Q: When receipting a contract and earnest money, is it acceptable to receive and/or deliver an option fee?
A: Delivery by the Realtor to the title agent does not constitute delivery for purposes of establishing an option period under the TREC promulgated 1-4 Single Family Contract. There is no bright line TREC rule prohibiting such an act by the Realtor, nor a TDI regulation prohibiting the title agent’s involvement. The act of agreeing to take on such responsibility may create liability on the part of the title agent. In the event an agent chooses to assist in the delivery of the option fee to the Seller or Seller’s agent, the agent should require the Realtor to execute a hold harmless. The hold harmless should provide a separate disclaimer/receipt stating they are not responsible for late delivery or method of delivery, nor for any claims that may be asserted by the seller for default versus termination in the option period. Continue to provide exceptional customer service when and where you can, but try not to place yourself into the mix of actions that are specifically listed within the contract to be performed or not performed by buyers, sellers and their agents.