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Putting a short fuse on an offer can be a good way of holding a seller’s feet to the fire. But it can also result in pushback. No one likes being pressured. Sellers and buyers alike have enough stress just deciding whether or not they want to sell or buy. Adding time pressure adds to that stress, which may result in your client not getting what they want.

Recently, a managing broker asked me if a seller could require, by way of a Schedule A clause to the listing, a buyer to leave their offer open for at least 12 hours to give the seller time to before making a decision. The request is fair enough—and it’s a nice idea. But it has to be understood to be a seller’s suggestion—a preference only; it shouldn’t be considered to be an edict.

In the same way that a seller’s agent cannot require a buyer’s agent to “email their offer” (although many do), a seller can’t require a buyer to leave their offer open for acceptance for a specific time period. But a seller can ask for this consideration with a comment in the remarks. For example, the seller might write, “Seller would appreciate buyer’s offers being left open for consideration for at least 12 hours,” or words to that effect. An experienced buyer agent would pick up on this. Granting a seller’s preference may have a positive outcome by putting the seller in the best frame of mind when it comes time to consider an offer.

There are many strategies we can use in the hope they’ll result in a client achieving their desired outcome. Examples are listing low to get multiple offers, and listing high to see how things go. Or delaying offer presentations to manage a potential multiple-offer circus. Or delaying showings to accommodate painting the property or to help a tenant. As the managing broker suggested to me, asking a buyer’s agent to leave their offers open for a reasonable time so the seller doesn’t feel pressured may ease the way to a deal. Each strategy has its time and place.

"We weren’t hired to pick a fight. We were hired to get our clients to a particular destination."- Kim Spencer

When explaining possible strategies to your clients, remember to explain both the benefits and the costs of each. For example, in the case of being asked to keep an offer open, you might say to your client, “The seller has asked us to leave our offer open until noon tomorrow. They don’t want to be pressured. Granting their wish will put them in a good frame of mind, so why don’t we do it? The risk is that another buyer could barge in with a shorter-fused offer before noon, which the seller may want to deal with. In that case, we’d be notified there’s another offer.[Rule 4.04]. What do you want to do?”

If the buyer in this case responds with, “I don’t care. Let’s put the heat on them. Put in the offer,” you have to follow this instruction, despite the potential stress it could cause the other parties.

Whatever your strategy, remember that it’s a choice. It may produce the result your client wants—or doesn’t want. But give some consideration to your colleague on the other side of what you hope will be a deal. We weren’t hired to pick a fight. We were hired to get our clients to a particular destination. A little give and take with a side order of reasonableness is better than a manufactured situation that may leave everyone—clients and colleagues alike—stressed and chirpy. And they’re likely to remember that the next time they do business with you. .

We’re in the cooperation business. If you don’t have to, why make other people’s lives more difficult that they need to be? 

Top tip: Reciprocity advertising and social media

REALTOR® Code Article 14 (Advertising Listings of Other Members) and Rules of Cooperation Rule 8.03 complement each other, with 8.03 providing an exception for reciprocity advertising of other members’ listings.

Article 14 says you can’t advertise other members’ listing without consent. Rule 8.03 carves out a space for reciprocity advertising. And Rule 8.12 provides the nitty-gritty details of what the reciprocity advertising and display requirements are all about.  

Without going into a lot of detail, here’s what it all means. Your brokerage “owns” all the listings in your office. Why? Because your brokerage is a party to listing contracts, along with the seller. When XYZ brokerage signs a reciprocity agreement with the Board, it’s giving advance consent to members from other brokerages to advertise XYZ’s listings, and vice versa. Translated, the rule says, “You can advertise my listings and I can advertise yours, subject to Rule 8.12, without having to ask permission each time.”

Most REBGV brokerages have signed reciprocity agreements with the Board. Some members take this to mean they can advertise other members’ listings wherever they like. This is incorrect. Reciprocity advertising is permitted only on websites owned and controlled by the brokerage or member. This means advertising other members’ listings on social media, in flyers, on craigslist, and through other advertising sites without their specific consent is not allowed.

We can’t be everywhere at once, breathing down members’ necks to audit where they advertise. Hence, this Top Tip reminder.


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