Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Does the Listing Agent Need to Disclose if There are Multiple Offers?

Does the Listing Agent Need to Disclose if There are Multiple Offers?

If there are multiple offers on a property, does the listing agent have to disclose this information?

The Austin market, in many ways, is a very hot market. There are some people who would disagree, but those people are not currently in the buying world with multiple offers that can go over $50,000 above the asking price.  These areas, for the most part, are in South and East Austin. Most of the suburbs are less competetive, and aren't seeing such drastic over asking offers.

austin real estate multiple offers disclosureLast year, I wrote about how I sold 14 houses to one couple, and never got paid. It was miserable. Most offers were $20-25k over asking and my buyers still didn't win. You can read about it here.

This year, I was hoping things would slow down a little, but they really haven't. The good thing is that buyers are now understanding that if they hear the words "multiple offers", they are offering "serious" offers instead of an offer Uncle Joe or Grandma told them to write.

To the original question, does an agent need to disclose if they have multiple offers so you can play a head-game with yourself as to what you think someone else offered so you know what to offer yourself. The answer is, it's either all or none. If you tell one agent, you must tell all the agents. If you don't tell any agents, it's ok. It's about making sure all buyers are on the same level playing field and if all the agents are in the dark or all are in the know; it's level.

Why wouldn't an agent disclose multiple offers? First, it's not the agent's option to disclose or not. The directions would come from the Seller. Second, some sellers just want to see offers as they are, without the buyers knowing if there was someone else interested.  Saying there are multiple offers can potentially drive the price up, but on the down side, it could also scare away buyers who don't want to play the game. I've had buyers who just say "never mind" on a house when they find out there's multiple offers. What if all the buyers said that, then the seller is left with no offers.

It's definitely a head-game in today's Austin real estate market! Are you ready to compete?


**Are You Packed Yet?**

Donna Harris, REALTOR®
Donna Homes, Owner
www.DonnaHomes.comdonna homes austin tx real estate realtor

Austin TX Real Estate and the surrounding areas of Lakeway, Bee Cave, West Lake Hills, Cedar Park, Round Rock, Spicewood, Circle-C, Steiner Ranch, and everywhere in between... Hill Country Austin TX Real Estate and beyond. Whether you're buying or selling an Austin home, I'll be with you every step of the way. 

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Comment balloon 10 commentsDonna Harris • August 26 2014 01:16PM


I've had this issue come up when working with home buyers in a hot, hot buyer's market and was told by my legal team it's 100% up to the seller to disclose if there are multiple offers, or not. Austin, Texas must be a hot, hot market right now. 

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) almost 6 years ago

In Tennessee, it's all up to the seller. He can choose not to disclose to any, he can choose to disclose to one or he can choose to disclose to all. There isn't any law that requires he disclose to all. It's his choice. While it may seem in the best interest of the seller to disclose multiple offers, some buyers will walk away when given this information. I explain the pros and cons of disclosing multiple offers to buyers and let the sellers decide whether or not to disclose. If they decide not to disclose, then I advise buyer's agents that we expect multiple offers and they may want to make their first offer their best. Without actually telling them if other offers have been received.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) almost 6 years ago

I agree its a little bit of a mess but also agree if its fair across the board then so be it.

Posted by David Shamansky, Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg (US Mortgages - David Shamansky) almost 6 years ago

You don't need to disclose unless a seller tells you to do so, but if you disclose to one, you must disclose to all.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) almost 6 years ago

The system won't let me "like" everyone's post, but I do. Yes, I see both sides of saying multiple offers or not. In my market, for the most part, buyers are prepared to compete. They would more back off if the house was on the market more than a week or two. First couple of days on the market, multiple offers aren't going to scare them as they know it's the way right now.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 6 years ago


  • Standard of Practice 1-15

REALTORS®, in response to inquiries from buyers or cooperating brokers shall, with the sellers’ approval, disclose the existence of offers on the property. Where disclosure is authorized, REALTORS® shall also disclose, if asked, whether offers were obtained by the listing licensee, another licensee in the listing firm, or by a cooperating broker. 

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) almost 6 years ago

Carla, And the Code of Ethics is why you must disclose to all if you disclose to one. You/the seller can't pick and choose who to disclose to. In order to keep everyone on a level playing field, you must give the same information. It's not "fair" for one consumer to have a leg up on another.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 6 years ago

aw ,

that is a little mess there, well we all go for experiences that somewhat we can never forget but we can always learn from it.


have a great day to you.

Posted by Christopher Lotte, Central Ohio Realtor, 614-390-9243 (Red 1 Realty) almost 6 years ago

Hi, Donna:  Same would apply here- and as long as one applies the "fairness to all" policy (that existed long before the Code of Ethics, you know?), things should be fine in the end.  I say "fine"- but I've had similar "multiple offer" scenarios in the property management world that leave things "fine" for everyone except the greedy ol' real estate guy (guess that's me in these cases).

There are varying schools of thought in our "multiples" cases, though.  Our Orlando market continues to be smoking hot rentals-wise, with my main problek being how to get more inventory for the tonsnof folks seeking places- having 60,000 students here at UCF (America's largest university, by the way) goes from blessing to curse in short order- and that plus others moving here equals a great need for rental properties.

That said, all or most companies will explicitly state on their applications that they may accept multiple applications at once and process them in order to allow for the greatest opportunity of securing the best folks possible who'll be our next new tenants.

But how do you approach that when showing a property or handling a phone call for a property which has an application in progress?  YESSSSSS... there's where things get a bit tough.

Do you tell everyone that there's an application "being processed"?  Doing so leads to the risk folks will say "never mind" and move on thinking the existing application will be approved- only to have that existing application turn into a craplication and set you back to Square One.

Not telling folks that there's an existing application in progress (other than in writing that it's a possibility) can lead to frustration from "Applicant #2" that loses out to a solid applicant whose application processing was nearly complete before "Applicant #2" ever viewed the property.  Hassle likely ensues and the possibility you'll be unfairly blown up on social media is a legitimate concern- and next up is a decison on whether to refund anyone's application fees... ugh!

So I feel your pain (in smaller measure) in "selling" homes without being paid- for I've had more than my share of instances where I've had homes "rented" numerous times before anyone ever really moved in!

Posted by Dennis Burgess, Orlando Property Manager and Realtor (AmeriTeam Property Management) almost 6 years ago

There is no obligation to conduct multiple offer bidding. Also, highest offer is not always best offer.

Posted by Dave Halpern, Louisville Short Sale Expert (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827) almost 3 years ago