Best of luck Prety
In almost all instances, I strongly recommend that a buyer retain their own buyer agent.
As it pertains to assertions of multiple offers. In almost all cases, those claims will be true. There are a few agents who might misrepresent the facts, but, by and large, the vast majority of Realtors will provide accurate and timely information.
The seller or the sellers agent in highly unlikely to provide you a copy of the offer or details about the offer. You can ask questions about the offer, and gain some understanding of the situation from the responses provided. A strong seller agent will divulge little info about the sellers offer, since it is not in the sellers best interest.
An agent can represent a buyer, seller, both, or neither (filling out paperwork, but not an advocate or fiduciary for either.) As a buyer, you will be best served by having a buyer agent in your corner. It is difficult for an agent to serve two masters. While dual agency is legal in many states, I am not a fan a dual agency (representing both buyer and seller.)
If I represent a buyer, and I am told by the sellers agent that there are other offers, I will ask how they intend to handle the multiple offers to ensure that all buyers have equal opportunity. I also ask where the other offers are from. Is another offer coming in-house? Some seller agents share a lot; others are tight.
You can ask for your offer to be returned to you with an acknowledgement of presentation and rejection from the seller. Most sellers and agents will provide this. Are you interested in standing as a back up offer? Is the seller interested in your offer as a back up offer?
The answers to these questions will provide insight into the situation. Since you have no right to see a copy of the accepted offer, and chances of a seller or their agent providing it is extremely small, you must arrive at a conclusion in your mind based upon the discussions. Ask lots of questions. A good agent might not provide you the direct information you seek, but the results of the conversation can be quite telling.
Deborah Madey - Broker
Peninsula Realty Group - New Jersey
I was surprised with your comment "The realtor represents the seller, no?" You should have signed an agency disclosure form the first time you met with an agent that discloses who they are working for. An agent can work for the buyer or seller. Did your agent explain this to you and did you sign a form? To see what the form looks like you can go to the NY DOS site at http://www.dos.state.ny.us/lcns/realestate/pdfs/1736.pdf and take a look.
Bottom line is if you like the property and want to purchase it, put in your offer. Many agents representing a seller, myself included, would go back to both potential buyers and ask them to submit their highest and best offer and make a decision. Also keep in mind the highest price is not always the best offer. Sometimes the terms can make a deal. If a seller wants to close right away or needs a few months it may be in your favor if you can be flexible. Typically higher down payments also make the offer look better because there is less chance a mortgage won't go through because of an appraisal. Talk to your agent and try and make the most attractive offer.
Each of the professionals who furnished answers to your question have provided great insight into your dilemna and how your expectations should have been better met with regard to offer.
However, here is where we depart. Agency Disclosure in New York State is required where a substantive contact has been made. The responsibilty to furnish that disclosure is the Agent's. With one small catch.
Agency Law in New York State is written in favor of providing Obedience, Undivided Loyalty, Disclosure, Duty to Account, Reasonable Care and Confidentiality TO THE PRINCIPAL THE AGENT REPRESENTS.
And a Seller's Agent does not represent the interests of the Buyer.
Where most buyers fall into the gray area when dealing with an agent about a property listing is how the contact evolved. If you phoned or emailed the Agent requesting an appointment to view the property without requesting formal disclosure in writing, it could already have been furnished in the ad.
The says the Agent is required to provide disclosure...it doesn't say HOW they're suppose to do it. In addition,
" a substantive contact " creates the gray area, as the majority of agents interpret this to mean when an offer is being made.
While I don't blame most consumers shopping for a home for being unaware of the subtleties when dealing with Agents, it does represent a failure on the part of the regulatory agency inside the state to furnish consumer information to create formal boundaries for shoppers to engage licensees.
Now, here's the kicker....the National Association of Realtors is aware that the gray area exists.
You can visit the link below at http://www.CorleyRE.com to read the entire Agency Disclosure form as prescribed by Article 12A of the Real Property Law of New York State
As far as asking the other agent about what offers have come in and what price to offer, keep in mind that the listing agent has a fiduciary responsibility to their client and couldn't disclose anything that might put them at any disadvantage. Your agent can ask the other agent what price you need to offer to compete, but the other agent will only want you to pay as much as possible.
Donald A. Mituzas
Licensed Associate Broker
Vice President - Putnam County Association of Realtors
Instuctor - New agent orientation and Realtor Code of Ethics