Disclosure of Offer Prices in Phoenix Real Estate

It’s a not uncommon question that usually comes in one of two forms: “has there been any activity on this home” or “what other offers have the sellers received?”

And the answer, more often than not, is I don’t have the slightest idea. As a listing agent, it’s not always beneficial to reveal what other offers might have been accepted on a property; knowing a lowball offer previously has been rejected might help save a buyer some time in writing an offer, but that’s not necessarily my sellers’ concern. And, to be honest, price isn’t the only factor most sellers consider.

If there are multiple offers it might be beneficial, but perhaps not as it could conceivable scare off some buyers who might bid higher faced with a multiple counter offer. Again, as the listing agent, my concern is my sellers and not really what the buyers are facing.

Ultimately, though, it’s not my decision as a listing agent whether to disclose the presence of other offers. It’s solely up the sellers. I usually have some input but it’s their call.

This doesn’t discourage some buyers from asking though apparently others don’t want the information to be disclosed. From Trulia Voices:

We don’t receive any disclosure that our offer may be revealed in negotiating in any of the disclosure statements.Our first offer is used to drive up the price of the second one and etc. It’s a secret little bidding war that starts with the second offer presented and highly unethical. Of course you have a fiduciary duty to get the best offer for the seller but favoring secret insider information to some to drive up the price is cheating the ones that made the initial bid. …

What I really want to ask is if the same frustration would be there had this buyer been told what the highest offer was, topped it, and then bought the house they want. It begs an answer, no?

A purchase offer isn’t inside information by any stretch. In fact, there’s a very brief paragraph on page 8 of the AAR Residential Real Estate contract that says the public will be advised of this contract. I’m not a lawyer. Looking at it, and realizing this clause serves a different purpose, it doesn’t seem to be much of a stretch that it also would cover the ability to disclose an offer.

Not to mention, as a listing agent, my fiduciary responsibility of confidentiality only applies to my seller and not to the buyers I don’t represent.

One other theme of note from today’s screed:

The banks are choking a faster real estate recovery with their greedy practices and by late summer 2010 there will be a scarcity of any kind of buyers. Selling bank foreclosures has changed the practice of selling real estate and soured many consumers that feel mistreated

Funny, but I heard many of the same sentiments in 2005 and 2006. The real estate industry – not buyers, not investors, not sellers, just the agents – had driven up the market and it was unfair that ordinary people couldn’t buy.

Except they did. And they are. And they will continue to do so. Sour grapes tend to grow in individual batches only.

[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.

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