Have you closed? Would knowing make a difference? The time to ask is during negotiation. Ask your agent for the laws regarding multiple offers. They should be outlined in the listing agreement and the buyer agency agreements. In Illinois, the listing agent must follow the direct and specific instructions of the seller and must also follow the NAR code of ethics guidelines. No matter where you are, ask agents for written documentation of both license law and code of ethics.
A couple of comments below said they thought it was suspicious that a dollar amount was used -- how is that suspicious? In northern Illinois, negotiating multiple offers is directed by the seller, period. If the seller tells me to reveal the terms of the another offer (price, close date, financing etc), then I do. If the seller says "ask everyone for best and final, closed bid" then that's what I do. No lying or deceit is intended nor does it occur.
This may be hard to hear, but the process is not necessarily intended to be fair. The bank has a singular product -- there is only one of that particular house -- and they presumably want the best deal for it's sale. It is so hard to explain to people that "best deal" may not be highest price. An asset manager may select the offer with the best financing and the quickest close. In fact, security of the financing and therefore security of the closing frequently trumps price.
To Dan, George and some of the others below, if you are pursuing a complaint, you should probably straighten out whether you are making making a complaint on a license law violation or an ethics complaint. They are different and require different evidence.
If I told another agent there were 3 offers coming in on my listing, and that agent wanted verification, my manager, and I would be happy to oblige.
Now, Mack.taking your scenario a step further...........if, at the closing the seller turns to the buyer and says, "Boy I am sure glad you came along as your offer was the ONLY offer we got".................then a call could be made, and a compaint filed.... as what was suspected became a reality. A whole different ballgame.
You will not (although you could) complain about anything you do not have absolute proof about.
You will not have absolute proof unless this kind of behavior is investigated. Since it is all done in house and no details escape about the agent involved unless found guilty I dismiss that assertion.
I just heard I am unwilling to place my concerns in front of the board because I am only 98% sure I am right.
If we apply the same 98% sure of something wrong we could get rid of most calls to the police. It should be a reasonable suspicion, not absolute proof. The court decides beyond a reasonable doubt. The person making the complaint should not and does not need to be 100% sure to file a criminal complaint.
Once the report is made it is up to the ethics dept. to decide if it is correct or not. It can be a closed process No one else would know about any complaints filed unless the person accused was found guilty. Saying you can not make a complaint without 100% proof in my view is unethical and against the realtors creed. You know, put the interests of your buyers first.
Are realtors afraid to share their concerns because they are more fearful of being wrong than the population at large when reporting possible fraud? If so, why?
Charlie's ides of "full disclosure of everything" will certainly never happen. Is it anyone's business, other than the seller's how qualiafied a buyer is? how much they are putting down? whether they are an FHA buyer or a 40% down buyer? whether they want to close quickly or not? whether they have any contingencies or not?
The above items are all part of an offer, and can make a difference as to which offer a seller ultimately accepts...........they are private for the buyer and seller's eyes only (along with their agents), and can involve fine tuning as part of the negotiation process.
It is overly simplistic to say, "just "show everything" to everyone.
The notion of "full transparency" of the above information, is just that - a notion, and it is neither practical nor fair to any buyers involved...nor should it, or will it, ever happen.
That brings us back to the simple acknowledgement of other existing offers..........details ommitted.
At the risk of being attacked for what I am about to say - I see this particular issue (verification of multiple offers) as much ado about nothing. It has never been an issue in my personal experience. ..........but.....................as a solution to what others see as a problem......a simple call to the Broker, asking for verification and confirmation that their agent truly has multiple offers should put anyone's mind at ease.
Now, if one is going to suggest that the Broker might be be in on the "scam", too......I'll just wave my white flag and give up.
Opening up all offers like an auction isn't going to happen , as too much personal information is involved .....when one is buying a piece of art at an auction, the price being offered is all that matters,.,....when one is buying a home - there are many more variables involved in having the offer accepted. It's all in the details, which can be , and are, just as important as the number.
I am truly sorry that people have felt it was okay to assail you with emails and bring your intelligence into question, and that of your family.
In my opinion, your intelligence has never been in question. You display a lot of knowledge, and your ability to bring it across. We may not agree, but I strongly value your contribution.
If you have an opinion about Dunes comments, please feel free to post them here. Feel free to agree or disagree... but please don't bother him offline. It just isn't right.
