In certain market conditions, consumers may find that more than one buyer is interested in a property.
This is a competing offer situation and creates unique conditions in a real estate transaction. Both sellers and buyers need to consider how to respond when presented with a competing offer situation. Working closely with your real estate broker or salesperson will ensure that you understand the process.
In Ontario, the seller’s real estate broker or salesperson is required to disclose the number of competing offers to all buyers who have submitted a written offer. However, the terms and conditions of each offer are confidential to the seller and their broker or salesperson.
The seller’s real estate broker or salesperson represents the interests of the seller in the transaction. The decisions about how offers are presented and responded to, as well as which offer is accepted, are made by the seller.
The buyer’s real estate broker or salesperson represents the interests of the buyer in the transaction. The buyer makes the final decisions related to their offer, including the important decision of whether or not they want to participate in a competing offer situation.
In some situations, the real estate broker or salesperson will represent the interests of both seller and buyer or multiple buyers. Consumers should seek guidance from their real estate broker or salesperson if this situation arises.
A seller facing competing offers has to consider how they want to deal with the situation. The seller can decide to: accept the best offer; negotiate with one buyer and reject all other offers; negotiate with one buyer and advise other buyers that their offers are being set aside while the seller negotiates; or reject all offers.
Even in a competing offer situation, buyers have other options and may choose not to continue to participate. A seller may attempt to negotiate only to find out that it was the best offer the buyer could present. In the meantime, other buyers have found new properties they are interested in.
The seller’s real estate broker or salesperson can provide advice and guidance, ensuring that the obligations and the options available are understood.
Courtesy of Real Estate Council of Ontario