Real Estate Agent Put Property under Contract without Giving Us Opportunity to Submit Offer

Hi All,

Trying to buy a house in Sydney at the moment, already hard given the amount of competition out there, throw in dodgy RE agents and underquoting, but this one is a first that I've experienced! Wondering if anyone has experienced anything similar?

Property was listed off market, agent emailed me on Thursday as I'd show interest in another property. Open homes on Thursday and Saturday, we attended the Saturday afternoon open.

Agent asked me if we were interested as they'd already received offers, I said we were, just need to review the contract and do some due diligence this afternoon. I messaged the agent that afternoon asking if there was a chance if we could see the property again before making an offer, which she said probably not, and would instead share a floorplan which I was OK with.

On Sunday, the agent shared the floorplan, which I thanked her for, and said she would be contacting all parties on Tuesday for next steps. I said we were in a position to make an unconditional offer and wanted to do just that.

Today (Tuesday) I hadn't heard from the agent, I'm interested in this property so I message her to say we'd like to make an offer, what is the ballpark the other offers have come in, which she advises the property is under contract, that the owner made a decision on Saturday night.

I'm assuming the agent hasn't done anything illegal (in NSW), but she certainly hasn't acted in the best interests of her client by not seeking additional offers from interested parties! It smells fishy, I feel like the agent's convinced the vendor to sell to someone they know for a probably below market price!

Should I just let this go, raise a complaint with the agency? The agent herself is ignoring my calls haha!

Already finding it hard enough with Sydney houses being sold for literally stupid amounts over what they would have sold for 8 weeks ago, to mostly people (probably investors) over 50 with deeper pockets than us. I'm no amateur with property, this would be the 5th property I have bought and sold - but this is the hardest market I've seen in the last 11 years of ownership!

TLDR: Agent sold property without asking for offers from interested parties!

EDIT: Seems like my rant was misguided, was upset I missed out as was too slow! Thanks for the grounding comments :)


  • Vendor received an offer from another prospective buyer before you.

    Vendor accepted offer.

    Property is sold

    You missed out.

    What was your question?

    • Is this illegal?
      I think them missing out, feeling sore, is the basis of this rant informative post.

      • Pfffft. Nothing illegal about it. If seller is happy with an offer and any associated terms then they accept it and take property off the market.

        It's the sellers house. They can do what the hell they like.

        OP should have gone to the Thursday inspection, made an offer and probably would have been a home owner in 90 days. You snooze you loose. Blame transfer in this thread is off the charts.

        • My question: Has anyone experienced this.

          Yes a rant post, don't deny that - i had advised at the saturday open i was interested (at that stage the owner had not accepted any other offers). If i was the seller, i think i'd like to see all possible offers before accepting one (in fact i went through this myself just months ago… multiple offers received, agent advised she would contact all other parties first to see if any higher offers come in, low and behold i made an extra $100k on my sale that way).

          Not blaming at all, just highlighting that the agent hasnt acted in the best interest of their clients, you know - the best interest of seeking out the best offer before selling the property!

          • @geoffs87: Interested buyer doesn't mean anything to the seller until they submit an offer to the seller.
            Once the seller gets an offer they like, they sometimes want to secure it as soon as possible rather then waiting to see higher offer. This is because at offer stage, both parties can have change of mind and walk away.
            So next time, try sending the offer earlier if you want it that much.

            • @Summoner: Thanks, yeah i realise that now! lesson learnt. Interesting they didnt put pen to paper until this morning… so certainly an opportunity for my offer to have been made which is why i'm upset. certainly won't wait on future properties!

              • @geoffs87: Agents do get the reputation from a few dodgy ones. I know of people that have slipped the agent $5k to get a sale through. The agent basically either doesn’t show other offers or convinces owners to take it.

                In this market I would never settle before auction. Auction fees minimal compared to upside from lunatic buyers.

                As a side note. Use the cooling off period if you offer before hand to do your building and pest reports. If you wait to do these then submit offer forget it…

                • @ImpulseMan: How easy is it to complete building and pest reports prior to auction?

                  • @spedohero: Easy, sometimes they may even have these done and you just pay a fee ask agent.

                    I understand the serious commitment a property is, especially your first home, but your concerns on these reports can be logically assumed anyway.