"How many hoops do I need to jump through?"
Agents always discuss Services, protecting the client in this forum and how they like Doctors/Lawyers have value because ect.
How many hoops do you want your lawyer to jump thru for what you pay? How many hoops do you expect the Doctor to jump thru to make sure your operation is successful...How bout your mechanic when he tells you the repairs cost $2500..do you get a second opinion make a few calls, get a little verification? Or do ya just trust them cause they are professionals....
Maybe the real question is...How many Hoops do Agents not jump through or avoid in representing their client?
If your client pays more money than necessary to purchase because it's to much trouble to avoid that or not finding a solution to problems like the one being discussed....What are they paying for?
Time for many to think less like Realtor IMO and more like the Consumer who's suspicious, scared and signing up for a Gigantic financial obligation....Same as you'd expect from a Lawyer or Doctor.
It's a difficult problem so let's ignore it or downplay the importance. LOL
"but why do we need to run around proving that we are not guilty " Because you are charging people for Services and claiming you protect your clients interests above all else...Otherwise why do people need you? Just to fill out paperwork?
I would be curious to know what my Trulia friends think of that. It's just an idea for a solution to this problem. I realize that we will still not know the terms of the other offer, but you'll know there is competition.
I was once told I could get a loan for all but $300 a month of my income by a bank mortgage person. That alone stopped me from buying as it set off huge alarm bells. I knew it was not realistic or affordable to me.
It doesn't matter if the buyer can afford a million dollar purchase. Just because they can afford to pay much more doesn't mean they want to or should.
Ron and Debbie Albert
Coldwell Banker Residential
Yes, Dunes, that's exactly right.
- You see or suspect then you confirm, pursue the issue, report, turn in, complain you do not sit on your hands
Really? Dunes, I don't know what you're thinking, but here's my analysis:
Listing agent says, we got an offer in for 220. You say, show me. They say no. So far, this is not a reportable action, is it? It's not criminal, it's not unethical. You say, we'll do 220 if you show me. They say, no, we won't.
So, we suspect. We then call the Board.
"They wouldn't show me the other offer they said they had."
Really? Call the Licensing Department.
"They said they had a higher offer but wouldn't show it to us?"
Well, did they agree to do so in writing?
"No, I asked them, and they said, buzz off."
Oh, gosh, Mr McCoy, we'll get right on it.
The Consumer does, in fact, get to take responsibility as to whether they want to proceed, or not, given the information at hand. In this case, the information consists of: "The listing agent SAYS they have an offer for 220." In addition to, whatever advice their agent provides.
Debbie, here in the Great Northwest, our brokers don't know that we're looking at offers. Call my broker, who is very helpful and always forthcoming, he doesn't know how many offers came in last night. If you call him, he'll call me. So, we're still back at, "the Listing Agent said . . . "
Well, I think I offered a "solution" for the question of how to verify there are other offers..........
."......a simple call to the Broker, asking for verification and confirmation that their agent truly has multiple offers should put anyone's mind at ease........"
To me............that addresses the specific question that was asked, and is an easy solution - George asked what proof there was that another offer really existed...............and is why I felt a lot of the ensuing discussion was above and beyond the question......now, as for the concept of complete transparency with details of all offers...............that is another topic.
Sorry... full disclosure is NOT the only solution. And we're not playing games, in trying to protect the interests and privacy of our clients... both buyers and sellers.
We walk a fine line, in trying to protect the interest of our clients, and trying to maintain their rights and interests... We're damned if we do, and damned if we don't.
I don't know what the solution is... but I'm working on it...
We're not going to set up a Bureau of Confirming the Existence of Competing Offers.
There's not going to be any Independent Verification Agency where Sellers can have the existence of competing offers validated.
At the point of friction, we're going to have to take the other agent's word for it, or not.
Perhaps we're still out there, and still hunting for a home... your disclosing that information might telegraph how much we're willing to pay, to one of the other buyer's agents who was involved in the transaction. That agent might just have a listing that my client was interested in.
If we, now, brought an offer to that property... that agent has an advantage since they know what we're willing to pay. I'm not okay with releasing all of that information.
I'll reiterate what I stated originally... and what George S. was looking for in the first place. All I want is a reliable way to confirm, when told we are in a multiple offer situation, that there actually IS an offer! I don't want to be able to see ANY of the details of the offer... I don't even need to know who the agent or buyer is, what the price, closing date, mortgage amount or any of the confidential information is.
