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October 09, 2018 • Stay Connected!

QUESTION:  If an offer is written and it has the title and closing listed as ABC Title but does not have a specific escrow / closer officer listed. Would it be considered a counter offer if the listing agent or seller added in the space provided a specific escrow closer officer that works for the title and closing company?

ANSWER:  It could be interpreted as a counteroffer because the form says that any modification to buyer's offer other than a correction of seller's name or FIRPTA response is a counter. However, this answer must be conditioned on the reason broker is asking the question.
If broker represents a seller who is contemplating accepting buyer's offer and adding the name of the escrow officer to the face of F21, it would be wise for seller to recognize that buyer may treat this as a counter and reject the counter. If seller is willing to give this buyer the opportunity to walk away by countering buyer's offer rather than accepting buyer's offer, then seller should add the closer's name. If seller is not willing to give buyer the right to walk away, then seller should simply accept buyer's offer without adding a closer's name. If adding the closer's name is important to seller, then seller will have to weigh the comparative importance of adding closer's name versus giving the buyer the right to walk away and decide how seller wants to proceed.
However, if broker is asking this question from the position of a buyer who is attempting to avoid an otherwise binding contract by arguing that seller "countered" buyer's offer by adding a closer's name, then broker should advise buyer to seek legal counsel. Broker is not licensed nor insured to advise a buyer as to buyer's right to terminate or avoid a contract on this basis. Buyer may successfully avoid a contract by timely asserting that seller countered and buyer is choosing not to accept seller's counter and thus, terminating negotiations. However, depending on all surrounding circumstances, including the length of time that passed and the actions of both parties between the time of seller's "counter" and buyer's decision not to proceed, it is possible that a court could conclude that the parties formed a contract and buyer cannot avoid the contract on this basis. This broker must advise buyer, in writing, to seek legal counsel.


The Legal Hotline Lawyer does not represent Washington REALTORS or its members. To browse through our database of past Q & A's, visit Attorney Annie Fitzsimmons writes the Legal Hotline Question and Answer of the Week. Please submit questions to or leave a message at 800.562.6027. Please include your NRDS number.

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Last Call for Committee Requests!
The deadline for committee request applications is October 15th. Network and contribute to the decision-making process by applying for a Washington REALTORS® Committee. There are several committees, work groups and task forces to choose from. Apply today!
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(Source: Inman News) While prices seem to be moderating (at least in some markets), mortgage rates are still inching higher, eliminating any benefit would-be buyers might see from a price break. Even so, people are still intent on owning a home, according to a new study.
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What Buyers Should Ask After a Home Inspection
(Source: REALTOR® Magazine) Home inspectors are bound to uncover something in a home; no home is perfect. But the majority of the problems they uncover will likely be minor. Have the home inspector clarify which problems fall within the “minor” or “major” categories.
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Primary Mortgage Rates Survey
(updated every Thursday)  Source:  Freddie Mac
  October 4, 2018       30-yr FRM  15-Yr FRM  5/1-Yr ARM
 Average Rates  4.71%  4.15%  4.01%
 Fees & Points  0.4
 Margin  N/A  N/A  2.76

  September 27, 2018       30-yr FRM  15-Yr FRM  5/1-Yr ARM
 Average Rates  4.72%  4.16%  3.97%
 Fees & PointsHTML  0.5
 Margin  N/A  N/A  2.76

  September 20, 2018       30-yr FRM  15-Yr FRM  5/1-Yr ARM
 Average Rates  4.65%  4.11%  3.92%
 Fees & Points  0.5
 Margin  N/A  N/A  2.76

  September 13, 2018       30-yr FRM  15-Yr FRM  5/1-Yr ARM
 Average Rates  4.60%  4.06%  3.93%
 Fees & Points  0.5
 Margin  N/A  N/A  2.77

Date Class Location CE  
11-OCT NAR Code of EthicsVancouver3.0More info...
16-OCT Instructor Development WorkshopOlympia15.0More info...
17-OCT OSCARPort Townsend4.0More info...
17-OCT Red Flags in RE TransactionsPort Townsend 3.5More info...
18-OCT  NAR Code of Ethics Webinar Live Webinar 3.0 More info...
23-OCT Draft Like a LawyerTukwila15More info...
24-OCT NAR Code of EthicsPuyallup3.0More info...
25-OCT NAR Code of EthicsLive Webinar3.0More info...
01-NOV NAR Code of EthicsWalla Walla3.0More info...
05-NOV NAR Code of EthicsKennewick3.0More info...

More Classes →

Washington REALTORS® will host COE Webinars starting in August to assist members with completing the mandatory training. Don't wait until the last minute, though! These webinars are capped and they fill up fast...