In 2017, the Florida Bar and Florida Realtors made significant changes to the “As-Is” Residential Contract for Purchase and Sale and the FAR/BAR Standard Contract. One of the biggest and more controversial of the changes was the replacement of the phrase “loan commitment” with “loan approval,” and the duties such change imposed on any prospective buyer to keep the seller informed of the loan approval status. The 2017 standard real estate contracts mandated the buyer to inform the seller in writing prior to the expiration of the loan approval period (usually 30 days) if they were unable to obtain loan approval.
Buyers and Sellers of Florida real estate, particularly residential real estate, generally assume that their brokers and agents are working exclusively for them. And though I have no doubt that the vast majority of brokers are ethical, honest and hardworking, the fact is that Florida law provides that all broker relationships are presumed to be “transactional” unless a “single agent” is established in writing (see F.S. 475.275(1)(b)). Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. However a transactional broker’s obligations might not line up with a buyer’s or seller’s expectations.