Igor, Home Buyer in Brooklyn, NY

What to do if the agent doesn't want to accept my offer.?

Asked by Igor, Brooklyn, NY Wed May 16, 2012

I made an offer (in writing) yesterday for the house and left agent a message to let me know if my offer was accepted. I also specified in the message that if it's not accepted I am open to further negotiations. Agent never called me back. I called today, agent told me that they did not accept my offer and want to go with someone who gave a higher offer. I told the agent that I am willing to go higher, but the agent said it is too late because people brought contractor with them to examine the house, it won't be fair to them if more offers are accepted. I ask the agent why my message, that I am willing to negotiate further never reached homeowner and I was told that agent did not understand my message. Can the agent just reject my offer if the property is not in contract yet? I feel that I am not given a fair chance here. Please help.

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17
Jim Olive’s answer
Just remember, Igor, it is OKAY to make a lowball offer, but there is RISK in doing so. As other posters pointed out, the seller is under NO OBLIGATION to counter your offer, and you might tick him/her off with a low offer, reducing your likelihood of getting the property. So, if you want to roll the dice, it's your option, just be prepared to lose the deal. If you LOVE the property and DON'T WANT TO LOSE IT, make your best offer up front. It's all about risk analysis. A good buyer's agent would likely tell you that at no cost to you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Keep in mind that agents can't and should not accept/reject any offers; all offers must be presented to the seller, as the sellers are the decision makers. You really should consider working with an agent of your own; when making any offers rather than mentioning you can go higher, always make your best offer within your means; if and when properties are priced on target, or slightly below, multiple offers can and do occur.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Hi Igor,

This type of thing happens frequently, especially if the home was very well priced or under-priced.
In NY State, the law requires that ALL offers be presented to the seller up until time of closing, a fact that is unfortuantely often set aside by agents in a misguided effort to be "fair" to another buyer.
As far as the agent rejecting your offer,. unless he/she was specifically authorized to do so, the agent would be acting outside of their fiduciary obligation to the seller.
That being said, once a seller accepts an offer from a qualfied buyer, and is well into the process (i.e. already past the home inspection), they are usually reluctant to throw away the first offer in favor of a seemingly better deal, as the seoncd offer doesnt alaways work out and the seller could easily find themselves 'back to sqaure one' with no buyer at all.
I would agree with Debbie's advice to contact the Broker and inquire about what might have happened. If that doesnt' work and you still feel that you were treated unfairly or that the agent acted outside his/her authority, you can always contact the NY Dept of State, which oversees real estate licensees, and they will advise you as to your options for filing a complaint. (The DOS takes complaints of this type very seriously and will absolutely follow up on your behalf).
You were correct to hire a buyer agent to represent you, but in truth, many listing agents dont really understand how buyer agency works and the fact that they have a legal obligation to cooperate with your agent when an inquiry is made on your behalf.
Sorry to hear this didnt work out for you, but hang in there, I'm sure the perfect house will come your way sooner rather than later...good luck and all the best!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 25, 2012
ps
I just read your most recent response - apparently you posted it while I was replying to your previous response!

If this home was underpriced, which resulted in a "bidding war", unfortunately, things can become more complicated.

This shouldn't have prevented the agent from presenting your offer, or any offer - even after a contract is in place (referred to as "back up" offers)...........in fact, any agent with any experience and professionalism should have made sure all offers were treated fairly and properly....even more so when there are multiple offers in play.

pps.........To the agents below who assumed Igor might have "lowballed" the offer.......see..........never make assumptions! Igor went in over asking price!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Hi Igor

Thanks for your clarfication.
Here are my thoughts on your current situation:

1. Agent's comment about it not "being fair" to the other buyer is just plain silly and outrageous! It has nothing to do with "being fair".
You are correct in that the agent does have a fiduciary responsibility to the seller to present ALL offers, and not determine when the offers should be cut off. If the agent told you the sellers dd not want to see any more offers at this time, that's one thing, but that's not what you reported

2. You need to call again (or, if possible) stop IN the office and meet with the Broker before any more time goes by.
This situation will be further complicated if the listing agent is also working with the buyer whose offer has been accepted. Do you know if that's the case?

3.I am not quite sure why you and the other buyer already brought in (and paid for) inspectors/contractors without knowing your offers were accepted - does your offer waive the home inspection contingency?
Is your new offer already in writing?

What you need to do is get to the bottom of how this all played out. By meeting with the broker, he or she should be able to help .
You can, and should, insist that your new and improved offer be forwarded to the sellers. It may be too late for things to go your way with this, but if your new offer is better than the other offer, at least the sellers will see it, and have something to discuss with the agent..and they may also ask for explanations as to what occurred.

If the other agent was protecting his or her OWN offer, rather than looking out for the seller's best interests, then you really need to let the Broker know, and perhaps escalate this into a formal complaint with the local board of Realtors.

4. As a last resort.....if you can't get to meet with the broker, or if you find him or her to be less than helpful.......if your offer will not be presented for whatever reason...........mail a copy to the sellers!

