Quick Takeaways

  • Buyers should come prepared to make an offer
  • Sellers should price their homes correctly
  • Stay in touch with backup bidders

Source: The Buyer and Seller Guide to a Real Estate Bidding War (U.S. News & World Report, Mar. 11, 2024)

The REALTOR® Code of Ethics does specifically touch on multiple offer situations in Article 1. REALTORS® must act in an efficient and timely manner, present counter-offers, and always work in the best interests of their clients. According to Article 1, Standard of Practice 1-8, REALTORS® have “no obligation to continue to show properties to their clients after an offer has been accepted unless otherwise agreed in writing.”

Outside of the Code of Ethics, there are other legal and ethical issues REALTORS® must consider when dealing with multiple offer and/or bidding war situations. There are designated time periods in which sellers can still accept other offers, some are legal but not necessarily considered ethical. Keep in mind that buyer love letters and other methods of gaining a “personal” edge in a bidding war can sometimes fall in a Fair Housing gray area.

When representing a client involved in a bidding war or multiple offer situation, there are many ways to help your client help themselves. Make sure they have secured stable financial backing, help them craft a competitive offer, and let them know some practical options that may sweeten the deal, like a quick close date. However, remember that your clients best interests are always number one, and it is your job to be the voice of reason in an emotional bidding war scenario.

As a client entering into a multiple offer situation, there are a few things you can do to increase your chancing of getting your dream home.  Be wary of too many or zero contingencies, and don’t bid above your financial means. Making a competitive offer right away and sticking to it is often the best bet for you, but ask your REALTOR® what else you can to do heighten your chances.

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