Co-Marketing and RESPA


Merging Success with Compliance

Chances are you’ve heard of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA. The regulations defined in this act have far-reaching implications for the real estate industry. And while you may be familiar with RESPA in general, you might not be as brushed up on the Do’s and Don'ts outlined by RESPA for co-marketing. We’re here to help.

Knowing how vital co-marketing is in real estate, it's crucial you do it correctly, and in a compliant manner. To get you started on the right track, we'll cover a few must do’s in terms of compliance, and paint a picture of what success looks like with RESPA co-marketing guidelines (Note that this is not intended as a comprehensive list, so please reference the formal guidance for further rules and regulations).

Must Do's

Exercise Proper Cost Share

  • Each party must pay its fair share of the co-marketing initiative. The percentage of cost should be proportionate to the fair market value of each party's contributions to the advertisement. Think items such as creative design, writing, production, distribution, etc.

Include the Word “Advertisement”

  • This doesn't require much explanation, but you must include the word “advertisement” in any piece of co-marketing content.

Finalize a Written Agreement

  • To protect each party's interest, you must maintain a written agreement regarding your co-marketing. This will make clear the agreed-upon responsibilities of each party, and help the parties hold each other accountable.

Advertise to the General Public

  • This is crucial to bear in mind, as the general tendency in our digital marketing age is to presume a strategy of pursuing highly-targeted ads. But RESPA requires all co-marketing to only target the general public. Hence, a typically safe strategy of distributing your content in a way to keep you in the clear would be to run your ads through any channel that is public-facing and broad-reaching.


Obviously, success is the ultimate goal when it comes to your co-marketing endeavors, and in the broad scheme of things, success should meet two criteria: (1) Did the marketing efforts themselves prove profitable for the business?; and (2) Were your co-marketing efforts RESPA compliant?


One of the best metrics to determine the success of a marketing campaign is return on investment, or ROI. Simply put, ROI is the amount of profit you make on an endeavor compared to the amount you spend on that endeavor. For a simple example, if your co-marketing initiative cost you $100, and subsequently netted you $1000, then that’s a good ROI by most standards. Always define clear expectations of anticipated profit percentages associated with your co-marketing efforts. If you don't earn a positive ROI, it’s time to re-examine your co-marketing plan.

RESPA Success

What does RESPA success ultimately look like? Compliance. If you follow the must do's mentioned above, you're off to a good, safe start. Additional measures you can take to help ensure RESPA success is keeping track of all receipts and payments for your co-marketing efforts, and making sure each co-marketing piece adheres to each party's own company's rules and regulations. If you check all these boxes, chances are you'll set yourself on the road to success with RESPA compliance.

There's a lot to figure out when it comes to the guidelines associated with any marketing or co-marketing efforts. If you are looking for the right mortgage partner when it comes not only to compliance expertise but all other facets of the business, Guardian is proven, trusted, and ready to collaborate on widening each other’s lead nets. Contact your local lender today to inquire about a new partnership.