Home Buying in Lake Stevens>Question Details

Nicolette, Home Buyer in 98270

Can I have 2 offers on two different houses at the same time?

Asked by Nicolette, 98270 Fri Nov 6, 2009

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Personally I wouldn't advise a home buyer submitting 2 different offers on 2 different homes simultaneously. I would present 1 offer, wait for a response, and then work on the 2nd property if the 1st is a no go. What would be the reason for 2 different houses being involved, assuming the home buyer knows which home they want. There are a lot of pieces to the pie; generally speaking a good agent will have powerful negotiating skills and market knowledge, good with people etc so as to keep the home buyer less anxious.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 11, 2009
Buyers are not subject to any "code of ethics," but they MAY have a problem if they enter into a contract with two sellers and leave one for no reason. As Kary Krismer points out, there's some doubt as to whether the "walkaway" clauses cover, "I got a better deal elsewhere," and if the Seller persists, a buyer might find themselves explaining to a judge about the meaning of the term, "Inspection."
An agent has to ask themselves if they want to explain to an adjudicator how their advising a client that they could just "get out of the deal" was not an unauthorized practice of law.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 13, 2009
if this is your strategy, PLEASE have a good agent that is good at contracts. The forms have all changed and your agent MUST be aware of time frames, unless, of course, you can afford two homes!
Web Reference: http://barbara-mcmahon.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 26, 2010
You can do alot of things and get away with it. You can present offers on ten homes, with the intent on only purchasing one of them. Wether it is ethical is a different question...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 11, 2009
Dan, I think agents tend to think of the inspection being an unconditional out. I'm not quite so sure that's the case. I could see an attorney coming up with some colorable theory to attempt to enforce the contract, resulting in an expense for the buyer, and the possible tying up of funds they need for a down payment to buy another place.

As to your comments about buyers and sellers not going into the same room, that's precisely why they hire agents! No attorneys are going to allow their clients to get together in the same room and settle a matter either. That said, a lot of times the buyer's agent will request permission to present their client's offer directly to the seller with the seller's agent present. The offer can be due to expire on presentation in such situations.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 8, 2009
When I posted below it was based on the concept of 2 offers. Not 2 final contracts. Most offers include inspection and other contingencies. As I understand it an inspection contingency can be as simple as I do like something I find I leave it. Once the contracts are nearing the point of being accepted and completed the buyer would then go to one and only one home to buy. Since a buyer has no idea if any offer will be accepted it makes sense to make a few offers then choose from the winning results. This especially if the sellers will not reply within a few hours. No longer than 24 hours tops.

Buyers do not like having to wait to find out of they are possible going to be considered or not. It is not like a seller gives a real quick yes or no. Most times they want to negotiate things to death. Argue over price, conditions, terms, and more. And has anyone ever noticed one simple thing? The realtors do not allow the buyer and seller to go into a room and just hash out details until they either agree or not? The realtors need to pass paper back and forth leaving the real interested parties out of the loop.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 7, 2009
Even though it may be legally possible (although somewhat risky) I would advise against the practice because I think it's very unfair to the sellers. It would take their property off the market, making it less likely it would sell. Although buyers are not subject to any rules of ethics, I would consider this unethical.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 6, 2009
Yes, but unless you have a really good agent and are very careful, you could end up being locked into both purchases.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 9, 2010
You can, but have a great agent. If two homes both accept your offer at the same time, you are obligated to purchase both or at least proceed forward. Your agent shold be ready to reciend one offer the moment another is accepted.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 21, 2010
A buyer can make offers on multiple properties, though they need to disclose that they are doing so, in the purchase and sale agreement. If not, they better qualify for any and all properties that they are making offers on. That means a GREAT Pre-approval letter ! Personally, I do not think that I would want to risk my licence, reputation or pay the EO deductible. Remember, we are professionals and should always conduct ourselves as such. Just my personal thoughts.....:)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 19, 2010
Now a days so many people are making offers on 2 or even 4 offers at a time. Realtors are working hard to get you in contract.It is not easy getting you in contract. I hope you get the house that you want!!!!!!!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 14, 2010
Dan, that works only if everything works. If both of Nicolette's offers get signed around late at night and acceptance faxed to her agent's office, she's got the problem I mentioned - namely, the potential that the seller she rejects elects to pursue the matter through the courts.
To put this in another perspective, this may be a violation of the Realtor Code of Ethics, which in Article 1, states that Realtors must treat all parties honestly. Should I stage a sham inspection so my buyer can use the inspection contingency as a walkaway, so that none would be the wiser? Or simply say, we're going to walk on the inspection. "Why?" Oh, well, we just are. Uh huh.
I can see that story posted on Trulia like six thousand different ways. No thanks.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 8, 2009
The profile does give a bit more information not apparent from the very basic question.

