I think we all agree any agent who lies should lose their license..........and a fine is certainly called for, too.
The sellers agent when claiming a multiple bidding scenario simply has to drive a short distance and drop off proof of competing offers in a safe box as designated. When the highest offer is approved the sellers agent and buyers agent together pick up the offer and verify it was real. Both sign a paper saying it is real. Then one agent takes it to the signing. All fraud is pretty much erased this way.
I know I'm unrealistic, I don't understand, you have no power, you can't control other people yadda yadda
I just live in a dream world....
I'm not an Agent and not really all that concerned if it stays the way it is...Just explaining my position and it is my position...Trust the RE Industry or their we protect your interests, trust us message...Not gonna happen
Good thing the public's confidence in Agents is so high things can just stay the same, I'll let ya all get back to those clients and multiple offers......We'll talk about this next year ...I'm bookmarking the page
Gonna go read some more about Google and it's plans to replace the MLS.....
The envelope must be given to an impartial third party. Even the sellers side broker would do (if not the agent). If that could be seen as a conflict of interest give it to the broker of an agency not affiliated with any bidder. Since every agency will be involved and the only hardship is holding an envelope no big costs are incurred.
Once the offer is accepted the envelope MUST be opened at the closing table. If no valid bid exists the agent loses their complete commission. The buyer can then buy at the original price (if lower). This would ensure that the seller did not make it up, that the sellers agent did not make it up, and the fine equal to the lost commission added for false representation would cure others trying to do the same.
Going back to my perfect world scenario, if our world wasn't full of complacent people and instead each and every one of us stood up against victimization and injustice, violence, ignorance, hatred, deception, all the bad stuff we live with and tolerate every day- if we ALL stood up to all this, we'd have our perfect world.
Real estate is no different. We can strive for complete honesty and integrity, but we know that all people just aren't bent that way.
And not all people are bent to be anything other than complacent.
Legally I do have some thoughts but am confirming them
What happens when everyone says I can do nothing?
What can you do? According to you and a lot of other Agents .....Nothing
Same as every individual in Banking would most likely respond, and the Government and and and and
What do you expect from those industries and from those individuals when you discuss it?
I'm guessin...Somebody ought to do something
Did you mean to say pithy, perchance?
I agree, that the best thing we can do as agents is be utterly intolerant of bad behavior.
I sense this is Dune's frustration- that agents don't always do Something.
Lets face it- complacency is easy and the consequences may be diffuse- Yeah, that was a bad agent but I may never have to deal with them again, although somebody else will.
Action in the face of dealing with a bad agent can be hard. Instead of moving on we have to insist that something be done and bad feelings between agents and brokers may ensue. Confrontation is uncomfortable for many.
Just like changing the status quo is uncomfortable for most.
For once, I will be pity.
If I find out an agent lied to me in any shape, way or form........... I will report them and use whatever avenues are open to me. I hold other agents accountable, and always have.
Lying to me is one thing, and bad enough.......lying to my buyer through me is even worse.
The only thing I am capable of doing is reporting any actions that I KNOW were illegal and/or wrong.
Seriously, if I had the kind of power as an individual agent, to wipe clean all amoral, unethical agents (send them to that desert isle I referred to earlier), maybe I would also be able to bring peace on earth, eliminate all violence, all corruption, all victimization, make a perfect world.
Maybe I could even have the power to make politicians truly admirable people who work in the best interest of the public they are suppose to serve.
Think about that- you are asking real estate agents to overhaul the profession so that there is no dishonesty, all is wonderful and great and people actually learn to respect us.
But even legislators, the very people who have the power to change/add/remove laws do a pretty crappy job as far as I'm concerned.
If the people who have the power can't /won't affect positive change, how are you expecting an individual agent, with the best of intentions to do so?
1. A buyer find a house they like and it is $200,000.
2. Their Agent tells them that the sellers Agent called and another offer has been placed you need to make your best offer.
3. For whatever reason there is not actually another offer, the Sellers Agent LIED.
4. Buyer wants property so offers $215,000....the offer is accepted.
The key is there was actually no other offer and in Jay's question for the sake of discussion as I took it we are to assume the $200,000 offer would have been accepted....Buyer paid $15,000 more than necessary.......Why?
BECAUSE THE AGENT LIED THERE WAS NO OTHER OFFER........That's the scenario
So Jay's question based on that was...If the Buyer had Requested proof there was another offer how would that be done/handled.....shouldn't they be able to know or verify they were raising their offer based on a REAL OFFER.
