March 8, 2012

Good afternoon everyone:

I can tell from the new questions that you are submitting to me, that many water cooler discussions are being triggered by these emails. Please remember that no two issues are ever exactly the same. The best way to learn is to interact with each other and talk to your manager about the rules, laws, and best practices specific to your location.  Practical application of these principles will result in Prudential having the best agents in the market place!  I, too, enjoy sharpening my skills and knowledge with the questions you bring forward. I rely on my experts to give the best direction in my answers.

Here are three more awesome questions…enjoy!

Question 1:

Jimmy- I just had a ridiculous offer presented on one of my listings. It was so low that the seller took offense to it. My seller just rejected the offer. When I called the buyer's agent, he stated that the seller had to reject it in writing. Is this true?

Answer:

No.  A seller has no legal obligation to reject an offer in writing or even respond at all. However, to protect yourself and to have a record of the discussions, it is best to have something signed by the seller that the offer was presented and that the seller made the decision not to reject the offer or respond in writing.  This is a good business practice.  This also demonstrates that you follow your client’s instructions and allow them to make the decisions concerning the property.

Question 2:

Jim, I have a buyer that has been acting a little aloof since the offer was accepted on my listing. I'm just uneasy with his actions...what happens if an earnest money check bounces?

Answer: (provided by Mike Epperly, CFO) 

This happens more often than you may realize. Your full service accounting department is trained to redeposit the funds a second time. However, we notify the agent and manager involved in the transaction as quickly as possible.  As an escrow agent, your role is to remain neutral and therefore you should notify the other agent in the transaction (or both of the parties to the transaction if no other agent is involved) that the buyer’s earnest money deposit has bounced. You should refrain from offering legal advice on this topic - that would be the job for legal counsel, not the agent. Usually there is a simple solution: contact the buyer and they will remedy the issue with another check or by transferring the funds.  Don't overreact.

Question 3:

As the manager of the office, I had a buyer walk in and plainly state that he does not want a woman representing him in the purchase of his next home.  What should I tell him?

Answer:

Well, the Fair Housing Act prohibits a broker from matching clients with agents on the basis of gender (or on the basis of any other protected class as well). I might have expected this question in 1966, but in today's market this really is old stuff.  Don't fall into this trap!

Make it a great week everyone! Please remember to call or email me with your legal questions anytime and I’ll be happy to respond to them and possibly include them in a future newsletter. 

Go get em!

Sincerely,

Jim Fase

Prudential Preferred REALTORS

616.292.1613