Florida Bird Dogging Question

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I'm a little new to bird dogging, but have been buying and managing vacation properties for the last few years.

I've recently had some opportunities to do some bird dogging. To me, it seems like I'm simply doing some leg work then collecting a finders fee.

However, I don't see where this differs from what a realtor does and why it wouldn't run afoul of laws against practicing real estate without a license.

Specifically, I have been told that in Florida anyone who collects money for a RE transaction must be a licensed realtor (or attorney or lender or appraiser, etc.). This would seem to make bird dogging illegal here.

Am I overlooking or oversimplifying something, or are some states less hospitable to bird dogs than others?

Thanks in advance for any help anyone can give.


  • john73826th February, 2004

    As a licensed realtor in FL, I would have to agree. Your walking a very fine line at best in my opinion if your just accepting a finders fee. You may want to obtain advice from a good real estate attorney about doing contract assignments and the legalities involved as well as the proper wording to protect yourself and the interests of the seller.

  • Sloan26th February, 2004

    So is bird dogging then illegal? Or is it something other than what I think it is (i.e. doing some legwork, collecting a finders fee)?

  • sanderso101926th February, 2004

    Is it illegal? That depends on who you ask. If the DA's office finds out your doing it, its up to them to decide if its a prosecutable offense or not. Even if it is its probally just a missdimenor carring a little fine at the most for a first offense. If you get served, stop doing it. A missdimenor isnt going to hurt you any at all. <IMG SRC="images/forum/smilies/icon_smile.gif">

    [ Edited by sanderso1019 on Date 02/26/2004 ][ Edited by sanderso1019 on Date 02/26/2004 ]

  • JohnLocke26th February, 2004


    Glad to meet you.

    Now that you have heard from some real estate people, let me tell you about Bird Dogging.

    The local Real Estate Boards impose regulation relevant to the distribution or aid in distribution of a homestead with the intent to protect the consumer (and in some rare cases monopolize the marketplace).

    Whether or not this legislation is put into place in a criminal or a civil context, it does appear fairly evident that the enforcement of this legislation would be limited to that of:

    a) When a consumer is being blind-sided (ie: you are acting on his or her behalf without proper licensing and steering him/her wrong)

    b) You are continuously taking a "fee" for selling real estate.

    If you are working with an investor, and you are paid by the investor, who has experience in real estate transactions, and you are not party to that transaction (ie: a consultant) you should, (this is not to be construed as legal advice) be ok, for the following reasons:

    1) You are taking a fee for selling information, not real estate (nobody can prevent you from charging $5.00 to tell him or her were the nearest gas station is, or where the nearest "deal" is)

    2) Even if legislation was in place to protect the consumer, you have conducted no harm to the consumer....so in a semi-perfect world, you can indeed pay for a lead on a house!

    I think it is important to know, most investors are opposed to the local Real Estate Boards attempting to corner the market on Buying/Selling properties, I am certainly of the opinion that the local Boards would like to see no investors/creative RE at all so that they can continue to take a small chunk out of every property sold and have the properties sold according to their "rules & regulations".

    There is also such a thing as a simple Partnership Agreement, thereby making you and the investor principals in the transaction. The Bird Dog is bought out of the Partnership by the investor, thereby violating no State Statute.

    John $Cash$ Locke

  • pejames27th February, 2004

    So, John Locke's plan of attack seems to be one that covers all angles and keep the Birddog covered in the whole deal. Nice!! Buying out a partner is much easier than some of the tactics used to pursue this investing beast. Why can twe all just get along? Thanks for the insight John!!

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