My Plan to Change the Real Estate Industry Forever! (Sounds Humble, Right?)

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Austin Texas Homes, LLC 453249

For the past several years, I have had an idea that I think would help to level the playing field a bit for real estate agents in any market.  I have shared this with many of my personal clients, but never publicly...until now.

Consider this: When you are working with buyer clients, and they are interested in making an offer on a property, you then contact the listing agent to let them know, right?  You might request a seller's disclosure, or a survey, or both, along with asking a few other questions.

How many times have you heard one of these phrases from a listing agent at that point:

"We have another offer coming."


"I am expecting at least one other offer."


"I just got another offer.  I will present yours and theirs at the same time."

At this point, you have no proof that any other offers exist, correct?  You must depend on the ethics and honesty of the other agent.  Let's face it - this is awkward sometimes.  I can't even count the number of times that I later figured out that the listing agent was CLEARLY lying about other offers.  In fact, there is one guy here in Austin who is notorious for saying one of the above phrases EVERY time that he gets an offer in hand, so much so that I was able to tell my clients not to even give it a second thought.  Sad commentary, huh?


But how could we solve this, you ask?

Simply put, I think we need a third-party clearinghouse service for offers.  Nothing horribly complex, just a service to track whether a specific property has any current offers in place. 

I think it would be amazing to be able to log in to a simple website, look up a property and see a field with "OFFERS" and perhaps just a number there.  If you see a "0", you would know that the property is fully unencumbered and available.  If you see a number, you can use this to help your clients make the strongest offer that they are comfortable making.

Since there are over 1 million Realtors now (I think), NAR is collecting a ton of money at this point.  This seems like the type of service that should already be included in our dues, in my humble opinion.  At least then I would begin to feel like I was getting some actual value for that payment.

The only objection I can think of from listing agents would be the amount of time involved if you have to register each offer with the service.  I understand this, since it couldn't just be a simple email or text message.  Instead, some valid proof would have to be provided to the third-party service involved. 

Think about this - we could even be heralded for creating new jobs for the staffers of this newly created company!  Real estate heroes!  Additionally, our integrity index with the public would go WAY up, since we would be demonstrating to the world how honest and accountable we now are as an industry, at least with regard to price negotiations.

You would never again have to hear a client say, "I wonder if we could have gotten it for less.  Maybe we offered too much.  I wonder if they even HAD any other offers on the table."

It's just an idea, but I think it has real merit

Thanks for reading! 

UPDATED: After reading some of the comments below, I'm not sure if this would be the perfect method or not, but I do sincerely think a better system could be implemented, giving all of us a leg up in the respect department with consumers. 

A couple of ideas: As Alan May mentioned in his comment, he would be comfortable knowing that the broker in charge had reviewed the offer situation and that the buyer's agent's broker could confirm that directly, including allowing for some extra questions that could be posed.  

I am starting to think that if a third party system of any sort were implemented, the offers should go DIRECTLY to that service first, eliminating the gamesmanship completely (fake offers, etc.).  Keep in mind that this wouldn't create ANY extra work for agents, but everyone would be on a level playing field. 

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Liz Loadholt 02/28/2009 06:34 AM
  2. Bruce Brockmeier 02/28/2009 10:52 AM
  3. Roland Woodworth 02/28/2009 03:54 PM
Real Estate Best Practices
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Ted Jernigan
Ebby Halliday Real Estate - McKinney, TX

An unintended consequence of even telling other agents that you have an offer is discouraging some buyers from making offers. I have had multiple people withdraw offers when we are told that there was another offer. One client said he did not want to bid against himself when asked for his best and final offer. Of course we have the inventory that will allow this kind of behavior.  

Mar 01, 2009 04:46 AM #179
Barb Van Stensel
Chicago, IL

Hey Jason, could there be some validation to the offer so if one clicks one that they have an offer, or were thinking about submitting and offer that there is an automatic fine that is non-reversable for offenders who think it is a game to play with ones listing inventory.  Let me know your thoughts.