                    If the property is new, look for cracks in walls this may suggest poor building and worst case bad foundations. This does happen, friend of mine brought new duplex to find no piers existed below the property as cracks appeared on walls.

                    If the property is old, terminates could be an issue and structural obviously. But if it’s a sturdy double brick an issue would be rare.

                    My mate is on a good wicket, buys properties quite often. His philosophy is common sense. I once asked him how can you rock up at an auction and bid when you have no idea about the actual state of the property. His response was well if everyone else is bidding they must have done the research. Easier said when your making serious dough though 😂

              • @geoffs87: make an offer goes in first…. you can back out anytime its just an offer lol

          • @geoffs87: I can see how you think this however the RE agent is obligated to present any offers to the owner. To first call all interested parties and tell them there is an offer in, yada, yada, isn't very ethical. The best they could do is make the owner aware of the offer and of the interest of other parties and they may very well have done this. The owner is free to do what they like. Next time act a bit faster, it's a sellers market at the moment.

          • @geoffs87: property right now is like a hot chick with bit ***s and small ****les. (Erlich Bachman)

          • @geoffs87: Im sorry but thats YOUR opinion.
            Vendor is happy with price hence accepts offer and signs contract.
            End of story
            Happening everywhere right now.

            Now go and focus on other properties and stop complaining
            This one is long gone.

            • @Amayzingone: Vendor happy with price because that might be only offer till Saturday when op been told they will finalise on Tuesday so he was predicting final day to offer Tuesday if there is multiple offer you always can negotiate and get best out of it. In this case agent act for own commission.

          • @geoffs87: I was on the other side of this experience.
            Off market property in Sydney. I went to the first open, made an offer 30 minutes after that - subject to my lawyer checking the contract and a building inspection (essentially to just make sure there was no major unexpected structural issues - the house needed a fair bit of work anyway). Vendor informally accepted a few hours later.
            Did the building inspection and signed early the next week.
            Apparently there were multiple people later on wanting to make offers but it was too late. The vendor had a price in mind they wanted, and my offer met their expectations.

            • @lord henry: Yep
              Thats how it works
              Nobody knows if a better offer will come in.
              So one acceptable offer is better than none
              Thats the risk the vendor takes.

              OP Take note

          • @geoffs87: You don't know enough about the other offers to work out what those best interests are. A vendor might just say to an RE, let's take this offer and bugger the person sitting on the fence about it.

            You're in the hottest property market in Australia and you're being sensible. That's a good thing.

            The RE behaviour might be annoying but it's a seller's market ATM. The vendor and the RE have no obligations to you, there's no contractual relationship, no implied relationship and nothing to complain about.

            Seriously, spend your time focusing on other, more important stuff.

          • @geoffs87: I bought a house recently. Came on the market on a Wednesday evening. Organised a pest and building inspection Thursday and arranged a viewing Thursday arvo. Made offer Thursday evening. Signed contracts Friday lunchtime. Nobody else saw the house and the RE agent fielded calls from some very angry people apparently.

            Reality is we'd been looking for months and knew how fast stuff was moving and we went hard and fast, above asking range in order to do exactly what happened to you, beat others to the punch.

            Having recently sold our previous place also I was surprised as we did exactly what you did. We did best and final offers after getting a handful of offers. We got $50k more than our previous top offer. No idea why some do and some don't, but when it came to buying we had missed out on plenty of places and saw how fast it was happening.

            • @SgtBatten: Went through the buying process with a relative of mine. There was more than one place where they said they were intending to make an offer, as a way of keeping options open while they decided, but changed their mind and did not, or made a lowball offer just to test the market. Agent would be silly to assume that every EOI re an offer was going to be followed by a competitive offer.

              If I was an agent, I would trust your expression of interest exactly as much as I would expect you to trust anything I told you about the seller's intentions.

          • @geoffs87: Your issue is that when the agent asked if you still interested. You became all beta and asked to inspect, Floorplan, reviewed contract, due diligence etc. (Basically asking questions and wasting time)

            While the alpha who bought the place just went in with the cash.

            Your ways may have worked 15/20 years ago but in 2021, you not going to buy anything being beta.

      • Wouldnt you do the same as a seller?

        TOUGH COOKIES mate

        • Mentioned in another comment - I did the exact opposite as a seller, agent requested offers from all interested parties, I chose the one I was happiest with. Have everyone the opportunity to make an offer. I get it though, everyone is different!

