I’m frustrated with the length of time it takes to hear from agents when I submit an offer on their listing. I know everyone is busy, but buyers are anxious for answers and I would like to keep them updated on the status of their offer. What can be done to enhance communication?

Communication between agents in transactions is very important. Whether they have one offer or multiple offers, listing agents are bound to protect and promote the interests of their clients. And buyer’s agents must also protect and promote the interest of their client.

Code of Ethics Article 1, Standard of Practice 1-7 provides some guidance. The underlined portions are new language added in 2019 and 2020: When acting as listing brokers, REALTORS® shall continue to submit to the seller/landlord all offers and counter-offers until closing or execution of a lease unless the seller/landlord has waived this obligation in writing.

Upon the written request of a cooperating broker who submits an offer to the listing broker, the listing broker shall provide, as soon as practical, a written affirmation to the cooperating broker stating that the offer has been submitted to the seller/landlord, or a written notification that the seller/landlord has waived the obligation to have the offer presented. REALTORS® shall not be obligated to continue to market the property after an offer has been accepted by the seller/landlord. REALTORS® shall recommend that sellers/landlords obtain the advice of legal counsel prior to acceptance of a subsequent offer except where the acceptance is contingent on the termination of the preexisting purchase contract or lease. (Amended 1/20)

Similar language was added to Standard of Practice 1-8 in 2022 to include the same responsibility for buyer’s brokers to communicate in writing with the listing agent if they would like a written affirmation that the counteroffer has been submitted.

Note: While the Code of Ethics establishes obligations that may be higher than those mandated by law, in any instance where the Code of Ethics and the law conflict, the obligations of the law must take precedence.