How Much to Disclose to Buyer's Agents?

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Q:  We just listed our house with you guys, and added the MLS option too.  We've had an amazing response, and have been showing it constantly for the last three days..over 20 showings so far! As you recommended, we gave everyone a deadline for making an offer (tomorrow).  But this afternoon I received a strange call from one of the buyer's agents... she basically asked for an update of the status of our offers.  What, if anything, should I tell her? We already have 12 parties making offers!!


A:  First, that's great that you're having so much interest on your beautiful home!   As you know, when you are listed on MLS your property information goes out to all the agencies, and is also available to the public on PicketFencePreview.com and Realtor.com. As such, it's no surprise you are hearing from a lot of agents with buyers in tow eager to see and want to buy your home. You were smart to set up multiple showings over a short timeline, then set a deadline for offers!


You are not obligated to - nor should you - share the details of your "offer status" with anyone, other than to share generalities.  For instance, letting them know you're expecting multiple offers, or have already received a few, is fine. It's in your best interest to share if you are receiving other offers as that will allow buyers to submit their best possible offer. But you don't want to provide any more detail than that about specific offers. Your goal is to pull in as many offers as possible. This will give you options, leverage and backups if needed. Holding your cards close to your chest is not only in your own best interest, but also the fairest thing for all parties concerned.

The buyer's agent may have wondered if you were already in negotiations with another buyer, if their offer was being seriously considered, or when you expect to make your decision. They want to properly represent their clients, who may be frantically asking what the status is, and certainly want to be sure they don't miss out on the sale!  They may also want to improve the terms of their offer to ensure they've made their best offer.

Once your offer deadline has passed, you will have the option to get back to specific buyers if you want clarification or even to negotiate with a particular buyer if you want to. This is where you can let them know you'd love to choose them, but would need them to sweeten a particular aspect of their offer to make it happen.

Note: Professionally, buyer agents are accustomed to speaking with the seller's agent about offer statuses. The only information typically disclosed is whether or not offers have been received or if any offers are expected to come in. You may be able to ascertain whether the offers were for asking price or above, but typically an agent will only disclose if there are any offers and if there is a deadline for submitting an offer. It is the seller agent's responsibility to present any and all offers to the seller for their consideration.