Must an old version of the Offer to Purchase be presented?

QUESTION: I’ve just gotten an offer on one of my listings. The buyer agent used the July 2012 version of the Offer to Purchase and Contract (form 2-T). I am aware that a new version of the Contract was released effective July 1, 2013 and that we are required to use the new version of a form no more than 60 days after it becomes available. I told the buyer’s agent that I wasn’t going to present the offer because one, it might get us both in trouble for using an outdated form, and two, a contract on the old form probably wasn’t worth the paper it was written on anyway. My question is, did I handle the situation correctly?

ANSWER: No. REALTORS® are required by the real estate licensing law and the Code of Ethics to deliver all offers right away, and the fact that an offer may be made on an old version of the Contract doesn’t relive an agent from this legal and ethical duty. Therefore, we recommend that you deliver the offer you received immediately. You should advise your seller client that there is a later version of the Contract available, but if the seller wants to accept the offer as presented, that’s the seller’s right. The fact that it may be on an older version of the form wouldn’t have any impact on its legal enforceability as between the parties. On the other hand, if the seller wants to counter the offer, it would certainly be appropriate for you to recommend that it be done on the most current version of the form.

By the way, you’re right that NCAR members were supposed to start using the latest version of the Offer form no later than 60 days following its release on July 1st. Members who continue to use the old version are in violation of NCAR’s Forms Policy, which, as you correctly note, provides for a 60-day grace period during which a member can use either the old or the new version of a form. If the member persists in using an old version of the Contract, it’s possible that he or she could get in trouble with NCAR for violating NCAR’s Forms Policy and with the Real Estate Commission too. Although not required, the Offer to Purchase and Contract form is widely used by agents across the state. Depending on the circumstances, an agent who doesn’t recommend use of the latest version of the Contract could potentially be found not to have acted in accordance with the standard of care reasonably expected of a real estate agent under the real estate license law.

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