Can Real Estate Agents Lie About Other Offers? (July 2021)

In today's market, how real estate transactions are dealt with is very much one-sided to the sellers. But I feel this topic needs to have the veil removed, and I'm here to help you through it.


But if you don't know, I'm Aly. I'm a Calgary real estate agent and have been in the business for 6 years. I serve first-time buyers with finding their first home or investment and have the great pleasure of helping north of 20 clients each year with their real estate needs.


With that out of the way, let's dive in.


The first thing to remember when discussing this topic is that we as real estate agents are licensed by governing bodies (CREB, AREA, RECA) to have the privilege to trade in real estate that is not our own. This is important to remember because we have strict responsibilities to these boards, our buyers, sellers, and consumers in general.


This licensing also means we carry fiduciary responsibilities to our clients. Most times this is overlooked but is very important and is part of the very first conversation I have with all of my clients. These responsibilities are similar to those that your lawyer would have for you while working with them.

So why is all of this important to you as a consumer?


Some would argue that real estate agents don't maintain these responsibilities. And for some, you may be right. I read case reviews each week about agents that have abused the system for gain or fraud. But this is like any other profession. We also have checks and balances to ensure we are maintaining the best possible service for our clients.


But back to the real question at hand, "Can real estate agents lie about other offers?". The direct answer is no, we cannot. However, you must keep in mind, not everyone uses real estate agents to sell their properties. Builders, For Sale By Owners, Private Sales, all don't follow the same rules and requirements that we do when we list properties. This is because they all own the property they are selling it themselves.


Before an offer is received, before listing the property actually, we have something calling a listing appointment with the sellers. And in this meeting, we discuss marketing strategy, price evaluations, and how to deal with offers as they come among other things.


So when we list, we are marketing the property, accepting viewings, etc. We can receive offers at any time. The sellers and the agent may decide to present all the offers at once after all the viewings are complete or present the offers to the sellers as they come. The latter doesn't really allow for the most amount of competition for the seller but does make it harder for the buyer to see the property and gives the first one in the best opportunity.


But when these offers come in, we are obliged to only share the agent that submitted the offer and their associated brokerage if no other instruction is provided to us. This is to allow the second buyer's agent to contact the agent and verify there is another offer in play.


However, remember when I mentioned we have fiduciary responsibilities to the seller? One of these responsibilities is obedience to their lawful instruction.


This means that if the seller instructs us to not disclose the existence of other offers, or of the status of the sale, we must abide by these wishes and conduct ourselves as such.


This is where it can become harder, especially for first-time buyers with a limited budget, and can cause issues. Placing offers somewhat blind to the playing field is a space no one wants to be in. Generally, when this happens, the agents are the ones that are seen to not be working in the public's interest. However, our fiduciary responsibilities are extremely important.


So when an agent in our market lets you know there is another offer by telling you the other agent, know this is the best they can share because they are held to responsibilities to the seller. Your agent needs to understand this and help you navigate in a way that gets you through the muddy waters and achieve your goal of property ownership.


If you are currently dealing with situations like this, feel free to check out my article Buying The Home Everyone Wants to learn how you make your offer the strongest it can be.


If you would like help with selling or buying a property, shoot me an email at aly@calgaryareahomes.ca, and let's connect to see how I can help you.


Thanks for the time. Take care.

Aly


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