Should the agent be listed in the contracts to receive notices?

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A pair of glasses and a silver pen sit on top of a contract.

10/16/2015 | Author: Editorial Staff

Should the agents’ information be inserted in Paragraph 21 of the TREC contracts as the points of contact to receive notices? 

The parties to the contract should consider several factors before deciding what contact information should be inserted in Paragraph 21. 

Time is of the essence in almost all of the notice provisions in TREC contracts. This means they require time-sensitive action. Having an agent as the point of contact to receive notices for his or her client could create delays that may result in the party losing a time-sensitive option or right provided in the contract, such as the Paragraph 23 termination option or the Third Party Financing Addendum for Credit Approval

In addition, the word “notices” in Paragraph 21 has contractual meaning. Giving notice to a party can affect the party’s rights and obligations in several parts of the contract, so care should be taken to provide notices in ways that don’t cause needless delay.  

Some agents are reluctant to put buyers’ and sellers’ contact info in Paragraph 21 because they think direct contact with the other party is forbidden. However, as long as you’re using the contact information to provide notice to the other party, you’re not crossing the boundary of soliciting another agent’s client. 

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Categories: Forms, Legal
Tags: legal, legal faq, forms, contracts, notices


Rick DeVoss on 11/04/2015

@Charles:  ~I think you missed the point.
I have seen many agents leave Paragraph 21 blank.  That would be no different from leaving Paragraph 3 blank.  ~And what kind of a contract would you have then?
The essence of Paragraph 21 is a major portion of the “contract’ between the parties.  >In order to be able to send a notice, one has to have an address to send it to.
Think about it carefully before you fill it in.
...And I still think TREC should take out the “phone number”...

Gregory Charles Nuber on 11/04/2015

In reference to the “fill in every blank on the contract” I don’t agree. How do you handle the check boxes that you do not want checked?
Thank you!

Glenda on 10/24/2015

38 years in RE, one still hasn’t experienced all that could happen if buyer & sellers contact information is placed in paragraph 21 without Broker/agents contact information also included as a cc.

I personally had a Remax Broker/Owner call my buyers into his office, change the contract & have it initialed without ever contacting me.  It was a nightmare to say the least as my buyers were totally confused as to what was happening.  My recommendation is to have a cc sent to you so you can stay in the loop, thus being informed as the sellers/buyers representative at all times.

Rick DeVoss on 10/23/2015

*Again, I am so happy to see that this item was issued on the 16th, and I am just receiving it on the 23rd.  ~Is anyone else having this same problem?

I believe it is a directive of TREC to fill in ALL blanks on the forms we use for contracts.  And if that is the case, then any Agent who fails to fill in Para. 21 is in violation of TREC’s directives.
The seller may be presumed to get his mail at the property address, but that may not be the case.  Therefore, the seller’s agent has the responsibility to put the seller’s desired point of contact in Para. 21.  It may be that either of the parties only wants notices to be sent by email.
Please, can we all agree that you cannot send a written Notice to a “telephone number”...???  Therefore, that line should be removed from the contract, as it does not apply to giving a Notice.
A blank for a Fax number is provided.  Some people have given up using Fax machines.  (...Or am I just aging faster than I thought?)
In most cases where I represent the buyer, I do not want him to receive some formal Notice before I have a chance to explain it to him, and maybe soften the blow.  Too many times, people are emotional about the transaction already, and a formal Notice from the other Agent may just set them into orbit.  ...Since I feel it is my duty to act as the primary communicator with the other party, I want the Notices to come to me first, and then I will be responsible for giving the Notice to my client.
Have we addressed the fact that more than one “address” may be listed in this section?  (an email address AND a USPS address)  ....So then what do you do?  ...Is it the Agent’s responsibility to send the Notice to BOTH addresses, and not just to one?
I have seen cases where only a USPS address is listed in Para. 21, but the other agent ignores it and sends an email anyway, simply because they have been communicating with the other party’s agent by email all along.  ...How many times does the average agent go back and READ the contract after it has been executed?
It may be a good idea to ask for a copy of the Notice to go to the other agent, but how can you be sure you got one if the Notice was not sent to both addresses?
Nine out of Ten times, the buyer (or the seller) will have a serious question about the information in the Notice, and I would prefer to have it in my hands first so I can study it.  ...You will waste time if the Buyer has to send the Notice over to his Agent after he received it.  ...And what if the Buyer fails to tell his Agent that he got a Notice?  ~Precious deadlines could be missed, or the time available for taking action could be shortened.
It still seems there are pro and cons either way you do it.  ~Unless TREC would mandate that you have to send any Notice to both the party and his agent simultaneously.

