advertising For Sale before you own it

Is it illegal to advertise a property For Sale before you own it?

If you have a contract on it, then no it is not illegal.

Do you mean a purchase contract and if not that a listing contract?

Maybe I am too trusting but have a seller who is going to be auctioned off next Weds and I have posted the info on a REI site locally to sell it and I don’t have any contract on the property. Can I get in trouble?

Thanks Fadi,

How about a recorded/unrecorded option?

I’ve advertised for sale before owning it. I just didn’t include the address in the ad. I described the property and priced it out for what I would sell it for. When I received a bunch of phone calls on it, I knew it would probably be safe to buy it. I had only bought one property in this particular city and it was a few years ago. So I wanted to make sure there was a market for this small town.

You’ll be OK as long as you disclose the situation to your buyers and let them make the choice to continue the transaction. The problem is they can just bypass you and go right to the owner unless you have it under contract yourself.

It may depend on the state, but my understanding is that it clearly violates the rules of most MLS and Realtors can be suspended for listing homes without the Seller/Owner approval. And it may violate the law too.

FSBO are more gray and easier to hide by not listing specifics but I do think it is illegal. It may be ok if you have a signed PA but that is still not binding and the transaction may not happen.

If he has no contract on it and does not have a license, then he would be considering practicing real estate without a license (if caught) though.

Yes you can with an option since you have the right to buy it, I would check state laws though… since you said you’re licensed, you are fine since you can collect a commission although your broker may expect his cut if acting as an agent.

In Ohio you are required to be a Realtor to sell property for other people. There are of course exceptions to this law, such as being the owner of the property you are selling, or being a family member, or designated to do so such as a trustee or attorney.

As a Realtor you are required by law to have a listing agreement on any property before you are allowed to list a property for sale.