Off-Market Transactions

by Steve Meyers

June 23, 2017

Real estate brokers occasionally receive a request from sellers or buyers to simply “write-up” the transfer of real property on our state approved real estate forms.  This can occur between family members, friends and acquaintances, landlords and tenants, for-sale-by-owners, etc.  Unfortunately, simply “writing-up” the transaction on those forms is against Washington State Rules and Regulations and State Supreme Court Rulings.  This can expose the broker, and agency, to significant liability.  Additionally, the agencies Errors and Omissions Insurance may not cover the defense of, or judgement against, the broker or agency. This is considered the unauthorized practice of law.

Only as a continuation of providing “significant or substantial real estate services” to the seller or a buyer can a broker complete the proper forms for the transfer of real property.  “Significant or substantial real estate services” are not clearly defined by the State.  I encourage you to perform several of these services, at a minimum;

  • Prepare a thorough Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) and deliver it to the buyer and/or seller.
  • Encourage and document your recommendation to have a full Home Inspection of the real property. If there is a full Home Inspection, work closely with the buyer and seller to resolve any issues that may be identified.
  • Work with the seller and the Title Company to resolve any issues that come up with the transfer of the title. Conference call with the seller and the Title Officer.
  • On behalf of the seller, confirm with the buyers’ lender that the buyer has been properly pre-approved for the loan.
  • Provide a Net Sale Proceeds Worksheet to the seller and the buyer.
  • Properly complete the NWMLS Form 47 – Seller Representation Agreement (No Marketing – Sale to Identified Buyer).

As the broker involved, you should provide as many services as possible to the seller and/or the buyer to protect yourself and the agency from future liability.

If you have comments or questions about this article, please email me at

If you would like to read other real estate articles I’ve written, go to my web site at and click on the “Articles I’ve Written” tab.


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