Whether or not the listing agent has to disclose to the buyer’s agent that fact that they are competing with other offers on the same property is a topic of hot debate in the real estate community.
As a 25 year veteran in the real estate business and knowing in a sellers market I may be competing with other offers, I ALWAYS ask two specific questions. I ask if there are any other offers on the table. If the answer is no I ask that if another offer comes in I be notified so that my buyer can present their highest and best offer. If the answer is yes, then I can inform the buyer that they may not be receiving a counteroffer and to make their best offer.
When I was in Professional Standards committee training for my local Realtor Association a couple years ago the question arose: “If you notify one agent that there are multiple offers, are you bound to notify everyone involved in the transaction?” According to the Legal Team of the Florida Realtors Association the answer was no, not necessarily. This is a very good reason why using an experienced and well trained licensee works in a buyer’s benefit. Cooperating agents should always know to ask the listing agent if other offers exist before presenting the buyer’s offer.
The March/April edition of Realtor Magazine addresses the issue of Ethics and disclosing multiple offers. According to the Code of Ethics article two conditions must be met before a listing agent has to disclose multiple offers: the seller is required to give permission and the buyers or cooperating agent is required to ask the agent to disclose whether there are other offers. The same two conditions apply if the cooperating agent wants the listing agent to reveal whether the offers were from the listing broker or other cooperating brokers.
Realtors are required to abide by the National Association of Realtor Code of Ethics and the Code sited in this instance was Article 1, Standard of Practice 1-15 and 1-13(5)