Time Is Of The Essence

Whether you weekends or not!

Let’s face it, being a real estate agent comes with its own unique set of challenges; finding new buyers and sellers, negotiating repairs, advising a party what is best for them as far as Repair Procedure or Due Diligence, and time itself just to name a few!

Clearly there are many more challenges that we face but let’s take the challenge of time and break it down.

I recently had a conversation with a seasoned agent who had placed an offer on a property on a Friday afternoon. The offer expiration was set for approximately 9:00pm on Saturday (The following day). Making a long story very short the other agent contacted the buyer agent back on Tuesday of the following week to discuss a counter-offer. When asked why it took the the listing agent so long to get back with the buyer’s agent, the listing agent responded with the following comment, “I don’t work weekends.”

Wait! What? There was an offer from a ready, willing, and able buyer that had an expiration and the response was “I don’t work weekends?” So the contractual statement found in section 1 sub-section (F) – “Time” – all time stated shall be South Carolina local time. Time is of the essence with the respect to all provisions of this contract stipulating time, deadline, or performance periods means nothing??

Now let’s look at this from a different perspective. Did the seller violate or breach the contract? The answer is “No”…the seller did not Breach the contract because at the time, there was no contract in place; only an offer which means there was no meeting of the minds.

But what does SC Real Estate License Law say about this?

40-57-350(C)(1) On reaching a written agency agreement to provide brokerage services for a seller of real estate, a seller’s agent shall: (b)seeking a sale at the price and terms stated in the brokerage agreement or at a price and terms acceptable to the seller, except that the real estate brokerage firm is not obligated to seek additional offers to purchase unless the brokerage agreement provides otherwise while the property is subject to a contract of sale; (ii) presenting in a timely manner all written offers and counteroffers to and from the seller, even when the property is subject to a contract of sale;

H’mmmm – a timely manner? So how is that defined? Well, an attorney I am not nor do I play one on TV. So let’s find out from Merriam-Webster. “Timely” – (1) Especially suitable for a certain time or (2) Done, carried out, or given without delay.

Okay, Okay, Okay…is this REALLY an issue. I mean, Real Estate agents deserve a “Day Off” as well don’t we? Especially on a holiday weekend, right?

Well, let’s look at the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics, which by the way, if you are paying your fees to NAR, SCR, and your local Association, and you earned the title of being a REALTOR®; you raised your right hand and swore to uphold this document which separates you from among those that simply have a real estate license.

When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve REALTORS® of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, REALTORS® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly. (Amended 1/01)

Standard of Practice 1-6

REALTORS® shall submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly as possible. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/95)

So we are in the year 2020. We have all sorts of technology to allow us as agents to NOT violate License Law or the Code Of Ethics. I would even go so far to say that there are very few excuses that an agent would have to NOT present an offer as quickly as possible.

But what if you “don’t work weekends?”

Based upon the above SC License Law and the Code of Ethics, there is literally NO grey area here. License Law and the Code of Ethics are both “no respecter of persons.” All REALTORS® are treated as equal.

If you decide to NOT work weekends, it would be very prudent of you to hire another licensee to take care of your business on the weekend(s).

Honestly, this is one of the benefits of being on a team. Team members can take turns working weekends and allowing other members of the team to “take off”.

Oh, you thought this BLOG was going to be about the Parties of the contract and how they can default through time is of the essence built in the contract? Sorry to disappoint you….unfortunately as a Broker-In-Charge, I have found that a high percentage of the time it is the agent(s) that is the cause of the delay, not the parties!

Be careful with this. Make every effort to do things as “quickly as possibly” as the COE states. Violating “time” can cost you….BIG Time – whether you work weekends or not!

Until next time friends ~ MLT

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