Frequently Asked Questions
What is exactly is Giving House? We are best defined as a marketing agency. We provide marketing services that are more streamlined, more effective, and a better value than other marketing agencies. We also require our customers, Giving House Realtors, to contribute 25% of their commissions to charities that their customers choose. This is the foundation of the marketing services that we provide.
How does this work? There are two major components to Giving House. 1) We provide a turn-key marketing platform for a monthly fee that can be cancelled at any time with 30 days’ notice. 2) We provide resources to help individual Realtors agree to make donations to charities that their customers choose at the time of closing of a real estate transaction. Due to the nature of real estate and the complexities of every state’s real estate laws, we can only provide limited guidance and donation agreement templates that help Giving House Realtors get from new customer to donation and profit as simply as possible.
Does Giving House receive a portion of my 25% donation? No. We never touch your commission money. Unlike other programs out there that do collect a portion of your commission and keep some of it to cover their costs, we think its best for our customers to facilitate their own donations. This keeps our costs to customers lower and gives Giving House Realtors the freedom to create processes that work well for them. We provide best practices, but when it comes to commission money changing hands, we leave that entirely up to you.
Does the donation come out of my split or my broker’s split? Your split. If your broker wishes to contribute to a charity outside of and in addition to your contribution, they may certainly do that. Speak to your broker before making any contributions to any charities to ensure that you are following your office and state guidelines.
How do charities get paid? Typically, Giving House Realtors disclose to all parties in a real estate transaction that they are going to donate 25% of their take-home commission to a specific charity. Most title/closing companies will include this in the final closing statement as a line item with a named charity as the recipient of a check made out directly to that charity. In order for this to happen, your title company may need a W-9 form form that charity prior to closing.
Will my donation to a charity impact my customers’ financing or loan? No. You are making a donation out of your commission and it should have no impact on your customers’ financing. Again, check with your broker and state regulatory departments to ensure that you are doing things correctly. Every state has different rules regarding commission distribution.
My customer has selected a charity for me to donate to. We are under contract on a house for that customer and closing is happening soon. Do I need to notify the charity? Yes. For multiple reasons. First, that charity needs to know that you’re making a donation to them and that your title company may need to receive a W-9 from them to cut them a check; 2) You may want to get a receipt for your donation, so you’ll need to tell the charity where to send it; 3) It is to your benefit to build a relationship with that charity for networking purposes. Part of the magic of Giving House is that we help facilitate new relationships between you and your prospects and also between you and new groups of people. Every charity you donate to has different volunteer opportunities that may help you connect with more people and build your database of prospects.
I’m not sure if I can donate a portion of my commission to anyone. What should I do? Every state has different rules regarding how you distribute your commissions. We encourage you to speak with your broker, your local board of Realtors, your state board of Realtors, your state’s licensing department and/or oversight board, an attorney with real estate business law experience, and your accountant to see how participating in Giving House should be facilitated for your unique circumstances. We cannot provide any legal advice but we will do everything we can to help you make donations to charities in a way that works for you in accordance with the professional advice you receive.
Do I really have to donate 25% of my commissions to charities to be a Giving House Realtor? Yes. That’s your unique selling proposition and, by its very nature, it will separate you from your competition (if it wasn’t a little scary then everyone would be doing it already). Without your commitment to donating 25%, you’re not separating yourself from anyone in a big, memorable way. Plus, we wouldn’t ask you to do it if we didn’t fully believe that it will increase your business. With that said, we cannot force you to do anything that you don’t want to do with your money. If you do choose to advertise that you’ll donate 25% of your commission and then you don’t actually do that, you’ll likely upset your customers and could open yourself up to legal issues. You may choose to advertise to one group or audience that you’re a Giving House Realtor and do a different type of advertising to another group, completely outside of the Giving House marketing system. This is certainly an option, but we do not advise it as it could negatively impact your reputation in your community. A big part of what we offer to you is the methodical approach to marketing that seamlessly integrates your unique selling proposition and gives you the tools you need to capitalize on it effectively. Again, the 25% donation is designed to increase your bottom line while you support your community and customers in a new way.