— We take our content seriously. This article was written by a real person at BREL.

Multiple offers (aka bidding wars) are a regular occurrence in a hot real estate market. If you’re a REALTOR trying to navigate a bidding war,  this blog is for you. It’s the bidding war how-to for REALTORS; a review of the rules and expectations from the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO); and best practices and etiquette suggestions gleaned from our experience participating in and hosting hundreds of bidding wars over the years.

Warning: this is a long read! But if it helps even one agent get more money for their Seller or avoid a RECO complaint, or helps make the bidding process smoother for all involved, then it’ll be well worth your time.

Specifically, this blog will look at:

  • The basic rules of bidding wars
  • Setting up a bidding war
  • The offer registration process
  • Offer presentation
  • One-shot vs sending people back
  • Communication best practices
  • Dealing with pre-emptive offers
  • Multiple representation
  • Commission reductions

Caveat: Of course you should always take RECO’s word above mine, and talk to your broker about any in-office policies or other strategies that might be more appropriate for you or your situation.

The Basic Rules of Bidding Wars

According to our Code of Ethics in Ontario, as a REALTOR, you must disclose:

  • The number of offers (to anyone who has a written offer)
  • If you or your brokerage are representing both the Seller and a potential Buyer (to anyone who has a written offer)
  • If you or one of the other buyer agents is reducing the amount of the co-operating commission (to anyone has a written offer)
  • Any changes to the offer process – for example, your client didn’t want to review pre-emptive offers but now wants to review them (to anyone who has expressed interest in the property)

Sharing the Contents of Offers

The Trust in Real Estate Services Act (TRESA) came into effect on December 1, 2023, and changed the type of information that could be shared during a multiple offer. Blind bidding (where the details of the individual offers are not shared with any of the other offers) is still permissible, but a Seller can now choose to disclose the contents of the offers to the other bidders, provided that they give the same information to every person who has submitted a valid offer.

This rule change means we can now have open auctions for homes in Ontario and ushers in the possibility of greater transparency in traditional bidding wars.

Sellers can instruct their REALTOR to share the highest price, closing dates, deposit amounts and/or terms and conditions with the other offers. Names and other personally identifiable information must still remain confidential. You’ll need to get your clients’ direction in writing – and it’s important to remember that they can change or revoke their wishes at any time. The Seller is always in control of what – if any – information is released.

It’s important to make sure that your Buyer clients know that the details of their offer may be shared with other offers. That might work to their benefit if they aren’t the top offer – for example, knowing that the top offer is $25K more than theirs can help them decide how to adjust their bid to win; but it also might work against them – for example, their offer is the highest and is used to get the other bidders to increase their offers. There are ways to structure offers to keep it confidential – talk to your Broker of Record for details.

Setting Up a Bidding War

If your pricing strategy is to try to generate multiple offers:

  • You will generally set an offer date in the future (usually 6-8 days from the day the property is listed for sale).
  • You can set the bidding war date and time for whenever it’s convenient for your Sellers. If you set the date for a holiday or a Sunday, however, keep in mind that it will be difficult or impossible for Buyers to waive their financing or home inspection conditions if they can’t reach their bank or inspector on the weekend.

Pro Tip: Pick your bidding war date and time carefully. Selecting the same offer date as other properties that are competing with you will split the buyers (in other words, some buyers will bid on Property A and some will bid on Property B) and may result in a lower sales price for your Seller.

Offer Registration

Buyers have a right to know how many other offers exist before they present their offer. Unfortunately, the offer registration process isn’t well defined by RECO or many brokerages and can become messy when there are lots of offers.

In 2015, Bill 55 was passed, stipulating how offers should be handled.  Essentially, it required that:

  • A listing agent cannot indicate they have an offer unless they have received the offer or a signed Form 801 declaring that an offer has been signed.
  • Brokerages keep copies of all written offers presented to the Seller and counter-offers or complete a summary document
  • Buyers who made an offer on a property (or their agents) can request that RECO validate the number of offers that were presented

OREA developed a (painful) process to help manage offers with the introduction of Form 801. Form 801’s intent is to allow the buyer agent to confirm to the listing agent that a signed offer exists.

