Legal Blog - Listings


Are Bidding Dates Proper in MLS?

Sep 7, 2016


What happens when the listing remarks say, "All offers will be submitted on Friday"?

A listing agent entered a property into MRIS with the following comment: "All offers will be submitted to the buyer on Sunday at 6:00 pm." On Tuesday a buyer submits a contract to purchase the property. When does the contract have to be submitted?

I know that this is something that we are seeing frequently in the MRIS listings.

Standard of Practice 1-6 states, "REALTORS® shall submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly as possible." This Standard of Practice supports Article 1 of the Code of Ethics which reads in part "...REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client." These are the two principals from the Code of Ethics which I think are directly relevant to the question. Email me if you think there are other principals that should be considered.

When I apply these two principals from the Code of Ethics to this issue I encounter other questions. When was it possible to submit the offer to the client? Was their any reason why the offer could not be submitted prior to Friday?

Is there a reason why the offer can not be submitted in the three days prior to Friday? A good example of a compelling reason why the offer could not be submitted until Friday is that a client is traveling abroad and is unreachable until they return on Friday. A bad reason would be an agent who only entered these remarks into MRIS in order to try to generate "buzz" and never discussed with his client the issue of delaying the submission of offers until a specific time and day. Most reasons will probably fall between these two extremes

Please remember, that submitting an offer is not the same as doing a formal presentation of contracts. While I strongly encourage formal presentation of contracts, with Net Sheets and a discussion of the advantages/disadvantages of each contract, I would point out that for the purposes of the Code of Ethics, submitting an offer is simply providing the client with information about the offer.

An agent could submit an offer to a client via a fax, voice mail, or email mail message notifying the client that an offer was received, providing a brief description of the relevant terms of the offer and informing the client that arrangements can be made to formally review the full contract at a later time and date prior to ratification. This would probably be sufficient for showing that an offer was submitted. A dual agent who intentionally delays informing the seller about one offer that has been received so that he can meet with his own buyer clients in two days and write a competing offer may be failing to submit the offer quickly and objectively.

Some people may argue that holding off on submitting an offer does not harm the clients interest and may actually help the clients interests if the buzz that is generated leads to more competing offers. However, the intention here is that agents must keep their clients informed about relevant information regarding the property or the transaction. I would point out that it is very difficult to justify withholding information from the client. In most cases, it may be assumed that withholding information from a client violates an agents duty to protect and promote the interest of the client.

In summary, the offer has to be submitted "as soon as possible". Regardless of the remarks that are entered into the MRIS listing, if it was possible to submit the offer before Friday, it must be done.
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