A Contract Challenge!

Industry Observer with Living in the Pacific

I received an offer today from an agent from another firm (just across the street). Initially, he said he would fax it to me and I requested that he not fax it. After all, a fax machine might as well be placed in public for all to see what falls on the floor. I asked him to please seal it in an envelope and deliver to me if possible. I could have even picked it up. I explained to him that by faxing his offer, he could be exposing the offer for all to see, and that could be a violation of his fiduciary responsibility to his client (confidentiality). I had to explain that I had no control over who sees it before it got to my hands.

After presenting the offer to and consulting with my seller, I completed a Seller's Counter Offer form with the major changes to the offer of price and a concession and struck through a number of other requested concessions on the original offer and had my seller sign and initial all changes. 

Upon presentation of the counter offer, the other agent became almost adversarial when he noticed I struck through and seller initialed parts of the offer that were unacceptable. He asked me why I had to write on and mess up the original contract? I replied, "what contract, until now all we have is a offer!" 

He looked confused, he said no more...I guess he got my point.

In our area it is common for an offer to be chopped and initialed, and sometimes be almost entirely re-written in it's entirety, almost to the point of non-recognition, but until it's signed by all parties it simply remains an "offer" (or counter offer). Albeit chicken scratch in some cases.  One of the most important components of all offers and counter offers is date and time stamping. Sometimes I'll take the initiative to clean up all the changes with a final "clean" version and get all parties to sign, but there is no need for one to get upset about having another's ink placed upon your offering. Maybe I destroyed a presumed masterpiece?

It is what it is. IMO

Posted by


  Randy Landis, Overseas Retirement Consultant.


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Comments (7)

Deborah "Dee Dee" Garvin
C2 Financial - San Diego, CA
C2 Financial

Randy,  Hey I see some agents who think the "contract" is a sales tool.  They put more effort in trying to impress their clients with creativity than putting together a clean offer that will both get accepted and pass lender review.  Said same agent will complain about the underwriter conditioning for things that they wrote into the contract in the first place.  Go figure.

Jun 28, 2011 01:20 PM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

I've never heard someone suggest that a faxed offer would be a violation of an agent's fiduciary responsibility to their client.  I'm wondering if that is something your broker has brought up as an issue?

Jun 28, 2011 01:25 PM
Laura Forman
RE/MAX AEROSPACE REALTY www.LauraSellsBrevard.com - Melbourne, FL
Your Brevard Premier Property Specialist

Randy that is a silly complaint.  You think he would appreciate the fact that he had an offer in hand.

Jun 28, 2011 01:29 PM
Randy Landis
Living in the Pacific - Tupelo, MS
Life is Good in the Tropic Shade!

Deborah ~ Two years in and $600k in closed transactions. Just inexperienced and needs training.

Cindy ~ Would you hand your offer to another agent to hand to another agent to deliver it for you? That would be violating your clients confidentiality! I am the responsible broker so I look at everything from a risk management perspective. I was once told about a water cooler gang at a big box agency in town all standing around scrutinizing another agents offer just pulled off the fax. Cool huh?

Laura ~ He's nervously optomistic I believe. Any offer makes me nervous these days!

Jun 28, 2011 01:41 PM
Sybil Campbell
Fernandina Beach, FL
Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida

It's the same in our area, especially when the buyer and seller dig their heels in about what one is willing to pay and the other is willing to accept.

Aug 01, 2014 09:03 PM
Chris Griffith
Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL - Bonita Springs, FL
Bonita Springs Listing Specialist - Agent

If it's a simple change I'll do it on the contract. If there are multiple changes, corrections, oversite, I will use a counter offer form. Last week, I got an offer so bad (multiple errors, ridiculous demands) that I had to ask the agent to start over, she refused. I tried to work with it and then I realized the buyers names weren't even on the contract.  lol I was like, are you sure you don't want another run at this?  She took another run at it.

Aug 01, 2014 09:29 PM
Sandy Padula & Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Florida Realty Investments - , CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Randy: To change the printed terms in a contract is construed as practicing law without a license. Terms may be struck, but new dicta cannot be added without the use of an addendum. You are living the LIFE in Samar!


Aug 01, 2014 10:37 PM