Steve Ryan, MAR General Counsel
Margy Grant, MAR Associate General Counsel
Q. I am a listing agent and have shown a listing to a buyer customer twice. Further I have put them in touch with an attorney and a mortgage officer. I specifically asked if they were working with a buyer agent and they said “We were working with one for a while, but not recently.” I just received an offer from a buyer agent on their behalf with a note that said “thanks I will take it from here.” Do I have to present the offer? If so can I amend the offer to strike the cooperating firm’s name?
A. Yes, you do need to present the offer. Under Massachusetts license law you are required present all offers regardless of commission disputes and no, you cannot amend an offer that has been executed by a buyer. If the offer to purchase simply lists them as the cooperating broker then you are only obligated to compensate them if they are the procuring cause of the sale. That being said, it is important to distinguish an offer which lists the cooperating broker seeking compensation from you from an offer whereby the buyer asks the seller to compensate them directly as a term of the sale.
For example: if the offer states that the seller will pay the buyer agent a specific fee then that is a term of the sale the same as if they were asking the seller to fix the leaky roof. If the seller signs this offer they have agreed to pay the fee requested in the offer regardless of whether they are the procuring cause. If this is the case, and you do not intend to reduce your fee from the seller in the amount requested, it is essential that you educate your seller client of this ramification.
Q. I am a new agent and have developed a new website to promote myself and my services. I have just been told by my broker that she wants the company’s full name on the website; however, I feel this would take away from the quality of the website. She says it is a law. Do I have to comply?
A. Yes, your website is a form of advertising and therefore, 254CMR 3.00 (9)(a) states as follows: "No broker may advertise real property to purchase, sell, rent, mortgage or exchange through classified advertisement or otherwise unless he/she affirmatively discloses that he/she is a real estate broker. No broker shall insert advertisements in any advertising publication or other means where only a post office box number, telephone, facsimile, electronic mail number or street address appears. All advertisements shall include the name of the real estate broker." The regulation goes on to state that salespersons are prohibited from advertising property under their own name.
Further, your broker is legally responsible for all the content on that website even though it is developed and maintained by you. If the broker has other policies regarding website advertising you are required to comply with them.