Market Wise Q&A: Can a Seller and Listing Agent Ignore their own Deadline to Submit Offers?

Pat Kapowich for the San Jose Mercury News Q: We were prepared to wait almost a week to make an offer on a property because the listing agent said offers would be reviewed Wednesday at 4 p.m. The day before the offer deadline, the home was designated a pending sale on the Multiple Listing Service's consumer Web site. We were upset, but our agent was absolutely livid. Our agent complained to the listing agent's managing broker, who couldn't have cared less.

Is such behavior by the listing agent acceptable, or is this unethical sequence of events punishable by some governmental agency?

3D Character and Unsuccess

A: If both licensees are members of all the local, state and national associations of Realtors, then your buyer's agent can file a grievance against the seller's agent at the local level. If the grievance has merit it will be forwarded to a Professional Standards Committee for a hearing where all parties will be present. If an agent is found in breach of the Realtor bylaws or code of ethics, he or she can be fined and/or have his/her membership suspended or revoked.

Real estate attorneys agree that the listing agent's actions would not warrant a legal action or a hearing at the Department of Real Estate. However, that said, many licensees will bring a real estate attorney to the hearing.

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