A term left blank in a contract does not automatically equal a zero value, nor that the section is not part of the contract. Instead, a blank item would most likely be deemed ambiguous. When courts come across ambiguous language or terms in a disputed contract, the court may insert a reasonable term based on the facts and circumstances. If the parties cannot come to a resolution about what the term or value should be, a court would have to decide the value of that term for them.
To best protect the parties to the contract, all terms should be carefully reviewed and addressed. For example, if the paragraph says to check only one box, make sure only one is checked. Avoid leaving anything blank, and if a blank requires a dollar amount, don’t use market or TBD.
Good information, I really wish Realtors would fill in all blanks. Some who don’t cross their t’s or dot their i’s will complain when i send back asking for initials to the changes (blanks i’ve filled in).
I will not leave blanks empty in a contract.
An irrelevant blank may be left blank.
Mike, apparently none of the blanks are considered ‘irrelevant’ otherwise the court wouldn’t have a problem and therefore this rule would not have come into play. This is exactly the kind of thinking that gets agents into trouble (as well their client).
The reason we don’t fill in the blanks is that TAR about 8 years ago said that if it is blank it is non-operative. Now things are changing.
Could you let me know where this guidance was? I have an older contract with terms left blank re HOA.
I suggest entering ‘0’ followed by the word (Zero) in parenthesis to leave no doubt whatsoever that no monies will be paid/charged. Where an item is not applicable enter the tranditional ‘N/A’
TAR’s opinion leaves something un-addressed: ~What is a Real Estate Agent supposed to do when filling out a contract…? A Realtor has a responsibility to his or her client, and really, to both parties in the transaction. Ambiguous issues, such as blank blanks, have no place on a contract, and could serve only to cause a problem down the road. Perhaps it stems from lack of education, or maybe it’s just laziness, but a Licensed Agent/Broker has no business setting up the parties to have a legal problem later on. The “blanks” were put in the promulgated contracts for a… Read more »
You can hit the space bar and type what is needed for any blank in zipforms. No need to print out & waste paper. Hope that helps.
Excellent synopsis – there is no room for blanks left in any real estate contract
Well said, Rick! As an Instructor, I try hard to make my students understand this and encourage them to leave no blanks. With the software (zipForms, for instance) you can type N/A in a numeric field if you press the space bar first. The field will change color and then you can enter whatever you want.
Again, I have a real problem with the way this educational tool is being used by TAR. Any Realtor who reads the Opinion that TAR posts in these articles does not get the benefit from reading the comments of other Brokers & Agents. ~Unless you click on “Comment on this issue”, a licensee will never see the remarks that have been posted by other Brokers. …And some of them may be more important than the original posted opinion, even if they didn’t come from an attorney… ~Why can’t the IT guy fix this formatting problem? …So that every person who… Read more »
Rick DeVoss, when I opened the article to read the whole article on website the comments were there as well.
When I opened the email on my phone the comments were already there for me to see.
My question on this topic is with the buyer rep agreement. Under Broker Fees: I leave blank because I never know if commission will be 1%, 2.5%, 4%, 5% or if there’s a bonus involved. I would never let my buyer’s make up the difference if it’s not 3%? That’s just wrong and not the way I have done business for 15 years. Then WHY are we getting this now from TAR?
I always put as offered! Then it ties directly to what is offered in MLS or by the builder!
I put the most common amount of commission offered in the mls & then depend on paragraph 11.D. that states we may retain additional compensation in addition to the specified commission in 11.A.
I also put in special provisions that the buyer will not pay any commission.
This post really floored me. You leave broker fees blank? So, you may be agreeing to work for free? What about for sale by owner? What about homes not in your MLS area? What about MLS listings with an offer of 0% for buyer representatives? Without an amount listed in Para 11 of the Buyer’s Rep Agreement, you do not have an agreement with your buyer regarding compensation that you can seek enforcement of in court. TRELA § 1101.806(c) says you must have a written compensation agreement with your client in order to seek enforcement of payment in court. So… Read more »
With respect to your position, Aniko, have you considered stipulating a caveat to amend the agreement should the transaction offer a different commission? That works, you’re still within compliance, and I can’t think of any client that wouldn’t be receptive that solution. Can you?
My question is what does your Broker say to put in the blank? Remember it’s the brokers money and agency agreements. Your broker may have a number or percentage they use as a minimum standard regardless of MLS pay. It’s up to the Broker to decide if they will enforce a deficient or not. Its better to create a parameter in the buyer agreement and go from there. The buyers need to pay is only if you cannot get payment from the seller or other broker (TxR forms)
Exactly how is a blank ambiguous? Both parties purposely fill it 20 blanks and leave 1 blank and their intentions are ambiguous? Don’t think so.
Yes according to Attorneys, and that is who is looking for the blanks not filled in!
Sorry, Russell, but our ‘opinions’ or what we ‘think’ does not matter. We have a higher authority to whom we are accountable. If you persist in your argument, might you consider getting your law license in which to legislate. Meanwhile, listen up and do accordingly for the sake of those you represent.
a blank in a contract = “none noted” in an appraisal
How do you insert a $0 (ZERO) in a blank in Zipforms? I’ve tried everything seems like.
Cheyenne, click on the blank, then hit the space bar, and then you can type in a 0 or the word Zero.
Hit the space bar and it will let you type as normal.
When in grade school, I remember our teacher instructing us to fill in ALL blanks of our test even if we didn’t know the answer. She said, if you don’t know the answer then write in Peanut Butter. At least that way I know you did not overlook the question. How does this apply? Same thing. When we leave something blank, it’s assumed it’s been overlooked. Shame on the agent representing their client who would so carelessly overlook ANY part of the contract that is purposed to have an impact on the principal. Great article. Thank you VERY much! Hopefully,… Read more »
So if an agent sends me an offer that has blanks, and I fill in the blanks with NA, do all parties then need to initial beside every blank that has been filled in? It seems that this would create very messy looking contracts, and agents who overlook blanks may be very likely to overlook having their clients initial beside all of those filled-in blanks.
Dina, when I get a contract that is missing information, I email the buyer’s agent and ask them to re-do it and send me a clean contract. I hate a marked up contract and with the electronic platforms there is no reason to have one. If the agent can’t take the time to do it properly, they need to find another line of work. This is a very important and costly transaction and deserves the attention to detail any legal document would require.
Filling in all of the blanks on the 1-4 Family in particular would also cut down on the incomplete offers that are frequently sent. It makes one wonder if the Agent is so busy they don’t have an extra 10 minutes to do it correctly. But would that be an excuse???
We’ve been taught in LEGAL classes for the 20 years I’ve been in RE, not to type anything in the blanks, unless we were utilizing that space. Now all the sudden – why the change?
Thank you for this helpful information on the consequences on leaving a contract term blank. It’s great to have reliable information. Keep up the good work!