Ways to improve professionalism

What Was Jane Thinking? 

To Put Under Deposit or Not to Put Under Deposit… That is the question…
REALTOR® Jane Jones received an offer from REALTOR® Tim Thompson. REALTOR® Tim tells REALTOR® Jane that he will deliver the check when the offer is accepted. REALTOR® Jane presents the offer to her sellers and they accept it. She sends the signed contract to REALTOR® Tim who tells her he is out of town for two days and will deliver the check to her office immediately upon his return. REALTOR® Jane decides to keep the listing active in the MLS , but does not make other agents aware that there is already a signed contract and continues to show the property and even receives another offer.

What was she thinking?
There are some agents (and even brokers) that confuse when a property is actually "under deposit" with when they collect the deposit check. It is the signing and delivery of the contract that determines the status of the property.  Legally, once you have a signed contract that property is under contract whether or not the check has been turned over.  The contract is a promise to deliver the check.

Section 5.6 of the SmartMLS Rules and Regulations state that status changes, including final closing of sales, shall be reported to the MLS by the listing broker within 48 hours after they have occurred. Therefore, don't wait for the agent to deliver the check to change the status.

In addition, Section 4(a) of the GHAR Real Estate Purchase Contract states that the buyer has made a deposit to be applied to the total purchase price, subject to collection. Meaning the buyer’s agent should have the check in hand.  Section 6 stipulates Time is of the Essence with respect to payment and states that if any deposit payable is not paid when it is due, and if such failure shall continue for a period of 3 calendar days thereafter, the seller has the right to declare the buyer in default and terminate the contract.

This does not mean the buyer’s agent has 3 days to deliver deposit checks. The checks are due at time of contract for initial deposits and on the due date stated in the contract for second deposits.  If these dates are missed, the buyers are technically in default.  Section 6 provides 3 days for the buyer to cure the default.


REALTOR® Jane Jones encouraged the owner of her new listing to sign a “Withhold from MLS” form that would keep it off the market for a couple of weeks. She was hoping to sell it to her own buyer. Sometimes she uses “Coming Soon” the same way and shows property to her own buyers prior to the activation date. Have you ever done this?

Jane was thinking she could make more money. 

What Jane missed: Withhold from MLS

For Withhold from MLS, no agent can be denied an opportunity to show the property. That amounts to:

  1. Telling buyers they have no right to hire buyer agents, which interferes with agency relationships
  2. It goes against public policy and reduces competition, which could yield a higher price for the seller


What Jane missed: Coming Soon status

The intent of the Coming Soon status is to allow the listing agent to market the property before it is ready to be shown.  Under NO circumstances can exceptions be made to show the property prior to the activation date in the MLS, nor can the activation date, once chosen, be moved to an earlier date.

Holding listings off the MLS should be for reasons beneficial to the seller NOT to the listing agent.

Professionalism tip: Don't be like Jane. An agent cannot encourage a seller to keep the property off the market in order to increase the chances of a double commission, nor should an agent encourage a seller to sign an agreement with that intent.