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Duty to Cooperate: Do They Have to Call Me Back?

A listing agent told a buyer’s agent that they’d call back to follow up. But they didn’t. Is there a cooperation requirement that says an agent should always return calls and texts?

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dear Joey: We’re all extremely busy in this market, however, I recently had a situation: I contacted a listing agent who said they would follow up with me, but never actually did. Don’t we have a duty to cooperate with one another? – Busy Agent

Dear Busy Agent: As you know, the real estate profession is moving fast and very busy. However that does not eliminate the duty to cooperate per the Code of Ethics. So, yes, all Realtors have a duty to cooperate with one another.

Per the Code of Ethics, Article 3 states, “Realtors® shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is not in the client’s best interest. The obligation to cooperate does not include the obligation to share commissions, fees or to otherwise compensate another broker.”

Moreover, Standard of Practice 3-10 states, “The duty to cooperate established in Article 3 relates to the obligation of share information on listing property, and to make property available to other brokers for showing to prospective purchasers/tenants when it is in the best interests of sellers/landlords.”

With that in mind, your unfortunate scenario of a listing agent not reaching back to you, there isn’t a direct reference that states every communication must be followed up. But if a listing agent blatantly refuses to reply to any request for communication, they could be leaving themselves open to an Article 3 violation, based on the concept of “How can we cooperate with one another without any communication from one side?”

Real estate is a relationship and networking-based business. At the end of the day, it would be in everyone’s best interest to reply to as many texts, emails or calls as you can. It is also important to note, that everyone communicates differently and some more than others may be inundated with communications regarding multiple listings, with multiple offers.

Try to be courteous to one another, as you’ve all been there before when communications get backed up. But always, remember you have a duty to cooperate and when you do – great things can happen.

Joey Sale is the Director of Local Association Services for Florida Realtors

Note: Advice deemed accurate on date of publication

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