I guess the issue would be when should you get out of a problematic short sale? I don't have a big problem with continuing to look, or even making another offer on another property (especially one not a short sale). I was addressing it more from the view of having two pending deals at the same time. There I think it really is unfair to the sellers, who are going to have a difficult time selling as it is without a buyer playing them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 6, 2009
- I noticed that the realtors are one sided. They do not suggest that sellers only consider one offer when they have several to look at.
With sellers, Dan, there is no risk of the seller selling to two parties simultaneously.
As an agent, I don't want to advise a buyer that in the event that both offers are accepted anywhere near simultaneously, that they can just "get out of one" and move on to another.
It could cost a buyer some money defending the notion that they entered into that transaction in good faith, and that they left the contract by exercising a contingency properly.
The "proper contingency" would be, as noted by Bill, an "I can quit the deal at any time for any reason" clause, which, really, doesn't make it much of a contract, then, does it?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 6, 2009
I think there's a small disconnect and perhaps some background that you're missing, Kary... If you look at Nicolette's profile, you'll see that she is in contract as a buyer of a short sale and really isn't happy with how the negotiations are going.

I'm guessing she wants to continue shopping while the first situation resolves itself (or not.)

Nicolette, talk to your agent and/or your agent's broker. Knowing the terms of your first offer currently being negotiated is critical to answering your question in other than general terms.

This is a challenge we all have as listing agents with short sales: the NWMLS Short Sale Addendum allows us to negotiate the circumstance that a buyer may exit at any time prior to bank approval. i.e. at will.

In these cases of Buyers being able to exit at will, I hear too often that they just keep shopping and a lot of time is spent (by the buyer agent - and the buyer for that matter) following up on a deal that's only one of several opporunties and that they can back out of at any time.

It's a lot of work (some would say wasted) for all the parties in the transaction, but it's a product of the times.
Web Reference: http://www.dugaldallen.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 6, 2009
Kary, if a buyer said (in their offer) that they were making offers to 2 (or more) different sellers and would choose the one that gave the best deal would that remove your objections?

" For buyers making two offers on two different properties, there are no such disclosures to the sellers, and that's a huge difference."

I know, this is going more into the psychology of a situation. But isn't that a lot of what determines the end results? Expectations that create results one way or another. If a seller realizes they are in direct competition with another seller for this buyer and his/her money wouldn't they price according to that very real reality they face?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 6, 2009
Dan, I actually don't like sellers countering two offers, even though on the form they'd use to do such a thing what they are doing is fully disclosed to all buyers involved. For buyers making two offers on two different properties, there are no such disclosures to the sellers, and that's a huge difference.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 6, 2009
I noticed that the realtors are one sided. They do not suggest that sellers only consider one offer when they have several to look at. The sellers even try to induce bidding wars to make all those who want to buy pay more.

Why is it any different for a buyer to make an offer on different places ( with the proper contingencies in place)? What better way is there for house prices to drop (as they need to) than to have buyers make offers on houses and go with the one who offers the LOWEST price?

Until an offer is accepted it is just a proposal. Why should a buyer not have a chance at being rejected by 2 ( or more) sellers at a time when the sellers think it is fine to do the same thing (reject multiple buyers) in reverse?

Bill said "proceed with caution being certain your agreement allows you to back out for any reason, at any time. " that is the real key. Make sure you have a contingency that allows you to retract your offer. Then once you have gotten your best deal accepted on the house you choose let the other one go.

Kary said "I think it's very unfair to the sellers. " How is that any more unfair to sellers than it is to hold a buyers earnest money deposit when the seller is making decisions to look at other offers? Either way the other party is unhappy. The seller can always put the place back up for sale. But the buyer ALWAYS loses the interest income from their EMD. Plus by keeping that EMD tied up for whatever time frame that may preclude that buyer from being able to buy another property due to lack of resources. The EMD tied it all up.

To any realtors reading this. These are honest questions. When you look at things from both sides why does the buyer have to be the bad guy when it is obvious that both parties are playing the same game. They are simply sitting on opposite sides of the board.

Is it really fair to tell a seller wait for other offers and do not accept this one immediately or to make buyers bid against each other? But you tell a buyer to make an offer on this but only this property, then wait a long time for a reply then when you lose this try another property? I just can not see it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 6, 2009

However, as noted below, the risk is that both offers will be accepted. And as the others note, you can include language in your offer allowing you to get out of the offer. However, that language would weaken the offer substantially, making it far less likely to be accepted by the seller.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 6, 2009
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
I would avoid this situation unless we are talking about one of the homes being a short sale. If this is the case, you may have a clause in the short sale addendum that allows you to back out anytime for any reason or for no reason. You still need to be very careful in this situation as you could end up being contractually obligated to buy 2 homes.
Web Reference: http://www.edfinlan.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 6, 2009

The answer is yes, but unless you are *extremely* careful, you could end up contractually responsible for two purchases.

I hope that helps,
Web Reference: http://www.dugaldallen.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 6, 2009

This is an approach that is not advised, unless you are prepared to purchase two pieces of property.

Some agents may be able to word your offer in a manner that would protect your interest for this type of undertaking BUT.......our advice would be to proceed with caution being certain your agreement allows you to back out for any reason, at any time.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 6, 2009
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