Home Buying in San Diego>Question Details

Robert Boern…, Real Estate Pro in El Cajon, CA

A local agent always responds with a "multiple counter offer"

Asked by Robert Boerner, El Cajon, CA Thu Mar 22, 2012

One local agent in my area always responds to an offer with the Multi-Counter Offer box checked on the CAR CO Form. While I would like to think she has just uncanny luck, I doubt that is the case. From my POV, she checks the box to encourage a higher counter from my buyer clients.

While I know she has an obligation to get the highest price for her seller but it seems that honesty is secondary in her statements.

Her listings may be active for 1 week, a month, or even 180 days, but the multiple counter box is always checked.

Unless someone has a way to verify the existence of other offers (I can't figure out how to do that), her false statements degrade the integrity of our profession and just make us all question the "professionalism" we hope to attain.

Your thoughts?

Help the community by answering this question:


Unfortunately, every market seems to have agents who like to play games. We know who they are and at some point, I stop dealing with them. If one of their listings shows up on the our list of homes to show, I am happy to show the house, but tell my clients how the agent operates and typically we move on. The listing agent is a key component to a successful negotiation, and if they are going to lie in the opening salvo, you have to wonder what else will be misrepresented through the transaction.

I take Scott's approach as well and ask lots of pointed questions, but many of these agents don't return calls and just expect you to submit your offer. Another approach is to just ignore it like the boy who cried wolf and continue the discussion as if there is no multiple offer. In the end, it really doesn't matter - your clients should decide what they are willing to pay and hold the line there. A similar statement I have heard is, "Well the seller's are pretty upset at your offer being so low." Yeah, so what? We get past that posturing and 9 times out of 10, they are signing the contract.

There will always be semi-pros in this industry. Don't buy into their games and you'll do fine.

Good Luck!

CA DRE 01775528
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 22, 2012
I always wondered about agent accountability in the case of multiple offers. We all hope for multiple offers when we are listing agents and dread them when we represent the buyer. Personally, I would think that it is only likely to receive multiple offers in the early days of a listing, when the property has just hit the market and buyers are all wanting to see it. Later after the excitement dies down I think it is highly unlikely to receive multiple offers, unless she is holding on to offers for an extended time.
Either way, as far as I know there is no way to really know for sure for two reasons
1. Forcing the issue and calling her broker for the facts will only create problems.
2. There would have to be a third party to step in because the broker might want to cover for the agent.
I agree with you, her actions make us all look good, but I will bet that she is busy and has lots of business. Ironic?
Make the situation work for you and your client, present a strong clean offer.
Also, is it possible that she is working with a template that she forgets to modify?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 22, 2012
I agree with you, but, it seems some agents don't feel rules apply to them at all these days.

One major thing I've noticed is with REO listing agents, and I'm talking high volume agents. They "require" you to have your buyer sign an addendum before your offer can be submitted. But - these are not bank addenda - these are the agent's own addenda, and if you read them closely, it relieves them of the usual work involved in having a listing. No agent can presume what a bank/seller will or will not do. But, after speaking with CAR legal, no listing agent can require your buyer to sign anything that will benefit them personally before submitting an offer, it's coercion.

We need to keep an eye on all of these practices, and keep them in the public eye so agents and buyers are aware. We can't be "we don't want to rock the boat" agents, we need to responsibly represent our clients. We have to work for them.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to solve the misuse of the Multi-Counter Offer check box?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 22, 2012
Hi Robert,
Soo irritating! I know exactly how you feel and there are always going to be "professionals" out there that are anything but, and persist in giving real estate agents and brokers a bad name. I would call her broker and voice your concerns.
I love Bill's comment, "The listing agent is a key component to a successful negotiation, and if they are going to lie in the opening salvo, you have to wonder what else will be misrepresented through the transaction."
That is exaclty the key. The agent relationship is built on a fiduciary duty and TRUST and if you are a liar in this industry, it can have very grave consequences indeed.

Good Luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 22, 2012
All good comments below. Additionally, perhaps contact her Broker directly on the phone regarding your concerns. You can also call the CAR Attorney Hotline for their input.

Bill brings up a good point about keeping your client(s) focused on what they are willing to pay for the property and advising them on being suspicious of the accuracy of the multiple offer box on this particular agent.

Let us all know how it works out, it would be helpful to know if we run across this situation.

Kind Regards,
Marcie Sands, REALTOR
Simply The Best Real Estate Co., Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 22, 2012
Good morning Robert, I'm writing to you from here at the Real Estate Summit at the San Diego Comvention Center. Your post brings up a topic I just covered on Tuesday at a CAR Legal Update Summit. Give me a call if you would like to go over a possible strategy that will virtually eliminate what you are experiencing with this agent. After we chat, we can post the information back here for everyone to learn from

Glen S Etherington, Broker, REALTOR
CA DRE #01233723
NMLS #346658
Web Reference: http://www.glincus.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 22, 2012
It's very unfortuate that we don't have the Canadian system here in the US which I learned about from watching HGTV...

The offers are "registered" on the property there.
It's an official thing. There is no fooling around.
That way we would all know what is really happening.
Transperancy. Wouldn't that be great? The negotiation privacy still intact...as the price are not registered.

If the agent in question underprices the listings to be more agressive and generate more traffic, as we all have seen in foreclosures or short sales, f.e. - then multiple offers are quite possible.
In our market, in SE FL, the bidding wars are way too common right now.

Irina Karan
Beachfront Realty, Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 22, 2012
Hi Robert,
I agree with Tim that it is a local board issue. Rather than report her, ask the board for their input on how to handle the situation (without naming names). Have the board give you the rules regarding this and send them the the agent without any return information. Hopefully she will realize someone is watching and may only do it when she has multiple offers.
Good luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 22, 2012
Why not report her to your board of Realtors and let them deal with it if it is not allowed in your board rules?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 22, 2012
With bank owned homes I know with my listings I often have 1-2 offers the first day it hits the market as they price them to sell. If she is listing bank owned homes than she may just have those offers,. if it is owner occupied homes, unless they are listed extra low, i would tend to believe she does not. I find asking if there are any other offers brings out the truth, if not she is liable for lying which is not allowed.
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNh.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 22, 2012
I'm rather used to getting the multiple-counter runaround from banks on their deals, but I've also noticed some agents adopting and abusing that tactic. It's quite disheartening to see since the approach only diminishes much needed collaboration in the industry to put acceptable deals together.


I suppose one way you can check her professional integrity is to decline to respond to one of her suspicious multiple-counter offer and see if she calls you.
Web Reference: http://www.archershomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 22, 2012

I completely agree. She's blowing smoke. Some agents like to play the game to their liking and feel there is no way to get caught. Have you tried calling her to fish some information out of her as to where your offer needs to be? If not I'd try it, I can smell a liar a mile away and I bet you can too. Hopefully she'll get caught.

Ray Pistilli
City Key Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 22, 2012
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