“How Rude of You to Ask That Question. It’s none of your business!”
Staff hears that response a lot from listing agents who call to “report someone” who had the nerve to ask if any of the offers the listing agent has received on a property were written by the listing agent or another cooperating broker. Let’s review the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, Article 1, Standard of Practice 1-15: REALTORS®, in response to inquiries from buyers or cooperating brokers shall, with seller’s approval, disclose the existence of offers on the property. When disclosure is authorized, REALTORS® shall also disclose, if asked, whether offers were obtained by the listing licensee, another licensee in the listing firm or by a cooperating broker. (Amended 1/09).
Of course, for the seller to give approval to disclose the existence of offers, his agent would have educated him thoroughly about the pros and cons of disclosing. Disclosing could create a frenzy driving up the price for the seller, OR it could turn away some buyers who don’t want to get into a bidding war. Regardless, it’s the SELLER’S decision and his agent is only the messenger to agents who ask. If the seller DOES NOT authorize disclosure and a cooperating broker asks the listing agent if there are offers, the professional answer is “I’m sorry, I’m not at liberty to answer that.” That means “my seller did not authorize me to tell.” On the other hand, if the seller wants his agent to disclose, then the agent MUST and must also tell the source of the offers, IF ASKED.