Multiple Offers

Charles Dickens described the French Revolution as “The best of times; the worst of times.” He could have just as easily been talking about a multiple offer situation. Multiple offers almost always mean two things: first, a sure sale of a desirable property and second, keen disappointment for at least one party. Licensees can often prevent that disappointment from turning to hostility by following reasonable procedures in handling such situations. Consider the following checklist of suggested practices.

Listing and Selling Agents

  • Immediately notify your broker or manager that you have a multiple offer situation.
    • Identify clearly for your broker/manager the agency relationships of all parties in the situation.
    • Identify for your broker/manager any circumstances that appear unique or unusual.
  • Consult with your client to determine whether the client wants you to notify all parties (each offeror and each selling agent) of the multiple offer situation.
  • Maintain clear and consistent communication to all participants in the situation.
  • Buyers and sellers must make all decisions. While you may make recommendations to your clients or customers, you must not substitute your judgment for the buyers’ or sellers’.

Selling Agents

  • Inform each buyer making an offer that:
    • Making an offer does not prevent other buyers from making an offer.
    • Making an offer does not compel the seller to accept, counter, or reject the offer.
  • If a multiple offer situation arises, inform each buyer of:
    • The seller’s multiple offer options (see Listing Agent’s Responsibilities below).
    • The buyer’s options to:
      • increase the offer, including offering more than the asking price.
      • leave the offer as it stands.
      • withdraw the offer any time prior to the seller’s acceptance

Listing Agent

  • Present all offers in a timely manner. Immediately upon receipt of a written or verbal offer, notify the seller and arrange to present it even if the seller is considering another offer or the new offer contains terms previously rejected by the seller.
    • Review the terms of each offer thoroughly with the seller.
    • Discuss how the terms may affect the seller’s interest.
    • Disclose fully to the seller any other interested buyers, requests for showings, or potential for other offers.
  • Inform the seller of the seller’s options to:
    • Delay acceptance or countering of any offer until any other anticipated offers are received.
    • Accept one offer thereby rejecting all other offers.
    • Counter one offer and thereby rejecting or putting aside all other offers.
    • Provide all buyers with the opportunity to submit new offers by a specific date with the understanding that there is a multiple offer situation.
    • Reject all offers.

Multiple offer situations are seldom “win-win” opportunities for licensees. However, if licensees handle them well, they need not become a “lose-lose” situation.

The information contained in this article is believed to be current and accurate. The GREC staff reviews the contents periodically and updates it when appropriate. If you have questions or comments about this article, you may contact us at . Last reviewed August, 2006.


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