Dealing With Multiple Offer Situations

When you are buying a home, there are many things that you will worry about. Should multiple offers be one?

It would be nice to live in a world where we had all the time we wanted to make up our mind about what we want. But that isn’t often the case in real estate. Some properties are highly sought after. You often have to be ready to make an offer as soon as possible.

Are there rules to multiple offers? Buyers don’t want to be told there are multiple offers because they believe that the agent is lying to push up the offer. They assume that the seller is simply trying to push up the price.

However, when buyers aren’t told about multiple offers and lose the contract, they look for someone to file a complaint against or sue.

Whether or not the buyers are told about multiple offers is up to the seller. Regardless, the buyer has to sit and wait for a response on the offer. The buyer has no rights when it comes to other offers. He can’t ask to see them or even demand that he be told about them.

The National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics has several Standards of Practice that deal with multiple offers.

The first is that the Realtor should submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as soon as possible. All offers must be submitted until the seller makes a final decision.

“When acting as listing brokers, Realtors shall continue to submit to the seller/landlord has waived this obligation in writing,” says the NAR code.

As far as telling buyers about multiple offers, the NAR instituted the following instructions a few years ago:

“Realtors, in response to inquiries from buyers or cooperating brokers shall, with the sellers’ approval, divulge the existence of offers on the property.”

Pay attention to the “in response to inquiries” and the “sellers’ approval.” Those are the key words.

Sometimes, an offer submission deadline is in place for a property. This usually happens in a seller’s market. Once the offers are submitted, the agent and the seller go over the contracts. Each offer will be presented to the seller, and the seller will hear all offers before making a decision.

The seller can accept or begin making counter-offers on more than one property at a time, but they must set them up in order of preference. They must also make sure they are released from any other offers before finalizing the successful offer. Selling a house twice isn’t a good idea.

When making an offer on a property that has multiple offers, make sure that you listen to your agent for advice. Find out what the buyer is looking for. Ask why they are moving. Do they already have another home lined up? Look for ways that you can sweeten your deal without facing paying a lot more than everyone else.

Multiple offers are a good thing. Buyers often complain that the process isn’t fair. But it really is. It’s not a first come, first serve situation. The seller is looking at what they get from each offer, not the individual.


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