That grew as people recounted incidents relating to times they suspected that was happening or knew it was happening....So it happens maybe not a lot, seldom whatever but it happens.
My feeling/response was/is this
In response to point
1. The Buyer.....Who is most likely the Buyer? A first-time home buyer? Someone who before could not for whatever reason buy..to young, couldn't afford, couldn't qualify, low income?
I remember when I first bought, knew little, was scared, big decisions, committment, money, responsibilities, dreams, hope and most likely feelings shared by many....It's a BIG DEAL...
Most likely someone who $15,000 matters when shopping for a home....Now?
2. The Agent tells them of another offer and shares the message..."Best Offer". Let's assume the Buyers Agent told them, I've heard stories, you should only pay what you can afford ect.....
3. I'm not interested in the Seller Agent motivation, don't care. The Agent Lied! The Agent is the reason the Buyer paid $15,000 more...period IMHO......Accountability?
4. Everyone can spin the $15,000 anyway they want but it COST THE BUYER $15,000. In my mind a buyer who listened to..we will work in your interests, we negotiate and get you the best deal possible, code of ethics, you can trust us, value ect. ect. if they asked or even visited here.
A buyer who most likely is a First-time Buyer and to whom $15,000 is a lot. A buyer presented with MAKE YOUR BEST OFFER. So even if their Agent explained things they are sitting and deciding, worrying, considering possibilities ALL BASED ON A LIE TOLD BY AN AGENT in this scenario that other Agents confirm happens and a whole lot of Agents comment on every RE site (check it out) that they suspect it but can't prove it.
The key to me is it is a real possibility this happens, everyone can debate..seldom, almost never, never, a lot, does not matter to me because based on Agent comments on multiple sites I believe it happens more than enough to worry about.
My position..IT SHOULD NOT HAPPEN..PERIOD. Ya can get all you are being idealistic, deal with it, it happens, can't do anything on me but my position stands...IT SHOULD NOT HAPPEN.
I BELIEVE this is a MORAL QUESTION as well as a RE question, right and wrong.
The Agent who lied should pay, not continue to be an Agent ect because they LIED INTENTIONALLY WHICH RESULTED IN COSTING SOMEONE $15,000..
So....If an Agent representing a Buyer suspects then IMHO they should find out and pursue it...Accountability make Agents hold other Agents accountable in Practice not talk. Many of the public expect that from what is told them by Agents.
If you know there are no other offers you should do everything possible to remove that Agent from your profession...period. Right and Wrong, not the Code of Ethics doesn't cover this.....It's Wrong..
If it's to difficult or not possible to do anything now because of rules, tradition whatever, then change it fix it....
Everyone Talks... DO SOMETHING about something that's wrong....
They do it everywhere, it's always been that way, buyer beware.....BULL that justifies nothing IT IS WRONG and in my opinion you have a duty as a HUMAN BEING, A MEMBER OF SOCIETY to do something on top of any Professional obligation......Not doing anything does not inspire Trust.
That's my position and why....All may disagree, downplay the importance have whatever take they want but it is how I see it and I think the Professional Agent should have enough respect and concern for their Profession to figure it out and DO SOMETHING.
Should that buyer in Jay's scenario be able to confirm there is another offer....How?
Points asked or added to the discussion
What should happen to the Agent who LIED? Does anything happen now? (It appears not according to Agents)
My position....If nothing can be done now then CHANGE IT, pursue it, fix it.
How do I know?
If my buyer doesn't get the house......bingo, for sure there was another offer or offers.
if we do get it, I always ask who the competing agents were, so if in doubt, I could verify it.....i have never been refused an answer to that question.
I have rarely been in a postion during negotiations where I was told.....here is the number.......your buyer must beat it.
(I don't want to confuse others with the NJ attorney review when anything can happen in regard to additional offers during that period - so I am not addressing that scenario).
In the situation posed in the question above..it was a bank calling the shots.....so I separate that from working with live real people/sellers.
Oh, and it is not at all uncommon for a home to be sitting on the market, and then all of a sudden, along comes 2 offers in the same weekend. No idea why that occurs, but it does.
Hi Joan!..........And, just to clarify...and as an aside...
" It would mean that the seller can't attempt to tweek an offer more to their liking. But they also have the option of not accepting any of the offers and hoping something better comes in. Their choice. "
The last 2 words are the operative words..."their choice".
That was my point - even if the agent says they are accepting " highest and best.....owner will select one by 2PM Tuesday"..............once viewing the offers, .it is the legal right of the seller to change their mind and tweek anything they care to in order to obtain the best offer possible.
