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  1. #1

    Ethics (or Not?) of Realtor Disclosing Offer Prices

    I was under the impression that it was unethical for realtors to disclose offer prices on homes that haven't yet closed escrow. Here's what we experienced:

    We were in price negotiations with a seller for a house. We arrived at our offer price based on what we thought was the complete picture: location, condition, comps, etc., and limited it to our "best & final". During the negotiations, our broker and the seller's agent phoned/emailed back & forth, and when we pressed them to "prove" to us the neighborhood supported a higher price than we offered, the seller's agent provided sort of a list, which included some homes that had just gone under contract or were about to, including the supposed offered/accepted prices. No one will know for sure what those homes' actual sale prices are until they close, though!

    So, here we are left scratching our heads. How is it the seller's agent knew, for instance, "House B on the next street over just accepted a full-price offer," or "House C is in worse shape and it's about to close for $X"? And even if she knew that info, isn't that info supposed to remain undisclosed until escrow closes?

    In the end, we happily bailed out of the negotiations for that particular house, but I'd still like to know the answer to whether this sort of thing is OK. We're in California, BTW, if that matters.

  2. #2
    Not a realtor, so I am curious to hear to correct answer.

    But, my assumption.... those houses are under contract. You could submit a back-up offer, but unless the buyer backs out, the seller can't do anything about it even if you offered them 10x the current contract price. I think it is still shady, but it may skirt the line of ethical because they are in escrow.

  3. #3
    f the agent has actual knowledge of the contract prices, and no agency relationship in those transactions, there is no restriction on discussing that knowledge.
    If the agent has knowledge because they are involved in the transaction, or a team mate or coworker at their firm is involved, the agent may well have breached ethics.
    I.e., so I am having a cold one with Agent Joe, and he mentions that his listing at 123 Elm Street just went under contract at list price. Shame on Joe for blabbing, but unless we work under the same broker, there is no expectation of confidentiality in the eyes of the law, no ethical restrictions, either.
    I may well be properly serving my client by mentioning the discussion.

    If the agent is winging it, and just making stuff up, that is a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

    Regardless, I would be hesitant to put a lot of value into the "information" unless the properties were closed and recorded.

  4. #4
    I'm confused though...did that information come before or after you submitted your "best and final" offer? If after, why didn't you just say "I already submitted my best and final offer" instead of bailing out of the negotiation?


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