I just want to be able to 100% believe that when an agent tells me that there is another offer, and we have to bring in our highest and best... that there actually IS another offer, and that this isn't just a scare-tactic designed to fleece extra money out of my client.
Look. There's no point in arguing with me whether Sellers will or won't disclose offers; argue it with THEM! I'm just telling you the way the world is. What if Sellers would guarantee the home free from defects for five years! Wouldn't that provide a wonderful peace of mind for the buyer!
I'm not against the idea, mind you; some are. Some absolutely think that it undermines the Seller's position to disclose the content of other offers.
In the days before title insurance and escrow companies and bank appraisers, there were real estate transactions. More than a few were fraudulent. Sometimes, there was no "there" there; sometimes, you were just one of several buyers who had paid for the property; quite often, defects were hidden, rather than disclosed.
Things are better now for both buyers and sellers. There's room for improvement, and your suggestions are welcome.
From now on please assume all are appreciated (I did learn some new words and word combinations lol so it's all good....Mostly I mentioned the emails to point out what I was saying was not to gain popularity LOL
Alan, thank-you...I received out of all the emails, (yes I actually scan/check all my emails or have the kitten do it) and I did receive 1 (one) from a Trulia member who mostly writes elsewhere who said some very kind things.....
Matt Stigliano...Thank you for your email, it was very very appreciated.
I am all for a system where all deception, including false multiple offer claims, is eliminated and punished to the fullest extent. Zero tolerance for unethical and/or unprofessional behavior.
Now, once again:
Tell me how to affect that change beyond my little part of the world.
I mean, I just want to be a good RE agent. I need to help pay bills (not happening yet). There are countless things in this world that sadden and enrage me but I can't save the world and I doubt very much I can single-handedly make the RE profession more respectable. I can just hope to affect positive change in MY interactions with people.
If an opportunity arises, that I can widen the scope, I will take it.
I'm discouraged that this is not good enough for some people.
I wasn't trying to be patronizing Dunes. I know that I didn't tell you anything that you don't already know.
I'm just explaining things how I see it.
You know- the whole making our own little corner of the world better thing. Its being proactive, intolerant of bad behavior and holding ourselves to the highest ethical standards.
Agents here have expressed their disdain for deception, tried to discuss ways to offer proof of competing offers, and, what do you know, we have yet to come up with a perfect solution.
Now, I would suggest instead of stating the obvious- that there are lousy agents out there- that you tell us a way to purge the industry of all bad people. And while you're at it, feel free to let me know how to purge humanity of all bad people.
I want suggestions- not just pointing out how we are all working in an imperfect profession with imperfect people because I think we already know that.
However, this doesn't prevent the Seller from simply countering the best offer, which brings us back to, "How do I know what the other person's bid was?"
Which brings us back to, not every problem has an elegant solution which results in a win-win situation.
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Some things are intractable, and believe me, we're open to suggestions.
Washington State Law already provides that agents can have their licenses revoked or suspended for
Knowingly committing, or being a party to, any material fraud, misrepresentation, concealment, conspiracy, collusion, trick, scheme, or device whereby any other person lawfully relies upon the word, representation or conduct of the licensee
The reward for an agent conspiring with their seller to cheat the buyer out of $15,000 is . . . commission rate is x% . . . not so very darned much, isn't it.
Risk vs reward. Now we can be as cynical as we want, but that's a pretty strong disincentive to pull that sort of nonsense.
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The problem is that the potential solutions are useless. No seller is going to sign up for a system where they can't negotiate offers. Nor should they.
Sellers are not always going to want to show their other offers to buyers, and so long as that's the case, the buyer's only options are to take it, or leave it.
Complaining about it hasn't gotten anybody closer to a workable solution.
From what I've seen, agents are blamed, rightly or wrongly, for almost everything that goes wrong in a deal.
We are continuously held accountable, even for things we really have no control over.
In NJ, there's a website(I think run by the Banking Commission?) that all offending agents are listed on that states what their penalty is- anything from fines, to suspensions to expulsions.
Do all offending agents get caught or punished? Of course not.
Just like life, things are rarely black and white. This profession seems to have a lot of gray and sometimes the lines are a little blurry.
