TOP 3 Things That May Hurt Your Contract Negotiations

Real Estate Agent with Liberty Homes RS-#62825


Going through the ‘negotiating period of a contract’ (or in our case, multiple offers on any one property in a low inventory market) is a stressful situation for all.  I know that I will represent my client in contract negotiations without divulging personal/contract information that could hurt my client’s chances of receiving or accepting an offer.


  1. Why the seller is moving is NOT part of the negotiating period. Quite often, I am questioned by buyers at an Open House or agents flat our asking about the seller’s personal life.  ESPECIALLY WITHOUT (better yet) WRITTEN PERMISSION! WHY they are moving is none of their business.  Okay, to be a little more courteous….let’s just say I politely tell them, “I am not authorized to divulge personal information about my client”.CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS

  2. An agent creating a ‘Cover Letter for Their Buyers are not a good idea. When it is personal information about the buyer and the terms of what the buyer will or will not do…WITHOUT their permission is not a great idea.  When it says, “my client will not ask for further credits, no repairs, no anything” and then during the home inspection the buyers start asking for credits and upgrades, I kind of figure the buyer didn’t know the letter was written. That tactic certainly will be on the edge of losing a contract. The Seller does not forget that detailed two page cover letter from the agent detailing why the Seller should accept their offer.

  3. Giving away the status of the # of offers may hurt our chances of receiving multiple offers. Right off the bat a buyer’s agent/ or buyer will ask me how many offers did you receive so far? Sorry, again, I am not authorized by the seller to tell anyone the # of offers, the price of offers, what my seller will accept and so on.  What IS acceptable is writing up an offer with the terms your buyer wants and me presenting it to my seller.  



My client relationship is sacred.



So, stop asking silly questions.


Posted by



Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman  is a Realtor-Associate® and Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) with Century 21 Liberty Homes in Mililani, Hawaii. With a sharp understanding that a listening ear is the key to a client's needs  she serves the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) and all Hawaii Military Relocations, Hawaii Retirees, Hawaii Job Transfers and Hawaii Residents, Home Buyers and Sellers.


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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Steve Adams 04/09/2015 11:05 PM
Home Selling
Hawaii Honolulu County
POSITIVE ATTITUDE for the Weary Soul
contract negotiations
home buyers and sellers
real estate agent mililani

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Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

#59  Rita....that's exactly it.  Have the buyers write their own letter. AT the very most, we can have our clients on the phone/sitting right there and us typing the letter according to what they are saying to include in the letter. Bottom line, the client signs the letter. No chance of having a buyer come back and say, hey, I didn't say that!!!

Apr 11, 2015 03:10 AM #63
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

Good Morning ALL!  Many of you suggest that letting them know that there are multiple offers is a good thing in order to get the highest offer. In many instances, that is NOT the only thing we're looking for. An absurd price that won't appraise is not a good thing. Also, the terms are VERY important. Put an absurd offer price and ask for 3% back for closing costs. WHy would I want my seller to be bound by that credit if the property doesn't appraise? 


Yeah....there is more to a contrac than just price.

Apr 11, 2015 03:17 AM #64
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker
Team Linda Simmons, Enterprise, AL 36330 - Enterprise, AL
email: / cell: 334-494-7846

Ahhhh - the "Cover Letter". I've read for years about them, considered doing them, but didn't want to give away that part of MY negotiation leverage. Now, if we ever get to multiple offers here, maybe then....

Apr 11, 2015 05:42 AM #65
Dana Hollish Hill
Hollish Hill Group, Keller William Capital Properties - Bethesda, MD
Lead Associate Broker

Disclosing whether or not there are other offers and if so how many is part of the listing agreement. When I ask an agent if they have any registered offers, I usually hear a "Not Yet", "Six so far so we're going to present on Monday evening", or "The seller has not given me permission to reveal that information."

Many listing agents even update their listing remarks to let everyone know when they have multiple offers and when offers are due and presented. 

Apr 11, 2015 06:47 AM #66
PRG Real Estate - San Jose, CA
VA Home Loan Specialist - SF Bay Area

Great tips. Certainly have to be aware of what to disclose.

Apr 11, 2015 07:30 AM #67
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Lots of interesting comments, yet, inquiries by buyers or other agents IMO is just small talk to engage the seller's agent. A professional wouldn't need to know any of that information, they would simply submit an offer and begin the closing process. Nevertheless, great post.

Apr 11, 2015 03:46 PM #68
Jennifer Shenbaum
Jennifer Buys Houses - Redondo Beach, CA

Thanks for the great reminders.  Always good to hear.

