we put an offer on land 4 days ago and still haven't heard back is this ethical? Why have contracts if realtors dont abide by them?

Asked by Rick, Gloucester, MA Sun Sep 4, 2011

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21
Louis Wolfs…, Agent, Needham, MA
Mon Sep 5, 2011
Rick,

I can not speak for anyone else in this forum, but even a insulting offer does deserve a response.
2 votes
Mike Sullivan, Agent, Gainesville, FL
Sun Sep 4, 2011
I hope I understand your question correctly...putting in an offer doesn't constitute a contract. The realtor is obligated to submit all offers in a timely fashion. the seller, on the other hand, can accept the offer, counter the offer, deny the offer --- or simply have no response! If the seller is out of town, delays are not uncommon in responding to an offer. Have your realtor contact the other agent to determine the status of the response

Hope this helps
2 votes
Carl Ben Wit…, Agent, Upper Montclair, NJ
Tue Sep 6, 2011
Scott, that's the trouble. This is not specific, as you cite. An offer on land certainly would seem to have had some degree of due diligence before hand. Boundaries, soil tests, history of previous construction, buried metal. Hard to believe an agent was not involved. But again, we are all guessing and assuming. Frankly, to use Trulia for such a question is ridiculous on the face of it. Rick is complaining about something. But why here? He surely does not expect an answer to his question as it is worded. Attorney to interpret? Nothing to interpret. Which is not the same thing as trying and charging a fee for it.
1 vote
Carl Ben Wit…, Agent, Upper Montclair, NJ
Tue Sep 6, 2011
This thread has a ton of missing detais. We all assume the poster Rick made a written offer thru a realtor. He may have seen a sign on a piece of land, sent or handed something he calls a contract to someone. It may have been the seller, or an agent or broker. He did something on Wednesday and posted here on Sunday. My guess is he directly did something to the listing broker/agent, no buyer agent involved. That broker would have to contact the seller for a response- acceptance, refusal, counter. But none of this has been confirmed by Rick. My god, that land may be owned by that guy in Nigeria who found a fortune but will share it if we cooperate. We being thousands of us who have been approached. Come on Rick, fill us in.
1 vote
Louis Wolfs…, Agent, Needham, MA
Sun Sep 4, 2011
Rick,

There are 34 land listings for sale in gloucester. Not one is under agreement or not one has sold in the last 6 months.

If you are unhappy with the process with this seller, move onto the next. If your buyer agent is not giving you the courteousness of a call .......
1 vote
Jim Armstrong, Agent, Salem, MA
Sun Sep 4, 2011
Why does the Realtor always get the blame? When things go wrong, most times its caused by the actions (or in-actions possibly in this case) of the buyer or seller of a property, not their agents. We do our best to present all offers as soon as possible, but we can't make a seller respond by the deadlines contained in the offer (which does not become a contract until signed by all parties, and the deposit is received). Without knowing all the circumstances in this case (as other have said), it's impossible to know what is going on. I'm assuming you are using a buyer's agent, who should be following up with the listing agent and communicating back to you with what is going on. If you are not using a buyer's agent, and went directly to the listing agent, well then, good luck. You have no one representing you (unless you are using an attorney).

If your offer was in the ballpark of being a reasonable offer, then you should hear back from the seller. Delays like this happen quite often in this business, especially if there are multiple sellers involved. It could also be that the listing agent was expecting another offer, and the seller is delaying the response to yours until he/she sees what else comes in. The listing agent is trying to get the best price for his seller, but he also doesn't want to lose a good offer that is on the table (yours) just to see if a better offer comes in.

Good luck.

Jim
1 vote
Scott A. Nel…, , 02155
Sun Sep 4, 2011
The seller is not required to answer back to any or all offers. Granted, common courtesy might involve a response one way or another but there are situations where a seller will specificially request no further contact. You should review your offer with your agent/broker/attorney to see if there are terms, price, timelines that might make it less attractive. Also finding out the further details of the sale, such as specific conditions, restrictions and reasons for the sale if possible will assist you in crafting an offer. At the end of the day also an appropriate price (and that's subjective) will also be a determining factor.

When looking at land/construction/rehab etc. type properties, having your "team" working together to put you in the strongest possible position s very important.

