Whether Or Not We Have Multiple Offers Is None Of Your Business

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC BK607690

tutas towne realty

Hi folks. I’ve read a couple of posts recently that have left me scratching my head. Both were about listing agents and their “unethical” practice of not handling multiple offers according to the Buyer agent’s expectations.

In the comments on these posts the listing agents were called lazy, unethical, unprofessional, bad, rude, unfair and greedy. The consensus was that “The listing agent was not looking out for the Seller‘s best interest.”

Well my question is: “How do you know what’s in my Seller’s best interest”. The answer of course is “you don’t“. You have no clue what my Seller and I have discussed.

As a listing Broker it is my job to counsel my sellers. My Sellers need to know that they do not have to…….

…..disclose multiple offers.
…..counter offer.
…..ask for “highest and best”.
…..even acknowledge your Buyer’s offer.

There are many reason why NOT disclosing multiple offers or asking for “Highest and Best” may be the best way forward.

  • The Buyer may NOT submit an offer if they know there are multiple offers.
  • A Buyer may also NOT want to get caught up in a bidding war.
  • By disclosing multiple offers I could very well keep my Seller from getting a better offer.

I can’t even count how many times a Buyer’s agent has called me to say they were sending over an offer. Frankly it goes in one ear and out the other. I NEVER believe them. I am not going to contact my Seller and get them all excited only to have to let them down when the offer does not materialize.

Send me the offer and I’ll present it to the Seller. And send me a COMPLETE offer. Telling me you will provide a pre-approval and/or proof of funds tomorrow does my Seller or your Buyer no good. Without these items the offer will not be presented. It’s a non offer.

As an example: I received an offer on one of my short sale listings on Friday. It was cash and very low. It was also sent over with out proof of funds (POF). I emailed the agent and asked them for the POF.

I didn’t receive POF until Monday and then......I couldn’t read it. I had to ask the agent to resend it. It took the agent took another 24 hours. Finally, 5 days later, I was able to discuss the offer with my Seller.

My Seller countered. Shortly after that we received a far better offer that my Seller will probably accept. After discussing it we decided to ask the cash offer for “Highest and Best” just to see if they would come up.

I received an email from the agent moaning that she thought her Buyers would get an answer today and that they were not happy with “Highest and best” and were in fact upset that there were now multiple offers because we “didn’t disclose this to them”.

Now if this agent were a Blogger she would probably write a post about how  lazy, unethical, unprofessional, bad, rude, unfair and greedy I am. And how “I’m not looking out for my Seller’s best interest.”

But that’s OK. My Seller just accepted the other offer that was $15,000 better than the cash offer. I really don’t give a crap what the Buyer’s agent and the Buyer think. I work for the Seller. They are the one’s paying me.

While I certainly agree with having “professional courtesy” it does not extend to giving you insider information to help you negotiate a real estate transaction. Always remember who you are working for.

If your expectations are different....then you are setting yourself and your Buyers up for failure. That’s all I have to say about that. What say you?

More articles on handling multiple offers.

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 Tutas Towne Realty, Inc handles Florida real estate sales, Florida short sales, Florida strategic short sales, Florida pre-foreclosure sales, Florida foreclosures in Kissimmee Florida Short Sales, Davenport Florida Short Sales, Haines City Florida Short Sales, Poinciana Florida Short Sales, Solivita Florida Short Sales,  Orlando Florida Short Sales, Celebration Florida Short Sales, Windermere Florida Short Sales. Serving all of Polk, Osceola and Orange Counties Florida. Florida Short Sale Broker. Short Sale Florida.

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Comments (187)

Pat & Steve Pribisko
Keller Williams Greater Cleveland West - Westlake, OH

Good post. You are quite right that you must protect your seller's best interests. However, some sellers want the multiple offers.

Jul 12, 2012 12:19 AM
Monique Ting
INET Realty Honolulu, HI - Honolulu, HI
Your agent under the sun

Excellent post and comments! I wish we could do business like that over here where it is still the norm to ask and disclose whether multiple offers have been received. It must just be the "Aloha"!

Jul 12, 2012 09:50 AM
Pete Xavier
Investments to Luxury - Pacific Palisades, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide

Outstanding post and responses.

Everything is a negotiation.

All situations are different, sometimes I may give information up on behalf of my client's best interest, other times NOT.