5. This agent was working with you as a "dual agent". Did he or she explain what that means? I would expect that NY is similar to NJ in that we are supposed to disclose this working relationship and explain what itmeans........another mark against this agent if it wasn't done.

Sorry this all happened to you.
I am sure you will come away from this a bit wiser moving forward.........know your rights, and find someone who can represent your interests in the future.
It might not be a bad idea to find a new agent right now who might be able to step up to the plate for you and help you get answers!

All the best.
Debbie
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
I'd like to thank everyone for their responses to my question. My offer is above the asking price by more than 10,000, so it's a low ball offer. I guess house is a little underpriced; therefore there is a bidding war. My problem is not rejection from the seller. It's unwillingness from agent to let me submit another offer. As I stated in my response to Debbie the agent doesn't want to accept other offers because buyer already paid for engineer. This house is not under contract yet, therefore I believe my new offer should be presented to seller. If it will be rejected by seller I won't have a problem with that. My only issue is with the agent, because he/she refuses to submit my new offer to seller. There were a lot of suggestions that I should get a buyer agent. I tried that a while ago, but there was a problem with that as well. My buyer agent tried to make an appointment to see the house, listing broker gave number of excuses: I am on vacation; there are no keys, etc. Than a week passes and after another phone call from my agent the answer was: I am sorry the house is under contract already.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Thanks Debbie. Agent doesn't want to accept more offers because it won't be fair to the buyer, since the buyer already paid for engineer. What does this has to do with my offer? I also took a day off on Monday, brought a contractor to inspect the house and paid a fee, but I am not complaining about it because it was my choice. Sorry if I wasn't clear that the agent is a listing agent and doesn't work for me. Doesn't this agent has fiduciary responsibility to seller to present the seller with highest offer possible? All I am asking is for the agent to present my offer to his/her client. If a seller doesn't want to accept it, I'll be ok with that, but I want the chance to compete for this house. I called the office where this agent work, explained my situation and ask a person who answered the phone to give message to broker. I did not get a call back yet.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Answering your question well requires more information. The sellers like the other offer more than they liked yours. What was the difference between your offer, the other offer and the list price?

The question is whether your offer can be made so attractive that the sellers prefer it over other offers. Where do you stand on that question.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Dear Igor:

If the property is not in contract you still can get it. I suggest.... 1) have your attorney get in touch with the agent and/or homeowner and make sure the offer is presented in it's entirety, 2) you can also see if you can arrange to meet with the homeowners and discuss the offer, 3) Speak to the broker/owner of the office that the agents is affiliated with and see if he or she can help you, 4) If push comes to shove you can have another agent represent you and try to help the cause (that can backfire if your offer has actually been presented in it's entirety so be careful. By the way, almost all real estate agents are ethical, trustworthy and would present your offer to the owner because failure to do so is illegal and agents have a lot to lose if they get caught breaking the law!

Here's one for you... a buyer I met once was in a similar situation, he told me the story, here's what he did... he called the agent and said "I saw the homeowners by the block and and I was going to talk to them but figured I would speak to you first...I need a specific response from the owners and need to know that my offer has been presented in it's entirety, if I cannot discuss it directly with them I need something in writing from you stating that the offer has been presented to the seller?"

Often times there is more to the situation than meets the eye, there could be extenuating circumstances that you and/or the agent are not even aware of. In the end no deal is done until there is a legally binding contract.

If you do communicate further with the owner or agent to discuss the offer I suggest you raise your offer the the highest and best you possibly can, they will either take it or leave it and you will get closure real fast and know you did the best you can to get it. If you expect to negotiate further in a situation like this you will probably lose. If they have another deal better than yours, often times they will just accept that offer rather than wait and negotiate with a lower offer that may not ever be acceptable. Think about that.

If I can be of further assistance, please let me know. Good luck!

Sincerely,
Mitchell S. Feldman
Associate Broker/ Director of Sales
Madison Estates & Properties, Inc.
Office: (718) 645-1665/ Cell: (917) 805-0783
Email: MitchellSFeldman@aol.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
If this is true Igor, you might be a victim of steering, which in any case, is illegal. If the owner is not in contract with this certain buyer and the agent didn't give you a fair chance to go higher with your bid, it sounds to me as if this agent isn't doing his job properly or something else is going on.

The seller's agent is supposed to present the owner with all offers, not the ones he/she wants to.
Due to the agent’s fiduciary responsibility to the client, he/she cannot tell you the highest bid, but if the property is not in contract, you should be able to give any offer and raise the offer if needed.

Give me a call and I will present the owner with the offer. If the other agent doesn't comply to the proper regulations, I will repoert him/her.


Luke Constantino
Commercial | Residential
REMAX PARK SLOPE
Direct: (212) 300-3919
http://LukeConstantino.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
If the agent didn't understand your intention, they didn't understand it. There's not really anything you can do about that.

All offers must be presented to the seller by the seller's agent, UNLESS the seller instructs otherwise. Most real estate licensees don't know this last part. If the seller tells the agent, "Yay! This buyer has the financials I want, we're done!, let's move forward with this buyer, and please don't bug me about anyone else, I'm not interested," the agent is supposed to obey. By law.