Many Toronto agents refer to an offer being ‘registered’ – meaning that an offer has been written, signed and is ready to be presented to the Seller.  Other than Bill 55, there are no RECO rules for offer registration in Ontario; sometimes, offers get registered with the brokerage, sometimes with the agent and, sometimes, agents just show up with an offer in hand.

Offer Registration Times

Many Listing Agents set an offer registration time (for example, 6 pm) and an offer presentation time (for example, 7 pm). The hope is to encourage people to confirm the existence of signed offers early and ensure a smooth process. Truth: this hardly ever works. Many agents register late and it will always be to the Seller’s benefit to look at late offers. Registration times are suggestions only.

Pro Tip for Buyer Agents: If you want to ensure that a property doesn’t sell without you knowing about it, you should ‘register’ the offer – meaning get it signed and let the listing agent and brokerage know that you have an offer. Send Form 801!

How Many Offers Are There?

Buyers (and their agents) have a right to know how many offers were registered before they present their offer. Here’s the easiest way to keep the buyer agents informed and follow what’s required of you under RECO:

  • Have your brokerage send out a message to everyone who has shown the property as soon as the first offer gets registered.
  • When the second offer gets registered, contact the first offer and let them know they are now in multiple offers.
  • If an agent registers or sends you a form 801 directly, make sure to keep your office informed so they always have a tally of the number of registered offers.
  • As additional offers get registered, it may not be possible to contact every agent every time a new offer gets registered. If you’re dealing with 20 offers, it’s probably not feasible to contact 20 agents 20 times. Some brokerages have systems that will send out a message after each offer gets registered (I love these systems).
  • Important: Before offer presentations begin, send an email to the agents who have registered offers, informing them of the total count of offers.

Behind the Scenes:

  • Keep an ongoing list of all the email addresses and cell phone numbers of the agents who have shown your listing. If you email them en masse, make sure to bcc: everybody so they don’t see the names and email addresses of other interested parties.
  • Keep a spreadsheet with the names and contact information of all the registered offers. This will be an ideal place to track the details of the offers too. Our Offer Summary template has the following headings:
    • 801 received (yes/no)
    • Offer presentation time (usually scheduled 10-15 minutes apart)
    • Agent name and contact info
    • Offer Price
    • Deposit Amount
    • Irrevocable Time
    • Closing Date
    • Conditions
    • Cheque Herewith (yes/no)
    • Notes

Pro Tip for Buyer Agents: Always call or text the Listing Agent before you present your offer to confirm the current number of offers. Don’t rely on the number of offers that were registered at ‘registration time’ and don’t rely on what the brokerage thinks is the right number. Things move fast in the last hour before a bidding war and your job is to represent your Buyer, so get all the facts.

What happens if a new offer comes in while other offers are being presented?

This happens more than you realize. You’re reviewing the fourth of eight offers when someone shows up or emails you an offer. Here’s what you do:

  • Notify all of the agents with registered offers that the number of offers has changed.
  • Anyone who has already presented their offer has the right to re-submit an offer because the number of offers has changed.

Offer Presentation

Before offer presentations begin:

  • Meet with your client before offer presentations begin to take them through the process.
  • Take them through the terms of the standard Agreement of Purchase & Sale so that you don’t have to explain the details of the pre-printed clauses during the offers.
  • Let your Seller know that you will ask the agents to focus their presentations on the most important parts of the agreement and make sure they understand what to expect:
    • Price
    • Deposit
    • Inclusions and Exclusions
    • Conditions
    • Closing Date
    • Anything else out of the ordinary

Before signing any offer, read every single word and make sure there are no errors! This is a legally binding agreement. If you’re new to real estate or don’t sell a lot of properties, consider having your Manager, Broker or a more experienced agent review the paperwork too.

Email or in-person offers?

While both are acceptable, most offers these days happen electronically.