Hope that helps,
Web Reference:  http://www.WolfsonCutler.com
1 vote
Carl Ben Wit…, Agent, Upper Montclair, NJ
Sun Sep 4, 2011
Rick, an offer is not a contract, it's an offer. You offered a contract. It has not been accepted yet. It is Dated because there is always a period for withdrawing so a date declares the start of the period. A contract is two parties agreeing to do something for money. Unless you have a seller's signature to your offer, you are only half way there. You are implying that your offer must be honored by the seller. Why do you feel that way?
1 vote
Christine Mo…, Agent, Wilbraham, MA
Sun Sep 4, 2011
If it is a really low or insulting bid some simply ignore you.
1 vote
Carl Ben Wit…, Agent, Upper Montclair, NJ
Sun Sep 4, 2011
Must be more to this. Made an offer but no response? OK. Was your offer urgent and say so? Have a date on it saying 'offer good until xxx.' No response is a response, usually seen in low offers. Many times a signed receipt is used that the offer was received by seller. A really professional agent would do that. Was yours low? And, why ask here? Ask your agent who wrote the offer.
1 vote
Chrisy, , Gloucester, MA
Mon Apr 15, 2013
Ha ha, funny - didn't see that - but then the land market in Gloucester has been hibernating for a lot of years, hopefully now beginning to wake up a bit
0 votes
Carl Ben Wit…, Agent, Upper Montclair, NJ
Mon Apr 15, 2013
Folks, this is from 2011. Really?
0 votes
Chrisy, , Gloucester, MA
Mon Apr 15, 2013
Really, you must mean the seller's ethics if they got the offer as I assume they did. What's ethics got to do with it? Maybe bad manners depending on the offer. And as others have said it is an offer, not a contract. 4 days? OMG!!
0 votes
Scott A. Nel…, , 02155
Tue Sep 6, 2011
WOW Carl, breaking out the technicolor paintbrush! Once again another reason why specific questions here on Trulia certainly need the evaluation by a qualified attorney here in Massachusetts. And absolutely why here in the BayState only an attorney's opinion should be relied upon for a specific legal quesiton.
Web Reference:  http://www.WolfsonCutler.com
0 votes
Dianka Murphy, Agent, Washington, DC
Tue Sep 6, 2011
I agree with most of the comments posted by the real estate professionals. It is not really a matter of ethical practice as much as it is a matter of professionalism and consideration. Since we’ve just come off of a long weekend, this may be the cause of delay. Also, they may be considering other offers. As hard as it may be, your best bet is to work with your agent to follow-up and have some patience. It may not make you feel much better, but in our world, four days is not the worst case scenario. Consider no news as good news .

Good luck!
Web Reference:  http://www.findmdhouses.com
0 votes
Tom and Joan…, Agent, Boston, MA
Tue Sep 6, 2011
Rick:

The first issue you raise is about the dates on the contract. The dates are in place to protect your interest and if the seller does not respond with in the time frame you have stated then you are no longer obligated to the property or the seller. Not getting a response falls more under the unprofessional category. The only ethical responsibility of the broker is to present your offer, and I would have to assume that since you did not get a response you made a low ball offer!
0 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Mon Sep 5, 2011
Your question raises a number of questions and issues.

Realtor are not principals to a real estate contract, so there is nothing in them for a Realtor to abide by.

Putting an offer in, and not hearing back means that you don't, yet, have a valid contract... all you have is an offer... so again, nothing for the principals to 'abide by'. An offer with times and dates, is still just that... an offer... it's not a valid contract until and unless it's signed by both sides.

The problem with deadlines, is that unless you're willing to withdraw your offer at that deadline, it doesn't have much in the way of "teeth".
0 votes
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Mon Sep 5, 2011
Rick,
Times and dates on an offer are what actually defines that it is an offer. By their inclusion you have not only defined your position but also the response of the other party, by default. Your expiring time limit in essence says, "If you do not respond by Date/time this offer is withdrawn." Such provisions are an automatic response activated by the passing of time. Sound like everyone is in compliance. As others have noted, no contract ever existed.

In the absence of other factors such as a seller who is not immediately available, this response is usual when a 'insultingly low' offer is proffered. The seller sees to great a difference and feels to not engage in the conversation. You are always able to submit a new offer with different price or terms. You have the same liberty to resubmit just as the seller has the liberty to choose to whom they will engage in the conversation. You may even ask your agent to communicate to the seller you are hopeful of a counter. If the counter is 1k lower than list, you may need to abandon low balling and look at the market value and selling trends more closely.

When you have a document with both the buyer and sellers signatures, now you've got a real conversation going. You would be well advised to trust your real estate professional. There are still more opportunities ahead where trust is needed and accusations of ethical issues will prove not helpful.

If however, you choose to 'go it alone' you will have no one but yourself to solve, or fail to solve, the challenges ahead.

Why have contracts? They are there to protect YOU! But you do need to understand them and follow the instructions of those you hire.
0 votes
Rick, Home Buyer, Gloucester, MA
Sun Sep 4, 2011
To Mr Shapiro the offer was put in on Wednesday morning before the long weekend!!! And why do you put times and dates in with the offer that is a waste of time. This is a signed contract!!!!
0 votes
Richard Shap…, , Framingham, MA
Sun Sep 4, 2011
Ethical? Let's talk practical. Long weekend going on. Why not ask your Realtor if the sellers are around?
0 votes
Marita Topmi…, Agent, Indianapolis, IN
Sun Sep 4, 2011
Hi Rick,

Ask your Realtor to phone the listing agent to ask the reason for the delay.
The answer may well be, "The seller has been out of reach on vacation."

If your offer has expired by the time you get an answer, you can either choose
to go on with the purchase or walk away.

Marita
0 votes
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