Arizona Administrative Code – Don’t Try This at Home

Real Estate brokerage ABC Realty has a contract to sell REO properties for a lender. This, in short, means that the broker/agent/transaction folks at ABC Realty, are little more than data entry people for the banks.

In order to facilitate the entry of data (and making the business of real estate even less about the very people at the core of the business) ABC Realty sets up a website where buyers’ agents can fill out an entry screen and upload documents. In so doing, the folks at ABC Realty don’t have to spend their time entering the data they’re being paid to juggle.

Except … one morning, the website stops working. Whatever the glitch, attempt after attempt to reach the website fails. And so a buyers agent, not wanting to delay submission of an offer due to the seller’s shaky technology, submits the offer to ABC Realty via e-mail.

Say the folks from ABC Realty …

We are unable to submit the offer for you. Our database is locked for the “Buyers Agent” to submit only. If we turn this feature off to submit one offer, it effects every property.

First, the correct word is “affects” not “effects.” And second, as the listing agent it is your job to present the offer to the seller. It’s even written here in the Arizona Administrative Code …

R4-28-802. Conveyance Documents

A. Upon execution of any transaction document a salesperson or broker shall, as soon as practical, deliver a legible copy of the signed document and final agreement to each party signing the document.

B. During the term of a listing agreement, a salesperson or broker shall promptly submit to the salesperson’s or broker’s client all offers to purchase or lease the listed property. Upon receiving permission from the seller or lessor, the salesperson or broker acting on behalf of the seller or lessor may disclose to all offerors or their agents the existence and terms of all additional offers on the listed property. The salesperson or broker shall submit to the client all offers made prior to closing and is not released from this duty by the client’s acceptance of an offer unless the client instructs the salesperson or broker in writing to cease submitting offers or unless otherwise provided in the listing agreement, lease, or purchase contract. The salesperson or broker may voluntarily submit offers to the seller or lessor regardless of any limitations contained in the listing agreement and may submit offers after the listing agreement is terminated. (Emphasis added.)

In other words, the listing agent is obligated by the state’s administrative code to present the offer regardless of whether it’s sent by the buyers’ agent via website or e-mail. There is nothing in the code that says a listing agent simply can ignore the offer because it’s slightly inconvenient for them to have to, horror of horros, type.

Further, NAR’s Code of Ethics takes things one step further and says offers need to be presented objectively. So even if the folks at Realty ABC are unhappy that they are being forced to work, the offer still must be entered, submitted and presented objectively.

Standard of Practice 1-6

Realtors® shall submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly as possible.

Now … do I suggest reminding a listing agent that, contrary to what they may think, their website downtime does not relieve them of the obligation of presenting an offer? Not really.

But at the end of a long couple of weeks of jumping through hoops, many of which are the sole creation of the listing agent irrespective of a particular seller’s policies (such as the Fannie Mae agent who has drafted several “mandatory” addendums specific to the listing brokerage and not the property), it does feel good to stand up and remind the REO agents of the Phoenix market that they are not really able to dictate the rules of real estate en toto.

Rules is rules, no matter how they “effect” or even affect you.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Dalton is a 30-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.