That's why I said agents can't choreograph, and, imo, shouldn't try to choreogrpah anything - they can suggest, and lay out a framework for negotiations, but should leave the door open to the full process........legal rights trump the format the agent might want to establish.
I agree, in essence, with what you are saying.
Its just that those sellers' rights, so to speak, are what (apparently) leads to possible deception. Maybe, in certain situations, such as multiple offer situations, there is a procedure that should be in place that is required to be followed.
Legal rights should not involve the right to intentionally deceive.
Please realize that I am just throwing stuff out there. I am not knowledgeable enough to say what should be done with any certainty.
Its just that I am having a hard time swallowing the idea of being intentionally deceived. I personally don't know agents out of my office well enough to know who can be trusted and who can't. I know a few, but certainly not most.
It would just be nice if there was a way to keep everything above board.
I understand that the one-shot process is contrary to what most agents and their sellers are use to. It would mean that the seller can't attempt to tweek an offer more to their liking. But they also have the option of not accepting any of the offers and hoping something better comes in. Their choice.
I don't see privacy being an issue because buyers would not have knowledge of what is in the other offers.
One thing I think some agents forget is that as much as we all like to choreograph things, there's something called legal rights of the buyer and seller.
The buyer has a right to expect their privacy will be respected, and that their offer and personal information will not be shown to others without their permission. The buyer's agent has a respsonsibility to uphold that privacy.
The seller has the right to have open negotiations , or keep them closed....to have their agent share that there are multiple offers, or not....to share what the offers are, or not...........
In regard to multiple offers, and one shot offers..........
The seller doesn't HAVE to take one of the highest and best offers, even if that's how it was presented. What if they like the offer on one contract, but prefer the terms of another? The seller has the absolute right to ask me, as their agent, to negotiate with one particular agent to improve the offer to their satisfaction. They have no obligation to accept any of the offers as they stand. The have no obligation to go back to all parties for anouther round.
I think sometimes agents "tell" clients what to do, rather than 'advise" them as to what their options are.
So... as much as we like to think we can call the shots..........to me, our job is to lay out the possibilites, offer advice, and then follow the cilent's instructions, after they have been properly informed.
To me, the seller wins because it encourages serious offers- no game playing.
The buyer wins because they only have to offer what the house is really worth to them. Again, no game playing.
Sellers do not want openness and transparency, they want top dollar. And they know that if the buyer sees that they've outbid by $15,000 - that they're not going to close the transaction without a serious price concession.
That would take all negotiation out of muliple offer situations.
The seller would have to decide then and there, without any back and forth, what offer they accept, if any.
Apparently its been done this way before.
That way the buyers know that they really do have to put their best and highest on the table but they don't have to worry about being manipulated by possible deception.
How this would be set up I don't know. Most homes on the market in my particular area are not involved in a multiple offer situation, so how and when it is determined when the above scenario is used or not, I don't know.
You all have to realize that most of us are on the same page here regarding the use of deception. It is flat out wrong. All the ethic courses/training in the world isn't going to change someone who is fundamentally unethical. People are flawed, some more than others.
If there is a way to change the multiple offer scenario in a way that it takes all potential for deception out of the equation, I'm all for it.
Dan, it has nothing to do with the Code of Ethics. The Seller has it in their discretion to share the information or not. It is essential to realize that the Agent is not a Principal to the transaction.
But I throw the question up again: how do you want this fixed? I keep reading that the system is broken, how do you fix it?
George wanted to see that he was not lied to. He still has no idea if he was told the truth or not. It is not about what he was willing to pay. It was not that he thought he overpaid.
The real question is simple.
" How do I know I was not lied to?"
The real answer is as simple.
" You do not and the realtors acting within their code of ethics will never let you find out."
Placing a sealed bid in an envelope is fine. That is how most towns get bids for various things they need done. You never know who will be high or low. You place a bid for what you think it is worth.
If you put in a bid and the sellers agent says we have an offer for $15k more and will not prove it (most agents would not prove it either) how can we trust it is true?
Most agents said they would not even acknowledge they had a bidder involved as it could compromise their buyer. That means you could have 18 bids against each other with no proof, or 1 bid alone.
Some even said they had been in the situation several times and their low offer still got accepted. OR the buyer withdrew their bid and the other offer fell apart (if it ever really existed).
In this situation how can any buyer ever trust the words "we have a competing bid"?
