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Patty,  in Ahwatukee Foothills,...

once the seller accepts an offer in a short sale,does the bank only look at that offer only

Asked by Patty, Ahwatukee Foothills, Phoenix, AZ Wed Aug 5, 2009

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Personally, I only advise my clients to accept ONE offer, and submit it to the lender, unless the lender specifically requests that we send all offers if/when they come in. The reason for this is two-fold.

First, and most importantly, there is a real "grey area" in terms of the Seller accepting more than one offer. Legally, we are all taught that a Seller can only accept one offer. The confusion that comes up in a short sale is "Who is the Seller?". Quite simply, the Seller is the Borrower. While the lender makes the ultimate decision on whether or not to accept the short sale offer, my client is still the Seller/Borrower. If I advise my client to accept multiple offers, I feel that I am opening up myself and my client to a potential legal claim, as we have accepted multiple offers. I have spoken to numerous real estate attorneys about this very issue, and have received various legal opinions. In the end, I felt it best to fall on the safe side, and advise against executing more than one contract.

Now, some agents will say, "Why don't you just tell your Seller to send the offer(s) to the lender without accepting (signing) the contract?" Again, very simple. Without acknowledgement (Sellers signature), we don't have an enforceable contract. Better yet, we don't have a contract. How many lenders do you think will consider a contract that isn't signed by both parties? And, if you are representing the Buyer, do you feel comfortable being in escrow on an unenforceable contract?

The other problem with submitting multiple offers is the confusion it causes with most lenders. Let's face it, they have plenty on their plate already. Why drag out an already long/tedious process by submitting multiple offers? Again, if the lender specifically asks that back-up offers be submitted, we oblige and send them in, with one caveat....WE DON'T ALLOW OUR CLIENTS TO SIGN THEM!

I actually wrote a blog on this very topic on Trulia on June 26, 2009, titled "Multiple Offers On A Scottsdale Short Sale". Feel free to visit for more information. Or, feel free to visit We have tons of information on the entire short sale process on the site. Until then, good luck!

Bob Hertzog
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 5, 2009

The final strategy should be decide by the seller (owner) based on the input and information provided by his agent. The listing agent has to submit all the offers to the seller, but the seller can choose not to consider an offer if he does not think is a good offer.

In order to be succesful on a bid for a short sale there are a lot of questions, follow up and investigations that your agent needs to do. Without the proper information you might waste many months waiting for something that might have no chance of happening.

Also remember that the listing agent has the duty to represent and protect the seller and not the buyer. So you should not just rely on his information - you will need an experienced short sale agent on your side.

Good luck!

Carlos J. Ramirez, PC, ABR, CNE
Associate Broker, HomeSmart -
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 5, 2009
This is a great question! It depends on the bank. Some banks will want to look at all offers that come in on the home and others will ask the listing agent to submit the highest and best offer. Feel free to contact me anytime at 480-382-9681 and I can discuss this with you at length.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 17, 2012
I especially enjoyed Bob Herzog's answer. Many agents are finding the "one offer" approach to be more effective provided the offer has merit and a chance of being accepted.

Many buyers are asking if their offer will be the only one submitted to the lender and not participating if it is a multiple offer deal. We are among that group unless our client asks to do otherwise.

The chance of closing escrow in a multiple offer scenario is very bad for a buyer. The odds of closing escrow on a short sale are generally thought to be under 10% depending on lender, number of loans against the property, liens and other factors. If you add multiple offers to the mix, the odds of any one of those offers crossing the finish line is much less.

As real estate agents, our fiduciary responsibility is to our client. In a short sale, our client is the buyer and/or seller, not the bank.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 6, 2009
Hi Patty,

The short sale addenda is very clear on offers on line 13-14.

The addenda states that "nothing shall limit a seller from accepting subsequent offers from subsequent buyers and submitting backup offers for the sellers creditor for consideration".

The agents by rule are obligated to "present all offers".

There are ARMLS rules for how a property is listed according to the offers, but that is a different subject.

Stew Keene
Signature Realty Group
2008-2009 Master of Real Estate Award
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 5, 2009
The seller has the right to submit one or more offers to the bank. I'd ask the listing agent how they have chosen to proceed.

If they are submitting multiple offers, the bank will review them and may or may not accept one of them. During this period the home can remain in ACTIVE position on ARMLS and other offers may continue to come in and be submitted.

If they submit just one offer the home will go to the AWC-I or Pending category on ARMLS and subsequent offers will be held in back up position.

I just posted an article on short sales on our blog site this afternoon if you want some extra reading.

Hope this helps,
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 5, 2009
Hi Patty,

As Rod states, this is a great question that you should ask to your agent. If you are not using a buyer's agent, this is a prime reason why you should. In any case, direct communication with the agent(s) involved would garner you the most accurate answer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 5, 2009
Not all listing agents submit all offers to the bank. It depends on the listing agent. Some will only submit one offer at a time and keep the rest as backup, and some submit all offers as they come in, and then have the seller sign the one selected (if any are). Your agent should review this with the listing agent along with other questions such as the number of lien holders involved (more than one is not good).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 5, 2009
If the seller receives any other offers and accepts them they will go to the bank. The bank can then counter any and all offers hoping to get the most money.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 5, 2009
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