Form 801 is one of the most misunderstood concepts in real estate. Many agents think the 801 is a requirement for every offer. I am going to clear up, once and hopefully) for all why this is not the case.

The 801 came into being and came to be written into REBBA because back in the day there were agents, if you can believe it, whose noses would grow to pole vault length when they were asked by cooperating agents if they had any other offers on their listing. They would tell a cooperating agent that there were other offers when in fact there were not, obviously for the sole purpose of making the buyers think they were in competition and paying more than they otherwise would have.

The problem was that if your Spidey senses went off and you smelled a rat, there was no way for anyone to prove the listing agent did not have other offers.

RECO introduced the 801 as a way to combat this nefarious and repugnant practice. By implementing the 801, it now was possible to check whether or not there were other offers, and how many.

The confusion lies in the question as to whether or not an 801 is always required. It is not.

The Act says the listing brokerage (ie you) must keep EITHER a copy of every written offer that was submitted (including any signbacks, offers not accepted or signed back, etc) OR, a summary document (the 801) in lieu of the complete offer. Now, if your make a complaint to RECO because you suspect there were fewer offers than you were told there were, RECO can compel the listing agent to provide proof of the number of offers by showing RECO all the offers or the 801’s, or a combination, as the case may be.

These days, with offers for the most part being emailed, you do not need an 801 at all because you have the offer in your email inbox. Again, you need either the offer or the 801, but not both.

If you have a listing, I would suggest opening up a separate inbox folder with the address of the listing as the folder name and keeping all of the emails with the offer attachments in that folder. That way you will have all of the offers including the time stamps on those emails and who sent them available in case RECO ever comes calling.

If we ever get back to presenting offers in person (imagine that!) an 801 may be prudent because a cooperating agent may take the only copy of the offer away with him/her and that offer may never come back, leaving you with no record.

I hope this clarifies the appropriate use of the 801, but, as always, I am here to help with this or any other topic.