News & Information: Risk Management Resource

Handling Multiple Offers

Wednesday, May 6, 2015  
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By Dee Toohey

Often a buyer finds the perfect home and puts in their offer feeling confident that it is a solid offer and that it will be accepted by the seller. But then the buyer's agent gets an e-mail asking for the highest and best offer be submitted by a certain date and time due to multiple offers. Of course this is very frustrating for the buyer.

The buyer's offer should always be their highest and best offer. Keep in mind that sellers are under no obligation to counter an offer. The quality of the offer speaks volumes about the buyer. A seller is under no obligation to counter offer a low ball offer.

From the seller's point of view, multi offers are a good thing because it gives them choices.  However, sellers need to take the emotions off the table and review offers as they relate to their net proceeds, closing date, and confidence in getting to closing. 

REALTORS® have an obligation to be forthright when dealing with others. The Code of Ethics requires REALTORS® to be honest with all parties; to present offers and counter-offers quickly and objectively; and to cooperate with other brokers. The disclosure of multiple offers is part of that cooperation with other brokers/agents.

Listing agents can ask for highest and best by a specific time; note that it's a multioffer situation in the MLS; or tell the other parties via a phone call, text, or e-mail. Listing agents should discuss how to handle multiple offers with their broker.

Listing agents should be considerate enough to notify those agents with offers that were rejected as soon as an offer is accepted.

From a risk management perspective, it is recommended that your communications be in writing so there is documentation that the offer was presented, received by the listing agent, multi offers were addressed, and counter offers and notifications of acceptance or rejection were received. 

Keep your cool and treat all parties with honesty and fairness. 

Dee Toohey, Innovative Realty Solutions Group, Inc., is a member of the ORRA Professional Development Forum. She can be reached at

ORRA frequently schedules classes, workshops, and online offerings related to risk management. Check the ORRA Calendar often, as new classes are continually being added to the education lineup.

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