Is Bird Dogging legal in Missouri?

It seems like I just read somewhere that it is illegal in Missouri to profit from giving a referral. This would make Bird Dogging illegal. I want to put up on my Bandit Signs that I will pay a $500 referral but I want to make sure it is legal first.

(I am also posting this in the Asset Protection/Legal forum)

At our local real estate investors meeting last night in Seattle (about 900 members or so, so it’s not just a couple of guys sitting around talking REI over beers), the president announced that birddogging by REIA members was no longer being condoned because it’s illegal to birddog without having an RE license. He mentioned that this was a topic of discussion at the national REIA meeting, and he cited a case where an investor in New York was fined $5K.

Apparently, the Atty Gen’s are starting to crack down, and it’s considered a criminal offense. Some people still do it anyway - proceed at your own peril.


I think you have to be clear about what it is that you’re doing and whom you’re paying for what.

If I understand the OP, he wants to offer a $500 fee to someone who tells him about a property.

I can’t see anything illegal about that, especially if neither party is a Realtor.

“You have information. I pay for information.”

Curious to hear how this could be considered illegal.

Unless I just fell off the proverbial “turnip truck”, it sounds like the $500 is contingent on a deal being struck with the homeowner, which is illegal. If he’s just giving away $500 cash regardless of whether the deal closes, he’s got some seriously deep pockets and probably doesn’t need to do REI.


People are quick to say that this is illegal, but I’m still looking for facts as opposed to just what someone thinks or has heard.

I’m not suggesting that you’re wrong, just that there is still no proof.

If someone calls me and says, “There’s a vacant house at 123 Main Street. Check it out,” and I end up buying it, I would be interested to see why that would be illegal.

Most finder’s fees in real estate are illegal when there is a third party that is taking advantage of a trusted relationship (perhaps even a fiduciary one) to make money without the trusting party knowing about it.

For example, my Realtor can not make a fee from a mortgage or title company for referring my closing there because he’d have his hand in someone else’s pocket (in addition to my pocket) and he’s supposed to be looking out only for me. It’s a conflict of interest.

There’s no conflict of interest or abuse of a relationship by turning someone on to a flop-house.

I would like to see some facts here as I know this is an important subject to many people.

I live in Tampa Florida, in our REI meeting, (TBREIA Brandon subgroup) It was also brought to our attention that paying referral fees is considered brokering without a license and may carry stiffer penalties than being caught with a crack rock.
So please proceed with caution.

I was also at the Seattle meeting when they made that anoucement. Here is my take, I’m not an agent I’m an investor, so what I do with my money is my business. So fine don’t pay the guy who finds you a house a fee, but do give him a nice tip. The IRS says you can gift up to $10,000 to an individual so what the hell is the difference? Gift the guy a gift of $500. Or pay the guy on a hourly basis based off the amount of time it took him to help you with your marketing. Get each bird dog to get a business lic. as a private marketing company or a data research company and pay him $100 per hour for 5 hours worth of work. He is researching houses for pontential purchase, hired by Joe the investor. Hire the guy as your assistant who works on a part time basis a few hours per month. This is my opinion only take it or leave it.

Totally agree with you could not said it better myself .good answer