In Mulitple Offer World, does it have to be this hard?

Real Estate Agent with 972.978.3109 0595204

multiple offers in dallas tx - Ashley Cox, Dallas City CenterYes, bidding wars are back. Nothing is universal, but nearly every crevice of Dallas is filled with homebuyers finding themselves competing for houses due to lack of inventory.

Recently, it's been incredibly frustrating for me, as an Agent, to keep the positivity flowing. You see, more and more often, etiquette and professional courtesy seem to be tossed aside in the hunger and drive to get the deal done. What am I speaking about specifically?  Back to the basics of playing fair!

Back in the day, when I worked for a boutique REO brokerage, we had a very strict procedure that was followed, when dealing with multiple offers. If the property was hot, and offers began streaming in, the Seller would usually instruct us to advertise a cut-off date and ensure that all parties were notified that multiple offers had been received. I even had a pdf form that very cordially put everyone on notice, with the added verbiage, "Please discuss this with your client and submit your Highest and Best offer by (XX/XX/XXXX) at XX:xX pm."

Simple enough, right?

Well, the three couples that I am currently working with haven't had that luck. With EACH, I have run into a handful of situations where we find interest, place an offer and play the waiting game. Since the market is moving quicker than the normal 24-hours, I will place a follow up call in the evening or morning to ensure that the Agent has had a chance to review the offer with their Seller client. The conversation usually goes a little something like this:

"Hi, this is Ashley Cox with Dallas City Center Realtors. I sent an email with an offer yesterday evening that you and I spoke about and was hoping to see if the Seller has had a chance to review and provide a response just yet..."
"Oh, yeah. Well, I told them about it and they received three other offers in the meantime. They're negotiating one of those offers..."
"Oh, you have multiple offers then. Will the Seller be negotiating each individually, or conducting a Highest and Best with deadline."
"Well, we're taking highest and best offers, so if you want to submit a revised contract, do so as quickly as possible..."

We run through comps again, talk about comfort levels and payments and if the value allows, modify the offer and resubmit.

"Just making sure you had received our modified offer for th--"
"Yes, we received it. The Seller wants to go with another offer that just came in about an hour ago, though. You know, we're on offer number 5 now..."

multiple offers in dallas tx - Ashley Cox, Dallas City CenterThis is usually when my blood begins to boil. My clients have become highly interested, somewhat emotionally attached, and signed on the dotted line for the umpteenth time.

The most recent instance was after an offer, justified, at $15,000 OVER list.

And while it doesn't necessarily reflect poorly on my ability to know a neighborhood, run a CMA, draw up a contract, point out property condition issues, successfully walk hand in hand, yadda, yadda, yaddda... it DOES give my client a feeling of disenchantment and understood frustration.

So, what's the harm in putting a little bit of standard into the process and making it a fair playing field for everyone?

If you're going to play like it's an auction, shouldn't we all be in the same room?

Maybe it's not a practice that an Agent should take up on their own, but it would certainly go a long way to suggest this practice to your Seller client. It's a great way to make sure that you aren't snubbing other parties and putting bad ju-ju in the world... not to mention, it gives your Seller to review all of the Highest and Best offers at one sit-down, instead of a constant trickle of offers and modifications coming through.

We have multiples. We will be accepting offers until _____. We will then notify all parties, and request Highest and Best by _____.

Seems simple enough to me...

Posted by

DFWAshley, Ashley Cox, Dallas Realtor (972) 978-3109

Search Listings Homes for Sale Dallas, DFW  Sell, List my Home for Sale in Dallas  Get CMA Property Value in Dallas

Ashley Cox is a Realtor® with Dallas City Center Realtors and strives to provide excellent service and assistance to Buyers and Sellers in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

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Comments (104)

Michael Blue
Home Smart Realty West - Encinitas, CA
REALTOR - 760-889-8877, Encinitas/Carlsbad
In CA, multiple offers mush be disclosed to all parties and yes, there is a form. Listings agents should see POF for the down payment AND any money over the current value of the home to discourage offers just looking to win only to come back after the lower than selling price appraisal looking now to pay the appraised amount. I've lost over full pice cash offers for my buyer because the lacking the experience agent cant understand the BS offer they have recommend the seller accept!
May 17, 2013 06:09 AM
The Tonnesen Team
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Nevada Properties - Las Vegas, NV
Put a #1 Team to Work For You!

