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I'm in the process of buying a house. I have put in an offer on a house. The agent says he is waiting for other offers. He could come back to me and say someone else has put in X amount above asking price and whether i would like to increase my offer. There is a likelihood the nobody has put an offer in or the offers have been lower than mine.

How do i know whether the agent is telling the truth? There is no transparency. Estate agents have a bad reputation - underhand tactics are common and this provides an excellent opportunity to exploit the buyer. In the UK, the agent gets a % of the asking price as commission. I'm sure its the same around the globe.

How do I deal with the scenario? Would appreciate any advice.

Thank you.

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    There was a similar question just a few days back – Bernhard Döbler Aug 10 '20 at 10:59
  • Can't answer for UK, but you can check if there is a bar organisation, credentials for being an estate agent or licenses for being one. What you are describing is (where I live) illegal, counts as fraud and will ensure you lose your license as an estate agent. Furthermore you MUST keep records of all bids and you can only accept bids that are backed by a bank as coming from a specific legal person that has either a letter of credit, and/or deposits to cover the full amount bid. That puts a severe limit on forged or fraudulent bids. – Stian Yttervik Aug 10 '20 at 12:21
  • @BernhardDöbler is referring to my question. There is essentially no way you know if the agent is telling the truth or not. Just bid whatever you are comfortable with and no more - regardless of what other 'offers' have been made. I bid £50 higher than the other 'offer', a price I was comfortable with, and got accepted which makes me question if the offer actually existed. However I am now proceeding with the purchase of the house and I am pleased with this result. – Jsk Aug 10 '20 at 12:22
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    It’s perfectly reasonable (and standard practice) for you to give them a timeline to accept or reject your offer, and to make it a condition of acceptance that they withdraw it from the market. – Vicky Aug 10 '20 at 20:26
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I was in a similar situation a week or two ago.

You have to ask yourself why your offer has not already been accepted. Usually it will be either:

  • Your offer is not high enough
  • There are higher offers from less desirable buyers than yourself

He could come back to me and say someone else has put in X amount above asking price and whether i would like to increase my offer.

In this case I would imagine you are the more desirable buyer (cash buyer, first time buyer etc.) but your offer is not quite what the vendor is wanting.

How do i know whether the agent is telling the truth?

There is no way of knowing if the agent is telling the truth or not.

How do I deal with the scenario?

I would advise one of two things:

  • Only if you are comfortable with doing so, increase your offer to match the higher offer(or beat it by a small amount - £50 or so). This would more than likely result in your offer being accepted, as it did with me, as you have the best offer and you are the most desirable buyer
  • Call the agents bluff and state that the offer you have made is already your best offer. This way you risk losing the house to a better 'offer' but you could still get the house for the initial offer you have made.

The agent is just trying to get the most money for the house as possible but the negotiation is a two-way negotiation. Would the seller want to lose out on a sale for the difference? Would you want to lose out on the house for the difference?

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  • thank you for your advice. I just cannot believe that we live in the UK and we do not have a system which is completely transparent. We need a portal where people submit their offers and all parties (buyer, seller, agent) concerned can see those offers and there is full audit trail when seller accepts an offer. At the moment the power is in the hands of the agent who is financially motivated by his/her commission. – Architect Aug 11 '20 at 15:30

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