This stuff gives me a headache

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

This, from an icon in Illinois real estate, Lynn MadisonLynn has been teaching real estate in Illinois, working with the Illinois Association of Realtor and the North Shore Barrington Board of Realtors since Jesus lost his sandals. She's a font of real estate knowledge, and helps CE classes go quickly and keeps them interesting. She posted this on Facebook a few years ago and felt it necessary to repost it today.

  1. You cannot disclose what you learn about a seller at a listing presentation if you do not get the listing - unless you gave the seller a Notice of No Agency disclosure when you walked in the door. Confidential information stays confidential after the termination of the agency relationship and YOU WERE the agent of the seller for that two hours you were schmoozing them to get the listing - unless you disclosed you were not - that's the Notice of No Agency form BTW.
  2. Yes - the listing agent can disclose the price of your buyers offer to other agents or buyers - with the sellers permission - unless there was a confidentiality agreement signed by the parties prior to presentation of the offer.
  3. It is the seller who decides whether to disclose multiple offers - you may not know if your buyer is in one.
  4. Yes you have to report to the MLS in the requisite time frame that the property is under contract even if you don't have the earnest money yet.
  5. If you have a variable rate noted in the MLS - the buyer agent has a right to ask (a) if the variable is an issue; (b) how much the variable is (c) who has the other offer - and you MUST disclose. (c) is disclose whether the other offer is from you - someone in your office - or another co-op broker - and while I'm at it - you have to disclose (c) even if there is no variable rate. BUYER AGENTS - ASK DAMMIT - stop whining when you don't know - and LISTING AGENTS - disclose it in the MLS.

There you go. She is 100% right, and I am in agreement with all five points. 

I run into friction from fellow Realtors, all the time, about:

  1. keeping private information private, that you've learned at the listing presentation, or from a listing that you've since lost. 
  2. disclosing the price of other multiple offers to buyer's agents.
  3. about disclosing whether there are multiple offers at all... and making sure you're following the direction of your sellers.  Yes, they'll often listen to your advice, but you have to have that conversation. 
  4. You have a valid contract, even if you haven't yet received the earnest money.
  5. Upon request any information about your "variable rate" must be disclosed.  And whether, or not, the other offer is yours or an agent in your office.
Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email:

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



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

I actually tell people to "not tell me anything regarding their reasons for selling or what they want to net, etc" until I have a signed listing.  

Jan 22, 2020 09:27 PM #14
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I’ve totally been there with the headaches but I’ve broken through to the other side as well.

Jan 22, 2020 09:55 PM #15
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

You can easily talk yourself out of it with all that exposition, I find.

Tammy Lankford,

Jan 22, 2020 09:56 PM #16
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

All excellent points, Alan! And how about you lose the listing but bring in a buyer, knowing all sorts of things about the seller's situation?!


Jan 22, 2020 10:23 PM #17
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Great points to make note of; Thanks

Yes - the listing agent can disclose the price of your buyers offer to other agents or buyers - with the sellers permission - unless there was a confidentiality agreement signed by the parties prior to presentation of the offer.

Jan 23, 2020 03:54 AM #18
AndreaBFerreira CRS - SRS - CLHMS
Keyes Co. - Davie, FL
Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County in FL

Nice post, a lot of commonsense but been overlooked by many sometimes.

Thank you for sharing. 

Jan 23, 2020 04:01 AM #19
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

When signing a new listing, i always go over both disclosure and then offers. The seller has the final say and they should know all the pros or cons. I like being able to tell buyer agents there is other offers and have my buyer ask for the highest and best offers. 

Jan 23, 2020 05:20 AM #20
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Good morning Alan May, some make their own rules up and argue about them. This is a great reminder for all, thanks for sharing. 

Jan 23, 2020 06:42 AM #21
Ben DeHaven
Haven Realty & Investments - Winter Haven, FL
Proudly serving Winter Haven & Lakeland, Florida

Great points, thanks for sharing. Some people need to see these. 

Jan 23, 2020 06:51 AM #22
Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

Alan May ~ Mr. May, just remember (IMO). Those agents causing friction are the ones with the problem, not you! Just nicely explain why you are not able to disclose such info. And if you want -you might nicely suggest to them "go see Lynn

Jan 23, 2020 08:34 AM #23
Anna Banana Kruchten Broker/Owner, CRB, CRS
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ

This is so spot on Alan. im not surprised anymore while teaching CE course to (experienced) agents that they don't know the basics of certain subjects. And they do like to argue, which is good as it gets the class going. That's when I bring out the big guns - the laws and rules.  Gee it's in black and white. Who knew!

Jan 23, 2020 10:26 AM #24
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Very useful!  I knew about all of these points except #1--thanks for the explaination!

Jan 23, 2020 10:34 AM #25
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 702-574-8102

Alan, definitely a feature worthy post especially at CE time.  This should help a lot of agents and is the caliber that makes this community so great.

Jan 23, 2020 11:22 AM #26
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Alan- glad I don't have to deal with this but that said, it's a good idea for all agents to stay awake in those classes that you're supposed to take. You may remember something you shouldn't have forgotten. 

Jan 23, 2020 02:49 PM #27
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

The finite details can be lost on agents, even season agents!  Great post!

Jan 23, 2020 03:39 PM #28
Steffy Hristova
HomeSmart Elite Group Tempe AZ Tel: 480-966-9353 - Tempe, AZ
Tempe AZ Realtor - Your Home Close to Your Work!

Alan, thanks for posting those important reminders. Yes, there a valid contract, even if you haven't received the earnest money. I wish realtors would change the status in MLS after they have a valid a contract. That saves us a lot of effort, if we are working with Buyers.

Jan 23, 2020 04:40 PM #29
Bob Betel
Allstar Home Mortgage, Inc. - Sweetwater, TN
President, Allstar Home Mortgage, Inc

Sounds like a lot to remember! But the red lettering really gives me a headache.

Now if I only can find my sandals, I had them last night

Jan 24, 2020 06:22 AM #30
Shirley Coomer
Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az

Great information!  Laws due vary by state, but it is good for each of us to understand our state laws.

Jan 25, 2020 06:25 AM #31
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Alan , I believe that #1 is State specific legally. However be that as it may, I like it’s fairness to the consumer 

Jan 25, 2020 07:42 AM #32
Kurt Uhlir
Showcase IDX - Roswell, GA
Real Estate Marketing Coach & Speaker

Wonderful reminders and I hear you on the friction. I've seen a fair number of people push back on some of these.

Jan 31, 2020 06:29 AM #33
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