Mar 01, 2009 04:47 AM #180
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

Jason, your comment about learning that too many agents are UNETHICAL and that the good ones are in the minority... I believe this is true. Sad but true. In my local dealings, I swear I see more BAD agents than good ones. The ones here active on AR are in the MINORITY I believe. I wish it was not true, but I think it is. 

Mar 01, 2009 05:23 AM #181
Renée Donohue
Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Broker -

Jason our market is REALLY bad right now in the multiple offer arena plus getting a hold of some of these list agents who have several hundred in their listing inventory.  Some of the big ones have outside sites like broker brain to help us out.  Several buyer's agents in town are requesting the MLS to have a button that shows if their are offers on the property to help us decide.  Many banks have mandatory minimum market times on listings so it is really deceiving on what is going on here.

Mar 01, 2009 05:30 AM #182
Monica Bourgeau
New Phase Business Coaching - Portland, OR
Business Coaching

Hi Jason - suggestions are always good. We have the same thing happen to us almost every time we have an offer. It is frustrating to know whether or not there really is an offer.

Mar 01, 2009 06:54 AM #183
Michael Sahlman - Keller Williams Realty - Miami Beach, FL
e-PRO - Miami Beach Florida Luxury Homes

Hi Jason, Love the idea. In Miami there are way too many questionable situations. I believe this phrase is the mantra of some agents. It would be nice to clean up the industry some more. A friend of mine recently said the good thing about real estate is that you don't need a formal education to make money; and the bad thing about real estate is that you don't need a formal education to make money.

Mar 01, 2009 10:29 AM #184
The Rains Team
Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners - Hoschton, GA
A higher standard in real estate

Hey Jason--I absolutely agree with you and love this idea! This is something that NAR should seriously look into finding a way to implement this. Great post!

Have a good night,

Anne Rains

Mar 01, 2009 01:58 PM #185
Zilkia Olmeda-Martins
RE/MAX North - San Antonio - San Antonio, TX
GRI, Realtor, San Antonio Texas Luxury Homes

Hi Jason, I think this is a great idea but don't know how enforceable and effective it would be in practice.  You have no idea how many properties I find that are already under contract but still show up active on MLS.  So much of the information is as good as the source that put it in, and at times the source leaves a lot to be desired.  :-O

Mar 01, 2009 03:27 PM #186
Darren Revell
Keller Williams Realty Temecula Valley - Temecula, CA

Interesting concept.  I really have not had this issue as I insist that I present my offer to the Sellers directly with the Seller's agent there... Then we make the acceptance date within an hour or two of the presentation.  Let them discuss the offer while I wait in the car outside with my Buyer's.  Put it to bed then and there or no deal.  If there is another offer, we present them one right after the other.  If they say there is another offer, find out when they are presenting to the Seller and insist that you are there at the same time to present yours.  If you feel that they really don't  have one, call them on it... then report them and their Broker.. they will only lie once.... Entering in a third party would not allow the Buyer's agent to present to the Seller, which is common practice here... My two and a half cents worth. 

Mar 01, 2009 05:07 PM #187
Libby Cousins
Extraordinary Processing - Spokane, WA
Contract Mortgage Processor, licensed in WA

Wow Jason, so many comments - congrats! Not being a Realtor, this sounds like a pretty good idea to me. I do have to mention though, that any time that you add another "layer" to something, there is more potential for errors or hold-ups, etc. With the new HVCC going into effect, I am finding myself VERY frustrated at the turn time on appraisals and it is difficult to deal with the appraisal management company rather than just deal with the appraiser directly. I know that this is a little different as you don't require them to do anything but verify an offer, but could it somehow cause a delay?

Great thought though and it sounds like you are on your way to figuring it out! It is definitely a hot button with many Realtors!

Mar 01, 2009 05:23 PM #188
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Jason, there was a condo that never sold.  I had a buyer who was more or less interested, and every time I called the agent he would tell me that another offer was about to come in.  Never happened.  My  guy didn't buy the place either.

