What does the law say about bid disclosure? If there are higher bids how do I find out?

Asked by MsBinki, Santa Clara County, CA Mon Nov 12, 2012

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Grace Hanamo…, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
Hi Ms Binki:

First, please understand that bidding "blind" is exactly how almost everyone (I say almost because there are a few exceptions) purchases a home. As Terri mentioned below, unless the seller instructs the agent to give the information out regarding pricing, there is absolutely no way for you to know who is making offers and how much money they've proposed to the seller. I know it's frustrating, but, until the home actually closes escrow, none of us (Realtors and agents included) will ever know the actual home's sale price or the range of prices that were offered by all the buyers.

The only way that you'd be provided with information about the pricing is if the seller instructs it (and most would never opt to do this) OR you're in an auction. And remember, sellers are not conducting auctions, they're conducting sales in which the market sets the price of the home and the highest price (usually) gets the home.

So the best thing you can do for yourself, is to look at your finances and the desirability of the home and make your highest and best offer to the seller. This is not an auction and you are not obligated in any way to keep pumping up the prices beyond what you can reasonably afford or what you're comfortable paying. This will mean--especially now when home prices are still rising--that sometimes you don't get the home or can't afford the final price of the home, but that simply means it will take more time and more offers, but NOT that this is an impossible situation.

Good luck to you! Make an offer you can afford and feel comfortable making and I wish you the best!

Grace Morioka
Allison James Estates & Homes
1 vote
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
I'm not from CA, so there may be some local law regarding this, but to the best of my knowledge no one is obligated to reveal information about offers made on a home. If you are in a multiple bid scenario here are a few tips.
Don't get emotional, make an offer you are wiling ot live with if you get it and willing to walk away from if it wasn't enough.
Make your conditions outside of price as seller friendly as possible. Use their requested Title & Escrow companies, make your inspection period short and make the least amount of contingencies necessary.
Have a well prepared pre-approval letter prepared and submitted with your offer. Any doubts about your capacity to complete the sale will rule you out, even at a higher price.
If you are dealing with a private party sale, not a bank or investor sale, write a nice letter about your interest in the home and appreciation for being considered. Personal touches can help break ties or even overcome higher offers.
Make sure your agent is an aid and not a hindrance. There are agent's I love to do deals with because they are professional at all times and well organized. Others are bullies, rude or uninformed and disorganized which make the listing agent's job tougher.
Price is always important, but there are times when other factors can outweigh a higher offer.
I hope this helps.
1 vote
Michelle Car…, Agent, Coppertino, AL
Wed Nov 14, 2012
The only other way is to participate in a live auction, such as Supreme Auction, which handles luxury homes. Having your agent do an analysis of recent closings and pendings will give you the best information. Write the best offer that you're willing to walk away from if it doesn't fly.
0 votes
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Tue Nov 13, 2012

You state: “I am getting really tired of "bidding-in-blind"...”

Well said. In reality, so are we all. It’s a practice that has come to a head in the past few years with the rise of foreclosures and the bank’s practice of “highest & best.” We ALL hate it (if here was a stronger word than hate I’d use it), but, as Grace pointed out, we’re all in the same boat and the only effective way to find out is to check the final price … once escrow is closed.

Which is, as we all know, absolutely NO help to us when we really need the help … today.
0 votes
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Mon Nov 12, 2012
In most states the seller has to sign to even authorize the listing agent to tell you there are any other offers. They can not tell you what they are for. It is why with multiple offers, it is important you make your best offer and eliminate or reduce contincincies
0 votes
Elena Talis, Broker, Palo Alto, CA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
As far as I know, the offers are not confidential and can be shown to interested parties. It is up to your agent to negotiate the disclosure of the offers with the listing agent. In most cases, however, the seller does not want to open the offer amounts as it may not work in their favor. It is all negotiable...
Web Reference:  http://talisrealestate.com
0 votes
MsBinki, Home Buyer, Santa Clara County, CA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
Thank you both for your answers.
I put in an offer recently which was over asking price. The agent came back telling me that there was another offer that was higher than mine and wondered what my highest number was? I asked about the other offer but the agent wouldn't disclose it. I am getting really tired of "bidding-in-blind"... How am I suppose to make an educated decision on what offer could be succesful if I don't know what I'm up against. If there isn't a signed non-disclosure can they still keep that informatin from me?
0 votes
yes, they can keep that information from you. The seller can make that decision. My advice? Just make the highest bid you are most comfortable with......the number that you won't regret later, or feel frustrated if you do not get the house, and you find out you lost out by just a few thousand dollars. I understand your frustration! Good luck!
Flag Mon Nov 12, 2012
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
Are you asking about making a bid on a home? The Real Estate code of ethics states that the listing agent can only disclose what their seller authorizes them to do. If a buyer writes an offer, they could ask the seller to sign a non-disclosure.

It is rare that the Listing agent will tell you what the offers are. Once it closes the MLS most times will report the sales price.
Web Reference:  http://www.terrivellios.com
0 votes
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