Profile picture for lettaw

Aren't sellers' agents obligated to present offers to thier clients?

We made an offer on a condo in San Francisco that has been on the market for only a couple of days. We offered $11K OVER the asking price and gave the seller 24 hours to respond before the offer expires. We would like to come to an agreement and ratify quickly becasue we are trying to take advantage of the California conforming loan limit before it is lowered by over $100K at the end of the month, which is why we decided to offer above the asking price.  Based on the comps our agent pulled for us, the condo is priced pretty fairly to market.  The seller's agent replied that she is not accepting offers for one week and refuses to present our offer to the seller. There is nothing about this offer deadline listed on the MLS or the listing for the property.  Can the agent do that?  Isn't she obligated to present our offer to the seller and let the seller decide?
Thanks! 
  • August 30 2011 - US
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Answers (5)

Profile picture for Addora Beall
That's a great question that I am happy to answer for you. Unless the Listing agent has something in writing from the Seller that says they do not want to look at any offers until a specified date, then that agent is obligated to present every offer to the Seller.

Time is clearly of the essense in this situation for you, as it is in many cases for Buyers. The Listing agent cannot unilaterally make that decision for their Seller.

Listing and Selling agents have a fiduciary relationship with their clients and, therefore, are obligated to put the interests of their client before their own. This agent may be waiting to get an offer of their own or hoping to create some kind of buyer frenzy but none of that matters.

Here is what I recommend that you have your agent do; Have your agent ask theListing agent for something in writing that the seller has signed that states they do not want to review your offer even though it is over the asking price. If that really is the case, then you are out of luck though common sense would say any seller would be a fool to miss out on an offer that is above the asking price, wouldn't you agree?

Good luck!
  • August 30 2011
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Thanks for your question "lettaw" and sorry for your troubles.

Agents are required to present all offers so it would be wrong for the agent to take it upon his/herself to not present it.  But wait, did the seller give the agent directions to hold all offers until this deadline?  Are you sure they agent is going renegade by hoarding them to him/herself?  If you are sure, be proactive and get your Realtor to contact that agent's broker to find out what is going on.  Heck, even if you are not sure you should have your agent contact that broker.

Hope this helps, good luck.
  • August 30 2011
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Once upon a time we wrote an offer in CA only to learn that the seller would review offers and make a decision in 10 days.  We chose to withdraw our offer (and in retrospect are very glad we did.)

  • August 30 2011
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Yes, the listing agent is required to present all offers to the seller(s).  In this case, I think it is best for your agent to get into a friendly communication with the listing agent to figure out why the seller won't be responding for a week, and what your current situation is/why you would like a response ASAP.  Your agent will be able to get a read on what is causing the delay, and if it's a silly reason, you might have a better clue as to how this seller negotiates and decide to move on!  Best of luck. 
  • August 30 2011
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You may want to have your agent inquire why she is not presenting offers for a week? Is the seller out of town? Is there some specific reason for this delay? To answer your question, Yes, the listing agent has a duty to present all offers to the sellers. The sellers may have made a request being that it is so new on the market to see what kind of offers they get.
Again, I would have your agent inquire of the reasoning behind this and to point out how strong your offer is and that you do have a deadline on it. The listing agent should recognize this and go ahead and present this to her client.
Good luck to you!
  • August 30 2011
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