Is it True a Sacramento Listing Agent Must Present all Offers?
An agent asked last week what he could do when a listing agent in Sacramento refused to present an offer to the seller. Well, he could print out a photo of that listing agent’s mug, draw devil horns on the head, tack the picture to a wall and throw darts at it. That’s one solution. He could also report the listing agent to the Board of Realtors and the Bureau of Real Estate. It’s a violation to withhold an offer. Listings agents are required to present all offers to the seller upon receipt or as reasonably as they can thereafter. It doesn’t matter if the home is already pending, either. An offer comes in, that purchase contract has gotta go to the seller.
A listing with an “active short contingent” status is especially suspect because that status, by its very nature, attracts offers. Agents who refuse to present offers or say no offers are accepted for an active short contingent status in MLS can find themselves fined by MLS as well for violating its guidelines. However, listings of any status are not exempt from a listing agent’s duty to present all offers.
It also doesn’t matter if the purchase offer is written on a roll of toilet paper, the listing agent must deliver the offer to the seller. Real estate agents don’t have the ethical nor legal right to decide which offers the seller gets to see and which can be withheld. Not our decision. But you’d be amazed at how many Sacramento listings agents don’t understand this simple procedure or were never informed of its necessity.
Something else some buyer’s agents don’t realize is the rejection on page 8 does not need to be initialed nor signed by the seller. It is not required. If the seller rejects the offer, no signature is necessary. The listing agent is not required to return a page that shows the seller has rejected the offer by an initial or other acknowledgement. It’s only a courtesy.
An email from the listing agent to the buyer’s agent detailing the outcome of the offer is sufficient. If buyer’s agents try to demand a written rejection by the seller, basically they’re saying a) they don’t understand how purchase contracts work, and b) they don’t trust the listing agent — neither of which is likely to endear them nor their buyers; it’s just stupid and insulting.
If you suspect an offer was not presented to the listing agent, the first step is to ask your buyer’s agent or manager to speak to the listing agent’s managing broker. Brokers are responsible for the actions of their agents. I’d say that most listing agents in Sacramento realize they must present all offers and comply. It’s unusual for the opposite to happen. But bottom line, if you’ve irritated the listing agent, it probably doesn’t really matter what else you do. A complaint will just bring personal satisfaction and help to raise the bar. It won’t get your offer accepted. That’s the real world part.