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Multiple offers – What is the Process?

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Losing out in a multiple offer is very disappointing and can result in a buyer feeling that they have not been treated fairly.  Real estate agents are governed by a Code of Ethics and the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and the Real Estate Council have regulations governing how multiple offers are handled.

The following is an except from The Professional Standards Manual:

(iii) Multiple Offers — Presentation Procedures

If more than one written offer on a specific property is made before the seller has accepted an offer, all written offers must be presented to the seller. The only exception would be if the listing licensee has specific written instructions from the seller on the listing not to present particular types of offers. Unless otherwise instructed by the seller, the listing licensee should ensure that any other representative involved knows there will be competitive offers.

First, it is important to understand that as a listing agent I take my instructions from my seller(s).  When listing a property, I will review with them the merits of holding off on accepting offers versus dealing with offers as they are written and received.  In this market, we know that holding off on the presentation of offers can result in more than one offer being presented which means that the property could sell for more than asking price.  However, it is up to a seller to decide how they wish to proceed AND a seller has the right to change their mind and deal with an offer prior to a stated date. As a listing agent, this makes me uncomfortable, especially since I have advised other agents that no offers will be presented until a pre-determined date and time.  But I must follow all lawful instructions of my seller.  Why would a seller change their mind? Perhaps the offer received was so attractive they did not want to lose it. The point is that the seller calls the shots.  If you are a buyer that is in a very strong position, you could insist that your agent prepare and present an offer prior to the stated date.  It is then up to the seller, with guidance from his or her agent to decide how to proceed.

A seller must give instructions in writing if they wish to delay presentation of offers and if they decide to proceed to deal with an offer prior to a stated date and time they must give new written instructions to their agent amending the earlier instructions.