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#2080534 - 05/26/16 01:03 PM RatePlug Compared to Zillow
GCandCCO Offline
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Joined: May 2016
Posts: 5
Hi long time reader; first time caller. Any thoughts on a marketing product called Rate Plug? Basically, LOs pay a flat yearly fee to advertise with realtors through their real estate system. Realtors pay a fee through their MRIS dues. My concern is the costs of each advertisement are not allocated to each specific advertisement. Their web site says in FAQs they are RESPA compliant but I think they are missing the one piece regarding splitting advertising specifically.

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Lending Compliance
#2080538 - 05/26/16 01:12 PM Re: RatePlug Compared to Zillow GCandCCO
Dan Persfull Offline
10K Club
Dan Persfull
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 46,457
Bloomington, IN
I'm not familiar with this program but if the LOs are paying a yearly rate to be advertised through certain media outlets and the Realtors are also paying the same yearly fee then I don't see an issue.

The fee most likely is based on the number of LOs and Realtors participating. IOWs the LOs are advertising as a group and the Realtors are advertising as a group. If there are 100 Realtors participating the cost is split between that group of 100. If there are only 50 LOs participating that cost is split between that group of 50.

That's just my thoughts without knowing anything about the program.
The opinions expressed are mine and they are not to be taken as legal advice.

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#2080657 - 05/26/16 05:05 PM Re: RatePlug Compared to Zillow GCandCCO
GCandCCO Offline
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Joined: May 2016
Posts: 5
Thanks my concern is that they are not splitting the cost of an ad (each ad) but just paying a general fee to advertise (could be two ads or 200 ads).

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#2155919 - 12/04/17 06:57 PM Re: RatePlug Compared to Zillow GCandCCO
CalifDreamin Offline
Diamond Poster
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,207
Far from Calif
I'd like to resurrect this topic to see if anyone else is familiar with it - it's just come across my desk today as something one of our markets wants to get in on with realtors who consider the bank a "preferred lender" - apparently there's no set criteria on this, it's just that the realtor has already worked with us on several deals in the past (so I'm being told). I realize that to some degree, the answer on whether or not this could be a Section 8 issue is subjective, especially coupled with the current state of the CFPB.

RatePlug Home Page RatePlug

This page explains why they feel they are compliant: RatePlug Compliance

This is how I understand it. RatePlug enters into agreements with both mortgage originators and real estate agents. Each participating MORTGAGE ORIGINATOR pays a fixed annual license fee that doesn't vary based on the number or volume of mortgage loans. This gives the mortgage originators the ability to communicate their product and rate information to participating realtors who will then provide it to their home-buying clients on the site. From what I can tell, mortgage originators are the only ones who pay for RatePlug - neither the MLS nor the realtors pay anything to RatePlug.

Participating realtors pay an annual fee to the MLS system. The MLS is incorporated into the RP software - there is no fee from the MLS to the realtor for this, and the realtor doesn't pay a fee to RatePlug ("RP"). This software is just a part of the services the MLS provides to realtors as part of their annual fee to the MLS. (RP also doesn't assess a fee to the MLS.)

Participating realtors provide RP the names of mortgage originators who are interested in having their mortgage product info displayed in connection with the participating realtor's listings. RP says there's no limit to the number of mortgage originators whose information may be displayed to a given agent. Additionally, participating realtors can generate and print listing flyers with their information and the mortgage originator's information that can be printed and taken to open houses. It would be up to the realtor and the mortgage originator to determine the cost of printing the flyers and splitting that cost equally as there's no cost from RP to create the flyer from the software.

So, mortgage originators are basically paying for realtors who consider them "preferred lenders" to advertise on their listing with them is what I'm gathering. They aren't paying the realtor - they are just paying one flat fee annually to RP for the ability to have their products show up on any realtor listings where the realtor determines its okay for them to (so, one flat fee whether 1 realtor or 1000 realtors have your product info listed).

Last edited by CalifDreamin; 12/04/17 08:11 PM. Reason: Added their compliance page
The opinions expressed are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer

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#2155936 - 12/04/17 07:39 PM Re: RatePlug Compared to Zillow GCandCCO
Reg Warrior Offline
100 Club
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 190
Our home loans department is using RatePlug and they are very happy with it. Compliance was, and is not, keen on this agreement. We are worried about any RESPA violations that may come.

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