Ditch the Pitch
The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), 12 U.S.C. § 2607 (2005), prohibits kickbacks and unearned fees, including any fee, kickback, or thing of value being given to or received by anyone in any business that is incident to or part of a settlement service. This includes referral fees and/or fee splitting other than for services actually performed. Settlement services includes any service provided in connection with a real estate settlement including, but not limited to, the following: title searches, title examinations, the provision of title certificates, title insurance, services rendered by an attorney, the preparation of documents, property surveys, the rendering of credit reports or appraisals, pest and fungus inspections, services rendered by a real estate agent or broker, the origination of a federally related mortgage loan (including, but not limited to, the taking of loan applications, loan processing, and the underwriting and funding of loans), and the handling of the processing, and closing of settlement. Thing of value includes any payment, advance, funds, loan, service, or other consideration.