The professionals consensus was that proof of competing bids would not be given. That buyers were on their own and had to have a B.S. meter to figure out if that was a true statement or if they were being lied to about another bid existing.
How can I as a buyer trust it is true when agents suggested very strongly they knew it (multiple offer scenario) was not true many times in their career?
If so, I didn't get the impression that most agents agreed that it was ok to lie regarding offers.
I can possibly see there being a system that was referred to earlier where all offers are opened and considered at once. That way a multiple offer, or pretend multiple offer situation can't be used and abused.
The agents would even refuse to admit their client put in an offer. They will not admit another offer exists or not. They make the claim with absolutely no proof or desire to give any.
It is the structure that is wrong.
Thanks for your comment and I do understand, I have read your stuff for awhile elsewhere and know you are no slouch in the working to actually change things department but a leader....
I do think it has a lot to do with accountability. The offending Agent in the scenario you suggest is possible operates knowing there is no accountability according to what I hear many Agents say. No one turns them in, pursues the issue ect. and the public views that as a form of participation. IMO
Maybe that is the experience with some people.
Maybe its just my good luck that I am working in an office where integrity and committment to our clients/customers is of utmost importance but I would switch it around:
There are a few greedy, amoral agents amidst the good, hard-working, caring agents.
Same generalization you could make about all people.
That covers everyone well. Proof even after agreeing to purchase as a condition of the new price (with other bidders confirmation) would cover this.
If the bank would prove they had an offer and normally did that as a standard operating practice this would not be an issue. The same would be true of any seller.
George wants this house. The Bank's agent sez . . . what do people think George's agent should have done here?
I'm asking because criticism is one thing, finding a solution is even better.
Suppose I had suggested to George, "let's make them prove it," and the bank sold it to the other people for 220. Would George be happy with me? Would I have served George and his interests well?
As one of the "minds that HAVEN'T caused the problem," what do y'all think Best Practice in this situation is, for the real estate professional.
It is a shame that real estate professionals including realtors refuse to be honest in the buying process.
Showing any competing offers with proof is being honest. I doubt it will change because...
Like Albert Einstein said " you cannot solve a problem with the mind that caused it"
and realtors minds are all fogged up about having a transparent bidding process judging by all of the comments here and on the blog.
But I ask again, what should George's agent have done if the other agent refused to show him the competing offer?
Unlike Dan, George wants this house.
You're George's agent. George tells you, "well, 220, we'll match it. We'll offer 220."
What do you do now?
"We" as in YOU or "We" as in RE Agents.....Comments here and your blog do not suggest to me that "We" as in RE Agents can actually be claimed with any more certainty than "Is there actually a competing offer"
If the issue involves Trust/Accountability then responding with..."Trust me" we all advise, may not be a conviencing point/argument for a number of Consumers
After all it's something that's been going on until now and is still going on, it was not enough of a concern to Agents/the industry to do anything about other than... too bad for some consumers.
(Trust/Accountability ....We provides it as long as you doesn't verifies it.......)
No Trust us we.....doesn't seem to me like much of a response to the question IMO.
"So who takes responsibility for the Consumer who paid $15000 more than they may have needed to?"
It's obvious it's not gonna be RE Agents or the RE industry........Maybe it's the Mortgage Brokers fault ;)
Remember this is not even an issue/question unless an RE AGENT LIES and makes an untrue claim to raise the Price..(why would they do that may be a good question but based on comments/related stories from Agents it does...
In Portland awhile back a Realtor was caught using an out of towns clients home for parties. free liquor and a place to crash with his Girlfriend on occasion.
Why are there utter fools????? Who cares, there just are, it just the way it is.
Stolen shamelessly by me from an AgentGenius article
â€œAll truth passes through three stages:
First it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.â€ â€“ Schopenhauer
Kinda like when someone said it wasn't ok to claim (Standard/Average Commissions are) should not be discussed in Forums just 6-7 months ago...A lotta of "that's just the way it is" Agent comments then also but where are those comments and comments of "The standard Commission in my market is" comments now?
Things can change...I also remember some people commenting here stating back then..."Why do I keep trying?"...Perhaps because that's how change often happens or begins, someone keeps trying.
When I read the blog mentioned below the realtors pretty much all agreed that they would not share their clients bid amount. It would compromise their clients interests.
Since George was told the precise amount that sounds fishy.( I would not have thought so before reading all of the realtors reply on that blog) He should have a had a proof of other QUALIFIED offer contingency (if not given original price applies) if he decided to go higher.
p.s. when did U2 ever tour? I seriously doubt that 3 million americans ignored them. It would more likely be WELL OVER 300 million ignored them.
