Realtors Need a Back to Basics Refresher

I represent a lot of buyers, and a recent conversation I had with a short sale listing agent about a possible offer raised a major red flag.

My client wanted to make an offer on a short sale listing.  The attachments on the MLS listing directed me to contact the short sale negotiator, who told me they would put together the paperwork for me to send to the buyer to sign with the information I provided.  That sure would would save me a lot of work.  So far, so good!

I verbally provided the buyer's offer price and purchase terms.  The short sale negotiator then told me (in writing) the listing agent had to "review the offer and if he was 'comfortable' with it, would then submit to the seller".  Whoa nelly!  The listing agent would not even accept a written offer below a certain amount, which the listing agent set himself.

Under FL real estate law, and the Realtor Code of Ethics, it is the responsibility of the listing agent to submit ANY and ALL offers to the seller. The only exception is if the seller has, in writing, directed the listing agent to only accept certain offers based on price or other terms.  When I asked the listing agent if the seller had provided this to him in writing, he said no.

Luckily for the listing agent, we did not present a written offer.  If we had, the recourse would have been to file a complaint with the Florida Real Estate Commission, who would have investigated the presence of a written set of offer acceptance instructions from the seller.  If there were none, as was the case here, the listing agent would have had his license suspended and been subject to a punitive fine.

Home buyers, do not buy into the the line that there are no rules regarding short sales.  While it is true that every bank has paperwork or other procedural differences, basic real estate law remains in force.

See the FL Real Estate law statute:

Realtor Code of Ethics:


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