Multiple Offers

For the Licensee as defined in the Licensee Practice Manual

Multiple Offers ‘ If more than one 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 of the listing not to present particular types of offers. Unless otherwise instructed by the Seller, the Listing licensee should ensure that any other licensee involved knows there will be competitive offers. This is in the Seller’s best interest.

1. Let Everyone Know What’s Going On

To ensure fairness to everyone concerned, the following guidelines should be followed:
(a)    The Seller – Inform the Seller that you have received (or expect you may receive) more than one offer. If you have set up an appointment with a Buyer’s licensee and your Seller for presentation of an offer and, on your way to the appointment, you are notified that another written offer will be coming in, it would be prudent for you to suggest to the Seller that the appointment be postponed until the other written offer comes in, so that you can have both offers presented. It is always best to have this type of direction from the Seller in writing. It is critical that all Buyers be informed of the multiple offer situation so that everyone is on a level playing field. Obviously, this puts the Seller in a very strong negotiating position and allows all prospective Buyers the opportunity to make their best offer. Discuss with your principal Seller whether every Buyer’s licensee will be invited to present their offer. Offers should be presented in the order in which you received them. Also, let your Seller know that they will have an opportunity at this time to ask the Buyer’s licensee questions about their prospective Buyer and that, after all offers have been presented, they (your Seller) will have an opportunity to consider all of the offers with you and decide which one is best.
In instances where the Listing licensee is also presenting an offer, it is strongly suggested to have their Managing Broker, or another representative, present to counsel the Seller in this process to remove any perception of conflict of interest.
(b)    The Buyer’s Licensee – Let the Buyer’s licensee know that there are multiple offers. They should then advise their prospective Buyer of the other offer(s) and suggest that they make their very best offer now because there may not be an acceptance or counter-offer. As licensees for Buyers, most REALTORS® may wish to present their client’s offer personally. Let the Buyer’s licensee know that they will be asked to leave after they have presented their offer so that the Seller may consider all of the offers presented, and they will be notified once the Seller has made a decision.

The listing licensee shall disclose the name of the licensee and brokerage of all competing offers to be presented to the REALTORS® involved.

2. Presentation of Offers

Review the ground rules with the Seller

(a)    Stress that all offers will be presented, and the Seller should not deal with any particular offer until they have had the opportunity to review all of them with the Listing licensee.
(b)    The Seller should be cautioned that although the Buyer’s licensee will be present to answer questions about their Buyer, they are not to be present during the discussions of the acceptance or counter-offer of their or any other offer. Of course this may negate itself if the Listing licensee is also a Buyer’s licensee.

3.    Deal with One Offer at a Time

If there is to be a counter-offer, make sure only one offer is countered at a time, otherwise your Seller may end up having “sold” the property to more than one Buyer. Stipulate a time period within which the counter-offer is open for acceptance, and keep it to a minimum. (Back up offers ‘ refer to page 79 in the LPM).

4.    Communication- Keep Everyone Informed

In dealing with multiple offers, the following maxim becomes extremely appropriate: “Not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done”! To minimize misunderstanding about the “fairness” of how the offers were dealt with, it is important that information be transmitted as accurately, fully and quickly as possible. Let the other licensees know that the Seller considered all offers and chose to deal with one of them (or rejected all). Unless the Seller has any objection, you can disclose general information about an accepted offer, BUT if the Seller has countered, do NOT disclose the price or terms of either the original offer or the counter-offer. Advise the other licensee that you will notify them when the counter-offer has been either accepted or rejected.

5.    Keep Calm

As Listing licensee, you are in charge of the process. Review the proper procedures to follow in advance of presenting any offers and then let both the Seller and other licensees know how proceedings are to be conducted. Be fair and open with everyone, keeping in mind that your first duty is to act in the best interest of the Seller. Don’t play games. Keep a copy of these guidelines available in order to assist both yourself and the other licensees involved in the transaction.

6.    Document Your Actions

Once potential or real multiple offer scenarios arise, the licensees, both listing and selling, should diarize their actions and note times, dates and the nature of their conversations. This diarizing should extend to include conversations with both the Seller and/or Buyer. Accountability to all parties is essential, and often, clarification is needed after the fact.
NOTE: All decisions made during the process should be in writing.

Multiple Offer Guidelines

To be reviewed with Buyers/Sellers

In addition to the stipulations in the RECBC LPM, the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board has adopted guidelines for the handling of multiple offers, and it would be useful for Buyers/Sellers involved in multiple offers to understand these guidelines.

All Written Offers Must Be Presented

Until such time as an offer has been accepted, all written offers must be presented. This means that if a Buyer submitted an offer on a property and another written offer came in before it was accepted by the Seller, the other offer must be presented as well. The Seller is encouraged to allow enough time before the offers are presented that the first Buyer can be informed that they are now competing in a multiple-offer situation. This puts everyone on a level playing field.

Make Your Very Best Offer

All Buyers are encouraged to make their very best offer because it may not be accepted or countered. The Seller will deal with one offer and assess the following:

  • merits of the offer as to price, terms, inclusions and dates;
  • capability of the Buyer;
  • preference of the Seller; and
  • advice from the Listing licensee as to which offer, if any, should be accepted or rejected, in the owner’s best interest.

Procedure for Presenting Offers

(a) Offers will be presented in the order they are received.
(b) All offers should be presented before any one offer is dealt with.
(c) Unless otherwise instructed in writing by the Seller, the Buyer’s licensee may be invited to present their offer to the Seller and answer questions about their Buyer. They will not be present during discussions of the acceptance or counter-offer(s) of the offers.
(d) After all offers have been presented, the Seller and the Listing licensee should review all of the offers and the Seller will be asked to choose which offer they want to deal with.