A common misconception about the handling of multiple offers is the listing agent has a duty to disclose the existence of other offers. The NAR Code of Ethics Standard of Practice related to multiple offers is Standard of Practice 1-15, which says “REALTORS®, in response to inquiries from buyers or cooperating brokers, shall, with the sellers’ approval, disclose the existence of offers on the property.” Further, there is nothing in Standard of Practice 1-15 or any other part of the Code that requires the listing broker to go back to any or all other buyers who made an offer should one or more additional offers come in prior to offer presentation. It is important to remember that listing agents may not make such disclosures unless they are consulted with their Seller client and obtained their permission to do so.
Listing agents are also not required to go back to all buyers and request “highest and best offer” if other offers come in. While it may seem that going back to prospective purchasers who submitted offers would always be in the best interest of a seller. From the seller’s perspective, there might be both price and/or other terms that make a particular offer more attractive. The seller may not want to risk that an offer may be withdrawn in the time it would take to contact the other buyers and offer them the opportunity to change their offers.
Ask your Broker about the disclosure of multiple offers. If you have questions concerning this article, contact Peggy Lynch at plynch@RARealtors.com or 804-422-5006.