Advantages of Emailed Offers:

  • Convenience – especially if one or more of the Sellers are out of town
  • Fast – you can quickly review offers yourself without lengthy presentations and time delays
  • If you’re dealing with more than 10 offers, in-person presentations can literally take hours. The emailed offer approach prevents dozens of buyer agents from spending the night in their car waiting for news.

Advantages of In-Person Offers:

  • The personal touch! Some Sellers like to hear about the potential Buyers who might be moving into their home
  • Easier to ask the agent follow up questions (for example, about financing or closing date flexibility)
  • Ease of changes – if the Buyers are nearby, it’s quick and easy to make changes to the offer (for example: improved price or missing initials) without having to rely on the buyer agent’s knowledge of technology

If you go the in-person offer route, focus on the important details while the other agent is present and read through the winning offer in its entirety before accepting it. If you read every line of every offer during presentations, you’ll be there for hours and hours.

Who presents first?

There aren’t rules on this, though convention usually dictates that offers are presented in the order in which they were registered: so first to register presents first, last to register presents last. If you’re efficient, you should be able to schedule offer presentations 10-15 minutes apart.

One-Shot Offers vs. Send-Back-to-Improve

Remember: the Seller is always in charge…it’s your job to provide strategy and counsel to help them maximize the price they receive.

Usually, once offers have been presented, you can:

  • Accept the highest or best offer
  • Ask everyone to improve their offers
  • Ask the top few offers to improve their offers
  • Choose to negotiate with one of the Buyers

Remember: you can choose to share the price, closing dates, conditions or other terms of the offers, provided that all the Buyers with offers are provided with the same information.

There isn’t a solution that works every time. Make sure to discuss the various options with your Seller before offer night and plan accordingly.

Also note:

  • When you ask someone to improve their offer, you are essentially rejecting it, and they can choose to walk away. Recognize the risk that all offers might walk away (and yes, this has happened).
  • If a Buyer is asked to improve their offer and chooses to walk away vs. re-submit an improved offer, don’t forget to inform everybody of that change.
  • Before sending 20 people back to improve their offers, ask yourself: is this the right thing to do? If someone’s offer is $150,000 lower than someone else’s, is it worth everybody’s time?

Bidding War Communication Best Practices

No matter how you decide to run your bidding war, the best and most important thing you can do is send out an email outlining the plan.

Before hosting a bidding war, our team sends an email to all the agents who have shown our listing (bcc: of course), outlining:

  • How offers are to be submitted (via or email or date, time and location of in-person offers)
  • Ideal closing date and our Seller’s desire for condition-free offers
  • Deposit instructions (we always want deposits herewith or in the event of an emailed offer, delivered before the irrevocable time)
  • Communication – how to stay on top of the number of offers, how you will communicate the final offer tally and how you will communicate to the winners and losers
  • Any special requests or disclosures
  • Sellers intentions (if they plan on accepting Highest and Best on the first go-round or if they plan on sending top offers back to improve)

Revealing The Sold Price

While it’s important to let the losing offers know that you’ve accepted another offer,  you shouldn’t reveal the sold price to anybody (other than your Sellers) until the offer has been accepted, acknowledged, conditions (if any) have been waived, and the deposit has been delivered.

Pro Tip: If you’ve got a firm offer and cheque in hand, let the other agents know that the property sold to another Buyer right away. It’s also customary to let them know how much the property sold for vs. making them wait for the update on MLS – if you have the deposit and it’s a firm sale. Texting works wonders! Their Buyers have taken the time to prepare an offer and have contributed to you selling the property for the price you did and deserve to be treated right.

Dealing with Pre-Emptive or Bully Offers

In a hot market, it’s not uncommon to receive a bully or pre-emptive offer – an offer made before the scheduled offer time.

The Basic Pre-Emptive Offer Rules

  • RECO requires us to convey an offer to our Seller as soon as possible – unless we’ve been given clear written direction otherwise. So if you have an offer date, you must get clear written direction from your Seller (otherwise, you’re in contravention of the rule above). See OREA Form 244.
  • The Seller is in charge and can change their instructions, but they must do in writing. So if they wanted to wait to look at offers until next Wednesday but have decided they want to look at offers today, they can. But you must disclose that to anyone who has expressed interest in the property.
  • Informing the parties is a critical step in dealing with a bully offer – and there are significant penalties if you don’t do it.

