California law allows an agent to pay a referral fee to anyone. The recipient does not have to have a real estate license. However, Federal law seems to imply that referral fees can only be paid to licenced agents if the loan is federally related, such as Fanny May or Freddy Mac loans, like FHA or VA loans, and if the property. is 1 to 4 unit residential units. This federal law includes loans obtained from federal lenders such as CAL FED! The Federal law allows an agent to pay a part of the commission to the buyer (although the buyer is not licenced.) However, here in California, you must inform the seller if you are given any of your commission to the buyer.