Market Wise Q&A: How Does a Multiple-Offer Event Play-Out Behind the Scenes?


Pat Kapowich for the San Jose Mercury News  

Q: We made an offer on a home based on being told there were three buyers competing.  After our buyer’s agent told us we did not get the house, he mentioned there were actually six offers.  We feel we were given an unfair opportunity to buy that property.  Since my husband is still incensed, he’s talking about suing the agents and everyone involved. In practical terms, do buyers like us have any financial recourse in these situations?


A: Not likely.  If your spouse felt he was dealt a bad hand in a fair game at a casino, and in an irate manner, demanded that the pit boss give him a stack of 100 dollar bills, large men would escort your husband out the back door, not the front.  Any judge, mediator or arbitrator would no doubt want to take your spouse on the same “walk.” That said, only a real estate attorney can technically answer that question based on the facts. However, your husband can take comfort in the fact that 50% of the country’s real estate claims are filed in the Golden State. The result is that nationally, a whopping 30% of the monetary awards over real property disputes are in the great State of California.

If you can find a real estate attorney to take your case, please keep in mind that during the days, hours and minutes approaching a deadline to present offers, buyers will change their minds and others will appear out of the blue.  Some buyers are lying in wait hours, even minutes,  for a final headcount before writing their offer.  If more buyers are competing; one can improve an offer, or, conversely, submit their best offer and sit tight regardless of the outcome. It is common for sellers’ agents to notify buyers’ agents as the number of offers increases.  However, they also might still be in the dark as to the ultimate offer count immediately prior to meeting.  Even though the deadline had expired, I’ve had offers faxed or emailed during offer presentations with sellers.  Do your best to convince your husband not to gamble on the same property ~ twice.




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Pat Kapowich. Broker/Owner Certified Residential Broker ABR, CRS, GRI & SRES Home Sales Expertise and Experience (408) 245-7700