How will you handle pre-emptive offers?

Make sure to discuss with your Seller what will happen in the event of a pre-emptive or bully offer. You must document this conversation!

The February 17, 2017, RECO Bulletin provides some great questions to ask your Seller:

  • If a pre-emptive offer came in and you were not told about it, how would you feel?
  • How much information do you want about any pre-emptive offers that come in? Do you want to:
    • Be notified of a pre-emptive offer, without seeing the details?
    • See the details, but not formally consider the offer until your offer presentation date?
    • Consider all offers received before the offer presentation date?
    • Only consider offers that are above a certain price or contain a certain condition (for example, no inspection)?
    • Not be informed about any pre-emptive offers at all?

Help, my Seller changed their mind!

Even if your client has instructed you in writing not to show them any offers, it’s their right to change their mind. But here’s what you need to do as their REALTOR:

  • Get the change of direction in writing.
  • Change the notes in MLS to reflect the new process
  • Notify in writing (text and email is acceptable), anyone who has expressed an interest in the property. According to RECO, this includes “parties that have booked viewing appointments, have viewed the property, have informed the brokerage or the listing representative that they will be submitting an offer on the property, or have submitted an offer or an offer summary sheet on the property.”

Multiple Representation

It’s critical that you understand the rules around multiple representation – it’s where most RECO complaints originate, and it can jeopardize your license and reputation.

The Basic Rules of Multiple Representation in a Bidding  War

  1. You must have written consent from both the Buyer and the Seller (and both brokerages)
  2. You need to disclose to anyone with a written offer if you are representing both the Seller and a Buyer
  3. If you’re the Listing Agent and see that two of the offers are from the same brokerage, you have a responsibility to let their agents know so that they can get informed consent from their clients.

The rules for multiple representation apply whether you are in a multiple offer situation or not.

Commission Reductions During a Bidding War

What do I need to do if I’ve offered a commission discount to my Seller if I also represent the Buyer?

You must disclose the details and terms of the arrangement to anyone who has made an offer before any offer has been accepted.

What happens if the Buyer’s agent offers to reduce their commission?

Occasionally, a Buyer’s agent will offer to take less commission than the Seller is offering, in order to facilitate the sale. This obviously puts their offer at an advantage and RECO has clear rules about what needs to happen in this situation: you must disclose the details and terms to anyone who has made an offer. So if one of the agents has offered to take 2% instead of the 2.5% that was being offered, all other offers need to be notified that one of the agents has reduced their commission from 2.5% to 2%. Many brokerages have policies in place to deal with this scenario, so check with your Broker.

Still have questions? Your Broker can help. And if they can’t…it’s time to find a new Broker.


  1. Linda Sansom says:

    This was very well put together and timely. As a Broker/Manager, I am preparing my own bulletin to our salespeople to clarify compliance. May I have your permission to share your blog to my group?

      • Jacqueline says:

        How about when you receive an offer and then a second offer with a 2 hour irrevocable and you notify the first agent via email and they don’t respond. The sellers accept offer #2 before it dies, and agent #1 calls you after the fact very upset that they were given such a short timeline to respond.?

        • Melanie Piche says:

          From a best practices perspective, I would email, call and text to notify offer #1 so that they have the chance to improve their offer. That would be in the seller’s best interest and would ensure people feel they were treated fairly. Nothing can be done about the short irrevocable period that offer #2 gave – but I would definitely go to greater efforts to notify offer #1.

  2. Daphne Kalliomaki says:

    Well written and perfectly said.
    On a side note, when I sit with my seller I explain the importance of all offers being equal and the pitfall of agents adjusting their commission to win the bid. Before presentation date, my sellers usually want everyone to be on an even playing field and will not allow commission adjusting. It really helps to keep things equal for all involved.

  3. Jonathan Amantea Remax Ultimate says:

    Great article. In regards to One-Shot Offers vs. Send-Back-to-Improve section

    (Ask the top few offers to improve their offers.)

