Do you have any offers yet?

By
Real Estate Broker Owner with Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO

I'm puzzled by that question sometimes. As an REO agent, I hear it from other agents frequently. Most of my listing agreements do not even give me the right to disclose that information until an asset manager specifically tells me to do so (usually via a call for Highest and Best offers). I'll set that important fact aside right now for the sake of discussion.

Yes, of courseIf I say "Yes," does that mean you are not even going to show the property about which you have, obviously, received an inquiry or which you have spotted for a client? Or would a "Yes" from me dissuade you from writing an offer for a client to whom you have shown the property? In both cases, then, it does not serve my client's best interest to answer "Yes."

Sometimes, a "Yes" from me would serve my client's best interest; and that would be when the other agent would be encouraged to put a rush on showing the house and/or apply pressure to a recalcitrant client who needs that extra push of competition in order to finally write the offer.

Truthfully, though, that is not the case in most instances. When I engage the other agent in conversation about why s/he needs to know if I have offers, s/he usually admits to still being in the stage of deciding whether or not to show the property. The mere existence of an offer eliminates my listing. Given that fact, how would YOU answer the question if you were the listing agent? It might be a bad offer that I have, after all. Your client might be a better match for this property, but we will never know if you don't show it.

What I usually answer, when asked "Do you have any offers" is simply that the property is still available. If an offer has been accepted, I say that one has been accepted (if I am allowed to do so). When I will not elaborate, it is because I cannot do so, either in recognition of my client's best interest or due to my specific contractual obligations.

Don't be surprised, then, if your do-yo-have-any-offers-yet is followed by my, "Why are you asking that question?" It's not me being snarky; it's me trying to serve my client's best interest. Or, maybe I'm just keeping statistics about why agents and buyers ask the question.

Show the house or write the offer, if you really have a client for whom the house is a good fit. Do it right away, just in case I do have offers. You probably asked the question, because you believe the house is a good deal.

By the way, when the property is under contract, the listing says "Pending" or "Pending Continue to Show." Even then, the game may not be over, as contracts fall through all the time.

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  1. Donald Bradbury 01/19/2011 09:36 PM
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Rainmaker
588,963
Jim Hale
On the Move for You! - Eugene - Springfield Oregon Real Estate
ACTIONAGENTS.NET

A listing agent who does not have prior seller permission to share the existence of an active offer is at a distinct disadvantage in promoting their client's interest.

If you don't have that permission when some buyer agent calls, you really ought to ask for it immediately.

And if I call you and say I'm about to write an offer, it's in your seller's interest for you to inform me right then that there is competition.

In fact, it's in the seller's interest for you to get on the horn with the first agent and tell that person they have competition, too.

 

 

Giving info on the existence of other offers is far more likely to be true performance of fiduciary duty than is keeping quiet.

 

January 20, 2011 04:28 AM
Rainmaker
588,963
Jim Hale
On the Move for You! - Eugene - Springfield Oregon Real Estate
ACTIONAGENTS.NET

But having a COE standard that specifically prohibits saying you do have other offers when you don't would be a great thing.

That's especially true regarding REO listings....where the boiler plate language contained in lender required Seller Addendums notoriously discloses "multiple offers" when there is no such situation.

The same is true of the boiler plate language being used on lender short sale websites.

 

Maybe some of the fierce comments here spring from Liz's disclosure that she works a lot of REO listings.

Few us us have must trust in the fairness of the banks.

January 20, 2011 04:36 AM
Rainer
129,336
Andrew Martin
Keller Williams - Danville

Liz,

I'm not questioning you as a person, because I don't even know you and you are probably a wonderful person and agent. It's the concept of interpreting what the banks want you to say or not say that bugs me.

The funny thing is that I probably wouldn't have to slam down the phone anyway, as many of the REO agents in my market don't pick up their phones anyway. LOL

Anyway, thanks for the great discussion and the best solution for me is to go out and get some of my own REO business, and then I can "act" like the other REO agents and make it hard for us "regular people" to do business.

And again, I don't mean in any way to attack you as a person, it's the mere fact that it ever even comes up as a subject that sets me off.

have a great day.

January 20, 2011 11:03 AM
Rainmaker
252,255
Liz Lockhart
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO

Wow, Jim (50-53)~You sure were up late!

"Sometimes saying yes would discourage a showing...or an offer.  But it is just as likely to result in a quicker showing and a higher offer," you said. While you might be correct in regard to a traditional listing, the opposite is true with an REO. Most often, and here's where my experience as an REO agent comes in, agents are NOT motivated by the existence of other offers. Rather, they are discouraged, and I believe the overall tone of most of the responses to this blog helps prove that point.  

I have one local agent who starts EVERY conversation with, "Do you have anything going on with so and so address?" Then she says she is "thinking" about showing it. Tuesday, no kidding, she asked me that question about TWO of my hot properties. She is NOT motivated to show properties that have offers. She is just like the majority of agents who inferred in this comment thread that they shy away from showing REOs when offers are on the table.

"I want the listing agent to know another offer may be coming." See, that is exactly why I said that I sometimes ask why the agent is inquiring about other offers.

"In fact, it's in the seller's interest for you to get on the horn with the first agent and tell that person they have competition, too." That is exactly what Highest and Best does. If I started making those calls, however, based solely on the word of an agent who has not yet brought an offer, I would be playing games (see Curt's reply in #17). I don't do the hype thing. Any REO agent who has very many listings at all does not have the time to that, either. We are covered UP in paperwork.

"Giving info on the existence of other offers is far more likely to be true performance of fiduciary duty than is keeping quiet." Again, that would only be true if disclosing an on-going negotiation would bring more offers. In REO World, that is not true! Guess you'd have to walk a mile in my shoes... And I dare say that if any of the REO agents who have chimed in here actually started to keep track, they'd be surprised at how many showings they stop cold when they disclose the existence of offers. That, certainly, is not their fiduciary duty as a listing agent!

I also do not regularly tell an asset manager that other offers "might" be coming. I've been burned too many times, because buyers' agents often try to place a hold on a property by calling the REO agent and making that very statement. Then they don't come through with an offer. It's crying "Wolf," and I'm not falling for it. Asset managers don't either. AMs want to know only about the paper in my hand, because they have also heard the call of the wolf too many times. Saying that I might have more offers coming in would make me look amateur in the eyes of many AMs. I take the chance, though, when I am convinced that the other agent is truly working on an offer.

____________________________________________

Are you listening, everybody? Buyers' agents often say they might be bringing an offer, because they hope to stall the progress of other offers.  Maybe, just maybe, listing and selling agents are both guilty of a bit of game-playing, all in their own clients' best interests.

 

January 20, 2011 09:50 PM
Rainmaker
252,255
Liz Lockhart
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO

Andrew (54)~Whew! I'm glad you think I might be a wonderful person. I'll be watching for you around the blog-o-sphere. I look forward to continuing this same discussion with you if you ever do work REO listings. Thanks for taking the time to post. It really does help me to hear your frustrations. I try to be patient with other agents, but lots of them start out angry and never finally see that my duties are completely different than theirs.

Thanks, again, for your input.

January 20, 2011 10:03 PM
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Rainmaker
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Life's journey and all things real estate-- REO, short sale, buying homes, selling homes, listing homes, buyer agent, seller's agent, relocation