I do not think "By the way, we are talking about 2 scenarios here"
We have been discussing...."Can I get proof of a competing offer?"
No one has suggested anyone should see the amount of competing offers, or how many just if as discussed earlier in this thread and Jay's Blog....Should there be confirmation there is actually another offer on the table (not the amount) if a consumer/client requests it and how that might be done to the satisfaction of all or if it is even possible.
His question was answered by Agents......Nothing you can do, it's just the way it is, you got the property be happy, it's no big deal...
I so do not agree.
People who want to buy homes as business transactions should do that, people who want to buy homes for emotional reasons should do that, as well.
Dan & Dunes, as ardent fans of real estate discussions - what do you think George's agent should have done, and why?
There are no guarantees. There is no guaranteed win for every situation. Sometimes, you're engaged in a risky situation - but the better prepared you are, the better a chance you have to win.
People who don't care about the outcome, it doesn't matter. George, clearly, was someone who cared about the outcome, and he was willing to risk $15,000 to get the property he wanted. This is not a shame. The chances are, in my evaluation, that it was a good bet that the Seller was telling the truth and not bluffing.
For others, it wouldn't have been worth it at 205. That's all fine and dandy. Almost three million Americans ignored U2 when they toured America, also - the market is made up of activists, not spectators.
I bet your buyer will be relieved to know it wasn't a bluff or ploy on the part of the listing agent.
In my area, I pretty much know all of the agents..........if I don't know them, I know of them..................or I know someone who knows them - in their office............I also know who to watch out for....who is honorable and professional.....who is a pain ...and who is not to be trusted. I base my assessments on how I will respond to any claims made by the agent.
By the way, we are talking about 2 scenarios here...........one in which the agent says there are multiple offers, and you need to come in with your highest and best offer by a certain day and time.....who is that hurting? The buyer has an idea of how much they want to pay............offers are brought in, in sealed envelopes. it happens frequently.
The other scenario is being told outright that there are other offers, and being given an offer you need to beat. I find this happens rarely, if at all......
Now, In NJ we have a 3 day attorney review period, so if a higher offer comes in during that time., even with signed contracts, the 2nd offer could be accepted by the sellers....... it is considered a courtesy, however, to at least give the first buyer a chance to match or beat it, rather than just kill the first deal with no warning.
How do you know there is really a higher offer? Well...in this case, it could be verifed by the attorney............but even if not..........if the agent says match it, beat it or lose the house.........that's really playing Russian roulette.
Lots of scenarios..........one thing is for sure......one size doesn't fit all.
Once I buy a house it could be 6 months or a lot longer before I can afford to bring in a bunch of used furniture to replace what was there before. I will start out with minimal furniture and I know it. After I get paid I will pick up a few things here or there. I own a kitchen table I bought cheap. It needs to be refinished but who cares.
At best staging shows me what I can NOT afford to buy. Not what I CAN expect to do on my own. That is my own reasonably low income reality. I do have cash in hand, what I lack is a big income to cover a lot once I buy a house. One property Debbie showed as an example (to another) awhile ago showed me I could not afford to live in that area. I could buy the place with cash and go broke trying to pay taxes.
Debbie, maybe I am not normal in this way. I spent several years being far more broke than I care to explain. I never wanted to go into debt before that. Now I refuse on the chance it might happen again. I really am more in survival mode than worrying about pretty things. Buying a house I am at the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs chart. It is not about showing off or being pretty. It is about the house doing the job I need it to do. In order for me to have over 10 years of income in the bank I had to abandon emotional buying.
I am still trying to get over buying a very expensive $3,400 car in september. It was about $2400 overpriced for me. As a buddy said, that car is to nice for you. You have always driven junk and been proud of it. 2 vehicles ago I bought a truck with no engine, transmission, doors, and so on. It was rust free. When finished, it had 7 colors. It was solid with a 62k engine in it and a new $100 clutch.
Emotional buying? I would need lessons in how to do that.
Is it any more emotional than when told there is a higher offer and raising an offer price for many?
Should a person make a business decision based on possibly inaccurate information...intentional inaccurate information that your Buyers Agent cannot confirm? A decision that may cost them more than necessary?
Are Agents even issuing a disclaimer when passing on a there's another offer?
"We counsel our buyers to determine the price they are willing to pay BEFORE they submit an offer"
What do you counsel them when passing along that the other Agent says there is another offer..
You should submit your highest and best offer if you want this property there is another offer being considered. What does that suggest?
