by Dan Persfull:
"they offer this as a "perk" to the referrals coming from that builder"
That is a direct violation of RESPA Sec. 8 if the anticipated/expected referrals are federally related mortgage loans. What they should be preparing for is writing a large check and possibly getting fitted for a orange suit.
From the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (this is the actual law) Section 2607.
(a) Business referrals - No person shall give and no person shall accept any fee, kickback, or thing of value pursuant to any agreement or understanding, oral or otherwise, that business incident to or a part of a real estate settlement service involving a federally related mortgage loan shall be referred to any person.
(d) Penalties for violations; joint and several liability; treble damages; actions for injunction by Bureau and Secretary and by State officials; costs and attorney fees; construction of State laws
(1) Any person or persons who violate the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both. (emphasis added)
(2) Any person or persons who violate the prohibitions or limitations of this section shall be jointly and severally liable to the person or persons charged for the settlement service involved in the violation in an amount equal to three times the amount of any charge paid for such settlement service.
(3) No person or persons shall be liable for a violation of the provisions of subsection (c)(4)(A) if such person or persons proves by a preponderance of the evidence that such violation was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide error notwithstanding maintenance of procedures that are reasonably adapted to avoid such error.
(4) The Bureau, the Secretary, or the attorney general or the insurance commissioner of any State may bring an action to enjoin violations of this section. Except, to the extent that a person is subject to the jurisdiction of the Bureau, the Secretary, or the attorney general or the insurance commissioner of any State, the Bureau shall have primary authority to enforce or administer this section, subject to subtitle B of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 [12 U.S.C. 5511 et seq.].
(5) In any private action brought pursuant to this subsection, the court may award to the prevailing party the court costs of the action together with reasonable attorneys fees.
(6) No provision of State law or regulation that imposes more stringent limitations on affiliated business arrangements shall be construed as being inconsistent with this section.
by Richard Insley:
When your mortgage lenders use the word "perk", you'd better hope they're talking about coffee.