There's always room for improvement and I can't stand the idea that some agents give us all a bad name but as much as I would like to transport each of them to a desert isle where they only have each other for company (a hell of their own making so to speak and fit justice as far as I'm concerned) it obviously isn't that simple.
Real estate agents, it is often reported, do not have a high standing in the eyes of the public. Yet. Do we really think that the General Public is more honest in their real estate dealings than real estate agents, and that we agents corrupt the public into acting immorally and dishonestly?
I couldn't agree more. In this situation, one size does not fit all. In my market, lower prices homes will virtually always have multiple offers and a peach of a home, that's priced competitively, will sell very quickly. When working with first time buyers, it's common for us to make offers on 10 or more properties before getting an acceptance. This can take months. Similar to Jay's strategy, I instruct my client (and confirm with a pre-qualification) what their price point is and use that as a benchmark. When a seller comes to me with "highest & best" I often tell them that our original offer IS highest & best.
Time on market, overall inventory, buyer's wants and needs, and many other factors come into play when crafting a strategy. As a former contractor, I can relate with Dune's mindset. I always look for the diamond in the rough. As a Realtor, I learned quickly that I cannot visit my mindset on a client. We all have different perspectives regarding what we want in a home. Every buyer is different.
Dan, even I'm not suggesting that they should "show me the offer" (that was my best Jerry McGuire imitation). I'm only asking for a way to confirm that there IS an offer. I actually don't want any of the details of the offer, I just want to be able to rely on the fact that when a listing agent tells me there's a competing offer, that there really is.
Talk about wanting to know what the other offers were.........I sure do!
I'd love to know how much higher the winning bid was, and what the terms were.........but, alas, I can't find that out at this time.
Now, understandably, my buyer is frustrated.....but....he didn't listen to my advice, and offered less than I suggested (he offered $7,000 over asking price - that's how competitive my market is now). He now has second thoughts, and is wondering, "if only I went a bit higher", what would have happened".
The irony is................had his offer been accepted.......I can bet that he'd be wondering whether he went too high or how much he might have "overpaid" for the home to have the winning bid!
Sometimes, no matter how it works out, there is bound to be a level of frustration and second guessing.
You guys are just different sides of the same coin the way I see it.
Dunes is (I think) calling for improvement and is frustrated at the laissez-faire attitude.
Mack is just telling it like it is.
Both of you have well thought out, very intelligent posts.
I don't know what George thinks, but I happen to agree with both of you, for what its worth.
I am taking this discussion to heart and will consider working with a buyer's agent on helping his/her client believe what I say. The reason why I am considering this is because I appreciate the work buyer's agents put in and I treat buyer's agents with respect. Without buyer's agents, my listing inventory is meaningless because I can't possibly sell all my listings myself. This is not to say that I don't also respect the buyers, but I don't have direct interaction with the buyer. I also think that it matters how I am being asked. If a buyer's agent asks nicely and with respect, it's one thing, but if the agent is rude and offensive, it might not do the trick.
We have 2 competing views.
1 buyers should be able to see whatever offer they are against
2 no way a buyer should be able to see other offers if they even exist.
Since some realtors would not even admit their client had made an offer let alone what that offer was $$
I have to come to one conclusion.
If I am ever told there are competing bids on a property I am interested in I tell my realtor to tell the other realtor to shove it. My offer is all there is.
If they are unable or unwilling to show me competing offers I assume none exist.
In essence I am being told you are now in an auction, you can not see if anyone else is actually bidding BUT you have to bid higher or you will lose it.
Fuggetabautet I see everything, or walk away.
Transparency is needed in politics, it is also needed in any bidding or business transaction. I can not understand why people are afraid to show what is going on, unless it is all pure B.S.
... as a consumer, when my agent tells me that the seller says there's another offer... so give us your highest and best... your prior 97% offer "might" not cut it anymore. I don't think it's too much to ask that you "show me" there's another offer.
... I'm not saying I have come up with the best "way" to prove that... but I am saying that it's not right to tell our clientelle, "you'll just have to trust us... if you want this house you're going to have to pony-up another 15 large".
... yes, the best proof is if my client decides to back out, and finds out that the property DID indeed go pending, and close in 30 days... and it closed for $2,000 less than I was willing to pay. Damn!