      • Hahahaha

    • ^ This

    • True i my aunt house come up she sent me email i told how much u want for she accepted my offer it was sold. told last 20years how lovely her house is.

    • It's not about sold property it's about get best offer for property. I had recently those experiences a lot, I am offering couple of properties but some dodgy agents take many property by giving cheap appraisal Which will help to get more properties for sale, because of that They not doing their Job.They want sign contract by demotivate vendor and get commission.

    • This, we missed out on a home where both us and another party presented identical offers and conditions on the contract. Agent advised us that they presented the offers and they decided to randomly pick one or the other. We were severely disappointed and pleaded to make a counteroffer but it was too late.

      Did the Agent act in the best interests of the vendor in our case? From our perspective no, we would've probably offered slightly more and got the vendor's a better sale price. But there's a lot of things we won't know about the situation as to why they quickly made the decision.

      We moved on and found another house in a better location and suited us slightly better. Swings and roundabouts.

  • Agent did right by her sellers.

    She has no reason to wait for your offer, every open home ive been to if weve been interested you can make an offer almost immediately.

    Someone came in with an offer, the agent presented, sellers were happy and accepted.

    You stated youre aware how prices are, and surely youre aware how quick property is selling. If you were genuinely interested you should of offered sooner.

  • Open homes on Thursday and Saturday, we attended the Saturday afternoon open.

    Agent asked me if we were interested as they'd already received offers

    You were late to the party.

    Cop it on the chin and don't try to assume the REA was doing something dodgy. Others were quicker than you, and got in there sooner.

  • +27 votes

    "TLDR: Agent sold property without asking for offers from interested parties me!"

  • If you're interested, make an offer. Even if you've made an offer the REA usually don't come back and try to get you to raise the price unless all offers are below seller's expectations. The REA is just trying to facilitate a sell that satisfies both the seller and buyer, not to achieve the highest possible price.

    • Fair enough, hasnt been my experience to date, all properties ive sold the agent has negoatiated with multiple parties to get me the best price!

      • +4 votes

        There is nothing in your post that the agent has not negotiated with multiple parties. They just didn't include you in that process.

        A friend of mine is a recent seller; agent told them that they had five interested parties, they would reduce that down to three and then get them in the office to finalise.

  • I said we were in a position to make an unconditional offer and wanted to do just that.

    I'm confused…did you make an offer, or you were in 'a position' to make an offer and did not?

    In my experience, if you want to make an offer, offer up and buy, counter or walk. If it's already under contract, the offer won't be taken to vendor.

    • Sorry, i said i wanted to make an offer, and the agent said she'd call me on Tuesday, yeah definitely my bad - will make an offer upfront in the future!

      • Seems weird. If she had no contract, it's in her interest to take offer to vendor to get paid. Why wait till Tuesday?

      • Yes, do, even if its a low ball offer. It sounds to me like you still wanted to feel them out and negotiate. REAs get a lot of non serious buyers/jokers while getting real offers from others, not only might they think you aren't serious, or deluded about the price, but you might not be ready yourself to make an offer in your own mind.

        I didn't think I would ever be here defending REAs, some of the slimiest things I have seen have been done by them. It's not impossible to think they sold to one of their mates but you definitely won't know

  • Its not an auction. Happens all the time. How do you know your offer is better? What if the seller waited for you and any other offers but the now successful buyer changed their mind while waiting?

    • totally! Definitely don't know my offer was better, probably wasn't haha! Offer was made on Thursday night 'agreed' Saturday night, signed today… i had said on Saturday arvo i wanted to make an offer but was told i would be contacted on Tuesday!

      • If the other party didn't sign, they most likely have come your way today, but in this instance the party that placed the offer sealed the deal.

  • summary of this post:

    a little too late.
    the end

    • Perhaps!

      I prefer to do a little due diligence before dropping literally millions on a house (even if it’s just a few hours looking at council zoning, contract review and area analysis) which isn’t easy to do in <48hrs over Easter weekend!

      I’m sure if I came on here to say “bought house without doing due diligence and now it’s collapsed” the responses would be “why didn’t you take the time to do your research”. Can’t win :)

      Point still remains, property hadn’t sold when I said I wanted to make an offer, and was told to wait until her call on Tuesday!

