I’ve Made an Offer that Expires, but the Seller’s Agent Won’t Take It to the Seller. Is this Allowed?

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I’m in a time crunch and need to purchase a property fast. I’ve made an offer that expires in the extreme short-term, but the seller’s agent refuses to take it to the seller, saying the seller wants to consider all offers at a later date. Is this allowed?

Yes. The seller controls how they want to consider offers. If they instructed their agent to hold off on presenting offers until a certain date or time, then the agent is obligated to follow that instruction.

There is nothing stopping your agent from asking the seller’s agent to talk with the seller and see if they’ll make an exception, but if they decide to not review your offer until the date they set, there is nothing you can do about it.

Everything is up to the seller.

We’d like to think that in such a situation the seller’s agent discussed the pros and cons of such a strategy with their client. But, if knowing those pros and cons, the seller still wants to proceed with holding off, it’s their choice.

When sellers wait to consider all offers at the same time, it’s usually in a hot seller’s market where there is a higher likelihood of multiple offers. This has been common in Toronto and Vancouver, but it’s less common right now (especially in Alberta.)

In a hot seller’s market, when a buyer swoops in with an offer they want seen before the seller’s offer date, this is called a “bully offer.” If you ask the seller’s agent to ask the seller to review and consider your offer early, this could still spark the multiple offer situation the buyer with the bully offer was trying to avoid.

The seller’s agent will likely suggest to the seller that they tell other buyers who showed interest in the property that a bully offer has come in. This may lead to other interested buyers immediately putting in their own offers to compete with it.

Unfortunately, the sellers may not review your offer on time or, they may review it, but not accept it. If you are in a rush to buy, it’s a good idea to make sure the first offer you put in is your best one and have some back-up properties in mind just in case the offer isn’t accepted or looked at within your timeframe.