... I'd suggest that there should be a way to "prove the veracity of a 2nd or 3rd offer", and we should be working hard to figure out a way to do that, rather than insisting that our clients just "trust us"...
HOW ABOUT... as a suggestion... upon request by the buyer's agent... the listing agent would send a copy of the full offer to the Board to be "certified", as a bona fide multiple offer.
and unequivocal and resounding YES... because that IS the crux of this matter. Is there, or is there not, another offer? The fact that they "want" to know how much... is irrelevant.
... and I beg to differ. My managing broker IS an impartial third party... she's as honest as the day is long, and would keep the confidentiality of the offer with her to her grave... but as I said "or an agree upon impartial third party".
Your broker isn't a third party in the transaction. Or at least not a neutral, impartial third party.
Calling the agent who submitted another offer could prove problematic as well. If I have a buyer, and another buyer's agent called me wanting to know if my buyer has submitted an offer, I think I'd be inclined to say, "Sorry, but that's none of your business." I'm certainly not going to compromise my buyer's position in any way shape or form.
I suppose the question is, *would* me telling you, "Yes, we've submitted an offer" be compromising my buyers position? I need to ponder that some more, but the simple fact that I need to ponder it tells me it's possible it could compromise my buyer. And if it's even remotely possible, it's not going to happen...
And honestly, would it do any good to tell your client, "I talked to another buyers agent. He confirmed they also submitted an offer"? You know the first thing out of there mouth will be "How much was their offer?".
Send a copy of the offer, with only the buyer's name & contact removed... as well as the purchase price, to my managing broker. Not to me. (or some agreed upon impartial third party).
the version you'd offered to send me would still be better than nothing... and it would have the buyer's agents' information, and I could contact them to verify an offer.
I was the one that pointed out a listing agent would be an utter fool to jack up the price to collect an extra $450. And that's true.
However, as Dunes eloquently points out, there are of course utter fools out there.
So how do we resolve the problem with getting proof of a competing offer? If I'm a listing agent, I'm not about to tell a buyer or their agent what the top offer is. I'd be happy to provide a copy of the offer, but it's going to have the following removed:
The buyer and their contact info
The financing terms
The amount of earnest money
The closing date
Any requested concessions
Any variation of the standard boilerplate language
In other words, any info that would even potentially compromise my sellers position isn't going to be made available.
So if that's the case, what's the point?
Would seeing an offer, with all this info blacked out, convince the buyer that there really was an offer?
Before anyone says yes, keep in mind that if an agent is unethical enough to claim another offer exists when it doesn't, then they are unethical enough to fabricate this other offer.
And now we're back at square one.
I'd love to hear ideas of how one could provide proof of a competing offer without revealing any of the offer details.
There should be some accountability... instead of just having to "trust the system".
I'd like to see a copy of that competing contract sent to my managing broker (or some acceptable third party)... with the buyer's name and contact information redacted, if necessary. But I'd want the other agent's information, so that I could call and confirm that, indeed there was another offer.
It's not enough to say "be happy you got the house"... because it actually cost George, in this case, an additional $15,000 (no small potatoes in today's market). Whether that's supported by comps or not.
You won't get proof. I understand why you're asking, but the bank isn't going to provide the proof.
This happens all the time on bank owned properties.
Consider this. The listing agent's commission was probably in the range of 3% of sales price. So if the sale went through at $205K, the listing agent's commission would be $6,150. If the listing agent jacked up the price to $220K, the commission would be $6,600 -- a difference of $450.
Most bank owned property listing agents work bank owned homes exclusively, and usually have multiple listings from the same lenders.
If the agent "jacks up" the price to make an extra $450, they risk blowing the sale completely, upsetting the bank, who then pulls ALL their listings from the agent.
It would take an utter fool to make that huge risk for $450. (and the difference is probably even less than $450 as the commissions paid to bank-owned listers is quite often less than 3%.)
For the record..........Any agent would be foolish to play that game..........as buyers can and do walk away if told there is another higher competing offer. It's a gamble no agent would want to take.especially with the bank calling the shots.
Hope that makes you feel better............in the meantime.............enjoy your new home!
The purpose of a brainstorming session is to come up with ideas, and, again, I was wrong not to acknowledge that your idea was, in fact, quite creative.
I still don't think the world is ready for it, but it's a good idea, nonetheless.
Please accept my apology.