Disclosing the Existence of Accepted Offers is Not Negotiable

 


When a buyer and seller have fully executed an Agreement of Sale the offer is considered accepted. There may be contingencies which could affect the future of the Agreement, but that does not change the fact that the offer is, by definition, accepted. According to the REALTOR Code of Ethics, the existence of that accepted offer must be disclosed to any broker seeking cooperation. (Standard of Practice 3-6) Futhermore the TREND MLS Rules and Regulations also require that the status of the listing in the MLS be updated to reflect the accepted offer.

These obligations are not negotiable between the brokers, or by any agreement of the buyer, seller or third party to the agreement. When explaining the benefits of the MLS to sellers, be sure that they understand the non-negotiable rules that come with that benefit. There are TREND MLS status options that provide opportunites for sellers who wish to continue marketing a property after an accepted offer has been reached.

The seller or others may argue that it's not in the seller's best interest, or "not fair" to the seller, to change the status. The Code of Ethics replaced "fairness" with "honesty" over a decade ago. The MLS rules and the Code of Ethics attempt to balance what is in the best interest of all parties - sellers, buyers and brokers. It's admittedly not an easy task.




4 Quick Tips for Prepping a Home for Sale

Real Estate pro and stager Barb Schwarz, founder of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals, recommends some of the following general staging tips in prepping homes for sale.

1. Super Clean. Make the house shine from top to bottom. Don't forget about cleaning the carpet, draperies and windows, too.

2 Clear the clutter and unload some furniture. Remove unnecessary items from countertops, bathtubs, and shower stalls-areas that often attract the most clutter. Keep only the necessities. A decluttered home helps buyers mentally "move in" with their own things. You may need to rearrange or remove some furniture. Pieces that crowd a space can make it look smaller than it really it.

3. Prep your landscaping. Check gutters and roof for dry rot and moss, and ensure they are clean. Examine all plants: Prune bushes and trees, make sure no plants are blocking windows, remove any dead plants, and keep the lawn freshly mowed.

4. Add nice touches. Coordinate towels in the bathroom in one or two colors only. Keep accessories restricted to groups of one, three, or five items. Make sure all lights and lamps are on for showings, and set an inviting mood: Have soft background music turned on (such as light FM music)


SUPREME COURT RULING ON SELLER'S DISCLOSURE

On July 21, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously decided that a murder-suicide in a property is not a material defect that a seller has to disclose to a buyer. The history of Milliken v. Jacono is well-known to REALTORS, click here for details of the highly-publicized case.
The Supreme Court's ruling contained several important points:
  • The Court commented that using a disclosure form that revealed more information about a property than the law required does not create additional mandatory disclosure requirements.
  • The Court stated that it was "not ready to accept that [a psychological stigma] constitutes a material defect." The Court observed that requiring quantification of the psychological impact of various traumatizing events would be a "sisyphean task".
  • It was recognized the psychologically traumatic events do not result in defects to the structure of the house; they do not affect the quality of real estate. It was noted that it would be nearly impossible to assign a monetary value to psychological stigma.
  • Lastly, and importantly for buyers' agents, the murder-suicide was absolutely not a latent event. It was widely publicized in the local media and on the Internet, and it was a well-known event within the neighborhood. The doctrine of caveat emptor still survives and places the responsibility on the buyers to ensure the property they are buying meets their needs. In the words of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, "Purely psychological stigmas are not material defects of property that sellers must disclose to buyers". 



BUYERS RESOURCES - ARTICLES

Keller Williams Real Estate

Todd Reed

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