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How do I know the seller actually received my offer?

Posted by Editor on July 17, 2018
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Dear Anne: I called a listing agent the other day to find out if he presented my buyer’s offer and he said, “Yeah, I presented it.”

But I don’t believe him.

What angers me most is that he doesn’t understand why I’m upset. My buyer feels I’m inept because I have no clue what’s going on with her offer. “I don’t know,” doesn’t bode well with buyers. I get blamed and my customer walks.

The listing agent believes that a buyer’s agent gets their answer when the contract expires. If a buyer hasn’t heard anything, then duh – the answer is “no.” Obviously, the listing agent doesn’t work with buyers much or he would understand: Buyers become anxious when they don’t get a quick response, especially in this market.

However, the listing agent also referred me to the Realtors® Code of Ethics. He said that it doesn’t require him to notify the buyer or the buyer’s representative of the status of the offer. I then looked at the Code of Ethics and he’s right. Can’t something be done? – Blameless

Dear Blameless: Something has been done – or rather it will be done starting next year.

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, Standard of Practice 1-7 of the Code of Ethics will be amended to include the following language:

Upon the request of a cooperating broker who submits an offer to the listing broker, the listing broker shall provide a written affirmation to the cooperating broker stating that the offer has been submitted to the seller, or a written notification that the seller has waived the obligation to have the offer presented.

So, what’s our take away from this policy change?

You must request affirmation of receipt of your offer; the listing broker is not obligated to provide affirmation automatically. If you don’t request it, it does not have to be provided.
Do not expect nor demand that the seller sign any documentation acknowledging receipt or waiver of your offer to prove receipt. The listing broker’s written response is sufficient to meet this requirement. The obligation is on the Realtor.
Failure to submit an offer, unless otherwise instructed by the seller, could result in a member being found in violation of Article 1 following an ethics hearing before a panel of the member’s peers – no change here.
Finally, you may notice the revised language does not establish a specific timeframe. Ultimately, an ethics hearing panel determines what is reasonable based on the evidence and testimony presented during an ethics hearing before the member’s local association. However, the wording “upon request” could lead someone to conclude that the action should occur without unnecessary delay; but again, it would be up to a hearing panel to draw its own conclusion.

In the meantime, failure to provide written affirmation prior to Jan. 1, 2019, is not a violation of Article 1 of the Code of Ethics.

After Jan. 1, it’s a different story.

Anne Cockayne is Director of Policy Services for Florida Realtors

© 2018 Florida Realtors®




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