Candy Coated Kickbacks, Peanuts and a Prize – That’s What You Get with RE Slacker Jacks!

When did taking kickbacks become so firmly entrenched in our real estate industry?

By now you’ve heard, read or seen the news about the two Los Angeles building inspectors who were charged last month by the FBI with taking bribes to sign inspection forms for houses they never inspected. It’s started a growing corruption probe, and the General Manager of the Department of Building and Safety Inspectors says that has broken the public trust.

This is just one example of professionals taking kickbacks in the CA real estate industry. We know that all brokers and agents are not taking kickbacks, but it appears that some are.

Is there a difference in taking a candy-coated kickback from a title company or other RE service provider or taking a bribe?

Is it a smaller issue if you take a peanut-sized amount of money? Is misleading a client because you have accepted a small fee for from a “preferred” provider ethical, moral or even legal?

What’s the prize we really want? Jail time? Lost license? What about self respect?

Most of us think that kick-backs are a normal part of doing business in third world countries. But what about in the good ole US of A? When did cracker jack real estate pros begin to act like RE slacker jacks?

Back in November 2010, we wrote a story about a Keller Williams broker referring to Transaction Point as a “pay-per-click” service. And we’ve seen multiple stories of what can happen to you if you violate the law.

All real estate professionals have to know the law, ask the questions and be educated so they don’t make the mistakes that cost professionals and their families a livelihood.

Just because the incentive may be candy-coated, let’s make sure we aren’t getting into trouble for peanuts, and the prize isn’t about being disgraced publicly. In other words, let’s keep referring to Crackerjacks as a food item and not as a bad real estate slacker. We’d like to hear from you. Please share any insight and continue to keep us alerted to industry practices – right or wrong.