Jul 12, 2012 12:16 PM
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living
I don't usually call the listing agent before I submit an offer. i will call afterward to ensure that they know it was sent and to confirm they have received it. On the other hand, it always amazes me how much information listing agents will reveal when ask just the simple question of whether a property is still available when you set the showing appointment.
Jul 12, 2012 01:08 PM
Dave Leiderman
Keller Williams Realty of Delmarva - Ocean City, MD
ABR, SRS, SFR - Realtor - DE & MD Beaches

Great post.  If you ever open a brokerage in the Mid Atlantic let me know ;)

Jul 13, 2012 04:52 AM
Charles D'Alessandro
Fillmore Real Estate - Brooklyn, NY

Thank You, as a sellers agent I needed to hear this!

Jul 13, 2012 09:18 PM
Jenny Durling
L.A. Property Solutions - Los Angeles, CA
For Los Angeles real estate help 213-215-4758

I honestly can't imagine NOT calling the listing agent before writing an offer.  Too many times the information in the MLS is not valid in terms of listing status. Also, as much as the listing agent has a duty to his seller, if he's willing to tell me things that will help my buyer I'm certainly not going to turn down that information.

Jul 14, 2012 01:31 PM
Tammy Davis
Flora Real Estate Group - Hollister, CA

Great post Bryant...as always I appreciate your honesty and straightforwardness!

I wish that most agents were as direct as you...I would gladly work a transaction with you.

If only you were in California ~~

Jul 14, 2012 02:28 PM
Debbie Durkee
National Land Realty - Tulsa, OK
ALC, CRS -- Land & Country Estates near Tulsa

In our listing agreements between Broker and Seller there is a box where we can indicate whether or not the seller wants multiple offers to be disclosed.  I usually recommend they say, "Yes."

However, after reading your reasons for not disclosing multiple offers, I am inclined to agree with you that it may not always be in the sellers best interest.

I too have had agents tell me that their buyers had changed their minds and had decided not to submit their offers because they did not want to get into a bidding war.

Thanks for inspiring some thought.

Jul 16, 2012 04:36 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

You got that right! And then some!

Jul 16, 2012 04:43 AM
Tina Beasley
Florida Homes Realty & Mortgage, LLC - Saint Augustine, FL
It's not about me...It's all about you!

You make some great points and you ARE representing your client's best interest...that is apparent.  But listing agents do need to realize that when a buyer's agent tells you that their client is interested, will make an offer, they should not advise the client to "Go ahead and sign this offer" until all offers are received.  I recently had that happen to me and it was horrible.  The agent had to meet us at the property (UGH) as there was no lockbox.  She talked and talked to my client during our showing which was not only annoying to both me and my client, but really made her look like an idiot to my client after all was said and done.  She NEVER mentioned anything to us about receiving another offer over the weekend (this was a Monday morning showing) and rejecting it due to a home sale contingency...she just showed us the property and talked her head off about how great it was.  My client was ALL IN.  We just went to lunch to discuss her offer and I was headed back to my office to write it.  We even told her that she would be hearing back from us.  Before I could get back, I got a call from this agent stating that her clients decided to accept an offer they had received over the weekend as the buyers would drop their home sale contingency.  Would not let me submit an competiting offer or anything.  In my opinion, that is bad business.  It also angered my client to no end and I am still dealing with the fall out as she has not let go of that property and it has been hard to find another that compares.  I don't think you would do that, but some agents do and it is FRUSTRATING!  There is nothing wrong with getting two or more offers as it surely will bring your client more money in the end...just as you indicated.  So, when other agents use words like "greedy and lazy", it sure if how I felt when my client was shut out without a chance.  Great post - does make a good point.

Jul 21, 2012 02:55 AM
Benjamin Clark
Homebuyer Representation, Inc. - Salt Lake City, UT
Buyer's Agent - Certified Negotiation Expert

As you said, each case is unique for both buyer and seller. Sure it is frustrating when a listing agent doesn't give us all the information. But that doesn't mean they aren't doing the best thing for their client. Depending on the buyer's reaction to not having all the information they want, it could work out better or worse for the seller. The agent's responsibility on both sides is to do what is best for their client.

