Using a Multiple Counter Offer to Sell a Home

sacramento housing marketBe still my eyes — C.A.R. is offering a two-hour webinar for real estate agents to explain how to use the new Multiple Counter Offer form. Two hours! One-fourth of a normal work day. How stupid do they think real estate agents are? Oh, wait. Duh. Don’t answer that. But two hours? Criminy. Come to think of it, I just used that form a couple weeks ago and had to point out to the buyer’s agent that it was indeed a multiple-counter offer situation, as that was not readily apparent, for some reason.

The agent didn’t realize it until I said I do not know how the second buyer will respond. I explained that he needed to know that it was entirely possible that his offer might different than the counter sent to the second buyer, because that’s how multiple-counter offers can work. As a REALTOR who works in Sacramento, I try very hard to be fair to all real estate agents, and not just because it’s required by the Code of Ethics.

It looks to me, though, that what C.A.R. basically did was take the counter offer out of the multiple-counter offer document and made the counter offer a standalone, leaving the multiple as a multiple. Yet, it’s still fill-in-the-blanks.

It’s not only buyer’s agents who are confused. Sellers also do not understand the power of the multiple-counter offer. It is one of the most remarkable documents we have in our arsenal for offer negotiation. If a seller in Sacramento, say, receives two purchase offers, a seller can issue a multiple-counter offer. The multiple-counter offer can be different to each buyer, depending on how the seller wants to work the negotiations.

Think about this for a minute and let it sink in. Nobody says that one of the offers is an offer the seller wants to accept. That second offer could even be a lowball. It could be written on a roll of toilet paper. The seller could even suspect that the lowballer wouldn’t take a counter offer if she threw in 2 round-trip tickets to the moon. Yet, that doesn’t prevent the seller from issuing a multiple-counter offer now, does it?

Once the listing agent explains to the buyer’s agent that there is no regulation that states each counter offer must be identical and that the listing agent does not know whether the second buyer will increase the offer, what do you think that first buyer will do? See, this is why sellers and buyers in Sacramento and Elk Grove love working with me.

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