I just recently ran into a situation where I had the buyers and the agent did indeed advertise that they multiple offers and everyone was advised to submit their highest and best by a certain deadline which was about a week. My clients actually REALLY wanted this house and revised their offer upwards several times during the week. They removed all appraisal contingencies and even offered the seller a month of free rent after COE!

Lo and behold, we get to the cutoff time and date. The listing agent discloses to me that we are indeed the highest offer by about $10k, BUT the seller is now trying to negotiate with the best "all cash" offer using our offer as a stick to get the other buyers to come up more! (My buyers were totally preapproved for their financing and putting 25% down.)

My buyers even hung in there another day hoping the sellers would finally take their offer, but when more than 24 hours had passed for the deadline, they finally withdrew it in disgust. It was not the listing agent's fault - it was the greedy sellers. It sure would be nice to have legal guidelines that all parties must abide by!

May 17, 2013 07:07 AM
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Ashley, I couldn't agree more! It should be a simple process that everyone uses. Love that you incorporated "ju-ju" in there!

May 17, 2013 07:20 AM
David Knox
David Knox Productions, Inc. - Minneapolis, MN

Even though you set a future date for a seller to examine offers, a buyer is free to write an offer NOW that expires the end of today and the listing agent must present it. Only the seller may decide whether to act upon it or wait until this future group presentation. As to whether you notify buyers of multiple offers, check the Code of Ethics Standards of Practice. Offers may be disclosed only with sellers' permission.

May 17, 2013 07:53 AM
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

I had a recent listing that attracted 15 offers. Not much fun. I do have a form that I send out, with my Sellers permission, that says basically: this is a multiple offer situation, make your best offer, the Seller will accept or counter only one offer by _________. It worked. I communicated like crazy. I only had one party grumble, but when they realized that everyone was under the same ground rules, they were OK. That being said, some agents don't know how to write an offer and some don't have any game plan or stragety for a multiple offer situation.

May 17, 2013 09:20 AM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker
Although its the sellers decision, I would think the listing agents slant during the presentation has a lot to do with which one is chosen.
May 17, 2013 11:37 AM
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Ashley,  you have made a good point. My office has a multiple offer form that we send to all Realtors, with all Realtor names, that spells out our process.

May 17, 2013 12:55 PM
Sonya Mays, MBA
Midwest Executive Realty - Milwaukee, WI
Broker/Owner, Greater Milwaukee

Ashley, great post, thank you for sharing! I totally understand your frustration!

As was previously mentioned, there is a standardized process for submission and presentation of multiple offers in the REO/foreclosure market segment, which could easily be transferred to all transactions. With most REOs, all interested parties are notified that there are multiple offers on the table and that they should submit their final highest and best offer by a certain date/time. If I have multiple offers on the table, I also try to post this information in MLS remarks (with seller's permission) for anyone who might be showing the house during this timeframe, which could allow them time to submit their offer by the deadline.  

Whether REO or regular listing, this strategy can be applied to all transactions. It tends to add transparency, honesty and integrity, which are very much needed in this business.

I also agree that good old fashioned communication, professionalism and courtesy are lacking in many transactions, which do not serve the best interest of the clients. It is therefore up to us to raise the bar and be the example! 

May 17, 2013 02:41 PM
The Isaacs Team LLC | Compass
1313 14th St NW DC 20005 - Washington, DC

Most listers in DC are sophisticated enough to work the system fully in favor of their seller by setting a cutoff date and following up with each buyer agent to make sure their offer is strong enough to be a contender. The result of this is a higher and better offer for the seller, so it's a best practice. Every once in a while, though, we run across the situation you describe, leaving us scratching our heads. Since listings in DC often sell 20K to 50K, even 100K on occasion, over list and without solid comps, it's important for buyer agents to know what they're dealing with in terms of competition. Submitting too early can result in your offer being used to jack up others. Submitting too late leaves your buyer out in the cold. Hope listing agents in Dallas are reading your post today, Ashley!

