Can a sellers agent sit on a bid to see if she gets any more offers? especially on a short sale owned by the bank.

Asked by Amanda, Cleveland Heights, OH Tue Mar 30, 2010

My husband and I found a short sale house for 35,000. the sellers had just lowered the price by 10,000 - originally it was 45,000. We submitted an offer for 3 % higher than asking. The sellers agent is not turning in our offer to the bank because she wants to see if she gets any more offers on the house. Before we looked at the house there was only 1 other showing. Now that the price dropped, They had more showings but no other offers. Obviously she is waiting to see if she gets a higher offer. Is this allowed? It just doesn't seem fair. We submitted our offer Saturday, It is now Tuesday and she hasn't even opened our offer packet. Can she do this? Is there a timeline of how long she has to turn in it?

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Amy & Dan Sc…, Agent, cleveland, OH
Tue Mar 30, 2010

The previous answers were fairly thorough regarding the procedure. The listing agent must present your offer to the seller immediately, but the agent then takes instruction from the seller regarding what to do next. So, in theory, if instructed by the seller, the agent is well within their rights to solicit additional offers from other buyers. In an effort to create a sense of urgency, your agent could offer to withdraw your offer if they don't submit it to the bank in your desired time fram.

Short sales are not typical transactions, so be patient and understand that while deals can be had, they come with a bit of frustration as well. Also, don't forget that you will be responsible in most cases, for the POS violations. Good luck.

Amy and Dan Schuman, Keller Williams Realty Greater Cleveland
1 vote
Kirsten McAn…, Agent, Panama City Beach, FL
Tue Mar 30, 2010
There should be a time period in the offer document for the seller to either accept, counter or reject the offer. It's usually 24-72 hours which begins counting down when the buyer signs the offer. In which case, the offer should be presented immediately to the seller. The seller's Realtor is obligated to present all offers "timely."

Sometimes a selling strategy is used in today's market, especially on the really great bargains, that promotes a deadline for all buyers to submit their best offer. The deadline is then publicized in the listing and all offers received by that date are submitted in one batch to the seller and/or short sale lender for review.

Remember that the listing agent was hired by the seller to help him. It sounds like you need an experienced agent representing your interests on the buying side.

"Time is of the essence" when dealing with offers and earnest money checks.... Kirsten
1 vote
Maureen Fran…, Agent, Birmingham, MI
Tue Mar 30, 2010
The seller's agent has a fiduciary responsibility to the seller, not the bank, in a short sale. They have to submit the offer to the seller in a timely manner. She is under no obligation to ever submit it to the bank without the direction of her client. If you are concerned that your offer has not been presented to the seller, your agent could ask to be present when the offer is presented. It is ultimately up to the seller to decide if they would allow that though.

Robin is right. The seller's agent wants to make sure she gets an offer the bank will accept, and one that will make it to the closing table.

Short sales are tricky, no matter which side you are on. Be prepared for a lot of waiting and uncertainty if you decide to pursue a short sale home.
1 vote
Robin Silver…, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Garden City, NY
Tue Mar 30, 2010
Regardless of what the seller wants, the bank has to agree to your price. She may feel that this is not going to happen, so it could put you in a better position if she can say that it has been X amount of time and no other offers have come in.
Amanda, have you found a lender yet who is willing to do such a small mortgage, or are you planning to pay cash?
1 vote
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