The SC License law states that it is the duty of the agent to make sure that all offers and counteroffers are in writing and that any changes or modifications made during negotiations are initialed and dated by the parties prior to proceeding with the transaction.
Verbal offers and counteroffers can cause confusion, particularly regarding the timing of acceptance or any changes to the initial offer. Since the purpose of the license law is to protect the public, having all changes initialed and dated by the parties results in a higher level of protection.
If you will treat every counteroffer as a new offer (which it actually is), then all the terms and conditions of the new offer are to be in writing so there is no misunderstanding.
Byron King, SCR attorney, states the following in Legal FAQ’s:
- Listing reps and buyer reps should avoid verbal offers/counteroffers.
- Listing reps and buyer reps should avoid text messaging offers/counteroffers.
- Listing reps and buyer reps should include an email signature that states their email does not create a binding contract on their party unless the written agreement signed in ink or electronically signed by their party is attached/embedded as an image or PDF of the paper/electronic agreement document.
The BIC is the ultimately responsible party to see that adherence to the law takes place. Training associates and requiring written agreements will reduce risk and increase compliance.