Why Date and Time Real Estate Documents?

Question:

I received an offer but the signatures on the offer are not dated or timed.  What should I do? Additionally, what other sale documents should I get the parties to date and time?

Answer/Recommendation:

Some of the most common “omissions” on real estate forms are the dating and timing of signatures by buyer and seller.

Chapter 39 of the Louisiana Real Estate Commission Rules and Regulations generally places a duty on agents to time and date offers and counter-offers.  (Please see Chapter 39, Sections 3900 – 3909).

Additionally, agents should ensure that signatures by either party are dated and timed on all documents signed by either party:  this includes addendums, listing agreements, property disclosure forms, dual agency disclosure forms, etc.

Here’s why:

Practically, it will help you keep track of the order of listing agreement, property disclosure form, offer, counter-offer, addendum, etc.

Legally, we had a case in my previous litigation practice where the seller of property alleged his real estate agents never presented the final counter-offer to him.  Seller alleged his real estate agents simply obtained his signature on a blank counter-offer and then forwarded the counter-offer to the Buyer for completion and signature.  Seller alleged he was unaware of the identity of the Buyer of property and the final amount offered (two items that allegedly would have caused the Seller to cancel the contract).

I know this sounds ridiculous, but these allegations tied up the case in the Court System for several years and ran up expensive attorney fees and court costs.

If the Agents had insisted the Seller and Buyer date and time their signatures, then it would have been very easy to establish the Seller signed the final Counter-offer AFTER the Buyer signed the same Counter offer and, thus, the Seller was aware of the identity of the Buyer and the amount of the final Counter offer.  The case might not have even reached the Court system!

In response to the initial question above, it is recommended that you contact the other agent and politely request he/she submit another offer which includes the date and time her clients signed the offer.  If the other agent is being difficult, it might be necessary that you get your Broker involved.

For any questions concerning this email, please email me at rye@tutentitle.com.

H.L. “Rye” Tuten, III, is a Title Attorney/Real Estate Closing Attorney and Owner of Tuten Title & Escrow, LLC. Formerly assigned by RICE Insurance to defend real estate agents throughout Acadiana, much of his more than nine years’ litigation experience is with real estate concerns.