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Can a Real Estate Agent Disclose My Offer

Written by Posted On Sunday, 02 February 2020 10:03
Are Real Estate Agents Allowed to Disclose a Buyer's Offer? Are Real Estate Agents Allowed to Disclose a Buyer's Offer?

Are Offers Confidential in Real Estate Sales?

Having been in the real estate business for over thirty-three years, one of the common questions I often encounter is, "can a listing agent disclose my offer?" If this is the first time you are selling a property or new home, you may be confused about the obligations of your listing real estate agent.

Laws vary from state to state, but in general, most states accept that a listing agent can disclose an offer from a buyer to another buyer as long as the seller gives them permission to do so.

Confused? You would not be the first. A listing agent is really under one obligation. That is to do his best for his or her client. If you are a buyer, it is easy to assume that everything and anything you have talked to your buyer's agent about is confidential.

However, unless you have entered into a confidentiality agreement, your buyer's agent will be delivering the offer to the listing agent. Once it is in their hands, they are free to do what they will with it.

Keep in mind if the listing agent is doing their job, they will put the seller in the most advantageous situation possible. Whether or not to disclose an offer will be a significant part of the advice a homeowner receives.

The seller may have something to say about this matter. In fact, he may even have instructed an agent not to disclose any offers. That is perfectly legal as well.

A real estate agent should always be putting the interests of the seller ahead of their own. Unfortunately, sometimes having a sale in house clouds an agent's better judgment. The almighty dollar at times gets in the way of making the best ethical decision.

A listing agent should ALWAYS be working in their client's best interests regardless of whether they have their own buyer. Doing otherwise is entirely unethical behavior. Does this happen from time to time? Sadly it does.

Trust Your Agent

When you decide to buy or sell a home, you need to make sure that you hook up with the right agent. Disclosing an offer to another buyer is not such a big deal if you trust your agent. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who do not trust their real estate agent.

To avoid unpleasant case scenarios, it is an excellent idea to have a game plan from the start. Simply tell the agent what you expect from him or her. At the same time, it is essential not to make things too complicated. Many newcomers to the property market often expect a little bit too much.

Above all, you should focus on working with an agent that you like and trust. It does not matter if you are selling or buying - trust is the one key factor in your relationship with your real estate agent.

If you are selling a home, you might want to consider a Realtor vs. a real estate agent, given a REALTOR® must follow the code of ethics. No, a real estate agent and REALTOR® are NOT the same things! Most are unaware of the differences.

A REALTOR® pledges to protect and promote the interests of their client. While you would think a real estate agent would do the same, the under no obligation to do so.

Turning Things to Your Advantage

When you have a good working relationship with your agent, you will find they may divulge some information that can be to your advantage - with your permission, of course. If another buyer has already made an offer, your agent may try to coax some hints from the listing agent on how the offer can be beaten.

Keep in mind the offer amount is not the only thing that matters when it comes to buying property. Sure, another buyer may have made a higher offer, but you need to ask yourself a couple of questions.

  • Have they sold their property?
  • Do they have financing in place?
  • Do they have any out of the ordinary contingencies?
  • Are they giving the seller the closing date they want?

Things are never as straightforward as it seems when it comes to purchasing a home. A buyer may have made the most fantastic offer, but can't close for an extended period of time. You may have made a slightly lower offer, but you are ready to go with your pre-approved financing, and you have your bags packed.

The homeowner is more likely to accept your offer even though it may be slightly lower. There are advantages and disadvantages to every sale.

Part of what a real estate agent does is put their clients in the best possible light, whether they are representing a seller or a buyer.

How Will The Listing Agent Deal With Multiple Offers

The goal of every seller and listing agent is to have more than one offer. As a seller, when you get multiple offers, you are in the proverbial driver's seat.

There are several ways a listing agent can handle a multiple offer scenario. Again, when deciding how to proceed, the seller's best interests should always dictate how things go.

How a listing agent conducts their business has different implications for the seller, the buyers involved, as well as the integrity of the sales process.

Let's look at some of the scenarios that can take place when there are multiple offers:

  • The listing agent informs all parties there are numerous offers on the table and ask each buyer's agent to come back with their client's highest and best offer. This is the most common scenario and the one in which the odds are best to get the seller the most beneficial terms. No details of the offers are discussed with any of the agents.
  • The listing agent discloses some information to one or a few parties, but not all. Obviously, those that get information have an advantage over those that don't. It could be that by giving some parties certain information, it would put the seller in a better position. There might be obvious reasons why you may want one party to get the winning bid. For example, if one of the buyers has a little bit lower offer than the others but were paying cash. A cash offer offers significant advantages to a seller, and they may want them to be the highest bidder as well.

Listing agents have a great responsibility to advise the seller on how to best go about getting them the most favorable terms. A listing agent should never worry about disclosing a buyer's offer if it puts the seller in a better financial position.

An Offer is Only an Offer

An offer is only an offer and is often subject to a home inspection and a bank appraisal as well. Home sales regularly fall apart after an offer has been signed. If the bank does not think that the property is worth the money, the lender will surely let you know.

Buying a property is about negotiating, and there is always negotiating to be done no matter where you are in the buying process. So when you lose the initial bid to another buyer, all hope is not lost until the fat lady sings.

Try not to get too emotionally involved. It is easy to say, but don't raise your offer just for the sake of trying to outbid another buyer. Always raise it for genuine reasons.

Final Thoughts on Disclosing an Offer

Hopefully, you now understand that a listing agent can disclose a buyer's offer with the permission of the seller as long as there is not a confidentiality clause in place. A listing agent should always have a strategy in place that puts their client in the best possible position to get the terms and conditions they want out of the sale.

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My mortgage has gone to underwriting - when someone says, "the loan has gone to underwriting," do you know what it means? Take a look at the comprehensive resource which explains what an underwriter does and the valuable role they play in the mortgage process.

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Use these additional sources packed with outstanding information to make the best decisions possible.

About the author: The above article on disclosing a buyer's offer was written by Bill Gassett. Bill is a nationally recognized Real Estate leader who has been helping people buy and sell Metrowest Massachusetts real estate for the past thirty-two plus years. Bill has been one of the top RE/MAX Realtors in New England for the past decade.

In 2018 he was the #1 RE/MAX real estate agent in Massachusetts. His real estate advice has been featured on CNBC, RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Today.com, Inman News, Placester, Credit Sesame, and others.

Bill covers real estate sales in the following Massachusetts communities: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Natick, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.

Reach out for his advice anytime.

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Bill Gassett

One of the top RE/MAX agents in New England over the last decade plus. Providing exceptional real estate services to buyers and sellers in the Metrowest Massachusetts area including the following communities: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.

See my real estate website at Maximum Real Estate Exposure - one of the most visited real estate sites in Massachusetts.

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