Question on finder's fee without a broker's license (in California)

I currently work for an commercial investment firm, primarily responsible for finding potential deals, underwriting, and handling all transactional work. A broker friend called me up with an unlisted property, he is friends with the owner and is quietly showing the deal to me and a few other people. He is looking to make a 2% commission on the sale price, and the buyer would be required to pay his fee. He has offered to pay me a portion of his 2% commission if I am able to convince the executives at my company to purchase it. Basically a "bonus" for me to help sell the deal to my bosses. I do not currently possess a California broker's license. From a legal perspective, would I be able to collect the fee without a license? I want to make sure I am following proper protocol, any help would be greatly appreciated.
In Buying Property - Asked by Eric G. - Jan 30, 2012
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Answer(s)

jamie G.
Broker/Agent
Pismo Beach, CA

NO!!!

Feb 1, 2012
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Jim N.
Owner/Investor
Aiea, HI

Eric
You're paid by the company to find deals for them. A "kickback" from this broker sets up conflict-of-interest that could result in your employer deciding that you no longer have his best interest in mind. And you know what can happen then, don't you? Don't risk it!

Feb 1, 2012
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Eric G.
Corporate Investor
Beverly Hills, CA

I understand the concept of "kickbacks" being frowned upon due to the conflict on interest. Theoretically, at close of escrow, my company would simply be paying the % fee to the broker. How he splits up that fee is none of my company's concern. Yes I agree with your idea that if my company found out, they would probably be none to happy. My concern is more of the legal matter. In other words, legally would I be violating some sort of law or regulation because I do not have a broker's license?

Feb 1, 2012
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Forrest O.
Broker/Agent
Beverly Hills, CA

Probably not.
The California Department of Real Estate prohibits earning fees for real estate transactions without a license. See Business and Professions Code Sections 10138 and 10139.

Feb 1, 2012
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Nancy G.
Broker/Agent
Sandy Springs, GA

Your state may have laws on this. In GA, RE estate agents can not pay a fee to an unlicensed professoinal.

Feb 2, 2012
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Jeff B.
Broker/Agent
Nipomo, CA

What is your employer's opinion of "proper protocol" in this situation? Does he or she look favorably on the office manager or purchasing agent receiving a "bonus" or "finder's fee" from company suppliers or contractors? Legal or not, you need to rethink this one. Some firms have very strict views, even rules about such compensation. You may be looking at short term gain but long term loss.

Feb 17, 2012
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Rafael S.
Antioch, CA

Eric,
The devil is in the details, isn’t it? That is why we have as many lawyers as we do doctors (if not more). Once your friend has his money he can do with it what he wants. If he pays you, he pays you, he doesn’t have to name the payment as a finder’s fee for you helping him seal the deal. The payment could reflect other duties you did for him that might have been connected to the sale or totally different. Just because the money he is paying you came from the sale you help set up, don’t mean you can’t touch any of that money. I am sure a good attorney could make that point. He could put the money in a slush fund and add it to your next bit of work you do for him, then any one who would want to balk, cannot form the opinion you got a direct profit off the sale.

Feb 18, 2012
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