The very idea of multiple offers is exciting, isn’t it? It is what every Listing Agent and Seller wants to hear, but every Buyer’s Agent just groans when they hear it. Contrary to what you may think, there are no rules governing multiple offers – a seller does not have to look at offers in the order they are received, they don’t have to respond to one or more in writing, or at all. Most of all, it is the seller who will determine how to deal with offers received. It is the seller who negotiates price and terms – NOT the listing agent. We do assist our sellers by pointing out the pros and cons of each offer, but the seller ultimately decides which offer to accept.
The only rule the listing agent must follow is to present all offers to the seller. There is no rule as to when a Listing Agent must communicate with a Buyer’s Agent, but a good Listing Agent will communicate promptly as to the status of the presentation and the result of same, as well as promptly respond to all inquiries from agents and buyers alike.
Can the seller accept multiple offers? No! He can accept one as a primary, another as a back-up, even a third as a back-up to the back-up, but each must be designated as such in writing. Can a seller counter multiple offers? Sure! But be careful: Agents are cooperative – meaning we all work together, sell each others listings, so we don’t want to get caught up in a Price Wars or Favoritism situation. Keep it professional, keep it all in writing.
If you’re a buyer or a buyer’s agent, just don’t ask the listing agent what you should offer – because if you know the sales price, you already know the answer!