Dealing With Multiple Offers
In the past few days we have seen an increase in showings as well as offers coming in. Multiple offers on priced right properties are popping up too. Multiple offers can make agents, their brokers and buyers anxious, so let's take a closer look.
Let's say there are three solid offers on a listing. They are of similar value and the seller has agreed to accept the one that arrived last. The buyer's agent who represents the first offer calls you to say that your seller has an obligation to negotiate with his buyer because his offer was the first. According to Florida REALTORS® legal department, there is no Florida law that requires a seller to respond to any offer. Additionally there is no Florida law that requires a seller to negotiate in the order in which the offers are received. The listing agent should keep the lines of communication open with all buyer's agents in a fair and timely manner, confirming telephone conversations in writing so it's documented.
A good practice with multiple offers (or any offer for that matter) is to request a pre-qualification letter from the buyer's lender along with the contract. VERIFY that the lender is legitimate and the application was recent. How'd you like to discover that the offer your seller finally accepted had a letter from a lender whose phone number was disconnected or out of business? (It's happened!)
Sellers get a little anxious as well. Multiple offers makes them think maybe they priced their property too low - the answer to that is NO! They priced it right with the help of their agent and serious buyers know it's priced to sell. That's why they're getting multiple offers.
Sellers may want to counter all of the offers but that is not a wise move. Think about it! If a Seller counters in writing more than one offer and each counter is accepted before the Seller is able to communicate an intent to withdraw the counters to the rest of the buyers, the seller could be bound to multiple written contracts and have potential liability to those buyers. There is only one house to sell. Take the best offer, counter if necessary and see what the response is from the buyer. Then work your way down. There may be three in the beginning but it all boils down to one that both the buyer and seller agree to all terms and conditions.