Are listing agents permitted to list a property in MLS for less than what is owed by the seller in an attempt to entice offers, even though the seller cannot accept full-price offers due to the his inability to cover the difference between the full price offer and the amount owed on the property?

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  • Are listing agents permitted to list a property in MLS for less than what is owed by the seller in an attempt to entice offers, even though the seller cannot accept full-price offers due to the his inability to cover the difference between the full price offer and the amount owed on the property?

There are two factors to consider. First, the seller has agreed in the listing agreement between the seller and the listing agent to sell the property for the stated listing price. Technically speaking, if a ready, willing, and able buyer presents an offer for the listing price as advertised in the MLS and the seller refuses or is unable to accept the offer because the seller cannot cover the difference, the listing broker’s fee has been earned and is payable. Second, REALTOR® members are obligated to abide by Article 12 of the Code of Ethics, which requires REALTORS® to be honest and truthful in their communications and to at all times present a true picture in their advertisements. It is perfectly foreseeable that a hearing panel could find a member in violation of the code if that member advertises a listing price in the MLS with the full knowledge and understanding that the seller is unable to accept offers at that price. NAR will soon be considering whether to adopt new rules that would better describe how the status of short-sale properties in REALTOR®-affiliated MLSs should be disclosed.

Source: TAR

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