    I have had the lowest offer ending up winning. You never know.
    I believe it is best if you are sending back to send everyone back.

  4. Daniel Bloch says:

    Hey Melanie, great read and research, you left out one really important part though. Make sure to thank every agent who loses out for their hard work and time and wish them and their clients good luck. It’s amazing how many agents forget this basic rule and it should always be done by telephone.
    I also feel and hope this process should change in the future and brokerages start adapting to new styles similiar to what they are doing in Australia and South Africa where there is an open bidding process which is completely fair and transparent. We are one of the few countries who has adapted this awful style of selling which is very unfair to consumers. Again great read, great job!

  5. purvesh patel says:

    what if in bidding war they have their own offer along with other offers? probability and favor are towards them anyways!!

    • Melanie Piche says:

      Agreed…I truly wish this wasn’t legally allowed. We never represent both sides of a sale – while some agents are ethical and do it ethically, that’s sadly not true across the board.

  6. I am a buyer, not an agent. Was recently in a competitive offer situation. I put in my offer in the morning, and at that time there were no other offers. My offer expired at 8 pm that day. Heard nothing all day. At 7:55 pm, my agent was notified that another offer has come in. We had NO time to improve our offer, even though we were willing to do so. By the time my agent could call the selling agent back and at least verbally indicate that we wanted to improve our offer, the selling agent basically said “too bad, your offer expired, and the seller has accepted the other offer.”. How is this fair? I feel that I was set up as a sitting duck, and that they waited until 5 minutes before my offer expiry time to slip in the 2nd offer. Coincidentally, the only difference between the winning offer and mine, was that the conditions were removed. Offer price was the same, as if the other buyer knew exactly what he/she needed to do to just slightly improve the offer. I would like to complain somewhere. This seems like a fishy deal.

    • Melanie Piche says:

      If the listing agent also represented the 7:55 offer, then I’d definitely be suspicious…but if not, there would no benefit to not allowing you to improve your offer. The listing agent’s goal was to get beset price and conditions for their client – they don’t have control over when another offer comes in or how long it’s valid for (assuming they weren’t repping both). For sellers with multiple offers, having no conditions is critical – so if that wasn’t something you could have removed, it would have gone to the other buyer anyhow. Still sorry to hear about your situation…

  7. The current system for submitting offers needs to change dramatically. It’s a total **it show. It only benefits the sellers and leaves the buyers completely in the dark. It’s convoluted and makes it difficult to update all parties on the status of the auction. Agents spend all their time just trying to figure out how to game the system and jack up the ultimate selling price. We need to completely revert to a system where all bids are out in the open like Australia. The current system is antiquated and doesn’t serve all parties fairly.

    • Brendan Powell says:

      There are definitely drawbacks to the current process in Ontario! While there will always be dishonest people out there, the selling agent’s job is literally to get the highest price for their client, so as long as things are run honestly and fairly, they will absolutely do whatever maximizes the sale price–it’s what every selling client would want.
      The open bids system in Australia is often discussed as an alternative, but also has its own drawbacks–e.g. the auction is reduced to only price (which is only ONE important facet of an offer), there can be much less vetting of the buyers bidding, and there have even been stories of the seller themselves bidding up the price of their own house against legitimate buyers!
      At the end of the day, until major changes come in, we as realtors and consumers can only do our best to navigate the system as it is, and encourage and enforce processes that ensure it is as fair as possible. In a wildly competitive market like the one we are in right now, that means the seller has most of the power simply due to supply and demand (although there are still things you can do to maximize your chance of success)–this is why it’s important to work with pros who do this every day.

  8. I agree with the posting from Paul

    These bidding wars are shockingly unfair for buyers. They ONLY benefit the seller and the Real Estate business. This perfect storm of extreme inflationary house prices is almost unprecedented and it is playing out across a great part of Ontario – it is a recipe for disaster. Bidding wars are removing the practice of paying fair market value for homes in this Province and pushing more and more people out of the ability to own their own home.
    If there is a shortage of properties and people want to bid on a property the very least that should occur is a transparent and open bidding process – very similar to an auction – The current practice of bidding a price many % points over the asking price to make sure of a win is a predatory practice against people whose budget lies around the original asking price – Make every bid visible to all – so that bidding increases in smaller increments

    Real Estate Agents you are causing this bubble by setting up these bidding wars – If a property goes on the market today and an offer comes in at asking price why not accept the first offer??

