Ask Andrew – Who are you being referred to?
Q: How do I know the lenders, inspectors, etc. that my agent refers me to are legitimate companies?
A: Well the first thing you need to decide on is if you trust your Realtor. If you do not trust your Realtor, I highly recommend finding and working with one that you do trust. Let’s face it, you probably don’t know as much about real estate as a Realtor does just like a Realtor probably won’t know as much as you do about your industry that you work in. You want to work with someone you can trust so the service providers referred to you are coming from a trustworthy source.
Also The Maryland Real Estate Commission adopted a new regulation that requires agents who recommend service providers to verify that the service provider is licensed by the State of Maryland. According to GCAAR (Great Capital Area Association of Realtors), “Under the rule, if an agent chooses to recommend service providers in conjunction with the real estate transaction, the real estate licensee must:
- Verify that the recommended individuals are licensed to perform those services by checking their licensing status
- Give the customer or client an electronic link to the licensing information and the date on which the service provider’s licensing status was verified (most licensing information can be accessed at http://www.dllr.state.md.us/license/. Title agents can go to http://www.mdinsurance.state.md.us.)
Real estate licensees are expected to verify contractor license status at least once a year. The rule applies to service providers including, but not limited to, a mortgage lender or mortgage broker, a real estate appraiser, a home inspector, a home improvement contractor, a plumber, an electrician or a heating/ ventilation/ air condition/ cooling (HVAC) contractor.”
Due to this, I make sure all agents in my office, including myself, provide a document with all referred service providers license numbers, contact information, etc. to all of our clients (even clients who are purchasing in DC and Virginia). This way the client can decide if they would like to use our recommended service provider, verify their status of licensure, or choose to use someone else. We also have the service provider’s information on our website for additional reference.
I also recommend researching the referred company on Yelp, Zillow, Trulia, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, etc. These are online sources, which can help you get more information about the service provider as well as see additional reviews.
Please note that the referred companies are just a referral. They are or can be a referral from past experience, relationships, etc. If your Realtor receives any kind of benefit from the referral, the Realtor must disclose that to the client. These service providers are responsible for their own work in their field, the Realtor who referred them should not be held liable.