Profile picture for jaime2039

Can the seller's agent say they received an offer if they didn't?

We're trying to buy our first home, so forgive me if this is a naive question...

We've been very interested in 2 properties so far. One was on the market for nearly a year - we saw it, we reached out to the seller's agent that night and by the next morning she told us she was expecting a bid from another prospective buyer that day. We weren't stalling, we just needed a minute to discuss, review our prequalification offer, etc. But she called constantly, and as it became clear we were backing down a bit, she told us the other buyer was coming in significantly under - when we ultimately said we weren't going to make an offer, she said the other person didn't either, so "just throw something out!"

We didn't end up bidding on that house for a number of reasons. Now we've found another house that, for a variety of reasons, has been on the market since last August. We saw it 2 weeks ago, and reached out to the agent yesterday to see if we could see it again this week - she said this weekend was fine and didn't seem to have any real urgency there. 

Fast forward a few hours and they've received a "good offer" on this property, and want to show us tonight or tomorrow night since they're actively in negotiations with these other buyers. 

Maybe, again, I'm being naive, but this all just seems strange. Both houses were on the market FOREVER, nothing changed (no price changes or anything) and suddenly as soon as we were showing interest, there's an offer and we'd better wrap this up NOW. 

Do agents - and CAN agents - say they have an offer if they don't to move the process along with us? If it happened once, fine. But twice? Seems so strange.

While we're ready to move on a property, I hate feeling so rushed when, until a minute ago, there was no reason to feel that way.
 
  • March 24 2014 - Syosset
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Answers (18)

Profile picture for user63156635
I find this interesting because me and my husband are learning about how stressful things can be when finding and purchasing home. the process in between is stressful and to know there are liars out there is discouraging. We recently saw a home that we fell in love with. mind you it does require some work, roofing repairing ( we notice leakage) floor need repair, alot of creaking, etc. It was on the market for over 6 months. Our agent communicated with the listing agent with our best offer for last 2 days (not once did he mention having any other offer). The listing agent said nothing about any other offer until the day when he is to submit our offer to the seller. He slipped it in an email "by the way we just received another offer today" really? same day we submitted ours?? lol. right away we knew that was a lie. What a huge coincidence it surprise me that agents still use that old wives tale with other agents! As if they don't know the game. Well sure enough the next morning he said the seller decided to go with that other offer instead lol. wow. my lie detector went off swiftly. We will be checking the status of that house on redfin to see if it does go into pending...if it does not we will contact the broker of the firm and get some answers and why they lied to a potential buyer. there should be a way to know if there was an offer placed on a house though. It doesnt have to include  full detail on the offer but just say "offer accepted on this property" in some sort of reliable resource or data base. 
  • March 17
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Actually, in Washington, we have a statutory duty, rather than a fiduciary duty.

The thing is, you don't have to feel rushed, you just have to be fine with having the property get sold to someone else. There's a number of posts here from buyers wondering how come the listing got sold out from under them when they were told to take their time, or they weren't told of other offers, or they were told of other offers but bid low and wanted a second chance.
  • March 24 2014
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The short answer is YES. A listing agent can say whatever he or she wants, and I have found various levels of ethical/unethical behavior across agents. At the end of the day, this is why as a buyer, you should have a Buyer's Agent representing you! They are the only party during this part of the process who have a fiduciary responsibility to you, they buyer!
  • March 24 2014
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Profile picture for SteadyState
Selling (buyer) Agents and listing (seller) agents get paid (commission) for results and only if the sale goes through. A sales person who notes that a buyer is having second thoughts will work to salvage the sale. Many options are available to the salesperson at this point including:

a) Increasing the desirability of the property by indicating that multiple other people are also interest (other people want to buy the property why are you anxious?)
b) Taking the bull by the horn and rushing through the sales process quickly - don't give the buyer time for their doubts to plant roots. Keep pushing like purchasing the property is the best course of action.
c) Taking the act now path - builds on (a) and (b) to suggest that not buying the property now will prevent you from buying any property in the future - rates will go up, prices will shoot up, etc.)

Remember the agent is trying to make a living selling homes - analyze the situation from that perspective and things become clear. Analyze the situation viewing the agent as a guide, adviser or mentor sets up false expectations and ends in buyers remorse.
  • March 24 2014
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It would be fraud for a seller's agent to lie about receiving another offer. 
  • March 24 2014
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Profile picture for Nifoussi
it is unethical and not even practical to lie about the status of a transaction or interest in a home.
Yet some agents practice this line. But please understand that the market has shifted dramtically, especially in some markets and some segments. Maybe you are in the first time home buyer/infvestor price range and that market is heated. Time will tell if you were given the facts. listen closely to the phrase as well.  Is there an offer being negotiated or an offer coming in. Big difference.
If what you are calling on sounds like an opportunity for you..maybe it is also for others. And just know that with a continued increase in buying there is more activity.
good luck.. stay focused on your goals. [Content removed by Zillow Moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy]
  • March 24 2014
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What's a "vague offer?" "Somebody says they may write an offer?" That's hardly information worth moving on.

