Dealing With Multiple Offers

By Jim Stearman, Attorney at Law
August 27, 2015

In a hot real estate market, it is not uncommon for multiple offers to flood into the listing agent’s inbox. Effectively dealing with multiple offers is the sign of a good agent who is looking out for the best interests of his or her sellers. When you receive multiple offers, it is wise to get your manager involved. If a mistake is made, your clients may be put in the position of selling their house twice so you should take the extra step of protecting you and your clients before they start making phone calls to you to find out what went wrong.

By making a counter offer to all offers received, accusations of discrimination or unfairness can be avoided. The sellers, of course, have the option of accepting one of the offers or negotiating with only one or two of the buyers but, in most cases, issuing a counter offer to all prospective purchasers will usually result in a better price for the sellers.


To avoid selling the house twice, it is recommended that you use C.A.R. Form SMCO, Seller Multiple Counter Offer, when counter offers are going to be made to multiple offers. This form contains the necessary language to protect the sellers by informing the buyer that sellers are making multiple counter offers to other prospective buyers and that certain conditions must be met by the buyers for the counter offer to be deemed accepted. Many agents feel that you should not counter back on price but, instead, should ask all buyers to bring back their “best offer”. At that point, the sellers would hopefully be in a position to accept at least one of the multiple counteroffers. You can always negotiate upon terms other than price but you may lose buyers if your sellers counter with another price in response to the buyer’s “best offer” price.

When you’re representing the sellers of a home that will likely receive multiple offers, you can really help them out by getting them ready to make a good decision. Some of the things that could help them would be a review of their financial situation and to find out what is important to them. It could be that your clients would rather receive a lower offer with no contingencies that will close quicker than a higher priced offer that won’t close for several months. Just remember to tell your clients that you are there to guide them through the process and to help them get the result that is best for them but that they are the ones that will ultimately make the decision on which offer is best for their needs.

DISCLAIMER: This article has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information in this article is not legal advice. Since legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation, please contact an attorney for a consultation on your matter if you have any questions.

About the author: Jim Stearman is an attorney in North Orange County, California with over 35 years of experience. His areas of expertise include real estate transactions, general civil law disputes, business and commercial transactions, partnership law, corporate law and enforcement of judgments and collections. For more information about Mr. Stearman please visit his website

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