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Was There Really Another Offer?

Dear Phyllis,
My mother reads your real estate question and answers and told me to get your opinion. My fiancé and I made an offer on a La Crescenta home that had been on the market for nearly three weeks. Our agent confirmed with the seller’s Realtor that there were no offers. When we sent our offer in, the agent said she was expecting another offer and that we should quickly offer the full price to secure the home. We increased our offer, and the seller accepted. We are happy in our new home, but feel like we were played. Do you think there really was another offer?

Dear Kristen,
Congratulations on your successful purchase. One thing to consider is if the listing agent represented her client properly. The presence of another offer could have led to the home selling over the asking price.
It’s understandable to feel skeptical when you’re told there’s another offer coming in on a home you want to buy, especially when the home has been on the market for a while. However, there are several reasons why it may not be a bluff:
• Agents risk their license: Real estate agents are bound by codes of ethics and regulations that prohibit us from lying about the existence of other offers.
• Reputation matters: Agents value our reputation in the industry.
• It could backfire: If an agent bluffs about another offer and a buyer decides not to make an offer or engage in a bidding war, it could lead to the loss of a real buyer.
• In your case, although there was not yet another written offer, the listing agent said she knew of another buyer’s interest. In such cases, the agent may inform other interested parties to ensure everyone has a fair chance to submit an offer before deciding.
Ultimately, with your agent’s guidance and the information you were given, you needed to decide. While it’s challenging to obtain concrete proof of another offer, considering the potential risks for agents and sellers, it’s likely that the information provided about another offer coming was genuine.