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October 30, 2018 • Stay Connected!

QUESTION:  Form 17 says that buyer has 3 business days from the point the seller or the sellers agent delivers it to buyer to rescind the offer (assuming it’s totally filled in and completed). I represent the seller. So, I have a signed Form 17 (buyer signed section 1, just the receipt) dated 10/15/18. We got mutual acceptance on 10/16/18. When does the buyer's right to terminate, based on receipt of Form 17, expire?

ANSWER:  There is no clear answer to this question and industry lawyers do not agree as to what a court is likely to say in this situation. The Seller Disclosure Act is silent as to the significance of delivery prior to mutual acceptance. It is possible to argue that the statute's silence is significant. For example, the Condominium Act says that the Resale Certificate can be delivered prior to mutual acceptance. The new WUCIOA says that a Public Offering Statement may be delivered prior to mutual acceptance. Significantly, however, the Seller Disclosure Act says that the Form 17 is to be delivered within five days after mutual acceptance. Nothing in the statute contemplates that seller can necessarily count a delivery date, prior to mutual acceptance, as part of buyer's three day rescission period. To the contrary, a contract cannot be rescinded until it exists and a contract does not exist until after mutual acceptance. Since the right granted to buyer by the Seller Disclosure Act is the right to rescind and since the contract cannot be rescinded before the contract exists, does it make sense to say that buyer's rescission right is running at a time when it is impossible for buyer to exercise that right?
On the other side of the argument, however, if a buyer enters a purchase agreement already fully informed based on seller's Form 17, does it make sense to allow that buyer to then terminate the PSA based on information known to buyer prior to entering the PSA. Describing this theory differently, counsel may argue that by entering the PSA after receiving the Form 17, buyer waived the right to rescind the agreement based on the Seller Disclosure Act.
Since there is no clear answer to this question, the Hotline lawyer advocates the most conservative approach possible, depending on who broker represents. If broker represents buyer, broker should assume that buyer's right to terminate is reduced by delivery of the Form 17 to buyer prior to mutual acceptance. However, if broker represents seller, broker should assume that buyer's right to terminate is not reduced by early delivery of the form. But in all cases where a dispute boils down to this question, broker should advise his client, in writing, to seek legal counsel. That is the only advice broker is licensed and insured to give a party in this situation.


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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Primary Mortgage Rates Survey
(updated every Thursday)  Source:  Freddie Mac
  October 25, 2018       30-yr FRM  15-Yr FRM  5/1-Yr ARM
 Average Rates  4.86%  4.29%  4.14%
 Fees & PointsHTML  0.5
 Margin  N/A  N/A  2.77

  October 18, 2018       30-yr FRM  15-Yr FRM  5/1-Yr ARM
 Average Rates  4.85%  4.26%  4.10%
 Fees & Points  0.5
 Margin  N/A  N/A  2.77

  October 11, 2018       30-yr FRM  15-Yr FRM  5/1-Yr ARM
 Average Rates  4.90%  4.29%  4.07%
 Fees & Points  0.5
 Margin  N/A  N/A  2.77

  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

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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...