All Written Offers Must Be Presented to Your Client
June 30, 2022
The Alabama REALTORS® Legal Office is continuing to receive reports from across the state about offers not being presented to sellers if the offers are not written or presented in the listing agent’s preferred form, such as the listing agent’s local association or brokerage forms. This is not just a disservice to the client; it is a violation of Alabama license law and the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.
Ala. Code Section 34-27-84 requires a licensee to “present to the consumer all offers, counteroffers, and addenda.” The Real Estate Consumers Agency and Disclosure Act (RECAD) form also reminds agents of their duty to promptly present all written offers to the seller. If you were at a restaurant and someone handed you an offer written on a napkin, you would still have the obligation to pass that offer along to the seller. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics Standard of Practice 1-7 also requires listing agents present all offers until closing unless the seller has waived this obligation in writing.
The Alabama REALTORS® 2022 Residential Purchase Agreement and other statewide forms can be used across the state in any market. The Purchase Agreement is RF 2.1 and can be found here on AAR’s website and is available electronically on Brokermint, Dotloop, Docusign, Form Simplicity, and Lone Wolf.
HOW CAN YOU HELP? Not presenting all written offers is conduct that violates license law and the code of ethics and should not be tolerated. If you are part of a transaction where this occurs, you have a responsibility to report this conduct to the Alabama Real Estate Commission (AREC). If you do not report it, the problem will continue and diminish the professionalism of the industry. AREC cannot enforce license law if you do not make them aware of the issue.
Thank you to the brokers and agents who have reached out for assistance on this issue. Please continue to keep us informed of issues affecting your business and the industry by contacting us here so we can work together to uphold a high bar for the real estate profession.
Frequently Asked Questions
Buyer’s Agent Question: I am a buyer’s agent and frequently deal with listing agents who delay or refuse to submit my client’s offer unless I rewrite it on their preferred form. Is this okay?
Answer: No. This is a violation of license law. A listing agent cannot mandate the form of an offer. A listing agent is required to present all written offers submitted in any format. If you are aware of this conduct, please report it to the Alabama Real Estate Commission here.
Listing Agent Question: I am a listing agent and prefer that all offers be submitted on my preferred purchase agreement. I routinely do not present offers if they aren't submitted on my customary forms. Is this allowed?
Answer: No. This is a violation of license law. A listing agent cannot mandate the form of an offer. A listing agent is required to present all written offers submitted in any format.
Brokerage/ Franchise Question: I have been told by my broker that our office policy is that we will only present offers that are submitted on forms provided by my brokerage/ franchise? Is this okay?
Answer: No. This is a violation of license law. While a broker can request or even require its buyer's agents to write their own initial offers on their company forms, a brokerage cannot mandate that an agent is not to present a written offer or counteroffer if it is not on the brokerage's form.
Local Association Question: My local association requires that all members of our local association use local forms provided by the local association. Can this be required?
Answer: No. A local association cannot require members to use any forms in a real estate transaction. If you are aware of this conduct, please report it to the Alabama REALTORS® Legal Office here.
Local Multiple Listing Service Question: My local Multiple Listing Service requires all users of our local MLS use forms provided by the Multiple Listing Service. Can this be mandated?
Answer: No. A local multiple listing service cannot require MLS users to use specific transaction forms in a real estate transaction. If you are aware of this conduct, please report it to the Alabama REALTORS® Legal Office here.