Can You Accept That Holiday Gift? Your Guide to RESPA-compliant Gifts

Can You Accept That Holiday Gift?

Your guide to RESPA-compliant gifts.

It’s that time of year when settlement providers want to thank you for referring business to them. Here are some tips for whether or not you should accept that gift or say, “No thank you!”

Like everything with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), there is no clear answer when accepting a holiday gift from a settlement provider.

After all, there is no minimum amount that pertains to gift-giving, according to the National Association of Realtors’ Regulatory Affairs department.  Here’s some information they released:

When HUD and state enforcement agencies decide which cases to pursue; however, they will apply reasonable judgment to determine whether holiday gifts are significant enough to be linked to referrals or small enough to fall within the traditional business practice of thanking customers during the holidays.

You also must be aware that some states have statutes that contain a specific dollar amount. You will have to consult your state law and regulations to ensure compliance. Generally, however, here are a few easy holiday examples:

The answer is “yes, you can accept the gift,” if the gift is:

  1. A small desk calendar
  2. A coupon for a cup of coffee
  3. A delicious fruitcake

But the answer is more difficult, for instance, if you receive a bottle of wine. You might want to inquire into the value of the particular bottle before accepting the gift. A $15 bottle of wine at the holidays is probably fine, but a rare $500 bottle or a full case of wine would be considered a RESPA violation if you referred business to the gift giver during the course of the previous year.

One final factor is whether the same gift is being given to every real estate brokerage in town, regardless of whether the office referred business to the gift-giver. Such blanket gift-giving would be less likely to be considered a RESPA violation.

Overall, accepting a gift of modest value that is widely given to brokers in the community should not raise the eyebrows of RESPA enforcers.

Source: NAR Regulatory Affairs

Most Popular Articles

With buyers on the sidelines, real estate agents play the long game HW+

With mortgage rates keeping prospective buyers as renters, real estate agents are being forced to adapt. Some are doing more rentals, while others are turning to commercial deals.

Nov 21, 2022 By

Latest Articles

Tips from a tax pro on how to cut auto insurance costs for agents HW+

A reliable vehicle is essential for real estate agents to provide top-notch service. Whether you own or lease your ride, almost every state requires you to have some auto insurance. While the cost of these policies can add up, there are ways for agents to stay compliant and still save money on auto insurance.

Nov 25, 2022 By