Jul 24, 2012 03:49 AM
Marcus Rice
Equity First Realty - Richmond, VA
Richmond, NOVA, Virginia Beach Area Realtor/Broker

Great Blog, Great information for Realtors, buyers and sellers. Thanks for sharing this detailed information about how real estate should be handled. The Marcus Rice Team with RE/MAX Allegiance in Richmond Va agree with this blog.

Jul 26, 2012 08:51 PM
Steven Pahl
Keller Williams Tampa Properties - Tampa, FL
Real Estate Consultant Tampa, FL 813-319-6423

Yes, BB, each offer should be handled on it own merit.

Aug 12, 2012 01:24 PM
Dena Smith
DSmith Realtors - Irving, TX

You are totally on the mark. I read it as 'sour grapes' from a buyers agent who apparently hasn't learned that lesson yet. Right up there with offers that are accompanied by a long list of why the property is so horrible and not worth the sellers price.

Oct 22, 2012 01:32 AM
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

I am several months late on this and I'd love to read all of the comments but don't have time.  I agree with almost everything you said.  The only thing that I don't agree with is:

Telling me you will provide a pre-approval and/or proof of funds tomorrow does my Seller or your Buyer no good. Without these items the offer will not be presented. It’s a non offer.

This may, however, be a state to state difference.  Our contracts allow for proof of funds or loan approval letters to be submitted within a certain period of time after acceptance.  As much as possible I send them with the offer and of course as a listing agent prefer them to be with the offer and it can absolutely affect an offers chances if there is a multiple offer situation.  But, we are also required by Idaho law to present ALL written offers and as timely as possible.  Not presenting it because we didn't have proof of funds would actually be violating the law.  

Otherwise, I think you are right one :-) -Kasey

Oct 30, 2012 04:45 PM
Chris Caplin
Mount Pleasant, SC
Hi all, I have an interesting multiple offer situation that I'm hoping someone might have some advice on. We made an offer on a house in South Carolina. The sellers agent informed us there were no other offers on the table when we handed them our offer. When our offer expired he called us to say they had received another offer and needed best and final. We wanted the house so we offered asking price. The sellers agent then came back and told us we did not get the house but refused to tell us why. He then said they would accept our contract as a ratified back up offer where it would become the contract if the other fell through. I was suspicious so I called the sellers agent and pretended to be an interested buyer. He said it was under contract but they were still showing the house and taking all offers up until closing. Is that odd? I found it odd to be showing the house when they already supposedly have a contract and a signed back up offer. My question is this: if he signed the backup offer, are they legally obligated to prove to me (the backup) that they actually do have the first contract? My concern is they don't really have an official contract but have my full price offer as their "backup" while they shop to see If others will offer more. Is that legal? Can my agent ask that they prove they actually have it under contract with the first offer? If they don't can I sue them? I would also like proof of this contract because I'd like to be able to monitor if it falls through so that I know they don't take a 3rd offer as the new backup if the first one falls through. My apologies for so many questions. Has anyone encountered this before? At minimum it strikes me as incredibly unethical if this is going on but is it illegal? Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks! Chris
Apr 01, 2013 02:20 PM
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Hi Chris. Unfortunately unless yo have a fully signed and accepted cpontract rthe seller can do they choose. Continuing to market a property after a contract has been accepted is quite common. Sellers can and should accpet back up contracts.

If you want to be informed of other back ups and offers then you need to make this clause aparet of your contract. The seller is under no legal obligation to give yo any info related to thier transaction UNLESS the contract states they must.

Apr 05, 2013 11:34 PM
Mike Crosby
Mike Crosby Realty - Placentia, CA
Placentia- Yorba Linda Real Estate - 714-742-2897

I agree as the seller's you do not have to reveal "insider" information   So how would you represent a buyer with a sellers agent who does not give you information?  That is how would you communicate and negotiate with yourself?

May 29, 2013 07:20 AM
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

I would represnt them the same as I represent my seller. By providing them with the available info so they can make an informed decision. Assuming I have an agency agreement with the buyer then I should have already explained confidentiality and what the listing agent can an can't disclose.

And I would suggest to base their offer on what the property is worth to them. What other's offer really has no baring on the value of the property to the buyer. Keep them focused on what they are trying to achieve and working with available information.

They can't force the seller or agent to provide transaction details on offers that have nothing to do with them.

I hope this helps

May 30, 2013 10:04 PM