Shannon Jernigan on 10/23/2015

In regard to posting my clients information on item 21 on the contract, it is my thinking that it is ok to a client of the other party to insure they are informed of a notice that does affect them.  In that regard, I believe that it is unethical and illegal by TREC laws to solicit their business in any manner. Therefor I do not have a problem putting my clients information in item 21 on the contract.
In speaking of the contract, I receive many contracts that do not have the other broker’s license number, address, or much of anything else. To comply to the new TRILA regs, I believe all of this information should be posted to the contract.

James DeBerry on 10/22/2015

The question I have is, if they are left blank on either side, is the contract voidable?

Anita Farr on 10/22/2015

We are not party to the contract.  Our responsibility is to ensure that the transaction runs as stress free for all concerned.  Cooperation temper with caution should be exercised.  At time of contract presentation agent should clarify with the client how notices should be handled.  Listing clients email address, phone numbers, etc. should all be in the contract.  Fear of agent contacting the client is a waste of energy.

Randy Smith on 10/22/2015

Great and best answer? Robert Bragg

Richard Weeks on 10/22/2015

Kristne Baugh great answer.  All these decisions should be the clients.  We simply give our advice and opinion.

Kristne Baugh on 10/22/2015

It’s simple.  ASK YOUR CLIENTS.  Most of mine say email to them with cc to me, which is what I recommend.  A few have said they prefer notices delivered to me because I check email more often.  In that case, I say email to me with cc to them.

David Gloria on 10/22/2015

Personally I put my clients information in there with copy to agent (me). I sure don’t want to have the liability of my client not receiving an important notice because my internet or email server was down, compromised or my mailbox was full or because I was unavailable for some reason. For the other party to contact my client without a valid business reason or without my consent might potentially expose the other party to liabilities.  11:59pm can be a really scary time if Paragraph 21 is blank in the Residential or Farm and Ranch Contract or Paragraph 1 of the Commercial Contracts. For me, it’s just risk management.

Robert bragg on 10/22/2015

I only input my clients mailing address in this location. Not email or phone.

Dr. Ara Minassian on 10/22/2015

I believe we should provide client’s email to protect ourselves. Even if you give the info to the title company, a worker there may still only email you and you think your client received a copy since you provided the info separately.  I do follow up and make sure they read the notices after I have done so.
The down side is, some agents think it’s ok to include the client in negotiation emails. This section is for notices, not negotiations.

Randy Smith on 10/22/2015

Some great and convenient points if the agent was a party to the contract, but the agent is not.  We are but a party to the transaction.  Such correspondence can and should be handled outside the contract.

Richard Weeks on 10/19/2015

Most contracts I see the agent does not put anything in paragraph 21.  If you don’t include the email address I guess the only way to deliver notice is to either mail it, or hand deliver.

Beverly ward on 10/17/2015

Agents should be made aware of notices as buyers, sellers travel
Oot and ooc.  have high stress
Executive jobs and they depend on
Their realtor to keep them current
With deadline dates, etcetera
I do think having buyers and sellers putting their cell and email could
Present contact possibility. But, at inspections, sellers, buyers and inspection co’s are there, with no
Realtors present. I understand why realtors don’t go to inspections, because some realtors are over
Bearing, know more than inspectors, and never stops talking. Know everything. Irritating and
Unprofessional. Compare comments to another sale in the area, etc etc
Notices - I think to represent our sellers and buyers, we should receive notice ...

Shelly Johnson on 10/16/2015

I do not want to make it easy for the other party to contact my clients.  Inevitably, every time I put the phone number or email on the contract, one of the parties contact the other.  My clients don’t like it, and neither do I.

I do, however, provide the title company with the information for my client, so they can make direct contact.

Linda Biggerstaff on 10/16/2015

I’d like to hear opinions on inserting"cc agent” with agent contact info in addition to buyer or seller contact info.  I agree with previous comment on importance of the agent being informed of notices in a timely manner to properly advise the client.  However, would receiving a copy result in the agent incurring any additional legal obligation or liability?

Trish Koehn on 10/16/2015

As the agent for my clients, I see part of my obligation to them as keeping up w/ deadlines, notices, etc., during the transactional process. As such, all notices are made to my clients care of me in my contracts, unless my client requests otherwise.

I see this as part of the service I am providing, and I certainly do not want to miss a notice that needs attention! My clients may not realize that there is any response required or a next step that needs to be taken,  therefore, I am the first point of contact on their behalf. Just one part of providing agency.

As with each transaction, I learn something new every time ... So I would love to hear more feedback on this topic, which may or may not result in a change in the way I go about this part of my job!

Dena Smith on 10/16/2015

Providing a clients email address can reveal more about them than intended.

In one case, simply googling the email address put into notices revealed that one of the buyers was an active licensed agent in another state, which was not properly identified in the offer. Probably because the buyers agent was unaware that his client was a Realtor in another state.

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The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

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