market is slower all of a sudden, they need us. There is no consistancy where I am and it’s all about them. I’ve have been screwed on several occasions where I’ve taken my clients to a builder and they offer an incentive and all of a sudden they aren’t offering it anymore and I lose out……i think if they are going to offer incentives they need to stick by them and not just offer them when it suites them…

  4. Robert,

    I hear you, btw, I love Irvine.


  5. its funny that I read your post today because I actually showed a brand new development in irvine a couple hours ago and when I walked in they said they don’t cooperate with realtors, but the salesperson told me she would sign us up and see what she could do for me…..I don’t think my clients will want to buy there, but it was nice that the sales person was on my side for once….it’s only fair!

  6. Hi Dave,

    Although I’m no longer in the real estate side of things after moving to the UK a few years back, I now work in the moving and relocations side of things with a Scottish firm. I use sites like yours to keep me up to date with how things are across the pond, so thanks for the wonderful site and the information (and that goes to all the RE bloggers out there).

    I think you’ll see incentives being sent by companies in all kinds of industry so this certainly isn’t something that is exclusive to real estate. Like a furniture salesman might be given an extra reward if he sells a furniture care product, it’s the same incentive idea just a little different on the industry side.

    I don’t personally see a problem but I think that people who are sent promotional material and incentives like this should always check it out themselves first before recommending or selling to a client, at the end of the day it could come back to haunt you.

  7. I get a ton of these from builders in Phoenix. I notice they multiply in number and size of “incentive” during December. I guess they think we are particularly desperate around Christmas.