May 17, 2013 10:35 PM
Robin Spangenberg
Northeast Signature Properties - Millis, MA
Opening the Finest Doors

I totally agree with you!  I've recently heard that buyers are just putting word of mouth out to neighbors and neighborhoods that they're interested in buying a home in that area because they know if they go through an agent, they'll loose out on a bidding war!  We as realtors have to work with each other so we're able to keep this from snowballing!

May 17, 2013 11:11 PM
Marti Steele Kilby, CRS
Steele Group Realty - La Mesa, CA
Broker/Owner, San Diego, CA

I feel your pain and frustration Ashley!  San Diego is a ridiculously hot market and etiquette seems to be a thing of the past with many listing agents.  My biggest peeve is the listing agent who doesn't even acknowledge receipt of my offer.  This has happened to me twice in the past two weeks, despite my phone and email requests.  In one case I even called the agent's broker, and even he didn't return my call!  And of course, in the meantime, while I'm waiting to see if my offer has even been received and presented to the seller, the properties go into escrow.  There is no excuse for rudeness, no matter how many offers an agent receives.

May 17, 2013 11:16 PM
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

It is a tough market representing buyers right now.  Seems that except for a few years during the bottom of the recession, that the market always was tilted slightly towards sellers or in balance.  I hear your frustration.  It is a tought dilemna dealing with tons of multiple offer situations.  That's why I am glad to focus on listings and not buyers.  Listings create buyer leads.  Buyer leads seldom create listings.  And listings typically guarantee a paycheck while buyers often do not.

May 18, 2013 01:18 AM
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Ashley, that is what happen when markets over- correct and now are shifting back.

May 18, 2013 03:31 AM
Adele Tamburo
Weichert, Realtors - Point Pleasant Beach, NJ
Making Home Ownership A Reality!

Amen to that Ashley, agents are getting scrappier and scrappier as inventory remains low. Frustrating to say the least. Good Luck.

May 18, 2013 10:12 PM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Some are doing this and some are not.  Let's face it some are putting their own buyers at the front of the line and out offers might not even be seen.

May 20, 2013 10:05 AM
Ashley Hefner
ActiveRain - Kirkland, WA
Member Support Specialist

I'm just starting my home search and I have found the low inventory to be disappointing. I can definitely see how playing a possibly unfair multiple listing game would become frustrating.

May 21, 2013 02:46 AM
Larry Lawfer
YourStories Realty Group powered by Castles Unlimited® - Newton, MA
"I listen for a living." It's all about you.

Not all agents are created equal. There are "A" Students and others who are not as good.  You can't control them unless you know what kind of an agent they are. Once you see they are lazy, or not really engaged you have to take over and stay in touch. The lazy and poorly trained agents in this area are happy to work with a good agent who helps them do their job. The point is the deal gets done with your client, if it is right for them.  You may also pick up the Seller once they clear the Sale because they are aware of the work you did to get them the best offer for the house.

May 21, 2013 04:57 AM
Michael Murphy
Bienvenidos Real Estate - Parksville, BC

Always hated the stress of multiple offers more from my clients perspective then mine. I always said make your best offer and if its meant to be it will happen and if not back to square one.

May 21, 2013 02:12 PM
Steven Pahl
Keller Williams Tampa Properties - Tampa, FL
Real Estate Consultant Tampa, FL 813-319-6423

Multiple offers are tough and most agents on the listing side don't know how to properly handle them.  If they knew and followed the NAR Code of Ethics, they would behave differently and the offers might even be higher.  But, in the end; unless it''s a cash offer, the home still has to appraise.

May 31, 2013 02:00 PM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Ashley. Winstin re-blogged this and I'm glad hedid. Nicely done and conveyed but multiples are always stressful.

Jun 09, 2013 07:37 PM