As the market starts to get busier, it is common for a property to attract multiple offers. This is great for sellers, as they are more likely to receive an offer that aligns with their price expectations and terms. However, for buyers, multiple offers often spell trouble. To avoid disappointment, it is important that buyers know what to expect.
Multiple offer situations occurs when more than one prospective buyer tables an offer on a property simultaneously. Agents must use legislation and best practice as a guide to determine when this situation occurs.
Technically, a property will remain available until the buyer and seller have signed a contract. If there is an offer, the agent must also disclose this to another interested party.
It is best practice for agents to provide buyers an REIQ Acknowledgement of Multiple Offers form to complete and sign. The form is an acknowledging that buyers have been advised of the property address, that they are in a multiple offer situation, and that it may be their last opportunity to negotiate to purchase the property.
Agents are not legally required to disclose to prospective buyers what other parties have offered. Once all offers are tabled, and acknowledgement forms signed, the agent will present each offer to the seller. Not all sellers will take the highest price offer.
Sellers may consider the offer in its entirety, with regard to terms, conditions and time frames. Buyers can speak with a solicitor or conveyancer about the legality of multiple offers and the required paperwork.
It is illegal for an agent to conduct a silent auction. This occurs when an agent underhandedly plays each of the prospective buyers off against one another in private, to raise the price higher.
Buyers who believe they are participating in a silent auction should contact the agency principal to discuss the agent’s conduct. If that process is unsatisfactory, the prospective buyer can also contact the Office of Fair Trading QLD.