Speak Up When O;er Arrives
How much time does the listing agent have to present an o;er to the seller on a property once
a buyer makes an o;er? Can the listing agent hold the o;er knowing another o;er might be coming in?
Answer: Standard of Practice 1-6 speaks directly to
the timing of the presentation of an o;er. “R;;;;;;;®
shall submit o;ers and counter-o;ers objectively and
as quickly as possible.”
While there can be di;erent perspectives on what
“as quickly as possible” means, it’s clear from the Code
of Ethics that the listing agent doesn’t have the right
to decide unilaterally when an o;er is presented.
The listing agent must always keep the key concepts
of Article 1 in mind. “When representing a buyer,
seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent,
R;;;;;;;® pledge themselves to protect and promote
the interests of their client. This obligation to the cli-
ent is primary, but it does not relieve R;;;;;;;® of
their obligation to treat all parties honestly.”
The presentation of o;ers is one of the ways in
which a listing agent “protects and promotes” the in-
terests of the seller, so the agent should take instruc-
tions from the seller on how the o;er is presented.
, ABR, CRB,
is senior vice president
and general counsel of
REALTORS®, in St. Louis
and a former chair of
Standards Committee. He
received NAR’s Distinguished
Service Award in 2012.
HAVE A DILEMMA?
Send your ethics questions
MLSs See Gains in Copyright Cases
As e;orts heat up to curb the unauthorized use of MLS data,
recent court decisions have yielded good news for REALTORS®.
In late May, the Key West Association of REALTORS® scored
a major victory when a federal district court judge in Florida
awarded $2.7 million to KWAR in its action against business-
man Robert Allen, whose Key WestMLS.com and other Web
sites were found to be using the association’s listing data in
violation of copyright laws. The large fine was attention-
getting, sending a clear message on behalf of copyright
owners, Justice Lawrence King said in his May 22 decision.
“Awarding a lesser amount of damages would not serve
the purpose of the Copyright Act in deterrence of further
wrongful conduct by Defendant,” the judge wrote. “Absent
the maximum statutory award of damages, future potential
infringers of Plainti;’s MLS copyrights will only see the
potential benefit of high commissions from ill-gotten leads.
As such, the maximum statutory damage amount is neces-
sitated to deter the future conduct of Defendant Allen and
Similar cases are pending in U.S. District Courts in
Maryland and Minnesota. These cases both involve American
Home Realty Network, which operates NeighborCity.com.
The company was sued last year by Metropolitan Regional
Information Systems for posting mid-Atlantic MLS listing
data on its Web site without authorization and by the Regional
Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota on similar grounds.
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