Sign-Crossing, One Interpretation

Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart Cherry Creek FA.100067131

Today on Active Rain there was a question about "Sign Crossing" and what exactly it is? Here's one interpretation (mine, of course).

In short:

A real estate broker (or agent, associate, salesperson, etc., as per local naming conventions) cannot approach - with the intent to enter into a new contract -  a seller/landlord or buyer/tenant who is already in an exclusive contract with another broker. To do so, or to attempt to do so, is considered sign-crossing.

If the seller/landlord or buyer/tenant initiates contact with another broker, the parties can enter into a new contract as long as it has a start date after the end date of the currently valid exclusive contract. To have overlapping dates is considered sign-crossing.

The sign-crossing concept might be covered on multiple levels, depending on the state, the broker's affiliations, and contract law. 

My state, COLORADO, for instance, defines sign-crossing in the Division of Real Estate Rules Regarding Real Estate Brokers, Rule E-13 , and clarifies it in CP-3 Commission Statement Concerning Commission Rule E-13.

The National Association of REALTORs® defines this in the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, article 16

NOTE: NAR also provides an exception case wherein if the broker with the current exclusive contract is contacted by a REALTOR® and refuses to provide the expiration date and nature of the listing, the REALTOR® may initiate contact with the seller/landlord or buyer/tenant party.

QUESTION: If the state has rules which do not expressly state this same exception, which takes precedence? Likely the more restrictive ruling, would be my guess.

The courts, of course, may interpret contract language and rule according to their own set of rules and precedences.

Since I'm a visual person, I've drawn up graphics for my interpretation, click to enlarge. :0)


Regarding Exclusive Right to Sell/Lease Contracts


Regarding Exclusive Right to Buy/Lease Contracts






This post has been morphed into's knowledge/terms-and-concepts entry on Sign-Crossing


Posted by -  fB


Me!Rebecca Rasmussen, REALTOR®, GRI
SpinOne Group

Associate Broker 

HomeSmart Cherry Creek

Home Smart Cherry Creek
HomeSmart Cherry Creek
8300 E Maplewood Ave Suite 100
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
(303) 858-8100


South Metro Denver Area, Colorado
License # FA.100067131
(303) 915-4176

Realtor Equal Housing Opportunity

Comments (4)

Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

A little different in my state as we have a couple of exceptions that are different.

Apr 15, 2016 12:51 PM
Becca Rasmussen

I'd love to hear the differences. :0)

Apr 15, 2016 08:56 PM
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Thanks for your input/interpretation Becca Rasmussen Very informative graphics as well.

Apr 18, 2016 12:12 AM
Becca Rasmussen

Thanks, it was fun putting them together. Sometimes, I wonder about my idea of fun. ;)

Apr 18, 2016 12:16 AM
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

Hi, Becca...nice work no your graphic. You really explained sign crossing very well. 

Apr 18, 2016 08:24 AM
Don Taber
RE/MAX Complete - Wilson - Wilson, NC

I have never heard it called sign-crossing.  Here we just call it unethical (and a violation of the Code of Ethics).

Apr 21, 2016 03:03 PM