      • You dont know if the property had or had not sold.

        Also some sellers take an agreement as a contract. ie they agreed to the price and will stick by that agreement. Then the agreement gets finalised.

        Most agents when they have an agreement with a seller wont make any further offers received. The Sales made.

        As for Tuesday, that could have been the date the contract was to be signed, so telling you to wait could mean, wait as if the contract wasnt signed/exchanged by then the seller would take other offers.

        Plus the seller might have accepted this as an unconditional offer, no cooling off period.

        Move on. Nothing else you can do. With a hot market by looking around when a house does come up you will understand the value and can act faster.

  • grandma sold her house 2 months ago. Scheduled 2 open house but already managed to get an offer during the first open house so yeah. In short, 350k$ above the asking price was offered.

    • There was an article in the paper the other day, wherein this current market, those who sell prior to the auction are likely getting around $150k less than at auction. But $350k above the asking price is nothing to sneeze at either.

  • Why feel bad when the seller missed out on more money? I would feel like an idiot unless I was desperate to sell.

    • +2 votes

      There is nothing in the post that the seller missed out on more money.

      • The implication is clear that OP wanted to compete with other sellers unless OP is just seeking attention. Also from OP in posts:

        If i was the seller, i think i'd like to see all possible offers before accepting one (in fact i went through this myself just months ago… multiple offers received, agent advised she would contact all other parties first to see if any higher offers come in, low and behold i made an extra $100k on my sale that way)

        • Definitely not after attention, was looking to see if others found it weird (and from the tone of most replies seems I’m the minority haha!)

          Yeah was keen to treat, happy to compete! No idea if my offer was going to be more than the others, but would have been ~20% above guide which is the norm in Sydney right now!

        • +2 votes

          OP had the opportunity to submit an offer, but didn't.

          Price is only one component of the offer (albeit usually a major one). The vendor could have had other mitigating factors that they considered in accepting an offer.

          • @GG57: Yeah I get all of that, I just can’t for the life of me understand why as a seller you wouldn’t want to hear from all people who wanted to make an offer, especially when you haven’t exchanged contracts yet!

            Not saying my offer was better (no way to know), but one thing I do know is it’s under contract, which means not unconditional… my offer would have been without conditions.

            I had told the agent I wanted to make an offer before Saturday night (ie when the seller decided to accept an offer). I realise I should have made an offer on the spot (crazy, always do due diligence first) etc, but still can’t comprehend the decisions on the other side!

            • @geoffs87: Why are you so focussed on comprehending the vendor's decision?
              You were too slow and you missed out. End of story. What the agent / vendor did should be irrelevant to you, as you weren't part of their decisions.

              It sounds as though you are in the market; find another property and go for it.

              • @GG57: Imagine a sporting team said “we’ll win the next one” after a loss without considering what went wrong in that game…

                not a perfect analogy, but I’m inquisitive by nature, I’m certainly curious to why I wasn’t part of their decisions when I tried to be!

                • @geoffs87: Did you ask the agent why you were not? They would be the only source that might tell you.
                  No-one on here would know.
                  You have stated "Agent asked me if we were interested as they'd already received offers, i said we were, just need to review the contract and do some due diligence this afternoon."
                  It could be that the agent pretty much eliminated you at this point.

                  • @GG57: Yes possibly, and maybe i can be thankful the property sold to someone who didn't do any due diligence!

                    Agent continued to message me, shared floorplan and say will touch base on Tuesday, all after she seemingly sold the property… obviously keeping me warm in case the initial offer fell over.

                    I messaged the agent: "Thanks XXX, disappointed we weren't given an opportunity to submit our offer, as discussed we were keen on this property"

                    Agent: "Sorry Geoff, vendor made the decision Saturday night", and now won't take my phone call!

            • @geoffs87: Wanting to make an offer is different to making an offer.

              The agent clearly didn't see you serious enough as you could be suspected as someone who is kicking tyres and/or spend endless hours negotiating on a price.

              Agent is always working on the best interests of the vendor and deemed that you were not a serious buyer.

              Agent presented all the offers since Thursday to the vendor and by Saturday a decision was made and a contract signed.

              For someone who has bought and sold 5 properties, you should know better.

              Good luck in the next round!