Mar 03, 2009 03:00 AM #189
Kathie Burby
Coldwell Banker Mother Lode Real Estate - Sonora, CA
REALTOR, SFR, Tuolumne County Real Estate Guide

Jason - It seems you really touched on something. My first thought was what about the seller! Advertising how many offers a property has had or not had seems like a disservice. While I agree I don't like the agents who claim to have offers that really are non-existent I know who those agents are in my area and sounds like you know them in your area. They have lousy sales techniques, so why burden the rest of us with added work? I think most clients understand there are good and bad agents. If you are really set on some kind of clearing house for offers I think it would be best left at the local MLS level rather than at the national level. Anyway, just my thoughts.

Mar 03, 2009 10:52 AM #190
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Ted - You are correct.  This can certainly happen sometimes, but at least those are situations when it's the truth causing it!

Barb - I love this idea, frankly.  I think I may propose something along those lines in our local MLS.

Erica - Sadly, I agree with you.  :)

Renee - It sounds like the easiest and perhaps best solution to this problem.

Kevin and Monica - Thanks for your input!

Michael - I have a similar saying, although on a different topic.  Real estate is not as easy as it seems when you're not doing it, nor as hard as it seems when you are.

Anne - Thanks for your strong words of support!

Zilkia - I guess that's why I would opt to remove the source of the original problem from the equation if possible.

Darren - I haven't ever been present when an offer of mine is presented, although I would love to be there.  It's not common practice in this area.  Thanks for your input!

Libby - I think the quickest solution would be something in the MLS controlled by the buyer's agents who have actually submitted offers.  A button/field accessible only with an MLS login seems like an easy fix.

Pat - It seems like that is simply the modus operandi of a LOT of agents out there, but many times they are just shooting themselves in the foot!

Kathie - I sincerely don't see how telling the truth is harmful to the seller.   I am not recommending that a running tally of offers be maintained, just whether or not there are any CURRENT offers.  I wish I knew all of the dishonest agents here, but I don't.  I have run across a good number of them over the past 12 years, but there are 10,000 agents, with new ones coming in (and some leaving) all the time.  I am not looking to burden anyone with a lot of extra work - what about a button that a buyer's agent could click on within the MLS to indicate that they have placed an offer? 

Mar 03, 2009 02:02 PM #191
George Wilson
Raleigh Cary Realty - Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Cary Realty 919 439 0965

I love this idea! 

It has gotten where I never know whether to believe anyone unless I have worked with them. 

I have never checked to see if there is anything wrong with this but if I have multiple offers or am expecting offers from other agents I let all the agents involved know which agents are involved.  I figure it is better than the agents wondering if I am telling the truth or not if they have never worked with me before.


Mar 03, 2009 02:18 PM #192
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

George - Thanks for your support on this idea!

Mar 03, 2009 02:27 PM #193
Terry Miller
Miller Homes Group - Tyler, TX
Miller Homes Group and Tyler Apartment Locator

Great idea. Just a few months back I had a Realtor shop my offer to another Realtor who had showed the home. Guess what it was my BUYERS REP!

Mar 04, 2009 11:22 AM #194
Sharon Richards
Kirsten Realty Tampa Florida - Tampa, FL

Jason - What about the way they do it in Toronto?  Did you read the post from Sylvie Conde - What are the rules for ensuring your offer gets to the seller? 

Mar 04, 2009 04:04 PM #195

Interesting idea, Jason.

Seems to me that a necessary precursor would be the unified MLS system that people have been begging for, for years.  That would provide a central repository of listings, with updates, that could be searched.

The "police patrol" could then ride on top of that database.

... Robin

Mar 06, 2009 03:26 AM #196
Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty
Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty - Mount Dora, FL
Homes for Sale Mount Dora Realtor


A real popular one in the REO market is:  We have multiple full price offers, but are still waiting for an answer from the negotiator or asset manager.


Mar 07, 2009 09:11 AM #197
Navona Hart
Real Living Cornerstone - Farmville, VA
Real Estate Agent, Farmville Virginia Homes & Land

Okay, so I ddin't read all 198 comments, but I came here because of your today featured blog post and I wanted to comment on this!  I hate it when I am told we just got another offer, uggggh.  So I would be on your bandwagon to change real estate.  I could be the Virginia anchor of the movement. 

Jan 31, 2011 01:00 PM #198
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Jason Crouch

Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)
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