Apr 12, 2015 01:51 AM #69
Blake Russell
Sacramento, CA

Lots of different takes on this post and since we're all sole proprietors, that's to be expected!

I've been in a couple of situations where my buyer-client wanted to write a letter to the seller and in each case, it was their idea so I didn't discourage it, but I did proof read them to make sure they weren't crossing the line in any way.

We have been in a multiple offer market for 3 years running but I can't say there is definitive evidence that those clients who wrote letters were any more successful then those I represent who write good, clean solid offers.


I will say that I always ask the listing agent if there are offers on the table and if so, are they in a multiple offer situation. I only do that so I can advise the buyer on the structure of the offer we are going to write. I. like the listing agent on the other side, do everything I can to best represent the buyer. If what I'm asking the listing agent seems silly or none of my business, so be it. I'm doing it for a reason. If I'm the listing agent then I agree with most of your post.

Apr 12, 2015 07:10 AM #70
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

It is so easy to share information in casual is natural for a buyer to ask 'why are the sellers moving' -- but I understand the reason does not need to be disclosed.

Apr 12, 2015 10:05 AM #71
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Sally,

Sometimes, I do not even know the exact details about why someone is moving. Not everyone shares this with their agent. Good question. Next question ....

Apr 12, 2015 12:43 PM #72
Jaretta Buckholtz, MBA
Pearson Smith Realty, LLC - Manassas, VA

Well said.  I too keep my client's information confidential unless I am 'authorized' to do so, in writing, otherwise.  Thank you for sharing.

Apr 12, 2015 08:01 PM #73
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Although always up to the seller, your take on #3 is interesting to me.    In my area, if a house isn't getting multiple offers it probably will sell for around asking price (unless it's overpriced/deteriorated etc.).    If it is getting multiple offers, the buyers need to think more carefully about offering the best possible terms + how much they are willing to pay for that particular property.    I'm not sure why a seller wouldn't want the existence of multiple offers disclosed, as it seems to me to push ready and willing buyers to write offers which are better for the seller.

Apr 13, 2015 05:21 AM #74
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Sally - There are pros and cons to letting buyers know about multiple offers.

Apr 13, 2015 02:48 PM #75
Barry Kessler
CENTURY 21 Troop Real Estate - Simi Valley, CA
Barry Kessler

Good post.

I am of the opinion that a love letter from the client is never a bad idea. It can't hurt. Just sayin.

There was a time, and I still do it when I get a chance, when the selling agent would present the offer to the seller. That is allowed you know. It is also a good opportunity to get your buyers to look like real people in front of the seller.

Apr 14, 2015 04:59 AM #76
Andrea HoffDomin
Florida Dream Homes Realty - Fort Lauderdale, FL
- in Real Estate always on your side!

All points are very important to keep in mind when we are representing our customer. I agree 100% with you. The buyer wants to get the property and nothing else. Every requests beyond the home are not a part of the contract.

Sunny greetings from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Apr 15, 2015 01:56 AM #77
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

I don't think there's a problem asking a listing agent if there are other offers already in play.  If there are, my buyer's strategy on making a strong offer may change. I also have buyers who don't want to even SEE a house that already has offers.  

I agree with your other points.


Apr 15, 2015 11:35 PM #78
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

Hi, I can't believe I missed this post, great read on todays hot topic. Thanks for sharing.

Apr 16, 2015 12:35 PM #79
Nancy Robinson Ranked #6 in MI
Century 21 Town and Country - Royal Oak, MI
#10 Century21 Realtor in the US, #16 in the World

I am not making up what you are about to read

Last year I got a letter for a potential buyer  in a multiple offer situation that among other things described how wonderful the yard would be for her four year old.  Her offer price was just too low and but  the letter touched my seller so we countered that buyer.  When the buyers agent came back and said:  No that is the best offer she would make because  she did  not like the cracks in the drive way ,,, we said:  what was  all that about her  four year son old playing on the swings in his Captain America suit ... and the buyers agent said,,,"She doesn't  have kids," 

Well my clients did have a four year old and  the buyer got the idea to make  her appeal for purchase in an exploitative way as she picked up clues as  what to write in  her letter from the family  she wanted to buy from.... Hows that for the best way ever not to get the house!  We went with another offer.

Apr 16, 2015 01:33 PM #80
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

I just read Nancy's comment above.  It reminded me of why I never use personal letters from buyers or sellers.

My question is always, "What does the contract say".

Jul 03, 2015 04:13 AM #81
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

That was indeed a horror story!


Jul 03, 2015 06:00 AM #82
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