I don’t know about you but I love things in multiple. Multiple zeros on my bank balance, multiple listings, multiple closings and of course, multiple offers. Multiple offers, are one of my favorite things. It really places my Seller in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiating and normally means we will be able to get a higher price for the house. What I don’t like, is a common misconception, from Realtors, that I have to disclose multiple offers to them. Or, that I have to disclose the existence of any offers to them, whether received or not. Sometimes they expect this before they even show the property. I have even been accused of being “unethical” for not disclosing an offer. So first, let me make something perfectly clear, offers, whether one, or multiple, are nobody’s business but my Seller’s and mine. How we choose to handle the negotiations or disclosure is 100% my Seller’s choice.
Now just in case you don’t believe this, here are the articles from our Code of Ethics that state what I have to disclose:
Standard of Practice 1-15
REALTORS®, in response to inquiries from buyers or cooperating brokers shall, with the sellers’ approval, disclose the existence of offers on the property. Where disclosure is authorized, REALTORS® shall also disclose whether offers were obtained by the listing licensee, another licensee in the listing firm, or by a cooperating broker. (Adopted 1/03, Amended 1/06))
Standard of Practice 3-6
REALTORS® shall disclose the existence of accepted offers, including offers with unresolved contingencies, to any broker seeking cooperation. (Adopted 5/86, Amended 1/04)
Accepted offer, means, a pending contract. Florida law is quiet on this issue, as it should be. Negotiations are not dictated by State laws. And I’m sure you State’s laws are quiet on this as well.
So that leaves us with, how do we handle multiple offers? Well, I am sure there are many ways, but here are a few examples of the way I do it and that seem to be quite common in my area. I will be curious to hear how they are handled in your area.
- Notify all Realtors/Buyers of multiple offers and request “highest and best” by a certain day and time. This technique is used quite a bit in my area, especially on bank owned properties. It is a pretty good way to weed out the lookers and concentrate on the serious buyers. Works best when you have numerous offers. Once they have submitted “highest and best”, the Seller can pick one that is acceptable, choose one or more to continue negotiating with or set another day and time and ask for “highest and best” again. Repeat until there is an acceptable offer. I’ve been the Buyer, on several foreclosures, where this technique was used and frankly, I ended up paying more than I wanted for the property. It turns into a competition and I hate losing. So this method definitely works.
- Don’t disclose the existence of other offers, pick one and try to negotiate it. If you can’t, pick another one and do the same. The problem with this technique is it may take a few days to negotiate on one contract and while you are doing this the other one may withdraw their offer. Not one of my favorites but can work if you are already negotiating when the second offer comes in.
- Don’t disclose and negotiate all offers at the same time. I actually have done this many times. The key though is to make sure the Seller does not sign the counters. If they do, and the Buyer accepts it and signs, then you have an accepted offer and the game is over. This can be a good technique if all the offers are pretty close in price and all the Buyers are equally qualified. Then it is just a matter of who responds the fastest(motivation). You don’t disclose, because then they would all respond quickly. You want their motivation to be, that they are anxious to purchase, not that they are anxious to beat out the others.
- Disclose the existence of other offers and the amount of the offers. Play them against each other. Let them know they are competing and if you want this property you will have to beat the offer, or offers, I have on the table. Continue until only one is left. Hopefully it will be way over list price by this time. I used this technique during the boom time, so many times I can’t count them. Very successful way to negotiate.
It is very important, that how ever you want to negotiate multiple offers, it is your Seller’s choice, not yours. Do not disclose multiple offers to another Realtor with out the permission of the Seller. After all, it is his deal not yours. So there you have it. I hope this helps. I am by no means an expert on this but I really do love multiple offers.
So next time a Realtor ask you this, “Do you have any offers on this property” try this “I’m sorry, that’s confidential information but as we speak, this property is still actively on the market".
Liar, liar pant’s on fire. Not me!!