Is there a law in Florida that prevents buyers or their agents from knowing if another much higher bid was offered, so buyers can counter offer?

Asked by elizabethdjss, Margate, FL Thu Nov 15, 2012

Everytime we would put a bid on a property (usually asking price), we would lose out because there was a better offer but was never given a chance to counter bid.

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Maria Cipollone’s answer
Maria Cipoll…, Agent, Coral Springs, FL
Thu Nov 15, 2012
Low borrowing cost and shrinking inventory of properties are helping sellers to sell their properties faster than ever before. Meaning, sometime a property comes out to the market and on the first day have minimum 10 offers. Seller does not need to disclose which offer and why the seller accepted that offer.

Best of Luck,

Maria Cipollone
Century 21 Tenace
1 vote
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Thu Nov 15, 2012
No such law one way or the other that I know of. And it's up to the seller whether he/she/it wishes to entertain counteroffers.

Why would you consistent offer the asking price? That's just a starting point, and may be too high or too low. In your case, it appears that the properties might have been priced below market in order to encourage offers.

Instead, you should offer what the property is worth . . . or somewhat less, depending on what you can afford and whether you think the seller is open to negotiating. And let me repeat: There is no clear relationship between what a property is priced at and what it's worth.

Hope that helps.
1 vote
Joseph J. Mi…, Agent, Coral Springs, FL
Mon Nov 19, 2012
As far as I know there is no law preventing disclosing the bids. Lets suppose price is the only thing that matters to the seller. Why would you not disclose the highest offer to get a higher offer? When I work with sellers I do whatever I can to get them the most money in the least amount of time.
0 votes
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Fri Nov 16, 2012
"but it is a "Code of Ethics" protocol"

No, it isn't - counter bidding and negotiations are not specifically addressed in the Realtor Code of Ethics.
Legally, at least in NJ, all written offers must be submitted.
Once they are submitted, how they are to be handled is decided between the agent and the seller.
There are no "laws" as to how this is done.l
If the seller wants all parties to know about the other offers - ie - all offers disclosed - they can be disclosed.
If the seller wants the offers kept "secret", they can be kept secret.

There is no obligation for the seller to give you a chance to counter your first offer.

You've receiveed good advice below - follow it when you find the next home you love.

Best wshes......
0 votes
John Bourassa, Home Buyer, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Fri Nov 16, 2012

I don't believe it is a FL law or a law that applies to any other states, for that matter but it is a "Code of Ethics" protocol. Believe me, as a Realtor, I'd love to have that edge of knowledge in multiple offer situations. In reality, the reason why offers in a multiple-offer situation are not disclosed is because it would not be fair to all the other buyers who are placing their best offers but the real estate agent tells another buyer's agents "If your buyer wants this property, he/she has to beat $...."

Imagine that you are making an offer on a house listed at $350K. You really love that house and your hopes and your heart are deeply set in getting that house (and that is when real buyers get to make an offer on a property). You place an offer at $335K but you are willing to enter in some negotiations. The seller counters at $345K and you come back $340K because this is really the top amount of money you have. How would you like to find out that, in the process of negotiations, another offer comes in and the listing agent used your offer to get the other buyer to come in at a higher amount...and you lose, not fair and not square?

Today, in Southeast Florida, we are unquestionably in a "seller's market". When buyers are ready to place an offer on a property that is priced right, they shouldn't dicker or lowball their offers anymore. I monitor sales activities in our MLS every day and it is evident that sold prices vs asking prices are only about 2 to 4% from the asking price, anymore. The sellers are back in the drivers seat. And I hear all the time from procrastinating buyers, "Sh.., I should have offered a bit more."
0 votes
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Thu Nov 15, 2012
Please be aware, price is just ONE element of a purchase offer. A losing bid may have nothing to do with the price. If you are financing the purchase with a FHA or VA backed loan,,,your are playing on a losing team. If your offer includes a 'must sell' contingency, you lose. If your mortgage broker is requiring a 'kick back' from the will lose in these competitive situations.
If your financed offer does not waive the appraisal lose.
If your closing data is 90 days lose.

Your question asks, "Is there a law?" No there is no law, but what prevails in the market is an aggressive and educated buyer. Make the best offer that makes sense to you. There will be no do overs. List price, as Don pointed out, may only be a conversation starter. If the price is "too good to be true," you need to know how to determine FAIR MARKET VALUE as it pertains to you. Be aware, you may be shopping at a price point above your ability to financially compete.

Listen to the professional representing you. Second guessing means you will be making another offer on the next property. Now is a great time to examine those losing bids you submitted a few months ago. The purchased price should be public now. Do an analysis and determine how your bids can be made more appealing to the seller.

Best of success in buying your new home.
0 votes
Meir Aloni, Agent, Plantation, FL
Thu Nov 15, 2012
My advice to buyers is always to make an offer that if you do not get the house, when you do find out what was the amount of the winning offer, you will not say: I would have paid that amount, too......
Meir Aloni & Team

CRS (Certified Residential Specialist)

CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert)

RECS (Real Estate Cyberspace Society)

Successfully selling Broward County since 1986!

Direct phone# 954-338-5220

All Star Realty Inc.
0 votes
Marsha Umans…, Agent, Tamarac, FL
Thu Nov 15, 2012
The Realtors are not supposed to disclose other buyers' offers - not to create bidding wars. Imagine if you were the first bidder, but were only used to drive the price up by advising the second bidder what to bid, and then the 3rd bidder over the 2nd?
Even when an institutional seller (a bank) comes back to ask all the bidders to submit their "highest and best", the current highest price is not being disclosed.

Just a piece of advice to you: in today's seller's market you have to submit your highest and best offer all the time. You don't do it - you lose.

Be patient and good luck.
0 votes
Alain Picard, Agent, Puyallup, WA
Thu Nov 15, 2012
In todays market I would talk with your agent and make your offer for what the home is worth to you and not for what the listing price is. Just make sure that your agent looks at other homes in the area and feels that the home will appraise at the price you are offering. For you, the buyer, 5,000 or 10,000 more or less on your offer most likely doesn't add or subtract that much from your monthly payments but for the seller 5,000 or 10,000 more or less than their listing price probably looks like a lot.
0 votes
I greatly appreciate your response, Alain! I think that is great advice!
Flag Thu Nov 15, 2012
Kevin Clouti…, Agent, Cape Coral, FL
Thu Nov 15, 2012
The owner if the property reserves the right to accept any offer they want, hugest or lowest or in between. They have no obligation to disclose to anyone which offer they may accept or why.

Now if the listing agent does not submit your offer because let's say, he has his own buyer's offer to submit to the seller and doesn't submit yours, that's another story.

You say your offering asking price and lose repeatedly? I don't see how. I sell about 50 properties a year and while my buyer's may lose one here and there, I have no buyer that has list at asking price every time.

Kevin Cloutier
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0 votes
Kevin, thanks for your response. I realize now that we had an agent who just did not work well with us. We are working with a new agent; she is more professional, keeps us in the loop, takes the time to explain the process, so I am confident that in no time we will get to close on our dream home!
Flag Thu Nov 15, 2012
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