Apparently either way is a gamble of some degree, a just the way it is risk Consumers should consider and absolutely be aware of.....For the Consumer knowing if there is actually another offer is just a service Agents cannot provide with certainty is what all the comments by Agents seem to suggest to me...
Most likely there is but there is doubt (examples of not always) and nothing in place to ensure or guarantee there is.
Just the way it is!
Agents do not know if there is actually another offer or cannot verify it for whatever reasons.
Willing to pay or able to pay or they got the property didn't they.. are not connected IMO to the question of was it actually Necessary to pay.
Theoretical points about what's the house really worth to the buyer, did they really overpay, perhaps they did but, are all fine but how philosophical are the actual Consumers going to be about something like what is being discussed? They are not viewing this as experienced Agents but as people spending money, making a large obligation THEY are responsible for and EXPECTING Services Agents suggest include guidance, expertise and protection of their interests FINANCIALLY as part of the value in using them.
Of course Trust is not really an issue between the public and Agents so no worries ;)
When I look at house pictures online (heresy I know) I pay almost no attention to any inside pictures. I am more interested in layout, location, and what the land around the house is like. I did see one house with (yuck) pink walls. I thought, needs a repaint, not that the house was unfit.
I actually prefer seeing houses with a serious amount of out-dates. Up-dates only add to cost for nothing of real value. The old works well so why install new?
I know, not what you normally hear, yet this is how I look at a place. I can change a lot if needed. The kitchen can be redone. The bathroom can be repainted to cover that ugly 70's green porcelain. (I have paint guns and can buy the materials). I can repaint the stove and dishwasher also if needed. I really want practical, not pretty.
As such ANY change in my offer is a new contract. If I offer more it is new, If I offer less it is new. My original offer was refused. This is a new offer based on new information I just received.
The sellers asked for a new offer. I am agreeing to provide such a new offer. be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.
"Besides, at least in Arizona, you can't just lower the offer price on a submitted offer. You'd have to cancel and resubmit" That is EXACTLY what the seller just asked me for. To resubmit my offer. I got that part.
I know you haven't bought a house yet, and maybe you will be one of the few who can look at it just as a business transaction, devoid of emotion.
That is a very rare point of view in residential real estate. Commercial real estate, yes..it's all about bottom line. But, in residential people are looking for more than a building to keep them "warm and dry". Why do you think staging is so vital now in helping a home sell? it's because buyers want to fall in love.....they want ito imagine living there, entertaining there, raising a family there, and creating memories there. That's what is is all about..
I dsagree with the premise or generalization that being told there are competing offers is "game playing."
Any agent with half a brain would realize how conterproductive that can be. I have seen buyers drop out at the mere thought of a "bidding war", so to falsely create that situation could hurt more than help.
I only wish Dan was one of the 4 other people bidding on a multiple-offer situation my clients just lost out on .............maybe he would have lowered his price, thereby knocking him out of contention, and giving my clients a better chance of having the winning bid!
Actually Dan, it seems like you are playing your own game with your own rules if you reduce your offer just tbecause you were told there are competing offers. Maybe once you actually do find a home you really, really want, you wil be a bit more flexible in your position.
By the way..........I usually do ask the listing agent who the other agents are - it can't hurt to ask ....usually they will tell. At the very least, I ask if the other offer or offers are from the agent's office. Problem solved.
OR, they will simply accept the other (real) offer... and you will have lost the one of the 18 that you liked the most (face it... that's the one you liked best, because it's the one you chose to write an offer on)...
certainly your choice... I don't happen to think it's the best one... for the buyer... it's definitely not how I would counsel my client.
Alan, there are different ways of negotiating. Make the assumption (as I do) that there is no other offer (no proof, no offer) and the seller is just trying to make me come up in price. (We KNOW he has another $50k and can afford it) My strategy will show them that I was at the top of what I was willing to offer. By dropping the seller now KNOWS that this game will not work. They either have to hurry to accept, try to get me back to the original price, or lose me a very rare buyer who would be willing to buy their crappy old house if the price is right.
If my offer loses, so be it. I will go to one of the other 18 houses and buy it instead.
This strategy of not being open and transparent would very soon die if more buyers would act like I will. As long as I do not get proof of a counter offer I will treat it as a fraudulent negotiating tactic.
correction: "or understand that you may not be getting accurate information about other bids FROM THE LISTING AGENT".
your agent is, hopefully, giving you the best counsel he can, understanding that he has been unable to "confirm" the existence of other offers.
an important difference, in my opinion.