Code of Ethics Case Studies
Case #13-2: Use of Standard Purchase Contract Form
REALTOR® A, as the exclusive agent of Seller B, sold a small commercial property to Buyer C, filling in the blanks in the standard purchase contract form. At the time REALTOR® A presented the contract for Buyer C's signature, he explained that the contract was prepared by attorneys and was commonly used in the area. He suggested that Buyer C have his attorney review it. Buyer C said he would read it over carefully, and if he had any questions he would consult an attorney about it. He subsequently signed the contract, saying it was clear and satisfactory to him.
At the closing, Buyer C professed to having been under some misunderstanding as to language in the contract regarding the date of possession of the property, and following the closing Seller B complained to the Board of REALTORS® that he had been greatly embarrassed by this circumstance at the closing and felt that REALTOR® A was at fault in preparing a contract without having an attorney participate in the drafting.
At the hearing, REALTOR® A reiterated the points that had been made in his written response to the complaint: that the contract he had used was the standard form, prepared by an attorney; that in keeping with Article 13 he had recommended that the buyer have the contract reviewed by his own attorney; and that no other parties present at the closing had found any lack of clarity in the clause in question.
What do you think the hearing panel concluded? Show Answer