Is Your Agent One of the Multiple Bidders on The Home You Want?

Real Estate Agent with Integrity Real Estate Group

Is Your Agent One of the Multiple Bidders on the Home You Want?The buyer was ticked.  Actually that is putting it mildly and not the word they used but it will suffice for a public blog.

The reason?  A few months ago they had made an offer on a property in Prince William County VA and their agent told them the property had multiple offers and theirs was not selected.  Okay it happens and so they went on to look at other properties before putting their search on hold during the cold snowy winter.

Fast forward to this week and they call me to help them start their home search again.  The first question they asked me was I currently investing in real estate in our area?   Why I asked? 

It seems the home they had made an offer on recently reappeared in the MLS now advertised as remodeled, upgraded, spiffed up and ready for a new owner.   But wait the listing agent on the property is their former agent.  Curious they went to the Prince William County tax records and find not only is the agent the listing agent but they are also the owner.


Say what?  They present an offer through the agent, don’t get the property but the agent does?  There are two sides to every story and all I have is the prospective buyer’s one.  I can certainly see in the MLS what the agent paid but don’t know anything about the terms of the buyers offer or how many other offers there were on the home.

However the situation raised an interesting question.

As an agent should you disclose to a buyer your interest in investing in the same property they want to buy?

It would seem to me to be the ethical thing to do.   What would you do?

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If you are interested in learning more about the Northern Virginia Real Estate market including Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William Counties give Cindy Jones and Integrity Real Estate Group a call at 703-346-2213.

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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Kate-you  make perfect sense.  I have also looked at property and said if my client doesn't buy it I will.  I have my eye on a place now that if my clients decide against it then I certainly will make an offer on it.

Lou-they may have and it will be up to the first agents broker and or local assocation to determine whether that is true or not.

Mar 21, 2010 06:54 AM #12
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Melinda-it doesn't seem that it should work both ways.

Carla-I do thing the gist of it comes down to did they get full representation from the first agent?

Jackie-I would as well.  If this plays out to a complaint I will update the post.

Mar 21, 2010 06:56 AM #13
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg IL Real Estate - Northwest Suburbs of Chicago - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Homes

Cindy, in fact we just went thru a rider that covered this very topic & it's need to be disclosed. Like Margaret above, we're in IL.

Mar 21, 2010 09:35 AM #14
Carra Riley
Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd - Westminster, CO

Cindy...Absolutely the agents interest in the property should be disclosed.  How can you represent a buyer on a property you are attempting to buy.  Doesn't sound like you would have the buyers best interest in mind.

cosmic cow

Mar 21, 2010 09:54 AM #15
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


The agent was out for themselves and got caught.  I believe they owe it to the client to disclose.  They are not treating their client like a client.  

I have joked with clients that the house we are looking at is a great deal, and if they don't buy it, I will.  Would absolutely never do that without their full knowledge.  

All the best, Michelle

Mar 21, 2010 10:11 AM #16
Tere Rottink
CoastalVa Realty Inc - Virginia Beach, VA


I happen to be in this exact situation at this time.  I took an investor to look a properties on Friday, and we found two good deals.  I informed him that if he did not bid or purchase on the one  house, I would be writing my own offer.  I am still waiting to see if I write the offer for him or for my self. If he chooses not to write an offer, I will be bringin my partner to look at the deal, and decide if it is a good deal for me. 

I can not imagine not telling my client that this is a good deal.  He makes the final decision.  To do otherwise would be unethical.




Mar 21, 2010 10:24 AM #17
Marcie Sandalow
Marcie Sandalow Evers & Company Real Estate 301.758.4894 - Bethesda, MD
Bethesda Chevy Chase DC real estate

Wow.  I've been involved in situations where multiple clients want to put an offer in on the same place.  I take the first one to speak up, and refer the others to a colleague.  I don't want anyone thinking that they aren't getting fair representation. 

I don't know what the agent in your example was thinking.  It's wrong on so many fronts.  Sadly, most consumers don't have the time to dig for the truth, enabling these cheats to continue their sorry practices.  This one got caught.  I imagine it wasn't the first time. 

Mar 21, 2010 10:25 AM #18
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Cindy: Another ugly disclosure issue.  This is one that certainly should have been disclosed to the buyers that this agent represented. 

Mar 21, 2010 11:09 AM #19
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I would have referred the client to another agent and told the client I was making an offer on the property for myself. And I would have added that they might want to forget about trying to buy that particular property because in the event of multiple offers,  I'll probably win. LOL.

Mar 21, 2010 11:13 AM #20
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

This is as bad as it gets for the reputation of our industry. I sure hope you will investigate and let us know if we have the full story.

Mar 21, 2010 01:40 PM #21
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Lynn-it would seem to me that it should be disclosed as soon as the agent decides to make an offer.

Carra-I would think the conflict of interest would be HUGE.

Michelle-I've joked the same way too.  The difference is I haven't followed through and left them in the lurch.

Mar 21, 2010 06:31 PM #22
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Tere-it sounds as if you have a solid understanding of the right way to handle the situation.

Marcie-I'm not spending my time looking to see whether this agent has additional properties they have purchased.  It is up to the buyer to decide what the next course of action will be (if any)

Chris Ann-it seems so logical but as we both know logic seems to have gone out the window in this market.

Mar 21, 2010 06:33 PM #23
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Elizabeth-chances are we do have an advantage in making offers.  There are still some good deals out and about these days.

Tom-since I was not involved in the transaction I am not going to do any further investigation.  I'm leaving that in my new clients hands to determine if they wish to pursue any action.

Mar 21, 2010 06:35 PM #24
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX Solutions - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

Cindy, if the agent had an employment agreement with the buyers, I would think they would have a fudiciary responsibility to disclose to the buyer.  Not passing judgment, but sounds like the agent got a little greedy.

Mar 21, 2010 07:36 PM #25
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Clearly a case where the buyer should make a written complaint to the Virginia Real Estate Board, DPOR, AND to the Board of Realtors. 

But, you know and I know that they probably will not.



Mar 22, 2010 01:17 PM #26
Cynthia Larsen
Safe Haven Realty - Cotati, CA
Independent Broker Serving Sonoma County, CA

This agent should have done two things differently.  1) disclosed to the buyer that they were intending on bidding on the house.  2) refer the buyers to a different agent for that property only.  That agent should lose his/her license, what they did was SO wrong.

Mar 22, 2010 03:59 PM #27
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

I would NOT allow any agent in my office to behave that way. Seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen. If you want the house, refer the buyer out to someone else.

Mar 22, 2010 06:10 PM #28
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Kay-i put the situation in the entire questionable category.


Lenn-I would agree but it is up to the buyer to decide if they want to puruse a course of action.

Cynthia-it isn't a scenario I would like to find myself in with clients.

Erica-I would agree.  I referred buyers once when I had multiple buyers interested in the same property.  There was no way I could represent both.

Mar 23, 2010 05:58 AM #29
Carol Culkin
Reece & Nichols - Leawood, KS
Overland Park

Oh my!  I can't imagine why this agent would not have turned the buyer over to another agent in the office or the managing broker under these circumstances. Even if it's not against any of the rules, I would not feel ethical bidding against a buyer who I represent.  If it keeps you up at night's not right. And, I can't imagine any agent with good morals NOT being up at night thinking about this situation playing out. 

Mar 30, 2010 09:23 PM #30
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Carol-I agree 100%.  It doesn't seem like good practice at all.

Dedra-certainly there are clear responsibilities and in my opinion the agent violated them.  However that is only my opinion and the buyer is pursuing their options on a complaint.

Mar 31, 2010 07:11 AM #32
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