Q: I submitted a great offer on a house and never got a response. I don’t think my offer was presented to the seller – what can I do?

I submitted a great offer on a house and never got a response. I don’t think my offer was presented to the seller – what can I do?Real estate agents are under an obligation to present all offers to their seller client. The Realtor® Code of Ethics Standard of Practice 1-6 statesthat offers and counteroffers must be submitted as objectively and as quickly as possible. However, not all real estate agents are Realtors® and required to abide by the Code. However, 254 CMR 3.00 also requires all agents to present offers and states: “All offers submitted to brokers or salespeople to purchase or rent real property that they have a right to sell or rent shall be conveyed forthwith to the owner of such real property.”

CCIMLS rules and regulations Section 2.2 requires that “The listing broker must make arrangements to present the offer as soon as possible, or give the cooperating broker a satisfactory reason for not doing so.”, and Section 2.3 states “The listing broker shall submit to the seller all written offers until closing unless precluded by law, government rule, regulation, or agreed otherwise in writing between the seller and the listing broker.”

Despite the requirement that offers be presented, there is no legal obligation to acknowledge receipt or send a formal rejection of an offer, making it seem like your offer is floating out in the great abyss. The only situation in which a real estate professional is exempt from presenting an offer to a seller is if the seller client has provided an explicit instruction to the agent to not present offers that do not meet certain criteria, such as a minimum price.

If you are concerned that your offer may not be presented, or hasn’t been presented at all, the best action you can take as a buyer’s agent is to ask that the seller provide you a formal rejection in writing. That will demonstrate that the offer was presented and the seller chose not to accept those terms. The buyer can then move on, or submit a new offer with different terms.

A buyer may choose to contact the seller directly to inquire as to the status of their offer, but it is likely that this course of action will ruffle some feathers. If a seller wishes to work with a buyer directly, they would not have hired an agent.

A last resort, if you are truly convinced that the listing agent has withheld your offer, is to file a complaint with your local Realtor® Board or the Board of Registration. This is not an option to take lightly, but is available if necessary.