    • Thanks for the post! As I’m sure you can imagine, the seller’s agent’s job is to work for the seller, and that means getting the highest possible price (and best conditions) for the seller. The agent doesn’t decide if an offer gets accepted or not – the Seller is always in charge of strategy and deciding how much to accept. Also, I’d be remiss in not mentioning…bidding wars aren’t actually what agents prefer either. It makes our jobs infinitely harder when we represent buyers and much more stressful when we rep sellers. Unfortunately in Ontario, the open bidding system isn’t the norm, and agents have to adapt the market we’re in. When we rep sellers in a hot market, bidding wars are often the best way to get top dollar for the seller – and if a buyer is willing to pay X for a home, that is, in essence ‘market value’. Market value is the price where what a buyer is willing to pay meets what a seller is willing to accept.

      • Melanie, it’s great that you write about realtors etiquette, which may reduce the number of realtors’ malpractices and tricky games they play sometimes. But I wanted to discuss the question about open bidding as a “norm”. Why not create such a norm on our own and offer your clients a choice? I’ve talked to sellers who want to sell their property fairly and, of course, buyers who can’t wait for this. The open bidding process can be beneficial for all parties and will be a huge step in modernizing the industry.

  9. Thank you for your response

    However you do not address my concerns. How does an agent who is representing both buyer and seller in a closed bid situation deal fairly with either of them – Best practice should be that if there is a closed bid an agent should not be able to represent both buyer and seller
    I would seriously doubt that the seller is the one who requests that a bidding process be set up without the suggestion first from the RE agent. In the last 2-3 months there has been a rapid increase in the sealed bid method and many properties are being bid up hundreds of thousands of dollars . I always say follow the money and with many RE agents commissions at 5-6% and on an example of $150,000 over the asking price that is an extra $7500–$9000 commission (minus expenses and shared commissions) Furthermore a bidding war sets a date for a definite sale and usually within a week of listing – Most importantly and more lucrative for the RE business is that house prices continue to climb at lightening speed
    You say that open bidding is not the norm in Ontario – how about you lobby the OREA to make it the norm

    Another solution is taken from OREA’s own website under a section headed Obligations Under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (taken from a seminar titled Multiple Offers : Risks and Rewards

    ……There may be a temptation in a multiple offer situation to sign back
    all of the offers to see which buyer will accept the price and terms
    dictated by the seller. This should never be done as more than one of
    the buyers may accept the sign back. This would result in the same
    consequences as described above.

    Questions have been raised regarding whether it is permissible for a
    seller to sign back an offer over the listed price. The listing is only an
    invitation to make offers at that price. It is not an offer in and of
    itself. It is legal for a seller to counter an offer at a price higher than
    the list price. However, if that seller is a dealer in property, such as a
    builder, they may be in violation of the Competition Act.

    As an alternative, a prudent salesperson may want to consider having
    the seller increase the asking price using OREA’s Amendment to
    Listing Agreement, Form 240. The seller could then sign the offer
    back over the original listing price but within the new price.

    3. The seller can reject all of the offers and request that all of the
    competing salespeople go back to their buyers and try to improve
    their offers. The seller must be cautioned that if this is done, some or
    all of the buyers may withdraw from the bidding, including the buyer
    with the highest offer, and the seller could be left with nothing. If
    this option is chosen, the contents of the competing offers are not
    usually disclosed to the competing salespeople.

    As previously noted, Section 26 of the Code addresses this situation.”