            • @geoffs87: Vendor can have FOMO too.

              The offer was probably more than the vendor ever hoped for, and they wanted to accept ASAP so they don't lose a cashed up buyer.

              Most likely you did not miss out on a bargain.

  • Don't expect morals from agents.
    FYI, They want the quickest reasonable sale, not necessarily the highest price.

    eg. say they sold it for $1m to the other party, and you were going to offer $1.01m, that is $10k (before commission) to the vendor, but only $200 or so to the agent.
    Days on market is a huge selling point to future vendors for the agents.
    Also, they tell the vendor that they are unlikely to get better offers as the house will get "stale" if it doesnt sell in say the first 2 weeks.

  • I agreed to buy a car from a gumtree seller for a price that i thought was competitive.
    Seller sells it to someone else who'd offered higher.

    Do i make a song and dance about it? no, there'll always be other cars/houses.
    It's FOMO that's forcing up the price and this is just adding to it. Another house will go up for sale.

  • REA: I have an offer $250k above asking, cash buyer, will mutually settle on your terms and is happy to release their $300k deposit

    VENDOR: Where do I sign?

    REA: Calm down, I have another potential offer from a guy called Geoff. He seems nice and genuine. Good looking bloke in his mid 30's. Do you want me to follow it up first?

    VENDOR: Hell no. Where was he on Thursday? Tell him to "wake up Geoff"

    REA: No problems. I'll get the contract ready and take the deposit. Congratulations. BTW he mentioned something about Ozzy bargains and he complimented my Camry. A bit odd really.

    VENDOR: Hell yeah [email protected]


    • Slight variation

      VENDOR: Hell no. Where was he on Thursday? Tell him to "wake up Geoff"

      VENDOR: Hell no. tell him you will contact him Tuesday. Thats when the contract is to be exchanged.

      If it doesnt, see what he has to offer. Also let the buyer know that we have others waiting should they fail to exchange by tuesday.

      Not as funny, but probably closer to the truth. 😀

  • Each offer made is submitted to the vendor. If the vendor accepts one, why would the agent waste time trying to get more offers from other 'interested' buyers? The buyer who made the offer could also walk away if the agent hesitates.

    • Umm. Because the “interested” parties could have offered $200k more? Most people want at least a couple of days for contract review. It’s not wasting time, it’s called allowing the best offer to hit the table and giving reasonable time for that to happen.

      If the market is so hot that they’re making an offer after 1 open, that buyer isn’t going to walk away

      • The vendor accepted the offer. The agent wants one thing and one thing only, to sell the house ASAP. The vendor and the agent want to go for it, so no they're not gonna waste time waiting for the next offer, even if it might be 200k more.

  • Be quicker and do your research before a walk through.

    Not much more to learn here.

  • We did have a (profanity) real estate agent among them. Every pre-auction sale in our area since late last year has pretty much been a legal "Dutch auction", despite some of the agents claiming otherwise. The main problems with this for the buyer is that there's no way to tell if an agent is lying about a higher bid.

    Even the (profanity) said to "put your best put foot forward" and that any bid in writing (SMS or email) will be forwarded to the vendor. In general, you should always SMS an offer ASAP, though in recent months a low ball offer wouldn't have got you very far for houses in many areas.

  • early bird gets the worm!

  • It is as simple as “The agent didn’t think you were serious”

    Not saying it is your fault however if they genuinely thought you would buy it then they would have picked up the phone. Lots of people talk about making offers.

  • I’m amazed how many people here are siding with the agent and not the OP

    Why in the world in this market would you not let all POSSIBLE offers come to the table. Run them against each other and achieve the best possible price. What reason is there for closing a sale in 2 days in a market where the frenzy only builds and achievable price only escalates. Where you can contact everyone that has walked through the property via a ten second text message.

    Here are two similar scenarios that occurred last month in our area

    1. Property up for auction. Significant interest. Offer of $1.95m on the table about to be accepted. Text message sent to all parties saying offers closing 4pm today and it will sell. Final price $2.15m, everyone had a shot and owner got $200k more than expected. Sale process only extended by <24hours

    2. Agent presented offer to owner and didn’t contact any other buyers. Final sale price was less than at least 3 other buyers were willing to offer. Owner loses out, buyers lose out, agent looks shiny with his quick sale

    Sure our OP could have laid out his cards earlier but I fail to see how anything the agent did was in the best interests of the vendor unless they had a settlement approaching and the offer needed signing immediately.

