Dealing with Multiple Offers - Realtor Trust - Vancouver Real Estate
I have worked on many multiple offer situations in Vancouver residential real estate and one fact is clear: the buyer has no certainty of whether or not other genuine offers actually exist except by their implicit trust in not just their own realtor but also in the seller’s realtor. La Press Canadienne published a report called “How Canadians Perceive Various Professions”. It stated that only 39% of Canadians trust real estate agents! It is safe to say that many buyers would doubt the word of a realtor that is not even acting on their behalf. As a realtor I believe that although our profession is honest and professional, we can definitely work on better transparency for the public.
Here is how I have dealt with the issue on the buyer’s side. During one of my multiple offers acting as a buyer’s agent, two offers were in play including our own. The seller, having examined the offers asked their realtor to say that both offers were identical and that we could resubmit a better offer. On behalf of my clients, I requested that we be allowed to view the other offer. At this point the seller had the option of refusing, but in this case accepted our request. The offers were not the same; we had already offered a slightly higher price, although it was marginal. The other party had dates that were two weeks earlier and it is on this basis that the similarity of offers was argued. This gave us the power to submit a second offer with great confidence and very little price increase.
In a second case, my clients offered a below asking price on a home where no other offer existed. After submitting the offer, the listing agent called to say that a second offer had come in that she had not been expecting. We submitted a second offer at the asking price. She claimed that our offer had better terms but that her client wanted us and the other party to submit new, better offers. I requested to see the other contract. The sellers declined and accepted our asking price offer. This second scenario underscores a problem. My clients were suspicious of the other realtor’s actions. They doubted that the other offer was close and even doubted that another offer existed. The seller’s realtor was neither required by law nor the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board’s code of ethics to disclose the other competing representative’s name.
My policy as a Listing agent is to (with my client’s permission) provide all the names of the Representatives and listing Brokerages involved in a multiple offer after the contract is “firm and binding”. I provide this information on request to any agent who was a party to the multiple offer. I will not disclose the personal details of the agent’s clients nor of the offers. I believe this should become a Real Estate Board “rule of cooperation”. In this way realtors could routinely confirm for their clients the existence of other offers via the other competing representatives. I believe that this would be a good step in improving our profession’s 39% trust level with the Canadian public.