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Real Estate Best Practice: Policies and Procedures for Handling Multiple Offers

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By Ernie Whitehouse

The residential real estate markets of 2013 are churning a lot of emotions for home buyers and sellers alike. Whether a buyer loses a house in a multiple offer situation or a seller loses the highest or best offer due to a buyer withdrawing, the emotional fury is unpleasant and often directed towards the agent. We have all seen this scenario repeatedly and it has a profound impact on professional reputation. Does your business have a Real Estate Best Practice in place to deal with multiple offer situations?

The primary drivers are tight inventories, low interest rates and strong buyer demand. Today, these elements are prevalent in most markets across the U.S.

These high energy emotions are fueled by:

- Miscommunication between agents and clients,

- Misunderstanding of the perceived ‘rights’ buyers and sellers may or may not have to certain key information during the negotiation process, and

- Agents acting on behalf of their client’s best interests without full understanding of options and the corresponding risks and rewards, and a clear direction and consent by their client.

Negotiating for the purchase or sale of a home entails the classic risk reward dynamic. It is important for all parties to understand the risks and rewards of the negotiation process, and be very clear to all possible outcomes. All too often these perceived rights and entitlements are at the heart of the misunderstandings and resulting strong emotions. With all options fully disclosed to buyers and sellers, emotions and disappointment are greatly reduced. At the heart of these discussions, agents should insist that buyers and sellers make all decisions, and never act on behalf of their client without clear understanding of the risks and full authorization by the client.

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