Question Details

James Marqua…, Real Estate Pro in New York, NY

Responsibility of Listing Agent

Asked by James Marquand, New York, NY Tue Jul 31, 2007

If an agent has an exclusive on a property, are they legally required to submit offers coming through other brokers, ie ones that would have to be cobroked?? What, if anything, prevents a listing agent from sitting on a property waiting to sell it to a buyer who comes through them??

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Ruled by the Realtor Code of Ethics, each and every offer must be presented to the seller (no matter where it comes from!) Not all agents are REALTORS, but I cannot imagine why a listing agent would want to sit around and wait for the chance to sell the listing his/herself. In this market, agents are thrilled to get an offer from any agent--a piece of the pie is better than none at all!
By the way, an exclusive listing is exclusive to the agency, not the individual agent.
Web Reference: http://www.dianeglander.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 1, 2007
The agent has a fiduciary duty to the seller and must put the seller's interest above their own. I can't say it hasn't ever been done, but most agents I know want to sell the property. There's very few where the agent actually represents both sides. My guess is less than 10%. Usually when I get this question from buyers or agents, it means that their offer was so low that the seller has decided not to respond. Occasionally a seller will set limits of what offers they want to see, but that seems to be rare. In my own business I present them with every offer, even if I'm sure it is something they won't take or can't take and let them decide how they want to handle. I am curious why you ask this question. I'm also curious as to if you have made offers you felt like weren't shown to the sellers. What was the list price of the house and what was your bid. Big spread or close? If you are really close to list price and you feel like the seller has not seen it, you might ask your agent to present it in person, or prepare a form to ask for the sellers signature on a rejection notice. They're not forced in most cases to sign a rejection notice, but might if you ask nicely.
Web Reference: http://www.teamlynn.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2007
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
MVP'08
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Hi James,

Typically and “exclusive listing” means that one particular company exclusively lists and markets the home, but doesn’t usually mean that another company can’t sell it. There are some instances where sellers enter into a listing contract to only sell from within their company, but this is usually agreed upon by the seller and agent ahead of time. It used to be that sellers would be interested in this kind of arrangement, in order to save on their commission (only paying one side of a commission for the sale). This has increasingly disappeared over the last few years as “entry online” companies entered the industry. They provide the same concept in savings, as it’s typically a flat fee to enter the listing in MLS (and that’s ALL), and offering compensation to buyers agents (still only paying one side of the commission). If you do not have this kind of agreement than you should know that our licensing law does require us to present all offers to our clients. Even, if a seller would consider it silly. Additionally, we have 6 fiduciary duties to our clients; and if an agent declined to present an offer to a client, 3 of them (that I can think of) would be violated: obeying their clients’ lawful instruction (to present offers in this case), loyalty (always putting their clients’ interest ahead of our own) and reasonable care/diligence. If an agent doesn’t practice in this manner, they are jeopardizing their license to practice and risking their livelihood. If you feel that based on your contract, they are required to, than I would have a little heart to heart with their broker of record. If this does not get you anywhere I would consider consulting with an attorney for further instruction. I wish the best for you!!

Melissa Mancini, Realtor, CBR, GRI
Web Reference: http://MelissaBMancini.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2007
Thanks everyone for your answers, all of which confirmed what I had thought. I asked because of a disagreement I had with a client -- I'm a writer working for a seller. He went to law school for three years, bla bla bla... I knew I was right. )) J
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 1, 2007
While Exclusive Agency gives the listing broker sole rights to the listing; all brokers and realtors may present offiers for the listing. The listing agent has a fudiciary responsibility to the seller. He must put the sellers interests above his own. All offers must be presented to the seller. No exceptions! An agent does not get paid until the property sells, there is no reason for the Agent to sit on the property waiting for the buyer to come through them. The only time I would think this would be a benefit to a listing agent would be in a fast market where the property got multiple offers and the listing agent represented one of the buyers.
Web Reference: http://carriecrowell.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 1, 2007
Hi James:
I am puzzled by your question. The panel has clearly hit it on the head that YES you agent should be bringing in all offers to the seller for consideration.

Why would an agent "sit" on any property waiting for a buyer to come from one particular agency - his or anyother's for that matter?

There's something missing in this equation. Please expound on your question - just a tad - I am curious whether there is some quirk to this story.

I can't think of even ONE scenario where this would fly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 1, 2007
James
You need to review the Realtor Code of Ethics.
Absolutely, if they are a member of the National Association of Realtors, they need to submit each and every offer...and do a lot more1
Keith
Web Reference: http://www.realtor.orgt
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2007
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
MVP'08
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Awesome question, James. As a listing agent in Georgia, I have a fiduciary responsibility to timely submit all offers (written or verbal) to the seller for consideration. An agent who is a Realtor subscribes to Code of Ethics and is bound to uphold the best interest of the client at all times. As for me, I would never take the trust of my clients for granted or do anything that would jeapordize my relationship with them. Compensation is wonderful; however, my best rewards usually come after a successful sale in the form of testimonials and referrals.

If you are currently working with a listing agent and have doubts whether or not all offers are being presented, I would have a heart-to-heart chat with your agent or Realtor. If you are a buyer and suspect foul play, tell the listing agent that you wish to present your offer in person to the seller.
Web Reference: http://MyGeorgiaHomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2007
TED SHOOP, Real Estate Pro in Buford, GA
MVP'08
Contact
Yes, Realtor should present all offers. Unless, seller has provided in writing which offers they don't want presented. Good ethics should come into play.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2007
Herman Chang, Real Estate Pro in Palm Beach Gardens, FL
MVP'08
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