Your personal opinion is noted. I have a much different opinion, having been on the seller's side in hundreds of transactions with a "salesperson" on the other.
  • March 24 2014
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Profile picture for hpvanc
Yep, agents can and do say they have vague offers.

I agree it can be extremely daunting to find an agent to actually work and function a buying/purchasing capacity in a field where the licensees are often licensed as salespeople and strongly identify as such. My personal opinion is that "buyer's" agency is 99% fraud, it has been pushed by the industry to protect half of their commission from negotiation even though technology has superseded the need for them to make the market, and force consumers to play the game their way by keeping 2 agents in transactions. The typical "buyer's" agent is typically still listed as the Selling Agent on the purchase contract, and most continue honor the title on that contract rather than title on the "buyer's" agent contract (read the contract most of the standard ones offer no protection to the buyer, but merely guarantee the agents compensation and limit their liability for making misrepresentation and negotiating with you on the behalf of sellers in general).
  • March 24 2014
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You can believe what you want, but only time will tell.

  • March 24 2014
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
Of course they can and despite "The problem with" or the Realtors have a Code opinions it''s my belief some do....

Ghost offers is not a new topic and there has been much discussion about them on just about any RE site if you wish to give a look around.....it's your business transaction, money, life and what you decide is fine with me but it is my opinion that if you believe no Realtors lie, bs or act contrary to the logic of "The problem with" then you're handicapping your business decision making abilities

Good hunting and best of luck whatever you decide
  • March 24 2014
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I just had a listing go without offers for a while to receiving multiple offers, by the way.

The problem with agents bluffing is that it can backfire, and that "sense of urgency" can chase people away just as easily as stimulating them to submit a bid.

The problem with agents LYING about offers is that if they chase buyers away, they have a lot of explaining to do to their SELLERS!
  • March 24 2014
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Profile picture for sunnyview
"Do agents - and CAN agents - say they have an offer if they don't to move the process along with us?"

They can and some do. As buyers, you have to offer what you feel comfortable with and not get caught up in a "competition" that may or may not be real. 

Putting in a timely offer at a price that you feel comfortable with is your best protection against getting pushed with a ghost offer that may or may not be on the table. If you are not experienced in buying, you might consider getting your own agent if you don't have one. Relying on listing agents for information can create issues since they work primarily for the seller not you.
  • March 24 2014
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Profile picture for JoshBarnettREIB
It is hard to watch a movie if the movie was not rented.  
  • March 24 2014
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Seems like anyone can say anything!

The question is whether doing so is right, wrong ethical or proper. As mentioned earlier- the reason for such statements is to create urgency- often there may be "talk" of a potential offer coming in. 

The talk of the possible offer gets the listing agent and seller into a happy mode. This happy mode is then relayed to anyone and everyone in hopes of securing the deal or securing another or better offer!

Is it right? 
  • March 24 2014
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Agents saying there is an offer when there is none, is as common as eating bread.  They do it to create a sense of urgency...so you bid quickly and higher.

To find a real buyers agent, go to www.NAEBA.org  The Nation Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents that ONLY represent buyers, never sellers and work in Buyer Agencyy OFFICES that never represent sellers.

Eve
  • March 24 2014
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Profile picture for jaime2039
Thanks! That's great insight, I appreciate it. We've been trying to find a good buyer's agent, but it's been tougher than we thought. Hopefully this week!

Yes, all makes sense. Just seemed so odd that the minute we showed interest they were either expecting or had a verbal offer, and we needed to jump immediately. But that's great insight on the market shifts that I wouldn't have thought about. Such a bummer (for me - guess not for the sellers!). 
 
  • March 24 2014
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It is against the Realtor's code of ethics to lie. Being a first time buyer, you may not be aware, but using a listing agent to see homes is not in your best interest. They have the seller's best interest as their duty. Hire a buyer's agent. They will have your best interest as their priority. They share the commission with the listing agent so you don't pay that - the seller does. The agent you hire will be working for you and will guide you through the process of buying a home including what an appropriate offer on a home would be and then everything that happens after your offer is accepted. It will make everything a bit less stressful for you. Good luck in your search. This should be a fun, exciting time and a buyer's agent can help make it that way.
  • March 24 2014
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A Reator cannot lie, its just simply unethical and this goes against codes of ethics as well as the law in some instances.

Having said that... Has the realtor received a verbal offer and can he/she is portraying that fact to you... yes they can. If I was a buyer and a Realtor called me up to say this or was trying to inject info on another offer to co-mingle it with my offer... id ask to see it and if were going to share all this wonderful info together than lets just get everything right out on the table and go from there! LOL (you know thats never going to happen, but thats what i would say to the agent trying to use others offers against me)

As a buyer my advise would be this to you... Do not allow outside influences to cloud or alter your perceptions of what YOU believe that house is worth to YOU (coupled with a sprinkle of common sense and best educated knowledge of the comps in the area).

Having said that... also remember that home prices are generally increasing across the entire country (some places more than others), so be aware that because of this fact you will start seeing homes that have not sold for many months start selling (especially with spring on our doorstep).

hope these words of advise help you out! Best Wishes!
  • March 24 2014
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