To present an offer and then say you're willing to go higher is an extremely poor negotiating strategy, by the way. You will lose a lot of houses if you continue to do things that way, so brace yourself. I think you were out-gunned here.

Any real estate agent who wants to can represent YOU as a buyer. Real estate brokerages happily agree to share commissions, so the seller's agent's commission gets shared with the buyer's agent. It doesn't cost the buyer anything extra to have an agent, an experienced negotiator, working for YOU. This happens every day, this is how it is normally done. Buyers don't believe it, but savvy people know this is how it works. Why? Because real estate brokerages make a lot more money in the long run when we do it this way.

People who aren't experienced real estate buyers who don't ask a real estate agent (broker as we call them here) for help usually pay more than they have to. They think they're saving money when they're actually wasting money, because they aren't trained or experienced negotiators, and because there is so much they do not know.

Now, I admit doing it yourself is a lot of fun! I bought and sold my own property successfully on my own, and had so much fun, I got a real estate license so I could do more of it. But there's a steep learning curve and it's going to cost you to have the fun of doing it all yourself.

A good analogy is having a lawyer. You don't (usually) have to hire a lawyer to write contracts or even represent you in court. But people hire lawyers because when you don't, it costs you more, and because what you don't know can hurt you.

Karla Harby
Licesned Real Estate Salesperson
Rutenberg Realty
New York, NY
212-688-1000x146
kharby@crrnyc.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Larry is correct here.

Having a BUYERS agent costs you nothing. And allow you some one to represent your interests.

Now that said, the answer to some of your questions is YES.

offer too low? YES the Listing agent ( at the sellers direction ) DOES NOT have to call you back or counter.

YES the Agent at the sellers direction, can REJECT you offer, even if the property has no other offers.

And you are asking for a Fair chance, Get a buyers broker and make a FAIR MARKET offer to have a Fair chance.

Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Here's the best advice I can offer you, stop trying to work without a buyer broker. Go get a buyer broker to help you, it won't cost you anything and will likely save you time, money and the type of aggravation you're encountering.

The truth is more likely the listing agent or another agent in their company had another buyer and honestly it's a tru pain in the a** to work directly with buyers and sellers who want to represent themselves as most have no idea what their doing and are typically unrealistic and will require the one agent involved to do the all the necessary work.

I've attached a link below to one of my most popular blogs posted here on Trulia on how to find a great agent.

I wish you all the best and happy house hunting.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
all offers should be presented to owner. the agent works for the owner and he/she should be looking out for the owner's best interest.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Unfortunately, this is the current state of the market. Bids are very competitive and that's why having a strong buyer's agent is vital to success.

And, fairness is in the eye of the beholder. Like the listing agent said, the seller just went with the higher offer. Sellers are not under any obligation to counter you, whether you made the request or not. On many deals, it's really just one shot at deals. From what you said, the seller had already selected another offer, so that means he's in contract and cannot any other offers, including any new offers from you.

So, get a good buyer's agent next time who knows the local market and can advise you on what you need to do to win.
Web Reference: http://www.archershomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Next time it would be a good idea to work with an experience buyer broker who has the knowledge and instinct to "read between the lines," when it comes time to make an offer. Making an offer is not a "game." An experienced buyer broker knows all the clues and signals to guide you thru the negotiations so you will come out a winner next time! Buyer Brokers are paid by the shared commission that the listing agent offers to all cooperating agents who list their properties for sale in the REALTOR MLS, Beverly Howe, ABR, GRI, TRC, CIPS broker@floridabuyerbroker.com There is a wealth of important FREE information on my homepage a http://www.floridabuyerbroker.com for buyers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
It's possible that the other offer was so much better and stronger than yours, the sellers wanted to accept it as is.
Remember, there is more to an offer than just the price.........terms play an important part.

Did you know there was anorther offer being presented on the home?
if so, it's always best to go in with your best offer right from the start when competing against other offers.

That being said.......I don't understand why your agent didn't get back to you.....seems to me he wasn't representing you as a buyer's agent.
Is he the listing agent, too?

You can try calling the Boker in the office and ask for a better explanation.......you can also insist that your new offer be sent to the sellers......written offers need to be presented unless the sellers refuse to consider or look at other offers.

Just so you know - agents don't "reject" offers.......sellers do.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
Thanks Debbie. Agent doesn't want to accept more offers because it won't be fair to the buyer, since the buyer already paid for engineer. What does this has to do with my offer? I also took a day off on Monday, brought a contractor to inspect the house and paid a fee, but I am not complaining about it because it was my choice. Sorry if I wasn't clear that the agent is a listing agent and doesn't work for me. Doesn't this agent has fiduciary responsibility to seller to present the seller with highest offer possible? All I am asking is for the agent to present my offer to his/her client. If a seller doesn't want to accept it, I'll be ok with that, but I want the chance to compete for this house. I called the office where this agent work, explained my situation and ask a person who answered the phone to give message to broker. I did not get a call back yet.
Flag Wed May 16, 2012
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