NAR Code of Ethics Standard of Practice 1 – 15
“REALTORS®, in response to inquiries from buyers or cooperating brokers shall, with the sellers’ approval, disclose the existence of offers on the property. Where disclosure is authorized, REALTORS® shall also disclose, if asked, whether offers were obtained by the listing licensee, another licensee in the listing firm, or by a cooperating broker. (Adopted 1/03, Amended 1/09)“
Standard of Practice 1-15 clearly states that when disclosure is authorized, a listing broker must disclose if any offers have been received on their listing, and that they must disclose if the listing broker has written one of the offers themselves, but only if they are asked. In New Mexico, sellers are given the opportunity to authorize their brokers to disclose by checking the existence box in the NMAR Listing Agreement. Almost all brokers I’ve spoken with across the state readily acknowledge that the existence box on the NMAR Listing Agreement is almost always checked. The prevailing thought seems to be that the checking of the box is a good idea because it allows brokers to answer the question “are there any offers” truthfully, and that this disclosure is in their seller’s best interests,
The implication here, however, is that a buyer or broker seeking cooperation must ask, and if they don’t ask, the listing broker has no obligation to disclose. This is questionable, because as listing brokers who are truly working on behalf on their sellers know, disclosure of the existence of offers usually elicits better offers for their seller clients. So the existence of offers, when the box is checked, should be made known even if the buyer or cooperating broker doesn’t ask as long as the seller agrees to this strategy.
Please read the following article and be ready to answer a few questions on the quiz at the end of this unit: https://magazine.realtor/law-and-ethics/ethics/article/2018/03/staying-mum-on-multiple-offers
Of course, in the rare cases that the existence box is not checked, if a buyer or their broker ask about the existence of offers and the listing broker refuses to answer, the listing broker is not necessarily acting unethically. Their seller may not have authorized them to disclose for some reason.