    RE agents are a powerful body of people. They help shape entire neighbourhoods, move market prices and can really impact peoples lives – Use your power wisely and lobby to make open bidding the NORM in Ontario

    • Brendan Powell says:

      While I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole on this too far on a web post, I think it’s worth clarifying a few things in all this discussion…

      We at the BREL team agree with you on your first point–trying to fairly represent both sides simultaneously in a negotiation is very difficult to do, which is why we have a company policy never to have one agent represent both parties. Some parts of Canada (such as BC) have explicitly forbidden the practice, but in Ontario it is still allowed–in part because there are many rural areas where there are very few realtors and it’s almost impossible to avoid in practice. This is an ongoing discussion, but we here in Toronto have taken our position on that. When it does happen, there are MANY strict rules about how it must be handled, to try to make it as fair as possible.

      You say “I would seriously doubt that the seller is the one who requests that a bidding process be set up,” but this is absolutely not the case–and we sell hundreds of homes a year. As you suggest: “follow the money” – and the ones who stand to gain most…are the homeowners themselves. I suspect that if you owned something that was in high demand, you too would want to do whatever would maximize the money you could get–it is only natural! While it is true that the agent might earn a little more if the home sells for more, it’s the homeowners who make 100x that, and as an agent our job is literally…to help them get the most they can for their home. Anything else and we would not be doing our jobs.

      I think the public often overestimates our power as realtors…like any free market, real estate is driven by supply and demand on a macroeconomic level. I WISH we could control the market! Alas, we can only navigate the market we are all handed, using our experience and strategies. Ultimately don’t forget we are literally “agents” of the sellers–we are legally bound to follow their lawful instructions. 99% of the time those include “get me the most for my home.” It is naive to think that the average homeowner would rather make $50,000 or $100,000 less, or retire a year later, simply so they could make it cheaper for someone else they don’t know to buy. If we suggested that to our clients, it would be a quick way to get fired…or sued for not working in the best interests of our clients.

      We recognize a lopsided market makes it hard for those on the other side–after all, half our clients are buyers too! We would much prefer a balanced market, since we live the challenges of buyers along with them. For every seller who did well, there could be 10 buyers and their agents running around for months making offers…and not earning a dime until they are successful. The best market to earn a living in for a realtor would be one where supply and demand are evenly matched, and every seller has a buyer. More actual transactions would be done, and both sides get a fair deal, with less pain and a win-win for all.

  10. Simone Swimmer says:

    Can a vendor wait 24hrs after multiple offers have been submitted at a specified time (i.e vendor takes offers at 7pm on a certain date)???

    • The vendor can choose to review offers when they want…but the buyer controls how long the offer is valid for in Ontario. So if a buyer only makes their offer valid for 5 hours and the seller wants to wait 24, that offer will expire. In Toronto things usually move quickly in a bidding war, but there are times (eg estate or bank sale) where a longer time period to review the offers is required and requested.

  11. Neil Cochrane says:

    I think it would really increase trust in the system and realtors if after a property is sold copies of all offers (with personal information of other buyers redacted to protect their privacy) had to be provided to everyone who made an offer. This way, it would be more difficult for those dishonest brokers to misrepresent the number of offers, as they would have to forge documents, not just verbally mislead someone. And just as importantly, buyers who failed in their efforts will have better information about demand in that market going into their next attempt to purchase.

    • RECO does have a protocol to ensure there are no phantom offers: a buyer who lost in multiple offers can ask RECO to verify the number and validity of offers (though the actual offers aren’t shared with the buyer) – agents have to keep proof of the offers and provide to RECO on request.

    • Brendan Powell says:

      Under normal circumstances, it is a seller agent’s duty to bring any offers they receive to their client as soon as possible. However, an agent is also required to follow their client’s (lawful) instructions…so sometimes (for example if there is a specific offer date set, and the seller has signed direction telling their agent NOT to bring any offers to them before that date, which is common) then in that case the agent has to follow their client’s instruction… and NOT show them any offer that is submitted before that date. This is sometimes a good thing–sellers are trying not to be tempted to look at a bully offer if they believe that waiting for the offer night is the best strategy.

      So the answer is… it depends! Either way, the seller themself is the one in charge–they make the informed decision, in consultation with their agent, as to how they want to handle things. Hope that helps!

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