Believe it or not but in Northern Virginia this is an all too common question I am asked. We write offer after offer on $300K homes and all prices below to get beat out by one of multiple offers from multiple agents. I advise my clients by expressing to them it's all about the strength of our offer in addition to what you are willing to pay. Many buyers out there think that there is still a possibility to low ball their offer. Sorry to say folks but those days are gone.
Short of writing a cash offer it takes a bit of finesse by way of a well executed strategy. Anything, from simply CALLING the listing agent and building rapport to sending flowers or a goody basket to the current home owners, you NEED and edge! With foreclosures it's a bit different because banks tend to lean towards the best and highest in most cases, although there is always an exception now and again. In regards to Short Sales and Standard Sales you need to work a bit of magic. I could sit here and blog about what to do and what not to do but the actions you take are different for EVERY transaction.
I recently had a listing and within a 4 day timeline I received 7 offers and NOT 1 agent called me. Now being fair I asked that the agents would email me the offers and I can understand more than most with the new way of communication (emails text, social networking, etc) but when it comes to the best interest of your client calling the listing agent shouldn't be an option rather it should be protocol. Granted a cash offer took the contract for my property but I think we as agents are getting so frustrated of writing multiple offers with each client over the span of numerous months we are just losing touch with reality and our duties. I good contract/offer has many factors involved in taking the contract all the way to settlement and the agent is an extremely vital component.
In closing I think we need to take a step back and realize who we are working for. Getting paid is a GREAT day each and every time your company cuts you a check but at the end of the day you are helping your client(s) make one of the biggest decisions of their life. Do you think calling the listing agent is in your client(s) best interest? Its imperative no questions asked.