    • Best interest of vendor is served by selling the house at the agreeable price.

      It's not served by dealing with people making EOI in making an offer, when there is already an offer on the table.

      • I should have made a poll, might have been more telling:

        When selling your house, would you rather accept an offer thats 'acceptable', or see if the agent can achieve a higher price?

        Seems everyone who commented here would take the first acceptable offer, rather than try for a better price!

        • You (still) seem to be confusing an acceptable offer versus a higher price. The financial component is only part of an offer; a sensible vendor will consider all components of the offers and make their decision appropriately.

          • @GG57: Sorry, should have made my poll: "…or see if the agent can achieve a higher price with equal or greater terms"

            I imagine a sensible vendor would want to see all potential offers before making a decision, rather than accepting the first offer they see - in a hot market?

            • @geoffs87: The vendor will accept the first offer that meets their requirements and aspirations.
              It is nonsensical to "…see all potential offers…"; they can only assess the offers that have been made. If one is good enough (i.e. meets their requirements and aspirations), they will take it.

              In this case, you didn't submit an offer, so you weren't in consideration.

              • @GG57: Correct, so I assume you would fall into the category of 'accept first acceptable offer', rather than 'before i do, try to seek a more favourable offer'.

                Not sure why it's nonsensical to say "hey, there was more people that came through, any of them interested? might be able to get a higher price on equal or better terms, tell them they have until 5pm".

                Edit - im not saying wait around for days to see what else might pop up - in my particular case i said i wanted to make an offer BEFORE it was sold… why wouldnt the vendor at least want to see what people who want to make offers can offer?

                • @geoffs87: As others have said, in the current market, both buyers and sellers are bullish.
                  If there is an offer on the table that is acceptable to the vendor, they will take it. The potential buyer may have also said "offer available for the next 2 hours only". It is a two-way street, with best offers up front asap. If not accepted, both parties move on.

        • You did nothing wrong in taking your time to investigate the purchase, but likewise I don't believe the agent to be at any fault.

          If there was a competing offer from you then the situation would differ, but as I stated an EOI is making an offer doesn't count for much.

          You should let this go and move on. Hope you find something suitable.

  • I concur with all the other posts… you hadn't even made an offer.

    PS: I hereby indicate my interest in making an offer on anything that you ever sell.
    And now according to your rules of law this means that you're not allowed to sell anything to anyone ever without giving me the option of stuffing you around by asking what all the other offers you've already had are, and then low balling you anyway.

    • Sounds good! I can then use your offer to start a Dutch auction, no offer is a bad offer!

      • What offer? I never made an offer… I had no intention of making an offer… I only wanted to express my interest in making an offer, and only after you provided me with details of all of the other offers that people have given you.

        The vendor wanted to sell a house, not get valuations for the house they are trying to sell.
        They likely had things that meant that they needed to sell the house (i.e. settlement on another property, debt they needed to pay, strippers on speed dial.. other reasons that aren't really any of your business). They got an offer that they were happy with, and this offer wasn't yours.
        If you had of really been serious about placing an offer, then you would have contacted the agent with your offer. Not with the request for what the other offers were.

        Now, if you had of said "I sent the agent my offer for $20 Million dollars, and they came back and said that it was under contract for $250k to their second cousin" then perhaps we would have been more on your side… after all, who really considers "second cousins" a real thing, apart from criminals…

        Lesson learned for next time though, lead with an offer if you're serious enough.
        If you give them a number even if it's at the low end of your scale, that does place obligation on the agent.

  • next time don’t tell an agent that you’re interested in making an offer without giving them a price.

  • It sucks but I dont think they did anything wrong. She may have felt you were mucking them around or too slow where they might have had others that made offers and quickly proceeded.
    i personally would not be too worried as from what you say you did, is doing due diligence to make the right purchase decision.

  • How do you know the first offer want double the asking price, conditional on signing before next home open?

    There was a telethon home here a while ago, someone put in an offer far higher than what the agent thought they could hope for on condition signed straight away no home opens.

    You are assuming buyers cannot pull out of offers. They might have put ridiculous offers on multiple houses and told the agents whoever signs gets the sale