whats the real dealRecently we’ve received inquiries from members who have submitted full price offers to listing agents only to have the seller counter at a higher price than what is listed in the MLS. The listing agent states that the seller won’t accept anything less than the higher countered price, despite the lower price listed in the MLS, and the price is never changed in the MLS. 

If a seller is directing their agent to list their property at a price they have no intention of accepting, it is our opinion that this is a questionable practice that could be found to be in violation of Article 2 of the National Association of REALTORS®, (NAR), Code of Ethics which requires REALTORS® to “avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts relating to the property” and Article 12 which requires that REALTORS® “shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations”.

As well, and more importantly, this could be seen by the New Jersey Real Estate Commission, (NJREC), as a violation of the New Jersey Real Estate License law, NJSA 45:15 – 17 paragraphs a, c, and e which state that:

The commission may place on probation, suspend for a period less than the unexpired portion of the license period, or may revoke any license issued under the provisions of R.S.45:15-1 et seq. , or the right of licensure when such person is no longer the holder of a license at the time of hearing, or may impose, in addition or as an alternative to such probation, revocation or suspension, a penalty of not more than $5,000 for the first violation, and a penalty of not more than $10,000 for any subsequent violation, which penalty shall be sued for and recovered by and in the name of the commission and shall be collected and enforced by summary proceedings pursuant to the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999,” P.L.1999, c. 274 ( C.2A:58-10 et seq. ), where the licensee or any person, in performing or attempting to perform any of the acts mentioned herein, is deemed to be guilty of:

  1. Making any false promises or any substantial misrepresentation; or
  2. Pursuing a flagrant and continued course of misrepresentation or making of false promises through agents, broker-salespersons, or salespersons, advertisements or otherwise; or
  3. Any conduct which demonstrates unworthiness, incompetency, bad faith or dishonesty.  

Your license is far too important and valuable for you to jeopardize by engaging in what is essentially an old-fashioned “bait and switch” marketing method by sellers and their listing agents who engage in such a practice. Instead, advise your sellers to list their property at a price acceptable to them. If it is a fair and competitive price based on a well-done CMA, it may very well generate multiple offers at higher prices, but that will be at the buyers’ option, as it should be. 

If have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time.

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